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FAQs for Assessments and PESL Courses

Please note: These are frequently asked questions for undergraduate and graduate students.  Click here for FAQs related to assessments and course requirements for Stuart School of Business graduate students. The information on this page DOES NOT apply to you.

Please view the following pages for more information on the English language assessment or course requirements:

What Are PESL (Proficiency Of English As A Second Language) Courses?

PESL courses help to increase English proficiency and aid international students in adjusting to life and achieving academic success in the USA. Courses offered each semester provide linguistic support and training in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Qualified and experienced instructors deliver carefully designed lessons to help students learn, think, and express themselves in the English language.

What Is The Benefit Of Taking PESL Courses?

Courses provide resources and training to achieve academic, social, and professional success. PESL courses help students gain…

  • an ability to effectively participate in class discussions.
  • a greater understanding of expectations professors have of students.
  • an easier adjustment to life in the US.
  • an increased ability to make friends.
  • confidence.

Many international students struggle with…

  • comprehending conversations with native speakers.
  • expressing themselves verbally and in writing.
  • understanding academic concepts taught in English.
  • adjusting to life in the US due to language issues.
  • English for social interaction.

What English Language Courses Are Offered?

The following PESL courses will be offered:

  • PESL 021 Listening Enhancement I
  • PESL 022 Listening Enhancement II
  • PESL 061 Effective Communication I
  • PESL 062 Effective Communication II
  • PESL 031 Reading and Vocabulary Development I
  • PESL 032 Reading and Vocabulary Development II
  • PESL 041 Academic Writing I
  • PESL 042 Academic Writing II

In addition to English Language Program (PESL) courses, we also offer other programs, courses, and services. To see what English Language Services offers, please click here to visit our department bulletin page.

What Is The Cost Of PESL Courses?

As an undergraduate student, English language courses are covered by Illinois Tech’s tuition and any related policies. As a graduate student, the course fee for each PESL course can be found on Illinois Tech’s Student Accounting Website. Please click here to see the current cost. Prices may change without notice as the university determines annual course fees.

How can I take PESL Courses?

In order to take English language courses, you first need to take our English language assessment, a placement exam, so that we can determine the best course and level for you to take. Some students are required to take assessments according to their admission; however, any student may choose to take assessments and then take courses. If you are interested in taking English language courses, please email els@iit.edu.

What are Assessments?

The English Language Assessment is a set of tests that assess your natural language abilities in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Assessments are computer-based tests that could take anywhere from 20 minutes to four hours to complete depending on the individual student.

The assessment determines placement into the English Language Program (PESL) courses by providing information on students’ language abilities. English Language Services uses this information to appropriately place students into beneficial English language courses at their level. Upon completion of the assessment tests, students will learn what skills and levels will benefit them.

As A Condition Of My Acceptance, I Am Required To Take An English Assessment Upon Arrival At Illinois Tech. What Does This Mean?

Upon arrival at Illinois Tech, you will take an English assessment test in the area/areas required to measure your level and determine the appropriate required PESL course or courses you will take during your studies.

It is important for you to complete the assessment exams immediately upon arrival at Mies Campus. Assessments begin the week before classes start, so please plan to arrive early. You can view assessment dates here. You will be able to make a reservation to take the assessments here when the reservation system is open.

What Tests Will I Take?

Listening, speaking, reading, and writing assessments will be administered. Assessments are computer-based tests and will take anywhere from 20 minutes to four hours to complete depending on the individual student and the number of tests required.

Undergraduate students take all tests: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Graduate students will only be assessed in the area or areas that are considered lacking proficiency based on TOEFL/IELTS/PTE score at the time of admission. You will not assess in all four areas unless your TOEFL/IELTS/PTE score indicates you are lacking proficiency in all areas.

How Do I Take The Assessment Test And When Is It Offered?

Assessments are scheduled for the week before university classes begin, so please plan your travel to arrive to campus early. You can view assessment dates here. When the reservation system is open, you can make a reservation to take the assessment by clicking here. Assessments will take between 20 minutes to four hours to complete.

How Do I Make A Reservation To Take The English Assessment test?

Given the number of students taking the exam, you must make a reservation first. When the reservation system is open, you can make a reservation to take the assessment by clicking here. You can view assessment dates here. If you are unable to make a reservation, please please email els@iit.edu.

What Do I Bring With Me To The Assessment test?

You need to have documentation to confirm your identity and your enrollment as a student in order to enter the assessment lab. The following documents are acceptable:

  • Your Illinois Tech Student ID card
  • Your passport and admissions letter with your CWID (A#) if you have not received your student identification card

What Happens After I Complete The English Assessment Test?

You will receive an email 2 business days after your assessment confirming which PESL classes are beneficial based on your assessment scores. If you choose to take the English Assessment because you are interested (NOT required) in taking PESL courses, you decide if you take courses and which courses you will take.

If the English Assessment was required for you and you place into courses, you are required to take those courses. If you have a registration hold, it will be removed from your student account within 24 to 48 hours after all assessments are completed.

Can I Fail The Assessment?

No, it is not possible to fail the assessment. The assessments are not graded as pass or fail tests. After you assess, you are provided a list of PESL courses at your level that will be beneficial. If the English Assessment was required for you and you place into courses, you are required to take those courses. If you choose to take the English Assessment because you are interested (NOT required) in taking PESL courses, you decide if you take courses and which courses you will take.

If I Score Very High On The Test, Can I Waive Out Of A Course?

Yes, if you score high on a test proving proficiency in that area, you can waive out of a course and you will not need to take that course. If you waived out, but you still would like to take a course, please email els@iit.edu to find out your options.

Am I Required To Take English Courses?

If the English Assessment was required for you and you place into courses, you are required to take those courses. If you choose to take the English Assessment because you are interested (NOT required) in taking PESL courses, you decide if you take courses and which courses you will take.Please view the following pages for more information on English language assessment or course requirements:

I Am A Transfer Student; Do I Need To Take The English Assessment?

Policies differ for international students transferring in from other US institutions. Please view the following pages for more information on English language assessment or course requirements:

Can I Submit New Higher TOEFL/IELTS/PTE Scores to Waive the English Assessment Or Courses?

Assessment requirements are determined by the test scores at the time of your admittance. Any test scores submitted after your admittance will not be considered in order to waive the ESL assessment hold or waive an English language course requirement.

Can I Retake The Assessment?

Yes, continuing students may email els@iit.edu to request to retake assessments in a subsequent semester. There is a $100 fee to reassess, and you must retest during the assessment period listed. Students may only retest once a semester. Continuing students cannot retake assessments after IIT courses have begun. Continuing students may not retest in a skill relative to a course they have failed.

How Do I Register For PESL Courses?

You can NOT register yourself for the PESL courses. Registration is automatic and will be completed for you by English Language Services and the Office of Registrar.

For undergraduate students, you will be registered for all required courses according to your placement results. PESL courses begin one week later than other courses. You should check your schedule on MyIIT daily to find out which courses to attend.

For graduate students, if you are required to take multiple English courses, you will only be registered for one course per semester. We will determine the sequence of courses you will take and choose a course section for you that complements your schedule. PESL courses begin one week later than other courses.

If you choose to take the English Assessment because you are interested (NOT required) in taking PESL courses, you decide if you take courses and which courses you will take.  Email els@iit.edu to request registration if you are choosing to opt in.

When And How Will I Know Which PESL Course Section I Will Take?

You should check your schedule daily on MyIIT to find out which courses to attend. PESL classes always start one week later than other Illinois Tech classes.

Why Do The Pesl Courses Start One Week Later Than Other Courses At IIT?

PESL courses start one week later than other courses at Illinois Tech so that students have time to assess, talk to their advisor, and register for courses. Again, we urge students to move through this process as quickly as possible because specific class sections fill up quickly.