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English for Speakers of Other Languages

Location:Simplot Micron Academic Success Hub, Room 213 A
Scheduling:No Appointment Required. Test Offered Tus - Fri at 2:30 PM
Cost Per Attempt:$20.00
Attempts Permitted:2 Per Semester
What to Bring:Government Or Boise State Student ID
*Placement tests are not offered during midterms and final exam weeks

About ESOL

The ESOL Test is used for placement in the appropriate level of Academic English Writing for Speakers of Other Languages. The exam consists of a written essay related to an article you will read during your test time.  It is designed to demonstrate how clearly you express and organize your ideas in written English, and how much vocabulary you know. The time of the test is 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Essays are graded as soon as possible after the test is completed.

Current ESOL Placement Chart:

ESOL Scores can be anywhere from 1-4.  Please refer to the chart below to see what each score means in terms of course placement.

ESOL ScoreCourse Placement:
1Adult Basic Education or Intensive English Program
2English 122 (3 credits)
3English 101M (6 credits)
4English 101 (3 credits) or 101P (4 credits) or 101M (6 credits)

The courses listed here are the highest ones for each score. You may choose to take a lower-level course if you want to. For example, if you have an ESOL score of 3, you may take English 123 or English 197, or you may choose to start with English 122. The score of 3 will let you register for any of those.

ESOL Preparation

You will have 1 hour and 45 minutes to write an essay about a topic that will be provided to you. Take your time and think of what you would like to say.  Students may use scratch paper to make notes or an outline. Your readers are English teachers at Boise State University. Instructors grade based on the following:

  • How clearly do you express your ideas?
  • Do you use a lot of detail?
  • Are your ideas organized?
  • How much English vocabulary do you know?
  • Do your ideas connect to one another well?
  • How much you can write in a short amount of time?

You should write a detailed, clear, and interesting essay with one main point.  Do not worry about correcting all of your grammar.

We have provided some sample prompts so that you may practice writing your essay.  During practice, you will want to follow the instructions above.

Sample Prompt 1:

What person influenced you most in your life?  What did the person do to make a difference in your life, and how has your life changed by knowing this person?

Sample Prompt 2:

Describe a difficult decision you had to make.  What were the choices?  What did you decide? Why?  Do you think you made the right decision?

Sample Prompt 3:

Do you think a university education should be available to all students, or only those who get good grades in high school?  Explain by giving specific reasons.