English Language Placement (ELPE) Exam


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s the difference between the ELPE and the AWPE (Analytical Writing Placement Exam)?
  • The AWPE is a statewide writing exam which, if passed, fulfills the University of California Entry-Level Writing Requirement.  It is offered once a year to California high school seniors who intend to enter one of the University of California campuses.  It is also offered three times a year on the UC Davis campus just before the beginning of fall, winter and spring quarters.  It must be taken in person and there is a fee of $110.  The AWPE may be taken only once. The ELPE is a diagnostic exam, not a “pass or fail” exam.  It is a requirement for multilingual international and some US students who have not yet fulfilled the Entry-Level Writing Requirement. The purpose of the ELPE is to provide an accurate assessment of your current level of writing so you will know which writing classes you need to take in your first year to fulfill the Entry-Level Writing Requirement. Like the AWPE, you can only take the ELPE once.  The ELPE is offered online and can be taken anywhere with a reliable internet connection. There is no cost to take the ELPE.
  • How do I know if I need to take the ELPE?
  • Incoming multilingual first year students will see a notification on their MyAdmissions page indicating that they need to complete an English Language Testing Questionnaire. This questionnaire gives students individualized instructions to satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement, which may include taking the ELPE. California students who took the May AWPE may be contacted about the ELPE later in the summer if they have not passed the AWPE and their score can be contributed to English language errors. 
  • I'm a multilingual student in California and I took the AWPE in May, but I did not pass. After the exam many of my friends were contacted about the ELPE, but I wasn't. Do I need to take the ELPE?
  • If you did not receive an email instructing you to take the ELPE, English language errors did not contribute to your not passing the AWPE, so you do not need to take the English Language Placement Exam. Instead, you should register for an ELWR satisfying course. Passing any of these courses with a “C” or higher will satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement.
  • Some of my friends are taking the AWPE on campus in the fall, but I was told I have to take the ELPE. Why?
  • The answers you provided in your English Language Testing Questionnaire indicated that the ELPE is the best exam for you. Our goal is to help you choose the appropriate English placement exams and fall quarter courses so you can maintain a high GPA, satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement, and graduate in a timely manner. This means you may be required to take the ELPE, the AWPE, or you may not be required to take any test at all.

  • Can I skip the ELPE and just take the AWPE in September?
  • No. If at the end of your English Language Testing Questionnaire, you were notified that you need to take the ELPE, you should not take the AWPE without first taking the ELPE and receiving a score of 90 or more.
  • Can I skip the ELPE and just enroll in UWP 21 and 22?
  • No, an ELPE score is required to be placed in UWP 21 and 22. Remember that you have a limited amount of time to satisfy the ELWR, so it's important that you take the ELPE as soon as possible to find the correct writing course.
  • How can I prepare for the ELPE?
  • A week or two before the exam an email will be sent to your UC Davis email from "Canvas" where you can access practice materials. Remember that the ELPE is a placement exam, and not a pass-fail exam. Please note, we will not be able to grant you access to the Canvas site until you have activated your UC Davis email address
  • Where do I take the ELPE?
  • The ELPE is an online exam. If you are required to take the exam, you will register for an ELPE date and time at the end of your English Language Testing Questionnaire. A few weeks before the exam, you will receive an email invitation from “Canvas” sent to your UC Davis email. Please click on this email to access practice ELPE materials and other important information. You will take the exam on this website. 
  • I just took the ELPE and didn’t do as well as I could have. Can I take it again?
  • No, you can only take the ELPE once.  However, make sure you attend the first day of the writing class you were placed into.  There will be a writing diagnostic given in that first class which will be compared to your ELPE paper.  If there is a noticeable difference between the two pieces of writing, you may be advised by the instructor to move to a different level class. 
  • I’m expecting English IB/AP exam scores that come out after the ELPE. Do I still need to take it?
  • If you took AP English or IB English 1A (either standard or higher level), you can choose to take the ELPE or not while you wait for your scores. If you score 3 or above in AP English, 5 or above in IB English 1A higher level, or 6 or above in the standard level IB exam, this meets the Entry-Level Writing Requirement and you will not be required to take the ELPE or, if you have already taken the ELPE, complete multilingual coursework. However, if your score(s) are below the minimum required (and you haven't satisfied the Entry Level Writing Requirement in some other way), you will be required to take the ELPE so you can know which multilingual writing course to register for during your first quarter. If you do not take the ELPE at this point, a hold will be placed on your account that will prevent you from registering for classes. You can register for the ELPE by contacting us at iae@ucdavis.edu
  • I won’t have internet access on the day of the ELPE. What do I do?
  • If this is unavoidable, and you let us know as early as possible, we will assess whether you are eligible for a deferral to take a later ELPE.  Please email iae@ucdavis.edu as soon as you realize the conflict.
  • Will my ELPE score affect my admissions status at UC Davis?
  • No. We only use your ELPE score to place you in the correct multilingual writing course. Once you complete the necessary multilingual writing courses, you will be better prepared to succeed in university writing courses. Learn more about the ELWR for multilingual students here.