English as a Second Language Tests

Preparation for ESL assessment

We strongly recommend that you review the ESL Reading Skills and Language Use portions of the Accuplacer Sample Questions and the ESL Sample Questions below before taking the ESL assessment.


Sample questions and study guides:


The ESL tests are for students whose first language is not English. There are two tests given, the Reading Skills test and the Language Use test.



The Reading Skills test evaluates comprehension of short passages. There are 20 questions to this test. The content of passages is varied and deals with a variety of subjects including the arts, human relationships, physical science, history, social sciences, and practical situations.

  • Half of the Reading Skills test contains straightforward comprehension items (paraphrasing, locating information, vocabulary on a phrase level, and pronoun reference).
  • The other half assesses inference skills (main idea, fact vs. opinion, cause/effect logic, identifying irrelevant information, author's point of view, and applying the author's logic to another situation).


The Language Use test measures grammar and usage. There are 20 questions to this test. It contains questions in two formats: completing a sentence by filling in a blank with the word or phrase from the choices given, and choosing a sentence that best combines two given discreet sentences.

  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Verb tenses
  • Irregular verbs
  • Noun forms and pronouns
  • Modifiers and comparatives
  • Prepositions, connectives, and parallelism
  • Sentence fragments or run-on sentences