The University of California, Irvine offers the Test of Oral English Proficiency (TOEP) to UCI graduate students who intend to become teaching assistants. All international students who are required to take an oral English proficiency exam under the current policy are required to take the TSE, SPEAK, IELTS, or TOEFLiBT at least once before taking TOEP. The TOEP fee is $70. The test is administered in the Humanities Instructional Building (see 'contact us' for specific location).
Click on a section below to read detailed information regarding TOEP:
All UCI graduate students who have taken the IELTS or TOEFL iBT OR have taken ONE SPEAK test at UCI and received a score of 40 or above are 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 or completing other approved work to improve their oral communication skills (click the Retaking TOEP tab above). Students who receive a score of 40 or below on a second SPEAK@UCI or a score below 4 on TOEP will not be eligible to take SPEAK or TOEP until they have passed an ESL class. Special options may be available during the summer.
NOTE: Students can only take TOEP 5 times. After the 4th test, students must confer with the TOEP-ESL coordinator to decide when the last and final test should be taken.
The content of the test is directly related to the academic subject matter that is taught in UCI classes. The graduate students are asked to arrive 20 minutes early. During this time, they are informed of the test format and then have seventeen minutes to prepare for the definitions, graph and short lecture presentations that they will make during the exam. Students then take the test before a panel including a faculty representative, a student representative and an ESL expert. The actual test takes approximately twenty minutes.
NOTE: All students who take TOEP must sign a confidentiality agreement promising to abide by the UCI policy on academic honesty and not to discuss any details of the test beyond what is published here. Anyone who breaks this agreement by sharing or using information on the test will be disqualified and a notation will be placed in the student's TOEP file stating that s/he will not be permitted to take the exam again at any time.
TOEP consists of the following sections:
1) Questions: Students answer a series of questions that assess their everyday conversational skills.
2) TA Situation: Students are asked to give advice or respond to a hypothetical situation about college life.
3) Graph: Students explain a graph.
4) Definitions: Students define 2 basic academic terms in their fields to assess their ability to explain information.
5) Short Lecture: Students present a short lecture. They are given one page of text on a general topic in their fields that contains information for their lectures. After giving a 3-4 minute lecture, the students answer 2 questions.
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.
Registering for TOEP
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 TOEP Testing Office Registration link 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.
Students are encouraged to visit the Program in Academic English/ESL website for grad students and follow the links at the bottom of the page pronunciation and grammar websites. Online activities will help you review some important points before the test. Recording short 1-2 minute explanations of graphs or important academic terms and then listening to the recordings and writing down what you say is also a good way to practice for the test.
A test preparation workshop will take place one to two weeks before each TOEP. No registration is necessary. There is a DVD of the TOEP workshop available in HH 269 which candidates may view in the Humanities Instructional Resource Center. This link will take you to the handout for the workshop so you can review it in case there is no workshop or you can't make it. TOEP Handout.