Michigan Test of English Language Placement

What is the MTELP?

The Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency (MTELP) is a general proficiency test for adult non-native speakers of English who need to use English for academic purposes. The MTELP, administered at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), is an institutional test. This means that the test is accepted by the institution at which it is offered but may not be accepted at other universities and colleges. If you are interested in taking the MTELP at UNLV but want to use it at another university, you should make sure that the university of your choice will accept the UNLV MTELP.

If you do plan to attend UNLV, the MTELP may be used for admission instead of the TOEFL test.

The MTELP is designed to measure your English proficiency in the six basic language skill areas: writing, grammar, vocabulary, reading, listening, and speaking. The entire test lasts approximately 3 to 3 ½ hours (including check-in at the examination site). Testing is divided into the following areas, which are briefly explained in this handout:

  • Part 1: Listening comprehension
  • Part 2: Grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension
  • Part 3: Written composition
  • Part 4: Oral interview/speaking
How can you register for the MTELP?

To register for the MTELP, please email elc@unlv.edu to obtain a test application form. You may either pick up an application form at our office, request one via email, or download one from our website. Once you have completed the application form, you must pay for the test by following the instructions below. Then you may either scan and email both the application form and receipt to us, or come through to our office to register for an available test date.

How can you pay for the MTELP?

Payment for the MTELP must be done in person at the Cashier’s Office located in SSC-A Room 131.

How can you prepare for the MTELP?

Many English language learning materials are available at bookstores and libraries. We recommend the Michigan Test Workbook, Practice Tests, Listening & Study Guide.

What to bring on the day of the test?

Bring your two government issued photo IDs, preferably a driver's license and passport. If you do not have a driver’s license, you may also use a State ID, Green Card, or an ID from your country. No large bags or backpacks are allowed in the testing room. No cell phone or translation device is allowed during the test.

MTELP Scores

The MTELP scores are reported within two to three business days following the examination and are valid for two years.

MTELP Preparation Workshop

The English Language Center offers a seven week MTELP Preparation Workshop from week 1- 7 and week 9 to 15 on Fridays every semester for students who have earned a lower than 76 grade on the paper-delvered MTELP and a lower than 100 grade on the computer-based MTELP two times before they are able to retake the MTELP test.

MTELP Content and Format

Part 1: Listening comprehension

This is a multiple-choice, audio test containing 45 questions. It lasts about 20 minutes. You will be given a test booklet and an answer sheet. You will listen to the problem, read the answer choices in the test booklet, and mark your answers on the separate scantron sheet. For each problem in this part of the test, there are three answer choices. You must choose the ONE BEST answer. If you are unsure, you should make a reasonable guess. There are two kinds of problems in this part of the test: questions and statements.

Question example:

You hear: When is she going for vacation?
You read:

  1. last week
  2. to England
  3. tomorrow

The correct answer is 'c', tomorrow.

Statement example:

You hear: That movie was pretty bad.
You read:

  1. It was good.
  2. It wasn't good.
  3. It wasn't beautiful.

The correct answer is 'b', it wasn't good.

Part 2: Grammar/Vocabulary/Reading Comprehension

This part of the test is multiple choice and contains 100 questions: 40 grammar, 40 vocabulary, and 20 reading. The total time limit is 75 minutes, with each question having four answer choices. You must choose the ONE BEST answer that applies.

Grammar example:

"Do you want another cup of coffee?"
"It depends on how much time ________ is before we have to leave."

  1. it
  2. there
  3. which
  4. what

The correct answer is 'b', there.

Vocabulary example:

There are two types of vocabulary questions. In the first type, you are given a sentence with an underlined word or phrase. You should choose the word or phrase that is a synonym for the underlined word or phrase. In the second type of vocabulary question, you will read a sentence with a word missing. You should choose the word that best fits the sentence in meaning.

Jim tried to conceal the package.

  1. hide
  2. remember
  3. tie up
  4. wrap

The correct choice is 'a', hide.


The floor was dirty, so she decided to _________ it.

  1. scrub
  2. screw
  3. scurry
  4. inscribe

The correct choice is 'a', scrub.

Reading example:

While l was getting ready to go to town one morning last week, my wife handed me a little piece of red cloth and asked if I would have time during the day to buy her two yards of cloth like that. I told her l would be glad to do it. Putting the piece of cloth into my pocket, I took the train to town.

Question: The person telling the story is....

  1. a married lady
  2. an unmarried lady
  3. a married man
  4. an unmarried man

The correct answer is 'c', a married man.

Part 3: Composition

You will be given 30 minutes to write on a random topic. Write only on the topic given to you. In the topic, you might be asked to explain, describe or argue for a specific position. Be sure to include a thesis statement followed by specific examples.

Your compositions will be graded on: 1) how clearly you express yourself in English; 2) your grammar; and 3) your vocabulary usage. This means that your composition should be organized, your arguments should be fully developed, and you should show a range of grammatical structures using broad vocabulary.

Part 4: Oral Interview

You will have a 10 minute conversation with the examiner who will rate your overall communicative language proficiency. The examiner will consider your fluency, grammar, vocabulary and your comprehension. The examiner will ask you questions about your background, your future plans, and your opinions on certain issues. You should try to give more than simple "yes" or "no" answers to the examiner's questions. If you do not understand a question, do not be afraid to ask the examiner to repeat or rephrase it.