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Indiana University South Bend Language Placement Examinations
(post admission)

Immigrant students currently residing in the South Bend area may take the IUSB Interim Placement Examination prior to admission, which will take the place of the English Placement Exam.

Undergraduates

  • All first-year undergraduate students and undergraduate transfer students must take placement exams in Reading, and English, unless otherwise exempted from the requirement. Incoming students who have studied French, German, Japanese, and/or Spanish are encouraged to take the foreign language exam for placement purposes, if they intend to study one of these languages during their studies at IU South Bend. The exams will not be graded; the results are only used to place you in the courses appropriate to your skill level.
  • Native English speakers are required to take a reading exam unless transferring with 26 credits or posting an SAT score of 480 or higher on the critical reading section. In addition, all undergraduate students must take an English exam but may be excused if transferring the equivalent of ENG-W 131 with a grade of C or higher or scoring 4 or above on an Advance Placement exam (as administered by College Board). Students who have scored a combined total of 960 or greater on the critical reading and writing portions of the SAT are also exempt from the English exam. 
  • Non-native English speaking students, in addition to meeting the admissions requirement for English language proficiency, must take the Indiana University South Bend English Proficiency Exam before enrolling for classes. Those required to take English course(s) as a result of the placement exam MUST begin them during the first semester of study and complete any remaining course(s) during subsequent semesters. No interruption in the sequence of prescribed ESL courses will be permitted; students are automatically enrolled in the prescribed ESL courses every fall and spring semester until they are done with the sequence. Students may opt, however, to take a summer English course toward completing the sequence, if the course is available.  Undergraduate students may be exempted from the Indiana University South Bend English Proficiency Exam for the following reasons:
    • posting an SAT score of 480 or higher on the  critical reading section
    • transferring the equivalent of ENG-W 131 with a grade of C or better from a US institution (Once the ESL sequence has commenced, requests to transfer in W131 credit will not be honored until the full ESL course sequence has been successfully completed at IU South Bend.)
    • scoring 4 or above on an Advance Placement exam (administered by College Board)
    • scoring a combined total of 960 or greater on the critical reading and writing portions of the SAT
    • scoring 105 Internet-based; 620 Paper-based on the TOEFL
    • scoring in or above band 7.5 on the IELTS

Graduate Students

  • Graduate students are not required to take a Reading placement exam.
  • Those who speak English natively are not expected to take an English placement exam. However, graduate students who do not speak English natively, in addition to meeting the admissions requirement for English language proficiency, must take the Indiana University South Bend English Proficiency Exam, unless otherwise exempt. Those required to take English course(s) as a result of the placement exam MUST begin them during the first semester of study and complete any remaining course(s) during subsequent semesters. No interruption in the sequence of prescribed ESL courses will be permitted; students are automatically enrolled in the prescribed ESL courses every fall and spring semester until they are done with the sequence. Students may opt, however, to take a summer English course toward completing the sequence, if the course is available. Graduate students may be exempted for the following reasons:
    • completing the equivalent of ENG-W 131 with a grade of C or better at a US institution
    • scoring 105 Internet-based; 620 Paper-based on the TOEFL
    • scoring in or above band 7.5 on the IELTS
    • receiving approval from the graduate program director

English Placement Exam Format

There are two placement exams, usually given on the same orientation day.  The written exam measures the students’ academic reading and writing skills.  Students write an essay in response to the ideas in a reading (a few paragraphs) from a university textbook.  Students have 75 minutes to read the paragraphs, then plan, write and proofread an essay.  The readings contain topics to which everyone can relate.  There is a choice of two readings, but students should only write one response.  Dictionaries are permitted.

The second placement exam is an oral interview.  Students will converse with a teacher for 10-15 minutes.  The teacher may ask questions or make comments during the interview.

English Placement Exam Preparation

A brief preparatory workshop is provided the day before placement exams are given. If the test is taken outside of an orientation setting, students may prepare by consulting with the Writers' Room.

Click here to download a sample prompt for an English Placement Test.

Click here to download a sample essay containing examples of how to write a good essay.

English Placement Exam Results

The results are used by your the Director of ESL to place you into the appropriate course for your skill level. Courses are then completed in sequence each semester until the sequence is complete.

Undergraduate Written English
Course Sequence
Graduate Written English
Course Sequence

ENG-W031

ENG-W031

ENG-W130

ENG-W130

ENG-W131

ENG-G013

   
Undergraduate Spoken English
Course Sequence
Graduate Spoken English
Course Sequence
LING-L100

ESL ENG-G020

Language Course Work Enrollment Following English Placement Exam Results

Placement test results will be available to advisors via OneStart within two days. Students should meet with their advisors to find out the results and complete registration for the remainder of the semester's coursework.

In order to better facilitate class scheduling and registration, all incoming international students who place into one or more ESL classes after taking the ESL placement exam will be automatically enrolled in their prescribed ESL class(es) by the Monday before classes begin. Returning students will be pre-registered each semester in prescribed ESL coursework according to the established sequence. Students who are placed in non-ESL composition courses must register on their own or with their advisors. Click here to read the full automatic enrollment policy. Please be advised that all students must complete the prescribed language course sequence following assessment and before registering for W131 at IU South Bend (or its equivalent at another instution). Requests to transfer in W131 credit will not be honored until the full course sequence has been completed.

Students who want to appeal their placement or adjust their schedules with regard to pre-registration for ESL course work must contact the ESL Program Director once assessment is completed. Click here to read the full appeal policy.