Testing Offered through the Assessment Center

English Proficiency Exam

The English Proficiency Examination (EPE) is required of any student making a "D" in ENGL 1213 English Composition II. (Students making an "F" in 1213 English Composition II may not take the EPE--they must repeat the course for a passing grade.) If you score a "D" in 1213 English Composition II, please contact the Assessment Center staff at 774-7084 to schedule an EPE appointment. There is no fee for the test. You may take the EPE at any time during a regular semester (including the summer) except during dead days and final exams. You may repeat the EPE as many times as you need to. You may also choose to repeat 1213 English Composition II to earn a grade higher than "D" in order to demonstrate your writing proficiency instead of passing the EPE.

The test consists of an in-class essay on a topic that you select from a list. You have three hours to work on the essay; you may use a dictionary, thesaurus, or electronic spell-checker. The essay is then evaluated by members of the English faculty. Two readers must score it as a PASS.

Here are some misconceptions about the test that get passed by word of mouth:

  1. "You can't use "I" or "you" in the essay." WRONG! Use "I" for a personal narrative or "you" to give directions to your reader. Just don't shift back and forth. For example, if you begin by talking about "students" or "a student," don't shift to "you" later in the paper.
  2. "Use only short, simple sentences." FALSE! You are to demonstrate that you are a proficient college-level writer, so using only short, simple sentences will defeat that point.
  3. "If you have one misspelled word, you fail." WRONG! There is no set number of misspellings or other errors that will automatically fail a paper. Each test is evaluated as a whole.
  4. "You'll flunk if you don't have a title." WRONG! A title is a good idea, but you will not flunk if you do not have one.
  5. "You must write neatly, in ink, to pass." FALSE! You may use a dark pencil. Just be sure your corrections are as clear as possible. Make your paper legible.
  6. "You must demonstrate creativity, originality, and a flair for writing." WRONG! This test measures basic competence ("proficiency"), not creative brilliance. Organize your thoughts clearly and communicate them in sentences and paragraphs free of major errors to pass.
  7. "If you fail, you are never told why." FALSE! You may make an appointment with the chair of the Language Arts Department. S/he is happy to go over your essay with you, explain why s/he thinks you failed, and suggest strategies for succeeding on your next try.
  8. "Put off taking the test as long as you can." Definitely FALSE! Take the test as soon as possible so you will not get yourself into a tight spot near graduation. It is your responsibility to take the EPE in plenty of time to pass it before your projected graduation date.

Ask any member of the English faculty if you have questions about the EPE. They will be glad to help you prepare for the exam.