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English Grammar Test

The English Grammar  Test is an examination covering the basic descriptive grammar of English, meant to ensure that you have the background you need to be able to teach English grammar confidently, and designed and graded within the Department of Applied Linguistics. 

The English Grammar Test is for MA TESOL students who wish to use a passing score to satisfy the MA TESOL English grammar proficiency requirement or BA or TESL Certificate students who want to take LING 470 Grammar for TESOL but who have not yet taken LING 392 Structure of English.

MA TESOL Student Guidelines

MA TESOL students must take the English Grammar Test either during or before their first quarter of enrollment in the MA TESOL program. MA TESOL students who do not pass the Test are required to take LING 392 Structure of English.

The Test cannot be postponed. If you don't take the Test before or during your first quarter in the MA TESOL program, you must complete LING 392 Structure of English.  Those MA TESOL students who must take LING 392 Structure of English should take it during their first quarter, since this material is essential for the courses that follow.


The next grammar test will take place on Friday, September 22nd at 11:00 a.m. in UCB 335. Please watch the Applied Linguistics list-serv for announcements of upcoming English Grammar Tests, or contact the Department  of Applied Linguistics.

Test Description

The Test has 40 multiple choice questions. It covers basic descriptive English grammar. You will read a short passage taken from a conversation, book, or newspaper, and then be asked to identify particular language structures and functions.

Examples of the sorts of things you will be asked to identify are:

  • Word classes such as nouns, determiners, adjectives, modals, demonstrative pronouns
  • Phrase and clause types such as prepositional phrases, relative clauses, complement clauses
  • Verb tense, aspect, voice and transitivity (transitive and intransitive)
  • Functional sentence categories such as direct object, complement, adverbial
  • Sentence patterns such as subject-verb-object, subject-verb-complement, subject-verb-adverbial

If these terms and concepts are not familiar to you, choose to take LING 392 Structure of English.

Minimum Passing Score

The minimum passing score is 80%.

How to Review for the Test

Any basic descriptive grammar book can help you review. Many students have found it useful to a basic pedagogical grammar book such as:

Conrad, S. & Biber, D. (2002) Longman student grammar of written and spoken English. New York: Pearson, Education.
Cowan, R. (2008). The teacher's grammar of English: A course book and reference guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
Huford, James R. (1994). Grammar: a student's guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 


However, if the book does not seem like review for you, plan to take LING 392 Structure of English.

Receiving your Score

You and your advisor in the program will receive information on whether you received the minimum passing score by email within a week of your taking the test. You will get information about pass/no pass only. We do not share information about specfici topics or questions. Your status will also be included in your departmental records so we can ensure that all program prerequisites have been met. 

Low Score

You can only take the test once.  If you do not earn the minimum passing score of 80%, you should work with your advisor plan and plan to take LING 392 Structure of English, as soon as it is offered.  You need a 'B' in LING 392 to fulfill the MA TESOL Grammar Prerequisite.