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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

ACCUPLACER Testing (English for Academic Purposes - formerly ESAL)

The testing system consists of four parts:

Reading skills

The Reading Skills part of LOEP tests the student's comprehension of short passages. The sub-test contains brief passages of 50 words or less and moderate length passages of 50 to 90 words. There is a variety of passage content such as the arts, human relationships, physical science, history/social sciences and practical situations. Half of the Reading Skills sub-test contains straightforward comprehension items (paraphrase, 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).

Language use

The Language Use sub-test measures grammar and usage. 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 discrete sentences that are given. The skills covered are subject-verb agreement, verb tenses, forms of irregular verbs, appropriate verb forms in structures, noun-noun agreement, noun forms, pronouns, modifiers, comparatives, prepositions, connectives, parallelism, and sentence fragments/run-ons.

Sentence meaning

Sentence Meaning assesses the understanding of word meanings in one- or two-sentence contexts. The sentences are drawn from the content areas of natural science, history/social studies, arts/humanities, psychology/human relations, and practical situations. The areas tested are: particle verbs (or phrasal verbs), basic and important idioms, adverb/adjective phrases, basic nouns, verbs and adjectives (particularly terms of beauty, age, greatness, size), adverbs of frequency, sequence of adverbs (before, after, during), prepositions of direction and place (from, to, at, for, etc), comparatives, connectives, and commands.

Writing sample

WritePlacer provides a direct measure of the writing skills of students who are not native speakers of English.For this test, examinees are asked to provide a writing sample in response to a specific prompt. Examinees have 1 hour to complete the writing sample. Each response is evaluated based on the following features of writing:

  • Vocabulary
  • Sentence Structure
  • Focus
  • Organization
  • Development and Support

An oral interview follows these written sections.


  • Students must register to write the English Placement assessment through the Assessment Centre.
  • Testing takes place in the Assessment Centre (OM 1487) or a computer lab in the Old Main building. The exact room number is posted on the day of the test. Students are to report to the testing room at 8:45 A.M. on the testing day.

    Scent-Free Notice:
     The Assessment Centre is a scent free work environment. Since many people are extremely sensitive to perfumes, colognes, aftershaves and other scented products, we request that no one wears them at anytime in the Centre. If a candidate does not comply with this policy, they will not be tested and they will be responsible for rescheduling their exam. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we need to ensure the safety of all using this space. 

  • Students are to bring picture ID and student number.
  • The testing session lasts approximately 3 hours.

Testing dates

Testing takes place on Wednesdays. Please contact the Assessment Centre to reserve a seat by phone: 250-828-5470 or email:

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