FAQs: Graduate Students

1. Who can participate in the ELP-ii?

Only graduate students who have taken the ELCE may participate in the ELP-ii classes. Additionally, faculty are welcome to use ELP-ii services for individualized support. To learn if you are eligible to participate, click here.

2. Can I take the ELCE?

Nonnative English-speaking graduate students who have been proposed as TAs by a hiring department are required to take the ELCE before accepting a TA offer.

3. What is the ELCE?

The English Language Certification Exam is not a paper-and-pencil test. It is a 10-15-minute live interview and teaching simulation assessing spoken English language competency for teaching. Students are rated by a linguist and faculty representative for language skills including pronunciation accuracy, listening comprehension, use of general and technical vocabulary, grammatical accuracy, smoothness of speech, and organizational clarity. An overall ELCE score determines the level of qualification for a TA assignment. Click here for more information on What You Need to Know About the ELCE and Process.

4. But I took the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE test. How is the ELCE different from the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE?

The TOEFL/IELTS/PTE tests are used to assess a student’s readiness to begin studies in a university. The ELCE is used to assess a student’s readiness to teach.

5. I want to TA. How can I sign up for the test?

Students DO NOT sign up for the test. A hiring department representative submits a list of proposed TAs who must take the ELCE. Those students will be contacted by the hiring department with the test date and time.

6. Where is the ELP-ii located?

The ELP-ii is a program within the Center for Engaged Teaching, a unit of the Teaching + Learning Commons. We are currently located on the second floor of the Literature Building in suite 210. 

7. How do I prepare my English before I arrive?

UC San Diego welcomes students from all over the world, many of whom speak English as an additional language. International students often ask how they can develop their English skills before they arrive. If you want to improve your spoken English for teaching, there are a range of options that can help meet your needs.

  • Consider developing your communication skills by taking a presentation skills class to focus on speaking rate, a strong voice, eye contact and gestures.
  • Improve your conversational English by using online resources such as listening to podcasts and lectures, watching movies in English, and taking a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). Check out the Language and Teaching Resources on the English Language Resources page.
  • For additional advice, watch this video featuring international graduate students who have been successful TAs.