English Language Placement (ELPE) Exam

ELPE

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 international or multi-lingual domestic 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?
  • Multilingual incoming first year students will see a notification on their MyAdmissions page indicating that they may need to take the ELPE. Complete the linked English Language Testing Questionnaire to find out whether you need to take the ELPE or not. Follow the instructions at the end of the questionnaire. 
  • I made a mistake on my English Language Testing Questionnaire and now I am unable to go back to fix it. What should I do?
  • Please contact us at iae@ucdavis.edu. Our staff can help you correct your answer in a timely manner. Please do not submit a new response from a different browser - this will only make it harder for us to place you in the correct exam.
  • I am a multilingual high school student in California. Should I take the ELPE or the AWPE?
  • Please make sure you have completed the English Language Testing Questionnaire, which will advise you on which exam to take. In general, we recommend that students who are confident in their English abilities take the AWPE in May. Passing this exam satisfies the Entry Level Writing Requirement. However, if you do not pass the AWPE and English language errors are detected, you will be required to take the ELPE at a later date, which will place you into multilingual writing courses starting Winter Quarter. If you are not very confident in your English language abilities, we recommend you take the ELPE in May, so you can receive your exam score in time for Fall course registration, meaning you can begin your multilingual coursework sequence starting Fall Quarter. When you complete these courses, you will have satisfied 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 will not be allowed to take the AWPE without first taking the ELPE and receiving a score of 90 or more. Students who receive a placement in UWP21, UWP22 or UWP23 must take the course or courses they placed into before being eligible to take the AWPE and/or enrolling in WLD 57.
  • Can I skip the ELPE and just enroll in UWP 22, 23, 24 or WLD57s/WR 39a?
  • No, an ELPE score is required to be placed in UWP 22, 23, 24 or WLD57s/WR 39a. 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 wait until you receive 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 UC Entry-Level Writing Requirement and you do not need to take the ELPE. However, if your score(s) are below the minimum required, you will need to take the ELPE. If you do not have an ELPE score, a hold will be placed on your account that will prevent you from registering for classes.
  • I grew up in the U.S. and have spoken English my whole life. Why do I have to take the ELPE?
  • Most likely, you grew up speaking another language in addition to English and common inter-language errors were identified by trained readers of your Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE). Taking the ELPE will let you know if you may need extra help in order to recognize and correct these errors and improve your English writing. If you have received a notification that you need to take the ELPE, but have not taken the AWPE yet, contact us as soon as possible at iae@ucdavis.edu, so we can help you find the right test.
  • 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 ESL writing Course. Once you complete the necessary ESL writing courses, you will be better prepared to succeed in university writing courses. Learn more about the ELWR for ESL students here.