Test of English Oral Proficiency (TOEP)All international graduate students who are required to pass an oral English proficiency exam for TA work under the current UCI Graduate Policies and Procedures can take SPEAK, TOEP, IELTS, or TOEFL iBT. TOEP is administered by the Program in Academic English/ESL. The test fee is $70.
Click on a section below to read detailed information regarding TOEP:
Who Needs To Take Oral English Proficiency Exams?
UCI Graduate Policies and Procedures state that International and U.S. Permanent Resident graduate students who are not citizens of countries where English is either the primary or dominant language as approved by the UCI Graduate Council, and who wish to be considered for appointment as a Teaching Assistant or Teaching Associate, must pass an approved oral English proficiency examination. There is no exception to this requirement. Oral English proficiency may be demonstrated by achieving a score of at least:
• 26 on the Speaking component of the TOEFL iBT
• 8 on the Speaking component of the Academic Modules of the IELTS
• 50 on the SPEAK Test (administered by UCI)
• 5 on the TOEP Test (administered by UCI)
For graduate students who have an official TOEFL iBT or IELTS score report on file, a passing speaking section score will remain valid for a Teaching Assistant/Associate appointment beyond two years if the student has been continuously enrolled in a graduate program and taking classes every quarter without interruption. If a break in enrollment occurs (i.e. due to leave of absence, status lapse, etc.), or if there are English language proficiency issues during the teaching appointment (i.e. as demonstrated by student evaluations or faculty observations), the university reserves the right to require passage of a campus-based test before additional teaching appointments will be approved.
All UCI graduate students who have taken IELTS or TOEFL iBT and have the scores in their UCI StudentAccess profile (or can provide a score report) are eligible to take TOEP. Students who do not have one of these scores most take SPEAK@ UCI and receive a score of 40 or above to be eligible to take TOEP ONE time. Only those students who receive a score of 4 on TOEP are eligible to RETAKE it without passing an ESL class (click the Retaking TOEP tab below). Students who receive a score of 40 or below on a second SPEAK or a score of 1, 2, or 3 on TOEP will not be eligible to take SPEAK or TOEP until they have passed an AcEng oral communications course.
NOTE: Students can only take TOEP 5 times. After the 4th test, students must confer with the Academic English/ESL TOEP coordinator to decide when the last and final test should be taken.
TOEP content is directly related to the academic subject matter that is taught in UCI classes. Graduate students arrive 20 minutes before their appointment. During this time, they review the test format and prepare for the definition , graph and short lecture presentations that they will make during the exam. Students take the test before a panel consisting of a faculty representative, a student representative and an ESL expert. The actual test then takes approximately 20 minutes. All tests are recorded.
NOTE: All students who take TOEP must sign a confidentiality agreement promising to abide by the UCI policies on academic integrity and student conduct. Anyone who breaks this agreement by sharing or using another student's information from TOEP will be reported to the Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct (OAISC).
TOEP consists of the following sections:
1) Questions: answering a series of conversational questions
2) TA Situation: giving advice or responding to a classroom situation
3) Graph: explaining and discussing a graph
4) Definitions: defining 2 basic discipline-specific terms
5) Short Lecture: presenting a short lecture based on a one-page outline of a basic discipline-specific topic and answering 2 follow-up questions.
Enrolling in an oral communications course given by the Academic English/ESL program is the best way to review pronunciation, practice speaking skills and receive individual feedback. Students are also encouraged to visit the program website for graduate students and to follow the links at the bottom of the page for online activities on pronunciation and grammar . American SpeechSounds for Academics on the computers in the Humanities Studio provides pronunciation exercises in academic vocabulary. Recording short 1-2 minute explanations of graphs or important academic terms and then listening to and reviewing responses is also a good way to practice for TOEP.
A TOEP Q and A session is usually scheduled one to two weeks before each test. No registration is necessary.
Click here for the TOEP Handout; follow up questions can always be sent to the TOEP Coordinator.
Immediately following the interview, evaluators rate each student on his or her communication skills on a scale from 1 to 6. In the event that there is a discrepancy in the panel's grades, a second ESL expert listens to the recorded test and resolves the score. The results are submitted to the Graduate Division within one week; the Graduate Division forwards scores to the departments and enters them into the StudentAccess profiles. Test scores are final and may not be contested by the student or by faculty. Students with scores of 5 and 6 on TOEP receive a Pass and are eligible to work as TAs. Students who do not pass TOEP ( a score of 1, 2, 3, or 4) will not be allowed to TA until they retake and pass TOEP with a score of 5 or 6, OR get a score of 50 on SPEAK, 26 on TOEFL iBT speaking, or 8 on the speaking band of IELTS.
We do not advise retaking any test of English language proficiency to qualify for TA eligibility until students have first taken an ESL course or workshop to improve their English skills. The policy of the UCI Graduate Council states that UCI students who receive a score of 1, 2, or 3 on the TOEP or a score of 30, 35 or 40 on a second SPEAK will not be permitted to take another test until they have passed an ESL class.
NOTE: Students can only take TOEP 5 times. After the 4th test, students should confer with the TOEP-ESL coordinator to decide when the last and final test should be taken.
TOEP is given three times each academic year: at least two weeks before the beginning of Fall quarter, at the end of Fall quarter, and at the end of Spring quarter. Students receive their results within one week after taking the test. You must register on-line by clicking on this link https://goo.gl/forms/ygRX3MQqrN2e4OjP2 during the registration period.
DO NOT PAY for TOEP until notified to do so. Payments are made to the Cashier's Office ($70 payable to UC Regents) or through UC Western Union.
NOTE: Registration is only a request to take the test; you will be filling out the registration form and submitting your name to be checked against UCI records to determine your eligibility; students (48 in December and 64 in September and June, pending funding and faculty schedules) will be notified of registration status within one week of the close of registration and those selected will be sent information on how to pay for the test; actual test dates/times are not assigned until two weeks before the test. Eligible students on the waiting list who are not chosen to take one test will be given priority for the next test only.
Check the Program in Academic English/ESL website for other tests available to UCI students.
You must register on-line by clicking on this link https://goo.gl/forms/ygRX3MQqrN2e4OjP2 during the registration period.