English Placement Test for Non-Native Speakers of English


The English Placement Test for Non-Native Speakers of English (EPT) is required for all incoming students whose first language is NOT English, and do not meet any of the exemption categories. To check whether or not you meet one of the exemption categories, please click on the FAQ tab and refer to Question 2.

The placement test takes approximately 3-3.5 hours and consists of three parts: writing, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension. Students who do not pass the test will be placed in ESL courses based on their results. Registration is required. Please click on the Registration tab to register for the EPT online.


NEW international students who want to take the English Placement Test should check in with the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) first and then complete online registration for EPT before coming to the test place. Non-native English speaking students who hold a U.S. citizenship do not need to check in with the ISSO. ISU ID number (the middle nine digits on the ISU card) is required for the registration. Currently, we do not assess any additional fees for registering for the test. NetID should be entered if students want to check their results online.

Sign-up page

Online test registration will be available 2 weeks before each test date.
• If you need to change test dates after the registration, please log into the registration site using your ISU ID number and password you set when you signed up for the test. Use the drop-down menu at the bottom of the page to select a new test date.

On the test day, you need to bring:

• ISU ID card (or a photo ID – passport, driver’s license, or state ID)
• Optional: ISU NetID (i.e., ISU e-mail address)

Parking permits are NOT available for test-taking students. Those who drive to campus to take the test are advised to find a proper parking lot in advance in which they can park for about 4 hours. Some coin-parking lots near Kildee Hall are only available for 2-hour parking.

Schedule for Summer 2016

The English Placement Test for non-native speakers of English is administered at the times listed below. Students need to take one test only.

Date: Tuesday, June 7th, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Students must arrive by 8:30 AM)
Location: 0305 Carver Hall

Schedule for Fall 2016

Test session 1
Date: Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Students must arrive by 8:30 AM)
Location: TBA

Test session 2
Date: Friday, August 12th, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Students must arrive by 8:30 AM)
Location: TBA

Test session 3
Date: Monday, August 15th, 2016
Time:9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Students must arrive by 8:30 AM)
Location: TBA

Test session 4 (Make Up Test for Latecomers Only)
Date: Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM (Students must arrive by 5:30 PM)
Location: TBA


All students who are taking the EPT will be able to check their placement online via Blackboard Learn. In addition, graduate students can pick up their results in person in Ross Hall 226. The EPT results of the undergraduate students will be distributed to their advisors.

Test Result Pick-up (for Graduate Students)
Time: 10 - 12PM
Date: Friday, June 10, 2016
Please check back in June for dates and times to pick up your results.

ESL Courses

• Students who do not pass the test will be placed in ESL courses based on their results.
• For additional information on ESL courses, please click here.

Sample Test Questions


Need to take the OECT?

• The EPT office does not administer the OECT exam. If you are a graduate student and need to take this test, please click on this web site for further information: http://cce.grad-college.iastate.edu/ita/oect

Graduate Students Needing Approval for the Graduate English Requirement

• Please click on this link to download the latest approval form: Approval Form. Fill in the form and submit it to the Graduate College, 1137 Pearson Hall.

Frequently Asked Questions

• You can find information about exemptions, ENGL 150/250 transfer credits, diagnostic tests, etc.

Q01. What is the English Placement Test for Non-native Speakers of English?The English Placement Test (EPT) is designed to assess non-native English-speaking students' academic listening, reading, and writing abilities.

Q02. Who must take the English Placement Test?Generally, all incoming non-native English speaking ISU students (regular and online undergraduates and graduates) are required to take the English Placement Test prior to their first semester at Iowa State University.

Q03. What if a student has taken the ACT or SAT?Students with a 24 or higher on the ACT-E, or 550 or higher on the SAT-V, are automatically placed into Engl 250.

Q04. I have a transfer credit for ENGL 150 and/or 250. Do I still have to take the English Placement Test?Yes, you do, as the test covers not only writing skills but also reading and listening comprehension skills.

Q05. When is the English Placement Test administered?The English Placement is usually given at the following times:

Q06. I received a copy of my English Placement Test record sheet. There is a check or "X", "W", and/or "N" mark next to a course name (for example, 101B/C/D or 99L/R) on the test result sheet. What do they mean?A check mark or an "X" means that you did not pass the English Placement Test, and that you need to take the course(s) marked on the results sheet.

Q07. I did not pass the English Placement Test. Can I take the test next time again?No, you may not.

Q08. What is the diagnostic test?A diagnostic test is given only on the first day of all ESL classes to provide students with another opportunity to get waived from the English requirements posed by Iowa State University, considering that many international students take the test within a couple of days of their arrival.

Q09. What do I need to do to take the diagnostic test?All you need to do is go to first day of class in one of the sections offered for the course you are placed in.

Q10. How should I prepare for the diagnostic test?You do not need to prepare for the diagnostic test because it is to assess your general English ability in reading, listening, and/or writing.
Q11. I missed the first day of class and so I was unable to take the diagnostic test. Do you offer make-up tests?No, we do not.

Q12. I did not pass the English Placement Test. May I take the course(s) next semester?Only graduate students who only placed into English 101D may take their required course during their second semester.

All other students must begin their English classes in their first semester.
Q13. I need to take one or more English courses (ENGL 099L/R, or 101B/C/D), but I cannot register for the course because it is full (based on information available in AccessPlus). What should I do?Go to a section of the class you have been placed into and speak with the instructor to ask if you can add the courses.

Q14. Can I check my EPT test results online?If you created your NetID at least a day before coming to take the placement test and reported it during the test registration process,
Q15. Can I see my test scores?No. Our current policy does not permit us to release actual scores to students.
Q16. Can I get feedback on my essay writing?Currently, we do not provide feedback on individual students because of time constraints and limited human resources.

Q17. Do these English courses count toward graduation and my GPA?English 99L/R will not count towards the GPA and not count towards graduation.

Q18. I took the EPT and am currently taking one or more ENGL 101/99 courses. However, I have received a notice that I haven't met the English requirement (or haven't yet taken the EPT). Also, I can't register for courses for the next semester. What should I do?Send a memo to the Graduate College (Linda Thorson, lthorson@iastate.edu), indicating that you are taking the relevant ENGL 101/99 class(es).

Q19. I took the EPT, but I haven't started taking ENGL 101/99 courses yet. And I can't register for courses for the next semester. What should I do?Send a memo to the Graduate College (Linda Thorson, lthorson@iastate.edu), indicating your willingness to take those courses in the next term (or in the earliest semester when the course is available).

They will release a hold on your registration after checking with the EPT office if necessary.
Q20. I am a graduate student and I meet the exemption criteria. How do I request for the Graduate College to approve my Graduate English Requirement?Please download and fill out the following form

Q21. I am an online/distance learning graduate student who needs to take the online EPT. How may I request for an online test?Email ept@iastate.edu with your name, 9-digit ISU ID number, net ID (email address), and the time and date that you wish to take the test.

You will shortly receive an email from the EPT office confirming your request to take the online EPT exam. Further instructions will be provided about taking the test and receiving your results online.
Q22. I have additional questions. Who should I contact?If you have general questions about the English Placement Test or specific questions about your placement, please e-mail ept@iastate.edu

Contact us

• Email: ept@iastate.edu
• 515-294-6398
• 226 Ross Hall

Students with questions about their English Placement Test results can stop by Ross Hall 226 or 341 to speak with the current Graduate Assistant or Prof. Volker Hegelheimer.