All students who have English as their second language must clear the ELI. If you don’t, we have to place a hold on your registration, which means you won’t be able to register in future semesters.
There are two ways to clear the ELI:
1) See if you meet any of the exemption criteria below. If you do meet any of these criteria at the time of admission to UHM (not in later semesters), you will be exempted from the ELI, and you won’t need to take the ELI Placement Test. Check with the ELI Office (Moore 570) to see if you can be exempted.
2) If you do not meet any exemption criteria, you must take the ELI Placement Test. There are no exceptions to this. The ELI Placement Test includes two tests of listening, two tests of reading, and one writing test. Based on the scores of your test, you may be placed into intermediate or advanced courses, or you may be exempted in one or more of the three skill areas the test covers.
If you place into any ELI classes, the university requires that you complete those courses within your first year of study at UH-Manoa, following a specific schedule (see Course Completion Policies).
Are you required to take the ELI Placement Test (ELIPT), or are you exempt? There three categories for exemption from the ELIPT. Click on a category to learn more about it. Please note that you may be required to submit documentation if you meet one of the criteria for exemption.
- Native speaker of English
- Standardized test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, SAT, ACT, Cambridge English tests, Pearson PTE-A)
- Educational experience in English
You are exempt from the ELIPT if you speak English as a native language.
You are exempt from the ELIPT if you took one of the following standardized tests and scored at or above the scores listed below:
- TOEFL: 100 (internet-based), or 600 (paper-based)*
- IELTS: 7.0
- GRE (verbal section): 151
- SAT: 560 or better on the SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing test if taken after 2016; 540 on the critical reading or verbal section if taken prior to 2016.
- ACT (reading and English sections): 48 combined, and neither score is lower than 21.
- Cambridge English Scale (used for Cambridge English tests, except for Cambridge’s “Business English” tests): 185
- Duolingo English Test (DET)**: 125
- Pearson Test of English-Academic (PTE-A): 68
*The ELI accepts TOEFL MyBest scores for exemption purposes. If your MyBest score is higher than any single Total Score (and qualifies you for exemption from the ELI), please contact us at uhmeli(at)hawaii(dot)edu with a copy of your test results showing your MyBest score. Please also ensure all relevant test scores are sent to the Office of Admissions & Records (undergraduates) or Graduate Division (graduate students).
*Graduate students interested in Graduate Assistantships (particularly Graduate Teaching Assistantships) should contact the offering program/department, as the ELI cannot guarantee your TOEFL MyBest score exempting you from the ELI will qualify your English for an Assistantship. Assistantships can be found on SECE and Work@UH.
**Please double-check with your Graduate Program if they will accept the DET as proof of English proficiency. The ELI will accept the DET for exemption purposes.
If you think you are exempt from the ELIPT based on educational experience in English, please read the following descriptions to ensure that your experience qualifies.
- The student has an Associate in Arts (AA) degree or Associate in Sciences in Natural Sciences (ASNS) degree from a community college within the University of Hawai’i system.
- The student has obtained the equivalent of 60 transferable semester credits with a GPA of 2.0 or better, all earned in classroom settings at regionally accredited colleges or universities in the United States, or from colleges or universities whose academic standing is recognized by the University of Hawai’i and where English is the primary language of instruction. (Note: back credits for native language, or other credits earned based on experience rather than in classroom situations, do not count as part of the 60 transferable credits.)
- The student has completed 6 years of full-time schooling with English as the medium of instruction at a middle school, high school, college, or university in American Samoa, Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Guam, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, or the United States (including American Samoa and Guam). Documentation of all six years is required.
- The student has earned a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree from an accredited/recognized college in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, or the United States. The degree must have been awarded within the last five years.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Completion of ENG 100, ESL 100 or equivalent does not exempt you entirely from the ELI, just the writing portion of our test and any writing classes. Completion of ESL courses at other universities does not exempt you from the ELI. You must meet one of the criteria listed above.
All UHM undergraduate students have an FW requirement in order to graduate. To fulfill this requirement, students must take a Foundations in Written Communication course worth 3 credits. For more details on the FW requirement and how to fulfill it, click this link.