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The ACCUPLACER ESL test is used by colleges and universities to determine the level of English of students who are learning English as a Second Language. Scores on each of the sections of the test to help guidance counselors and professors determine whether it's best for a student to begin studying in regular classes, a combination of regular and ESL classes, or only ESL classes.

ACCUPLACER ESL Language Use Scores

The Language Use section of the ACCUPLACER ESL exam tests your knowledge of English grammar by covering the following topics:

  • nouns, pronouns, and pronoun case structure
  • sentence structure
  • subject-verb agreement
  • adverbs/adjectives
  • verbs
  • subordination/coordination

You are tested on these topics in one of two ways: completing a sentence by filling in a blank with a word or phrase from the given choices and choosing a sentence that best combines the two given sentences. You can practice for this section by doing grammar exercises and by reading books and websites written in formal English at or above your level. While each college or university has its own policy for using ACCUPLACER ESL to help place students into ESL or English classes, this is a general guide to skill levels based on ACCUPLACER ESL Language Use scores:

55 82 100
Basic Intermediary Advanced

ACCUPLACER ESL Listening Scores

The Listening section of the ACCUPLACER ESL exam measures your ability to understand one or more people speaking English. The conversations that take place have a range of topics: academic topics such as science, math, and literature, and everyday conversations that take place at home, at work, and while shopping or eating. You can practice for this section by having conversations in English, listening to English being spoken around you as you go about your day, and finding movies and songs that interest you in English. While each college or university treats scores in its own way, this is a general guide to skill levels based on ACCUPLACER ESL Listening scores: 

50 70 90
Basic Intermediary Advanced

ACCUPLACER ESL Reading Skills Scores

The Reading Skills test contains brief passages of 50 words or less and moderate-length passages of 50 to 90 words. This portion assesses your ability by asking literal comprehension questions or questions that require you to infer information that isn't stated directly in the passage. You can practice for this section by reading texts in English at or above your level, summarizing them, talking about them, and writing about them. ACCUPLACER ESL Reading scores are used in different ways by different colleges and universities, but this is a general guide to interpreting score ranges:

57 82 102
Basic Intermediary Advanced

ACCUPLACER ESL Sentence Skills Scores

The Sentence Skills questions assess your understanding of word meanings in a one or two-sentence context. A sentence is given, and you have to choose the best way to change the sentence, or to keep it the same. You can get a sense for how to answer these kinds of questions by reading formal English written at or above your level There are four sentence skills measured:

  • particles, phrasal verbs, and prepositions
  • adverbs, adjectives, and connective sequences
  • basic nouns and verbs
  • basic and advanced idioms

 While every college considers ACCUPLACER ESL Sentence Skills Scores in its own way, these are general score ranges to give you an idea of your level:

61 88 106
Basic Intermediary Advanced

ACCUPLACER WritePlacer ESL Essay

The ACCUPLACER WritePlacer ESL Essay assesses your ability to write a developed, organized, and grammatically correct response to a topic. Your essay will be scored by a computer, but you should write just as if it were being scored by an English teacher or professor. Your essay will be scored based on the following factors:

  • Focus
  • Organization
  • Development and Support
  • Sentence Structure
  • Mechanical Conventions

Essays are scored on a scale from 0-8. While each college or university uses the WritePlacer ESL Essay differently to place students into classes, these are what essay scores mean in general:


  • 8: Clear and Consistent Mastery
  • 7: Consistent Mastery
  • 6: Reasonably Consistent Mastery
  • 5: Adequate Mastery
  • 4: Developing Mastery
  • 3: Little Mastery
  • 2: Very Little Mastery
  • 1: No Mastery
  • 0: Blank/Extremely Short/Off-Topic/Not Written in English


Improve your ACCUPLACER ESL Scores

We are developing ACCUPLACER ESL practice packs. If your English is already at a high-intermediate or advanced level, we recommend that you try the  ACCUPLACER English Prep Pack for practice. If your English is at a high-beginner or low-intermediate level and  you're taking the ACCUPLACER Math test, we recommend that you try our ACCUPLACER Math Prep Pack for practice.

ACCUPLACER® and WritePlacer® are trademarks and property of COLLEGE BOARD. The trademark holder is not affiliated with TestPrep-Online or this website.

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