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Faculty of Humanities and Education

Department of Language, Linguistics and Literature

English Language Proficiency Test

Key points for the English Language Proficiency Test


  • The test measures your ability to use and understand Standard English at a level appropriate for study at The UWI. For more details, click here.
  • You must take the test as an applicant to The UWI, unless you have one of the exemptions listed here.
  • If you fail the test, you must take and pass FOUN0100 Fundamentals of Written English before your other FOUN courses. For more information, click here.
  • If you pass the test or are exempted, you can proceed directly to the FOUN courses your Faculty requires. To find out more, click here.
  • The date of the next ELPT will be announced on the LLL Homepage and posted here as well.
  • You can go to this page to find out your results.

Guidelines for Proficiency Test

ALL applicants to the University, unless exempted (see who is exempted below), are required to take a Proficiency Test in English. The application for the test may be obtained at the same time as the normal application form from the Student Affairs Section at Cave Hill, Mona or St. Augustine, or from Resident Tutors or University Representatives in Non-Campus Countries.
Who is exempted from the Test?

Possession of one of the following will exempt you from taking the test:
  • Grade 1 in CXC General Proficiency in English A
  • Grade 1 or 2 in CAPE Communications Studies Examination
  • Grade A in the Cambridge GCE 'O' Level examination
  • Grade A or B in the Alternative Ordinary (AO) General Paper
  • Graduates of the Barbados Community College who have completed the course CORE100 English and Communication with Grade B or higher.
  • Entrants to the Faculty of Law, who already hold a degree or a pass in English Literature at Advanced Level.
What happens after I pass the test?

Those who pass or are exempted (as listed above) from the test, are qualified to take the compulsory Level I Foundation Language courses*.  Students in the Faculty of Humanities and Education must register for the following in their first year:
    • FOUN 1006: Exposition for Academic Purposes AND
    • Either FOUN1003: Introduction to Creative Non-Fiction, OR FOUN 1004: An Introduction to Argument OR FOUN1008: An Introduction to Professional Writing
It is highly recommended that students not do both Foundation courses in the same semester.

* Students in Faculties other than Humanities and Education, please check your Faculty Handbook for guidance on the Foundation courses you are required to take.
What if I fail or did not take the English Language Proficiency Test?

Those who fail, did not take the test, or are not exempted are required to pass the foundation writing course FOUN 0100: Fundamentals of Written English BEFORE registering for any of the required Level I Foundation Language Courses. FOUN 0100: Fundamentals of Written English is offered in both semesters for a fee of Bds $500 as well as in the Summer School for the regular Summer School fee.
About the ELP Test

The test lasts for two hours and covers the following areas:


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.


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.  They must also demonstrate an understanding of idiomatic English (idioms, proverbs, figurative expressions)


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


Candidates are required to write a 750-800 word essay in which they have to demonstrate satisfactory performance in the following areas:

1. Structure and organisation
  • Clear coherent thesis
  • Clear introduction, body and conclusion
  • Good paragraphing skills
  • Adequate use of connective devices

2. Content
  • Adequate number of points to address the issue
  • Coverage of all parts of the question
  • Originality of ideas or treatment of the topic

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

Department of Language, Linguistics and Literature
Telephone: (246) 417-4402/4/5 Fax:(246) 424-0634 Email: