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Department of Linguistics & Communication Disorders
Division of Arts & Humanities
Queens College
City University of New York

65-30 Kissena Blvd.
Flushing, NY 11367-1597
Tel 718-997-2870
Fax 718-997-2873

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English Language Proficiency Test

The English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) is administered by the LCD Department, twice a year, once in the fall and again in the spring.  Its purpose is to evaluate the English proficiency of Applied Linguistics: TESOL majors, who must pass the test to continue in the program.  Students are recommended to take the test as soon as possible after they declare the major. 

The ELPT is part of the academic requirements for Applied Linguistics: TESOL majors in recognition of the fact that our students, future teachers of English, must have a particularly high level of mastery of spoken and written English. English language teachers serve as models of English usage and provide feedback on their students’ written language.

The written component of the ELPT (see second bullet below) should not be confused with the University-wide CUNY Proficiency Examination, or CPE, which must be taken by all Queens College students by the time they have completed their 60th credit. The ELPT, taken only by Applied Linguistics: TESOL majors in the LCD department, asks for a substantially higher level of mastery than the CPE.

The ELPT consists of two independent components:

  • The oral component probes proficiency in speaking and listening comprehension.  The oral exam lasts 5 to 10 minutes.  Students are interviewed individually or in small groups, by one or two faculty testers.  Students' performance is evaluated based on the clarity and eloquence of their speech, and on the degree to which they are able to maintain an academic register. Intelligibility is a major factor in the evaluation, but not degree of foreign accent.
  • The written component evaluates skills in writing and in reading comprehension.  The written exam lasts one hour.  Students are provided a brief passage to read, along with a small dataset displayed on a chart, graph, or map.  Students are asked to write a task-based response (for example, in the form of an editorial, letter, or report) making reference to both the passage and the data.  Students' written responses are evaluated based on whether they:
    • convey sound understanding, interpretation, and analysis of the passage and the task;
    • elaborate ideas using specific and relevant evidence from the text and dataset provided;
    • exhibit appropriate organization;
    • exhibit appropriate language use; and
    • exhibit appropriate use of spelling, punctuation, and grammar conventions.

Evaluations are converted to Pass/Fail grades, and students are notified of the outcome by mail.  Students may re-take each of the two independent components of the ELPT no more than two times.

Once the schedule for the ELPT is announced during a given semester, students must sign up in person to take the oral and written components (administered separately), at the LCD office (Kissena Hall, 3rd floor, room 349).

Where to go for help with writing:

Queens College’s Writing Center (Kiely 229, 718-997-5676,

Student Resources area of the Writing Across the Curriculum website (

If you have questions, be sure to discuss them with your LCD academic advisor.