English Language Proficiency Test

Information for Students

Information for Advisors and Faculty​

Information for Students

The following are procedures for students who are required to do additional English language proficiency testing.

General Information about the Test

The English Proficiency Test is a test of general language abilities for incoming international students administered by the Department of Linguistics and the English Language Institute. Many new international students at Pitt take the test, and the test results are used to determine if these students may benefit from additional ESL courses. The test usually takes about 2 hours and is computer-based.  The test must be taken in-person, and is offered before the beginning of each semester (see the testing schedule on this page). 

As the test measures Pitt students’ general English proficiency, there is no single strategy to prepare for the test.  The proficiency testing uses Accuplacer ESL tests developed by the College Board.  Undergraduate students are tested on their reading, writing, and listening abilities.  Graduate students are tested on their reading, writing, and listening abilities as well as their knowledge of sentence meaning in English.

Who Should Take the Test?

Only students who have been admitted to the University of Pittsburgh may take this English test. The scores will not be reported to any institution outside the University of Pittsburgh.

  • ALL undergraduate international students, regardless of TOEFL or IELTS score must take the test.
  • Graduate students or other international students are required to take the test if they have:
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT) scores below 100 or
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores below Band 7.

Academic departments are encouraged to review the sub-scores of the tests to determine if there are specific areas of weakness. Academic departments may ask students who score 7.0 or higher on the IELTS or 100 or higher on the TOEFL iBT to take the test.  International students who have been exempted from the university's TOEFL/IELTS requirement may also be exempt from taking the proficiency test. View a full list of exceptions.

Register for the Test

  • Navigate to this link in your browser.
  • Log in using your Pitt username and password.
  • If you cannot make the testing session, please contact the test coordinator at pitttest@pitt.edu.
  • Record your testing date, time & location.

Test Procedures

  1. Students must register for a test date.
  2. If it is not possible for a student to take this test at one of the regularly scheduled times, the student should contact the Department of Linguistics testing supervisor at pitttest@pitt.edu.
  3. Students must come to the test with a photo ID. Students will not be admitted to the test without this. (acceptable identification includes a passport, a Pitt ID card, or driver’s license/identification card issued by a US State government). 
  4. Students should note that this is a computer-based test and will take place in a computer lab.
  5. Students should come a few minutes before the test is scheduled to begin. No one will be admitted after the test has started.
  6. The test can last up to 2 hours (most students finish sooner).  There is no scheduled break during the test.

English Language Proficiency Test Schedule 

Summer 2020

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are not scheduling English Language Proficiency testing on campus at this time. We are working on alternative testing procedures. Please watch this space for future announcements.


Date Day Time Room

Information for Advisors and Faculty

The following are procedures for university staff/faculty for score reporting and interpretation.

Score Reports and Recommendations

  • Tests are scored and recommendations are completed before the end of the next business day after students take the test.
  • Test scores and recommendations are posted in PeopleSoft for reference by academic departments and advisors. The recommendations appear in PeopleSoft as REC1, REC2, and REC3, and the scores indicate which language support class(es) are recommended for the student. If there are no classes recommended for the student, the REC fields will be blank. The possible courses we recommend and their matching PeopleSoft codes are as follows:

REC Score in PeopleSoft

Recommended course

Course title


Linguistics 0007

Intermediate ESL Writing


Linguistics 0008

ESL Speaking and Listening


Linguistics 0009

Advanced ESL Writing


Linguistics 0010

ESL Reading and Vocabulary


Engineering 2050

Technical Writing for Engineers


English Composition 152

ESL Workshop in Composition


No ESL courses recommended*


*If the REC score is blank, this means that the student has demonstrated satisfactory language proficiency and does not require further English language support. If you do not see a REC field/line for a particular student, please contact pitttest@pitt.edu.

  • Students should not come to the ELI or Linguistics offices for their report forms. We will not give score report forms directly to students.

Information about ESL courses at Pitt

The Department of Linguistics offers four ESL for-credit courses for incoming international students. The courses are designed to provide language support for students who have been accepted by the university but may need additional language training in English.  The courses are as follows:

  • Linguistics 7: Intermediate ESL Writing (for undergraduate students).  The class is a pre-requisite for Composition 152). 
  • Linguistics 8: ESL Speaking and Listening.
  • Linguistics 9: Advanced ESL Writing (for graduate students).
  • Linguistics 10: ESL Reading and Vocabulary.

Additionally, the English Composition program at Pitt offers an undergraduate workshop in composition for ESL students (English Composition 152) and the Swanson School of Engineering offers a Technical Writing course for graduate ESL students (Engineering 2050). 
If a student is recommended for 3 ESL classes, he/she may require more intensive English Language Training before pursuing a degree at Pitt.  For these situations, we recommend that advisors contact the Student Support Supervisor at the English Language Institute. 

Contact Information

For questions about the Proficiency Test or ESL courses at Pitt, please contact the testing supervisor at pitttest@pitt.edu or 412-624-5901.