Please see each item below for information on taking the ELPE if you are an undergraduate student.


This ELPE is for undergraduate international students whose first language is not English and who have not yet satisfied the UC Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR). Information on ELWR can be found here.

No, if you received confirmation from UCSB records that you have satisfied ELWR, you may enroll in Writing 2 in the Writing Program.

The English for Multilingual Students (EMS) Program will be administering an online placement process for all new international freshmen. Undergraduates will be sent information at their UCSB email account.

Since the exam is administered online, you will need access to the Internet and a computer (with microphone and camera capabilities). A printer is also recommended for printing the reading passage for note-taking purposes, but this is not required. Since this is a writing exam and not a multiple choice exam, you need a device on which you can compose texts of several paragraphs.

Once you begin the exam, you will have three hours to complete it. You may not pause the exam or re-enter the exam at any time.

The ELPE consists of a short video introduction, which will not be graded, and three writing tasks. Two of the writing tasks are connected to a reading passage which will be provided and the third writing task is in response to a prompt question.

Because most entering international students will not be on campus this year, the EMS Program needed to create a new online exam that is different from the exam that was administered in the past on campus. For this reason, there are no previous samples of the exam.

No, the ELPE can only be taken one time. If you feel that your placement is not appropriate, you may contact the Director of the EMS Program ( to explain your reasons.

No, if you are an entering international freshman, you should complete this EMS Program Placement process and not the Collaborative Writing Placement (CWP). If your writing proficiency indicates that you would be better placed into a Writing Program course than an EMS Program course, we will then refer you to the Writing Program for further consultation.

All international students whose first language is not English should take the ELPE. If you took the Collaborative Writing Placement (CWP), that placement will not be counted. In most cases, the Writing Program notified students about this. 

Within 14 days after you have completed the exam, you will receive an email with your placement. You will either be placed into one of four writing courses in the EMS Program, or you will be referred to the Writing Program for further placement instructions. You can enroll in the EMS course in the same way as you do your other courses.

Many of our writing courses will be offered online; in those courses, scheduling will not be a problem since classes will be asynchronous. But if you are unable to enroll for other reasons, you can enroll in your required course during the winter quarter.

You can visit our website for more information about our courses or email us questions at