The ACCUPLACER includes the WritePlacer exam, which is the ACCUPLACER essay test. On this portion of the test you are evaluated on organization, focus, development and support, sentence structure, and mechanical conventions. The good news is that your essay is only required to be 300-600 words in length. A simple 5 paragraph essay will be more than sufficient. Scores on WritePlacer range from 1 to 8 (you can find WritePlacer sample essays at each score-level here).
You will have 1 hourto plan, write, and proofread this essay.
An essay that is too short to be evaluated, written on a topic other than the one presented, or written in a language other than English will be given a score of zero. Notice that the biggest differences between the low-scoring and high-scoring essays is LENGTH and CLARITY. Aim to achieve multiple paragraphs with good organization, and this essay should be fairly easy!
WritePlacer Tips and Strategies
- Understand that the WritePlacer exam will NOT require any outside knowledge. You are not expected to have any specific technical know-how or understanding of specific books or authors. The essay will be based off a provided prompt meant to spark your creativity. Everything you need to answer the question will be part of the prompt!
- Select one side only. Unlike real life where most of our opinions are a mix of gray, the ACCUPLACER essay requires you to take a strong stand on one side and one side ONLY of the issue. You won’t be able to adequately argue a middle-of-the-road approach, and you risk appearing indecisive and muddling your essay.
- Remember that you will not be scored on your opinion. Don’t worry if you feel you are choosing a less commonly held position on the topic. The reader will NOT give you a lower score based on personal bias.
- Don’t change your position mid-essay. Even if you feel you’re running out of steam and you’re regretting your position on the topic, stay strong and finish the essay anyway. Don’t waffle, and don’t try to take a “middle of the road” approach. You don’t have time to go back and re-write the whole thing.
- No example is “too” specific. As long as you can argue logically that it supports your thesis, no example is “too” specific. Most essays are way too general. Aim to make the reader think, “wow, what extreme detail!” as they read. If you are using an example from personal experience, using some names, dates, places, and other concrete details can go a long way. Replace abstracts with absolutes.
- Incorporate the opposing side. A great way to strengthen your own argument is to acknowledge that there is in fact complexity to the issue. However, if you bring up and describe the opposing side, make sure to criticize it effectively and reiterate that your side is the only one that is valid. This is a great tool to use in your conclusion, although many students include it in an additional body paragraph.
- Keep the introduction and conclusion brief. Don’t take forever to get to the topic. The function of an introductory paragraph is to introduce the reader to the topic in the prompt, and then to clearly and forcefully state your position on it. More than 3-4 sentences is too long. In the conclusion, 1-2 sentences is great to reiterate your position and leave the essay with a closing idea. Save your writing-time for your body paragraphs!
- Use Transition Words. Scroll down to the bottom of this article to see a good list of common transition words. Be sure to use them as you move between paragraphs! Always make sure the reader will understand why you are moving from one paragraph to the next paragraph!
This is a sample outline for the ACCUPLACER Essay. Notice we are aiming for 5 paragraphs total. You may opt for a shorter 4 paragraph version if 5 paragraphs are too many for you to write, but aim for 5 paragraphs if you can. If you have trouble completing 5 paragraphs, see if you can streamline your body paragraphs. They can often be bloated with unnecessary wordiness. Keep the introduction and the conclusion short and sweet.
Paragraph 1 – Introduction (3-4 sentences)
You will want to begin your essay with one of the following: a generalization about the topic, a quotation, a short anecdote to set-up the correctness of your position, a historical framework, or a piece of news illustrating the contemporariness of the issue. Admit the complexity of the issue.
You have two goals in the beginning part of the essay: to introduce the topic, and to express your opinion on it. Be sure to place your thesis as the final sentence in your introduction.
Paragraph 2 – First Example (4-6 sentences)
Start with your most-powerful or relevant example. Be specific. Your example can be from history, science, politics, business, entertainment, pop culture, current events, personal experience, etc. Anything can be an example, but choose ONE only for each paragraph. It needs to be something you are knowledgeable about and also something that you believe strongly supports your thesis. You have three tasks in your body paragraphs:
- Introduce your example.
- Describe it.
- Explain how it fully supports your thesis.
You should be spend the majority of your body paragraph accomplishing the the third step: explaining how it fully supports your thesis. Aim to convince the reader through very concrete details how your position on the issue is correct.
Paragraph 3 – Second Example (4-6 sentences)
Use a transition phrase to introduce the second example. Describe it, and explain again how it fully supports your thesis. You may refer to your first example if you need to, but prioritize a focus on your new example. Don’t mention your third example until you get to the third paragraph.
Paragraph 4 – Third Example (4-6 sentences)
Use a transition phrase again in the first topic sentence. Describe the example. Explain how it supports. Make sure you are elucidating for the reader how each example relates to the topic.
Paragraph 5 – Conclusion (2-4 sentences)
In your conclusion, introduce the opposing side. Explain their position in general terms. Refute their position. Then reinforce the correctness of your own thesis. This takes care of having to come up with a conclusion- you’ll already know what to do! Here’s how it might look:
Although ________ is demonstrably correct, some have argued that _______, believing that ________. However, this viewpoint on the present issue is negated by ________. Rather, __________. Therefore, in the long run,
ACCUPLACER Essay Practice
Be sure to write at least 2-3 sample essays before your exam so you are comfortable with the format. Have a teacher, friend, or trusted relative read through your exam and give you feedback. Below you’ll find a list of three possible ACCUPLACER essay prompts. Choose at least TWO of these ACCUPLACER essay topics and write a practice essay, attempting to follow the above template to the best of your ability.
ACCUPLACER Essay Topics
1) Do works of art have the power to change people’s lives? Some people say a book or a movie has the power to do just that. Are they exaggerating, or can art have such a large impact of individuals?
2) Is an education a requirement for a successful career? Explain the topic and either agree or disagree with the statement, offering support for your position.
3) Scientists and politicians argue over whether global warming and climate control present a real threat to human welfare. Take a position on this issue and explain whether or not you believe this to be a serious problem for humanity.
Transition Words List
- in the first place
- not only … but also
- as a matter of fact
- in like manner
- in addition
- coupled with
- in the same fashion / way
- first, second, third
- in the light of
- in contrast
- different from
- of course …, but
- on the other hand
- on the contrary
- at the same time
- in spite of
- (and) still
- in the event that
- for the purpose of
- with this intention
- with this in mind
- in the hope that
- in order to
- … then
- in case
- in other words
- to put it differently
- for one thing
- as an illustration
- in this case
- for this reason
- to put it another way
- that is to say
- with attention to
The ESL LOEP Test is a special version of the exam for international students whose first language is not English.
ESL means English as a Second Language, while LOEP stands for Levels of English Language Proficiency. The LOEP Test is also known as the Accuplacer ESL.
Please click on the link below for more information on our LOEP Test materials:
Get the LOEP Test Practice Downloads
In order to see an excerpt from our LOEP practice tests, please go to the end of this page.
LOEP Practice Test and Study Guide – Book
If you would prefer a paperback book instead of a download, please visit us on Amazon.
LOEP Test Format
The LOEP tests the international student’s ability to use high-level English language grammar and vocabulary. The LOEP also assesses reading comprehension skills.
The test has three sections:
You will read short passages and answer questions about them, including direct questions and inferences.
This part of the LOEP test evaluates your English grammar skills.
This section of the test examines your knowledge of English vocabulary.
Each section of the actual LOEP Test contains 20 questions.
Our LOEP Practice Test PDF download includes three full-length LOEP practice tests and answers.
Our practice tests are in the same format as the actual Accuplacer ESL test.
An extract from our LOEP Test practice material is in the next three sections of this page.
The LOEP practice tests include reading comprehension, language usage, and sentence meaning.
LOEP Test – Reading Skills
For this section, you will read short passages and answer questions about them. Some questions will be about information which you can find directly in the passage. For other questions, you must make inferences from what you have read.
1. Recent research shows that the rise in teenage smoking in the 1990s primarily took place in the youth from more affluent families, whose parents were both working. Therefore, these teenagers were not from disadvantaged homes, as most people seem to believe. In fact, the facts demonstrate quite the opposite because the most striking and precipitous rise in smoking was for teenagers from the most financially advantageous backgrounds.
What is the primary purpose of this passage?
A. To provide information on a recent trend
B. To emphasize the dangers of smoking
C. To dispel a common misconception
D. To highlight the difference between two types of teenagers
2. Gene splicing, the process whereby a small part of the DNA of one organism is removed and inserted into the DNA chain of another organism, has produced results like the super tomato. In order to create the super tomato, the gene resistant to cold temperatures on the DNA chain of a particular type of cold-water fish was isolated, removed, and inserted into an ordinary tomato plant. This resulted in a new type of tomato plant that can thrive in cold weather conditions.
From this passage, it seems safe to conclude that
A. the super tomato was the first case of gene splicing.
B. the super tomato is only one example of gene splicing.
C. DNA from tomatoes has also been inserted into certain types of fish.
D. Many people object to gene splicing.
. . .
LOEP Test – Language Usage
This section of the test assesses your knowledge of English grammar. For the first part of this section, you must choose the word or phrase that makes a grammatically correct sentence.
For the second part of this section, you will see two sentences. You must then choose a grammatically correct sentence from the answer choices that has the same meaning as the two sentences provided.
21. We hope __________ on vacation this Saturday.
A. to go
B. to going
D. to have gone
22. No sooner __________ than Alice left the party.
A. we arrived
B. had we arrived
C. we had arrived
23. I have never seen __________ performance.
A. such an awful
B. such awful a
C. so an awful
D. a so awful
. . .
31. I did not pass my exam. I did not study for it.
A. I did not study for my exam, because of this I did not pass it.
B. I did not study for my exam, and because of this, I did not pass it.
C. I did not pass my exam because of I did not study for it.
D. I did not pass my exam because of not study for it.
32. My friend put on her seatbelt. Therefore, she was not hurt in the accident.
A. My friend would be injured in the accident had she not put on her seat belt.
B. My friend would have been injured in the accident have she not put on her seat belt.
C. My friend would has been injured in the accident had she not put on her seat belt.
D. My friend would have been injured in the accident had she not put on her seat belt.
33. My mother will visit me this weekend. She will bring my brother along with her.
A. My mother will bring my brother along with her, who will visit me this weekend.
B. My brother along with her, my mother who will visit me this weekend.
C. My mother, who will visit me this weekend, will bring my brother along with her.
D. My mother, will visit me this weekend, will bring my brother along with her.
. . .
LOEP Test – Sentence Meaning
This section of the LOEP tests your knowledge of English vocabulary. For the first part of this section, you must choose the correct word to fill in the gaps in the sentences provided.
For the second part of this section, you will read sentences that contain idioms. You must then choose the answers that best explain the idioms provided.
41. The store specializes in formal __________ for men and women, including suits and dresses.
42. The media’s emphasis on health and fitness has caused many new gyms to spring ____________ .
43. The ceremony __________ at 9:00 and lasts until 11:00.
For for a description of the topics in our LOEP Test Study Guide, please click here:
ESL LOEP Test Information