English Proficiency Evaluation (EPE)

What is the EPE?

The English Proficiency Evaluation is a two-hour test that consists of the following:

Undergraduate Students:

  • 30-minute writing test (essay)
  • 45-minute reading test (multiple choice)
  • 30-minute listening and note-taking test (multiple choice)
  • 15-minute oral interview

Graduate Students:

  •     30-minute writing test (essay)
  •     45-minute reading test (multiple choice)
  •     15-minute oral interview

If students are required to take the EPE, they must do so before registration. The computer code which blocks registration will be removed once the students have completed the test.

Who needs to take the EPE?

All international students with a TOEFL iBT score of less than 100 (600 paper-based) are required to take the EPE prior to their first registration. These students will be informed of the test date and time when they check in at International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). If students are not required to check in at ISSS, they will find information about the EPE in the admission packet they receive.

Some graduate departments require all students to take the exam, regardless of TOEFL score. Students are not allowed to register until this evaluation has been taken.

When should I take the EPE?

International students will be informed of the test time and date when they check in at International Student and Scholar Services or in written materials sent to them by the Office of Admissions.

When will I get the results?

All students may view their EPE results online through MyUI. Both undergraduate and graduate students will also receive their EPE results from their academic advisors. If your advisor does not have your results, ask your department. If they do not have your results, please have your department call the ESL Office. In compliance with confidentiality procedures, under no circumstances will results be given to students over the phone.

What do my scores mean?

A description of the scoring for each section of the test and what the scores mean, can be found here.

Depending on your scores, your results will indicate one of the following:

  • No further work in English is necessary.
  • You are required to take ESL classes.
  • You are required to take ESL Transitional classes, or classes in the Iowa Intensive English Program.* (This occurs only when a student scores below the level required for academic work.)
  • You will be limited in the number of credit hours of regular coursework you can take.

*Please note: the Iowa Intensive English Program courses are non-credit-bearing and have separate tuition and fees.

If the EPE indicates that coursework is necessary, the courses are required for graduation. Undergraduates must complete their ESL courses in their first year of enrollment and before enrolling in Rhetoric. These courses may be used as elective credit for graduation. For more information on ESL credit courses, including course policies and descriptions, see ESL Credit Courses.

Is there a fee for the EPE?

Yes. The University will charge students' accounts $120 for the EPE.