Michigan EPT Sample Items

The Michigan English Placement Test (EPT) is a computer-based test that will help you quickly and reliably place ESL students into homogeneous ability levels. It provides an accurate assessment of a test taker’s general receptive language proficiency by reliably measuring performance in the key skill areas of listening comprehension, grammatical knowledge, vocabulary range, and reading comprehension.

Listening, Part 1

Listening Comprehension, Part 1

In each form of the Michigan EPT, the first 25 items assess listening comprehension. There are two types of listening comprehension items.

In the first section, test takers hear a question or a statement requiring a response. Test takers select the most appropriate response from the three options provided.

What the test taker hears:

Number 1.

Can we talk about the group project tomorrow?

What the test taker sees:


a. No, it isn’t.
b. Yes, today is fine.
c. Sure, anytime.

Answer: 1 C

Listening, Part 2

Listening Comprehension, Part 2

In the second section, test takers hear a short conversation between two speakers. After the conversation, test takers answer a question about the conversation, selecting the correct answer from the three options provided.

What the test taker hears:

Number 2.

M: Excuse me, I’ve been walking around the mall for twenty minutes, looking for a place to eat.

W: There’s a Chinese restaurant up on the third floor, right next to the movie theater.

M: No way! I just came from there. Maybe I should just skip lunch . . .

What the test taker sees:

1. What are the speakers talking about?

a. the size of the mall
b. the location of a restaurant
c. the lunch menu

Answer: 2 B



Following listening comprehension, there are 20 grammar items. In each grammar item, test takers must select the word or phrase, from four answer options, that correctly completes the sentence.


 “What’s on the agenda for next week?”
“The new designs will _______ by then, so we should discuss those.”

a. finalize
b. be finalizing
c. have finalized
d. have been finalized

Answer:  3 D



Next are 20 vocabulary items. In each item, test takers must select the word, from the four answer choices provided, that correctly completes a sentence that has had one word removed.

4. As part of the company’s safety policy, employees practiced _______ the building.

a. evacuating
b. discharging
c. terminating
d. inhibiting

Answer: 4 A


Reading Comprehension

Finally, there are 15 reading comprehension items. The first five reading comprehension items assess sentence-level reading comprehension. Each item consists of one sentence followed by a question concerning its meaning. Test takers must select the correct answer from four options.

5. It was only when Stephen went abroad to college that he learned how valuable it was to have his family living nearby.

What did Stephen realize when he went to college?

a. He enjoyed living overseas.
b. His family wanted him to live at home.
c. His family missed him.
d. His family was important to him.

Following the sentence-level items, test takers are presented with two reading passages of different lengths and a total of ten reading comprehension questions. The questions tap a range of reading skills. Test takers must select the correct answer from four options.

Invasive Weeds

A weed can be defined as any plant considered undesirable or a nuisance. Often the term is applied to unwanted plants found in settings such as gardens, lawns, agricultural fields, and parks. It can also be applied to unwelcome plants in forests, wooded areas, and other natural habitats.

Weeds that grow and reproduce rapidly, crowding out other plants, are known as invasive weeds. Invasive weeds are generally nonnative species, often introduced by humans, whether intentionally or accidentally. They harm the environment by outcompeting native plants, altering animal habitats, and increasing soil erosion.

Controlling invasive weeds can be difficult and expensive. For small- or medium-sized infestations, introducing insects or diseases that attack the weeds can be effective. Machines or people working by hand can also dig up invasive weeds, taking care not to scatter the seeds in the process. Often, when an invasive weed infestation is discovered, it has become so large that containment may not be practical. Herbicides—chemicals that kill the plants—may need to be sprayed, either by ground crews or from aircraft. Often the most successful approach is to use a combination of these techniques.

6. What is the main idea of the text?

a. Weeds grow more slowly than other plants.
b. Weeds can be easily controlled.
c. Most weeds are native species.
d. Some weeds are bad for the environment.

7. In the second sentence of the passage, what does the term refer to?

a. settings
b. plant
c. weed
d. nuisance

8. According to the information in paragraph 2, what is one characteristic of invasive weeds?

a. They are harmful to humans.
b. They grow very quickly.
c. They need special soil conditions.
d. They are generally native to the area.

9. In paragraph 2, why does the author mention soil erosion?

a. to give an example of how weeds affect the environment
b. to introduce a problem caused by some animals
c. to compare the effects of two types of weeds
d. to explain that some native plants are harmful

10. What does the author conclude about fighting invasive weeds?

a. Using several methods together is best.
b. Containment is the most practical option.
c. Chemicals are not a safe option.
d. Herbicides are most effective on small infestations.

Answers: 5 D, 6 D, 7 C, 8 B, 9 A, 10 A