Hi everyone,

I need to place about 12 working adults into three different groups (mostly beginning and intermediate, maybe a couple of advanced students). I don't need a highly detailed placement exam, because I can only divide the group into three very broad levels. I was thinking of doing the exam orally (and taping it!) using the following questions. I think I got most of the verb tenses and frequently used structures in there, but surely I'm missing a few! Any suggestions or links to other exams? Thanks!

1. What is your name?

2. What is the date today?

3. Where were you born?

4. Where did you go to college?

5. What did you study?

6. Where do you work?

7. What do you do in _____________?

8. How long have you been working in __________?

9. Are you married?

10. Do you have children or a pet?

11. What do you like to do in your free time?

12. What time is it right now?

13. What time do you usually leave the office?

14. What is your boss’s name?

15. What is your boss doing right now?

16. What were you doing yesterday at this time?

17. What are you going to do this weekend?

18. Tell me about a project you are currently working on.

19. What would you do if you won the lottery?

20. Should the legal drinking age in the US be 21?

22. Could you ride a bike when you were five?
Hi Alexandra,

I just googled "english level placement test sample" without the quotes and got several hits. I am not an instructor, so I am uncomfortable recommending one set of tests over another.

Even though this is not my area of expertise, that has never stopped me before from offering advice. If I were you, I might consider giving some multiple choice questions. That way, I havea standardized methodology of assessing the student's level. Rather than having the student write answers and then have my subjective judgement to assess each answer, I would just look at how many questions were right versus wrong. I would probably group the questions into certain topics. Perhaps the student is really good at topics A, B, F, and G, but is weak in D and H, and is okay in C & E. Knowing that, I can tailor the program to meet the needs of the student.

Just remember Alexandra, free advice is often only worth the price paid.

Hope that helps.

What about an Oxford placement test. We use that for KET PET FCE etc.
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Hi Mountain Hiker,

Well, I did the oral exams on Friday and transcribed them today (yes, a lot of work, but useful!). It is interesting to evaluate students orally, because you can really see their weak areas. For example, some people understood all the questions on the first try, but answered everything in the simple present. Others had trouble with comprehension, but once they understood the question, answered well. Others had no trouble at all. One girl could only answer the first question, and has almost no comprehension of spoken English. The majority made several Spanglish mistakes, which I'm going to start making a list of. I don't really like multiple choice because it's easy to deduct the right answer, but not so easy to generate a proper response, which is what they have to do in real life.

I will try google, though, and see what comes up!

Hi Alexanndra,

Given your answer above, I wonder if it would make sense to do a combination of both. Use multiple choice for a quick screen and then your oral exams for a closer examination?

I know when I began learning a foreign langauge, I didn't know anything. At least the multiple test was easy. I was the first student that had finished.

You might also try posting your question in Teaching English. It is dedicated to teaching English. In fact, I am going to move your post there. Perhaps another teacher will have some thoughts on your question. You should get notification that your post has been moved.

Thank you for replying and providing your reasons.

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 David's reply was promoted to an answer.