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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 will need to use English for academic purposes. The MTELP, administered at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is an institutional test which may be used for admission to UNLV.

The MTELP is designed to measure 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 below:

How can you register for the MTELP?

To register for the MTELP, contact the UNLV English Language Center (ELC) at 702-895-3925 or email at [email protected].

How can you pay for the MTELP?

To complete your registration for the MTELP, Writing Test, or SPEAK Test (repeat only), please fill out the registration form and pay your fees at Cashiering Services before the day of the test.

How can you prepare for the MTELP?

Many English language learning materials are available at bookstores and libraries. We recommend How to Prepare for the Michigan Test Battery, by Pamela J. Sharpe (Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1982) available at the UNLV Bookstore.

What to bring on the day of the test?

Bring your test fee and two official photo identification cards, preferably a valid passport and a current driver's license. No large bags or backpacks are allowed in the testing room. View the checklist.

MTELP Scores

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

MTELP Content and Format

Part 1: Listening comprehension

This is a multiple-choice, tape-recorded 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 on the tape recorder, 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 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's 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

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: how clearly you express yourself in English; your grammar; and 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.

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