ELS wants to help you learn English quickly and enjoy your learning experience. We are committed to helping you understand our academic program, explain our policies, and answer any questions that you may have about our academic program and services.

Level Placement Test

All new ELS students will take a level placement test. The placement test will determine what level each new student will begin studies at. The placement test consists of four parts:

  • Listening
  • Grammar, Reading and Vocabulary
  • Writing
  • Speaking

ELS instructors will evaluate students’ performance on each section of the test. The Academic Director will then place the students in their proper level based on the results of this test. New students may be placed in any one of our levels 101 through 109. True beginners may be placed in our level 100 class.

Each student’s starting level at ELS can only be determined after they have taken the placement test*.

*A Pre-arrival Test (PAT) is available to get an estimate of the student’s initial level placement. However, all students must take the official ELS Placement test. The results of this test will determine the student’s actual level placement. ELS will also accept an official TOEFL iBT, IELTS or GTEC test score to guarantee placement into levels 104, 106 or 108, depending on the score. Official test scores must be submitted before the student begins classes at the center.  The chart below shows the scores needed to guarantee level placement: 

Minimum Level PlacementTOEFL iBT ScoreIELTSGTEC
10445-544.0774-945
10655-644.5-5.0946-1075
10865 or higher5.5 or higher1076 or higher


ELS Intensive Online English Program (ION+) Level Placement Test

All new ELS students take a level placement test prior to beginning studies. Approximately one week before the session begins, the Center Director will reach out to the student directly with information on how to schedule a speaking placement and how to take the writing placement. The placement tests will determine at what level each new student will begin studies. The placement test consists of:

  • Speaking – A prescheduled 10-15 minute speaking interview with an ELS instructor via Zoom.
  • Writing – A 30-minute writing exam taken in your own time zone.
  • Pre-Arrival Test (PAT) – Occasionally the center may ask the student to also take the online PAT test for additional information. The center will reach out directly to the student if this is needed.

ELS Proficiency Bands

ELS Language Centers has 12 levels, 101 - 112. The ELS curriculum groups these twelve levels into four proficiency bands:

Proficiency BandLevels
Beginner101-103
Intermediate104-106
Advanced107-109
Masters110-112


You need to show that you can use the language learned in all three levels of a proficiency band before you can move on to the next band.

ELS Academic Honesty Policy

ELS Language Centers believes in the importance of academic honesty. This means that we expect that each student will produce his or her own work on all assignments and will not cheat on any exam.

This ELS policy protects you: Accurate assessment of your English skills will ensure that you are in the appropriate level. Being promoted to a level that is too high for your proficiency will delay your ability to learn and succeed.

This policy is similar to policies set by many universities in North America. If you are going to a university in the US or Canada, understanding and respecting these policies will help you succeed.

The Learning Process

Studying English outside of your country may be a new experience for you. Your ELS classes may also be different from the English classes you took in your country. Your teachers will ask you to speak often, share your thoughts and ideas, and practice with other students. To learn quickly in class you should do the following every day:

  • Speak only English.
  • Sit next to someone who does not speak your language.
  • Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, raise your hand and ask.
  • Speak in complete sentences.
  • Take notes.
  • Keep a "vocabulary notebook," where you write down new vocabulary every day.
  • Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. All language learners make mistakes. Mistakes help teachers know what you have learned, and what you need more help with.

Practice Makes Perfect!

At ELS, your learning does not stop in the classroom. Of course, you should do your homework every day, but you can also practice your English in other ways. While living and studying in this country, you will be surrounded by English 24 hours a day. Make the most of this by doing the following:

  • Practice what you have been learning in class with people you meet outside of class.
  • Use new vocabulary often.
  • Speak only English, even with friends who speak your native language.
  • Ask an English speaker to help you with something, for example, tell you the time, give you directions, or explain a sign you don’t understand.
  • Read the local English newspaper, watch English TV, and listen to English radio—you can learn a lot by singing English songs!