California State University

CSU English Success

CSU English Success
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1. How can the EPT Practice Test activity help me prepare for college?

The Practice Test gives you the opportunity to demonstrate and also to develop your proficiency in the critical reading and composing skills necessary for success in CSU entry-level courses. The EPT Practice Test lets you compare your answers with the correct answers. For each question, you can read feedback explaining why the correct answer is right and why the incorrect choices are wrong. In this way, you can both practice these important skills and receive instruction to help you improve them.

2. What is the EPT Practice Test like?

The Practice Test consists of 90 multiple-choice questions from past editions of CSU's English Placement Test (EPT), along with rationales for each question. The questions appear in two sections:

  • Reading Skills—45 questions (1-45)
  • Composing Skills—45 questions (46-90)

Each test must be completed in one sitting. You will not see your feedback until you have taken and submitted the test, and if you leave the page before finishing, you will lose all of your work.

3. How do I receive feedback?

You must answer every question in order to receive complete feedback. You will not receive feedback for any question that you omit. Therefore, if you do not know the answer to a question, guess.

If you wish to keep your feedback, print it out. Once you log out of the Practice Test, the system does not save a record of your work.

4. How are the Practice Test scores reported?

By skill categories
When you finish the Reading and Composing sections, you will see—in addition to your question-by-question feedback—a Score Report that shows how many questions you got right in each of the following skill categories:

  • Identifying Important Ideas
  • Understanding Direct Statements
  • Reasoning from the Text
  • Finding Meaning in Context
  • Recognizing Purpose and Strategy

By overall score
The Score Report will also show your overall score, which is the total number of questions you answered correctly. When CSU students take the actual EPT (the essay and multiple-choice sections), they receive an overall score on a scale of 120 to 180. A scaled score of 147 or higher indicates that a student is ready to take college-level courses. Because only two out of the three parts of the EPT are represented on the Practice Multiple-choice Test, a score on this test would not mean the same thing as an EPT total score. However, your Practice Test overall score can give you a rough idea of how your performance on the Practice Test measures up to entry-level CSU standards in reading and composing skills. If you answer about 80% of the questions correctly in either section of the practice test (Reading Skills or Composing Skills), your score would—roughly speaking—translate to a passing scaled score for that section.

5. If I get a high score here, will I get a high score on the real EPT?

Not necessarily. Although the Practice Test uses actual EPT questions, taking a practice test is not the same experience as taking a standardized EPT. Here, in the practice test, you can proceed at your own pace and, if you wish, freely discuss the questions with a teacher or classmate. Furthermore, this activity is online, whereas the actual EPT is a paper and pencil test. Finally, remember that the actual EPT includes an essay.

6. What information is assessed in the skill categories listed above?

Identifying Important Ideas: Diagnostic comments address how well students recognize controlling ideas, central concerns, and key concepts that inform a passage. Feedback may help students learn how to see the main point of a passage.

Understanding Direct Statements: Diagnostic comments address how well students comprehend material that is explicitly stated in a passage. Feedback may help students learn how to find specific information.

Reasoning from the Text: Diagnostic comments identify students' strengths and weaknesses in reading critically--i.e., in going beyond what is explicitly stated in a passage to draw inferences, evaluate evidence and conclusions, detect underlying assumptions, see relationships, and so forth. Feedback may help students learn how to apply higher-order thinking skills.

Finding Meaning in Context: Diagnostic comments address how well students use the surrounding sentence or passage to determine the meaning of an unfamiliar word or to recognize the best word to use in a given context. Feedback may help students learn how to draw information from nearby elements.

Recognizing Purpose and Strategy: Diagnostic comments address students' awareness of the purpose behind a passage and the strategies by which the writer tries to achieve that purpose--e.g., comments may discuss whether students respond perceptively to tone and connotation in gauging the writer's attitude toward the subject, whether they realize the intended effect of a given mode of expression, or whether they see the point of a particular example. Feedback may help students learn to assess rhetorical aims and methods.