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English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT)

Guidelines for Proficiency Test
Applicants to the University are required to take a Proficiency Test in English which is scheduled for Thursday April 23, 2020 (for entry academic year 2019-2020). The test will be held 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. in the CLICO Building, The University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, Cave Hill, St. Michael.

All candidates must present a valid picture identification, e.g. National Identification Card, Passport, Driver’s licence, etc. along with receipt of payment for the Test in order to gain entry.  The BBD $50 fee is payable at the Cashier, 1st Floor of the Main Administration Building. The payment deadline is Friday April 17, 2020. Payments will not be accepted on the day of the test.

Candidates are required to arrive at the CLICO Building, at least half an hour before the test begins.

Please note that cellular phones and/or other electronic devices are not permitted even if they are turned off or silenced.
The above information will also be advertised in the local press during the month of August.
Exemptions from the Test
Applicants who possess one of the following are exempt from the Test:
  • Grade I in CXC General Proficiency in English A
  • Grade I or 2  in CAPE Communications Studies Examination
  • Grade A in the Cambridge GCE 'O' Level English Language examination
  • Grade A or B in the Alternative/Ordinary General Paper
  • Entrants to the Faculty of Law, who already hold a degree or a pass in English Literature at Advanced Level.
  • Grade B or above in CORE 100 English and Communication from the Barbados Community College
Those who pass, or are exempted from the test, may proceed to register for the Level 1 Foundation Language courses as required in their degree programme.  Please refer to the Handbook of the faculty for which you are applying.

Failure in the Test
Persons who failed or did not take the test without being exempted are required to pass the remedial course FOUN 0100: Fundamentals of Written English BEFORE registering for the two Level I Foundation Courses. FOUN 0100 Fundamentals of Written English is coordinated by the Language Learning Centre of the Faculty of Humanities and Education and is offered in both semesters and Summer School for a fee of Bds $500.  Note that this fee is additional to any other tuition fees.


About the Test

The test lasts for two hours and covers the following areas:
  • Grammar
    Candidates are required to answer alternative/ multiple choice items on any or all of the following :
    • Grammar of the simple sentence
    • Grammar of complex/compound sentences
    • Idiomatic usage
    • Mechanics of writing and spelling
      The focus is on the candidate’s ability to distinguish between correct and incorrect structures rather than on their knowledge of formal grammar.

  • Meaning
    - Candidates should be able to detect differences in meaning based on punctuation and should also be able to recognise ambiguous sentences and be able to rewrite them in a way that disambiguates their meanings.
    - Candidates must demonstrate an understanding of idiomatic English (idioms, proverbs, figurative expressions)

  • Reading
    Candidates will be required to read three or four passages and to critically analyse the passages to summarise the main ideas.

  • Writing
    Candidates are required to write a 750-800 word essay in which they have to demonstrate satisfactory performance in the following areas:
    • Structure and organisation
      o Clear coherent thesis
      o Clear introduction, body and conclusion
      o Good paragraphing skills
      o Adequate use of connective devices
    • Content
      o Adequate number of points to address the issue
      o Coverage of all parts of the question
      o Originality of ideas or treatment of the topic

    • Style
      o Fluency
      o Appropriate variety and level of formality
      o Good grammar (few errors)