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The English Evaluation Test (EET)

The English Evaluation Test (EET) is a diagnostic test of academic English given before each semester according to a policy set by the Committee on Graduate Programs. MIT’s English Language Studies Program (ELS) administers the EET.

The EET is designed for international graduate students from non-English-language academic backgrounds. The EET consists of assessments of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and grammar. It identifies weaknesses in academic speaking and writing English that may interfere with course work, teaching, and research at MIT.

The January 2024 EET be held Tuesday, January 30th, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in room 2-147

The EET does not affect your admissions status.

If you have been admitted to MIT, you have been admitted to MIT. The results of this test do not affect your status as an enrolling MIT student. They are informational, designed to provide a current assessment of your relevant and necessary academic communication skills in English. 

Who takes the EET?

The Institute requires all entering international graduate students to take the EET if English was not their primary language of instruction from the age of six through high school.

If your schooling was in English from the age of six through high school, you do not need to take the EET. Many students from India, Malaysia, Singapore and other Asian countries, as well as African and Caribbean countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, and St. Lucia, fall into this category.

Graduating from a U.S. university for your undergraduate studies or for a master’s degree does  not automatically exempt you from the test. (See below as to why.) If you did complete your undergraduate or master’s degree at a university where the language of instruction was English (e.g., in the U.S., UK, or other country), you may contact your departmental graduate administrator to determine whether the EET requirement should be waived.

What do the results mean?

The EET results are strictly informative. There is no “passing” or “failing,” and students taking the EET have already been admitted to MIT. EET results do not affect that status.

EET results may indicate one of the following:

  • Inadequate: One or more academic English skills are weak enough to need immediate attention. A particular course—specified in your results email—is strongly recommended. Departmental policy determines how a student will act on the recommendation.
  • Limited: One or more academic English skills are weak enough such that focused instruction and study are probably needed for success in certain communication tasks typical of an academic community. Registering for a particular course—specified in your results email—is recommended for the current or future semester. Departmental policy determines how a student will act on the recommendation. Such communication tasks include:
    • participating in interactive seminars;
    • completing coursework that requires presentations and research reports;
    • teaching recitation or lab sections;
    • interacting with representatives of industry;
    • presenting research to peers, sponsors, and experts at meetings and conferences; and
    • writing proposals, reports, and journal papers.
  • Adequate: A student’s academic English skills are proficient (adequate) for engaging fully in studies and research. No course work is recommended.

Why do arriving international graduate students take the EET?

At the request of faculty, the Committee on Graduate Programs (CGP) requires newly admitted international graduate students to take the English Evaluation Test (EET) to determine the current level of their academic English skills. Standardized English tests such as the TOEFL are not considered a reliable measure of academic communicative competence.

From the moment they enter the Institute, graduate students are expected to be productive members of a lively research community with an intense culture of communication. They are immediately expected to participate in some or all of the activities listed above (“What do the results mean?”).

Few international students have experience with these types of communication tasks in English. Many have little experience even in their first languages. The EET is this intended to help students identify important gaps in their written and oral English that will inhibit their ability to meet academic, research, and work requirements and to provide new students and their advisors with information to help them prepare for success in their graduate activities at MIT.

Moreover, a student can graduate from a U.S. or other English-instruction university still having major gaps in their communication skills. Instruction in English language for international undergraduates is usually quite limited, and that and subsequent “immersion”are often not enough to remedy all patterns of problems or fill in gaps in understanding. The requirements and stakes are higher for graduate students (especially at MIT), which is why even students who meet the requirements to waive the standardized English proficiency exam test for admission (i.e., the TOEFL or IELTS) may have significant gaps in their English language abilities that will hinder their success at MIT. Those students are thus encouraged to be assessed by taking the EET.

Do I need to register in advance in order to take the EET?

No. Just come to the test site specified above at the given time. PLEASE be sure to bring

  • a charged laptop computer with the Google Chrome browser installed,
  • a pair of earbuds or wired earphones/headphones, and
  • your MIT ID, if you have one yet, or some other official (government-issued) picture ID.

(You do not need to bring paper, pencils/pens, or a dictionary. We will supply those as necessary.)

When will the results be available?

The results of the Spring 2024 EET will be sent out by email on Wednesday, January 31st to all test-takers and their departments.

Whom should I contact with questions about English Language Studies (ELS) classes at MIT?

Again, for questions regarding whether you should take the EET, contact your departmental graduate administrator.

For questions about ELS classesplease contact: