TOEP Test Dates for 2019-2020

September 9-13, 2019
(Registration: August 19-20)

December 13, 16, and 17, 2019
(Registration: November 25-26)

June 12 and 15-17, 2020
(Registration: May 25-26)

Register for TOEP:

TOEP Registration Form

Registration opens at 8:30 am on the first day of the registration period and closes at 5:00 pm on the last day of the registration period. Seats for TOEP fill very quickly - therefore, registering early is strongly recommended.

The TOEP Registration Form will close automatically when the maximum number of seats is reached. If you find that the TOEP
Registration Form is closed during the registration period, but would like to be placed on a waitlist, complete the TOEP Waitlist Form.

TOEP Waitlist Form

Test of Oral English Proficiency (TOEP)

The Test of Oral English Proficiency (TOEP) is a speaking exam administered by the Program in Academic English/ESL at UCI. 

Click on the following sections to learn more about the TOEP exam.

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, must pass one of the following English proficiency exams in order to be considered for appointment as a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Teaching Associate” (Graduate Policies and Procedures, pg. 26).

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • UCI Campus SPEAK Test (administered by UCI)
  • UCI Campus TOEP Test (administered by UCI)
Scores that are considered “passing” on the oral proficiency exams are as follows:
  • 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
  • 5 on the TOEP Test
NOTE: The SPEAK and TOEP tests can only be taken after admission to UCI.

NOTE: Upon entrance to UCI, TOEFL iBT and IELTS scores that are more than two years old are not acceptable (Graduate Policies and Procedures, pg. 13). 

NOTE: “Non-U.S. citizens who are permanent residents or hold other non-citizen status and are residing in the United States, who have completed their undergraduate education in the United States, or attended American schools abroad are still required to pass one of the English language proficiency examinations as noted” (Graduate Policies and Procedures, pg. 27).

NOTE: “International and permanent resident graduate students whose native language is not English, who have completed all years of their high school education in the United States, are eligible to request an exemption by submitting a request and official high school transcripts to the Graduate Student Employment Analyst in the Graduate Division. No student is permitted to begin an appointment as a Teaching Assistant or Teaching Associate until the exemption has been approved in writing” (Graduate Policies and Procedures, pg. 27).

NOTE: The UCI Graduate Division is responsible for shaping the policies and procedures for Teaching Assistantships.

Eligibility For First-Time TOEP Test-Takers

All UCI graduate students who have an official TOEFL iBT or IELTS score report on file are eligible to take the TOEP for the first time.

Students who do not have a TOEFL iBT or IELTS score on file must take the SPEAK test and receive a score of 40 or above to be eligible to take the TOEP for the first time.

Students scoring below 40 on the SPEAK test must first pass an ESL oral communications course (Academic English 23A, 23,B, 23C, or 24) BEFORE they are eligible to take the TOEP for the first time.

For information about a student’s eligibility to retake the TOEP exam, click the “Retaking TOEP” section below.

Test Format

TOEP (Test of Oral English Proficiency) is a face-to-face test which is designed specifically for the purpose of assessing UCI international graduate students’ oral communication proficiency for TA eligibility. The exam takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. Students receive results within one week after the test.  Please visit the TOEP website for more information:

The TOEP test contains the following sections:

  1. Informal Questions: The student answers several conversational questions asked by the panelists. (3-4 minutes)
  2. Teaching Situation: The student imagines that he or she is a Teaching Assistant for an introductory course and responds to a hypothetical teaching situation presented by the panelists. (2 minutes)
  3. Graph: The student explains and discusses a graph which is provided in the student’s test booklet. (2 minutes)
  4. Definitions: The student defines two terms/phrases which are related to the student’s major. The student blindly picks these terms from a pile on his or her test day. (3 minutes)
  5. Lecture: The student presents a short lecture on a topic related to the student’s major. A one-page outline of the lecture is provided in the student’s test booklet. (3-4 minutes)
  6. Lecture Questions: The student responds to two follow-up questions regarding the lecture. (2 minutes)

Test Day Procedures

The student arrives 20 minutes before his or her official test time to a designated room. The student shows the test administrator his or her picture ID. The student is asked to leave any personal belongings and materials with the administrator before proceeding.

The student receives instructions and his or her test booklet, which contains the graph (for the Graph section) and the one-page outline of the lecture (for the Short Lecture section). The student picks two terms/phrases to define (for the Definitions section). For approximately 17 minutes, the student prepares for the test.

When the official test time begins, the student is escorted to a separate room to take the actual test. The actual test takes approximately 18-20 minutes to complete.

Test Preparation

As the TOEP test is designed to assess students’ real-life oral English proficiency and communication skills, there is no official “practice test” for the exam. Students are encouraged to speak English regularly and as much as possible in their daily lives in order to hone their oral communication skills and prepare for Teaching Assistant appointments.

A TOEP Information Session is usually scheduled one to two weeks before each TOEP test. All registered students receive an email notification about the date and time of the TOEP Information Session. 

Ways to Practice and Improve Oral English Proficiency:

  • Enrolling in an ESL oral communications course offered by the Academic English Program at UCI (Academic English 23A, 23B, 23C, or 24) is an excellent way for graduate students to review pronunciation rules, practice speaking skills, and receive individualized feedback through one-on-one tutoring. The Academic English Program's "Graduate Courses and Information" page has more information about these courses.
  • The computers in the Humanities Studio has a program called American SpeechSounds for Academics which provides pronunciation exercises in academic vocabulary.
  • The Academic English Program's "Student Resources" page has more information about resources on writing, grammar, pronunciation, and listening.
  • Students should check the pronunciation of key terms in their field and make sure to practice pronouncing them correctly.
  • Students should carefully review the TOEP test format (see “Test Format” section above) and practice responding to each section of the test using a timer and recording device. Then, they should listen to their recordings with a friend or mentor who can provide constructive advice about the students’ oral communication skills.

Test Scores

Immediately following the TOEP test, the panelists/graders rate each student on his or her oral communication skills on a scale from 1 to 6. In the event that there is a discrepancy in the panel's grades, another grader listens to the recorded test and resolves the score.

The final score for each student is submitted to the Graduate Division within one week of the TOEP test. The Graduate Division enters the scores on the students’ StudentAccess files and sends the scores to the students’ departments.

Students with scores of 5 and 6 on TOEP receive a PASS and are eligible to work as Teaching Assistants. 

Students with scores of 1, 2, 3, or 4 on TOEP receive a NO PASS and will not be able to work as Teaching Assistants until they receive a passing score on one of the oral English proficiency exams: TOEP, SPEAK, TOEFL iBT, or IELTS.

Meaning of Scores

  • 6: Completely comprehensible and fluent. 
  • 5: Easily comprehensible with no distracting errors.
  • 4: Generally comprehensible but there are distracting errors.
  • 3: Somewhat comprehensible but requires extra listener effort.
  • 2: Difficult to understand.
  • 1: Incomprehensible.
NOTE: All TOEP test scores are final and cannot be changed.

Retaking TOEP

Students who receive a score of 4 on TOEP are eligible to retake it the next time the TOEP test is offered.

Students who receive a score of 1, 2, or 3 on the TOEP must first pass an ESL oral communications course (Academic English 23A, 23B, 23C, or 24) BEFORE they are eligible to retake the TOEP.

NOTE: We strongly recommend that all graduate students who wish to improve their oral English skills enroll in an ESL oral communications class (Academic English 23A, 23B, 23C, or 24) before retaking any English language proficiency exam.

NOTE: Students can only take TOEP 5 times. After the 4th test, students must contact the TOEP Coordinator to discuss when the last and final test should be taken.

Test Dates And Registration

The TOEP exam takes place three times each academic year in the following months:

  • September (at least two weeks before the beginning of Fall quarter)
  • December (at the end of Fall quarter)
  • June (at the end of Spring quarter)
Seats for the TOEP exam are limited to approximately 64 in September, 48 in December, and 64 in June, pending funding and faculty schedules.

Registration for each TOEP exam occurs about one month before the TOEP exam dates. During the registration period, students can pre-register online by completing the "TOEP Registration Form" - the link is on the left sidebar of this webpage.

During and after the registration period, the TOEP Coordinator checks students’ information and UCI records to confirm their eligibility to take the exam. Eligible students are notified of eligibility status within one week and are sent information on how to complete their registration.

The cost of TOEP is $70.

NOTE: Students should not pay for TOEP until notified to do so. Payments are made to the Cashier's Office ($70 payable to UC Regents).

NOTE: Seats for TOEP fill out very quickly. Therefore, students who wish to take the TOEP are encouraged to register as early as possible during the registration period.

Terms of Agreement

Confidentiality Agreement
All registered students must promise to keep the contents of the TOEP test confidential and to abide by the UCI policies on academic integrity and student conduct. Students who break this agreement by sharing the contents of the TOEP test with others or using another student's information from a previous TOEP test will be reported to the Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct.

Agreement to be Video-Recorded
All TOEP exams are video-recorded. Video-recordings of tests are the property of the Academic English Program at UCI and may be used for the norming and training of TOEP graders and/or educational and research purposes. All registered students will be asked to indicate that they understand that their tests will be video-recorded and may be used by the Academic English Program for academic purposes.


Main Contacts:
For questions, please contact Sarah Sok:

Other Contacts:
Jerry Won Lee, Director of the Program in Academic English/ESL,