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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 at the request of the Office of Graduate Education. 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 August 2023 EET will be offered in person only on Tuesday, August 29th, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in room 10-250. A short, 10-minute interview (to be scheduled at the test) will also be required either that afternoon or the morning of August 30th.  

If you are on campus by that date and meet the criteria below, you should plan to take the test then. If you are not yet on campus by August 29th, a make-up exam will be offered later in the week. 

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. If you completed your undergraduate or master’s degree at MIT or at a comparable university, please contact your departmental graduate administrator to see if the EET requirement can be waived. (ELS personnel cannot grant waivers for these criteria. It is your department’s decision.)

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?

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. They are involved 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 provides new students and their advisors with information to help them prepare for success in their graduate activities at MIT.

Who enforces the EET?

Individual departments determine their policies regarding the EET. The English Language Studies Program (ELS) is not responsible for regulations concerning who takes the exam, whether students register for any recommended courses, or what happens if an international student is unable to take the EET before the start of the semester.

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

No. As an entering international graduate student, you should automatically receive an email by August 1 inviting you to join the EET Canvas site. Once you accept the invitation, you will be able to start completing the tasks. If you do not receive an invitation by August 1, please alert your departmental graduate administrator.

When will the results be available?

All the results of the Fall 2022 EET will be available on Friday, September 2. This means students will have their results before Registration Day on September 6. Students will receive individual emails with their results and any recommendations, and results will also be emailed to graduate administrators.

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

Eric Grunwald, Director Designate, ELS (egrunwal@mit.edu)

A.C. Kemp, Lecturer II, ELS (ackemp@mit.edu)

You can also contact the graduate administrator in your department.