Frequently Asked Questions - EAP

EAP 常见问题和解答

What is the UPEI English Assessment?
How many levels does EAP have?
What kind of work is completed in EAP classes?
How are students assessed during the semester?
How often are students assessed?
How does a typical student progress through EAP?
Why do some students progress more quickly than others?
When can I start taking academic courses and start my undergraduate program?
What happens if I get a 4.5 in one skill but have a lower score in other skills?
Do you have courses in the summer?
What is the hardest skill to master?

What is the UPEI English Assessment?

UPEI uses an unofficial version of the CanTEST assessment as a placement tool for incoming students. It was developed and validated by the University of Ottawa to evaluate students for university admission. Results are only valid for admissions to UPEI.

Results are reported as a “band score” meeting a defined set of descriptors in each skill area (reading, writing, listening and speaking). The score range is 1-8, with 4.5 (approximately 70%) being the minimum required score for unconditional admission to Canadian undergraduate programs. A CanTEST 4.5 is equivalent to IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL 580.

A score of 4.5 in all skill areas allows a student to take 5 academic (credit) courses at the undergraduate level.

A score of 5.0 in some or all sections of the assessment is required to study unconditionally at the graduate level.

Because the assessment is an unofficial exam, UPEI only uses CanTEST results from the exam conducted at UPEI. CanTEST results from Holland College are not accepted for UPEI admissions.

How many levels does EAP have?

The EAP program has two levels: Full-time and the Bridging Program.

EAP Full-time

The Full-time program is for students who have beginner to intermediate level English. The fall and winter semesters are approximately 13 weeks long. In the full-time program students are registered in one course that focusses on reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students are in class Monday to Friday.

Bridging Program

The Bridging Program is for students who have high intermediate to low advanced English skills. Students take a combination of EAP and degree-based courses. EAP classes are separated into individual courses in Critical Reading, Academic Writing, Writing Tutorial, and Oral Communications.

What kind of work is completed in EAP classes?

Students do different types of activities in EAP classes to develop the English skills and tools required to be successful in a degree program. By the end of Level 7, students will complete the following academic tasks and strategies:

  • write a clear and well supported 5 paragraph essay
  • prepare and present an effective presentation
  • discuss and give opinions on current event issues
  • read and analyze 1-2 page academic documents
  • take notes during a lecture
  • build vocabulary and grammar skills
  • listen and understand lectures and conversation for main ideas and supporting details 
  • practice strategies to participate successfully in groups and teamwork

How are students assessed during the semester?

Course work and the EAP final exam are used to assess students. To progress to the next course level, students must have a passing grade in their EAP course(s) and show progress in their English skills on the final exam.

Graded course work includes such things as: presentations, projects, homework, reading assignments, written tasks, listening tasks, vocabulary tests, and textbook tests.

The EAP final exam includes: listening and reading comprehension, a written task, and possible grammar exercises. The exam topic is related to a theme studied during the semester.

Attendance is extremely important and therefore mandatory in the EAP program. EAP instructors record attendance. Students will lose marks if they do not attend class regularly.

How often are students assessed and graded?

All new students accepted into EAP take an English assessment when they first arrive at UPEI.  Assessment scores are used to place students in the right EAP level. Instructors also grade students throughout the semester in each course. At the end of the semester all students also take a final exam. Course grades and the final exam grades are reviewed determine what EAP courses are required the next semester.

How does a typical student progress through EAP?

On average, students’ progress half (0.5) a bandwidth per semester. For example, someone entering with 3.5, who has a successful semester, will likely achieve a score of 4.0 after 12 weeks of study.

The table below shows the average progression. These are based on the experience of over 2,000 students; it is not a guarantee. Improvement is dependent on many factors including:

  • students starting level in EAP
  • characteristics of first language
  • aptitude and attitude
  • how much time is spent actively engaging in English (in and outside of class)
  • passing grade in course work, AND
  • passing grade on the final exam.

English Assessment Score
(CanTEST band score)

Number of Full-Time EAP semesters (one semester = 12 weeks of study)


8 semesters


6 semesters


5 semesters


4 semesters


English Assessment Score
(CanTEST band score)

Number of semesters in Bridging Program and Credit courses


3 semesters plus 1 credit course


1-2 semester plus 1 credit course

Why do some students progress more quickly than others?

Progressing in EAP depends on students’ academic ability, motivation, attendance, class participation, and the amount of practice done INSIDE and OUTSIDE of the EAP classroom. 

When can students start taking academic courses and undergraduate courses?

Students are able to start taking academic courses if they have a minimum of 3.5 in all areas of English and studying at Level 6. The number of undergraduate courses allowed is determined by students’ English proficiency level. The number of credit courses allowed increases incrementally as students achieve the English level of 4.5 in each individual skill.

What happens if 4.5 is achieved in one skill but not in the other skills?

Each skill is connected with an EAP course. Students no longer require EAP courses when they reach 4.5 in each specific area (reading, writing, listening, speaking).

Are EAP courses offered in the summer?

UPEI offers EAP and credit courses in the summer months. There are usually two start dates: May and July. Summer a good time to study and take EAP courses because the course schedule is more focused.

What is the hardest skill to master?

Writing is usually the hardest skill to master, and it is the most important communication skill at university.  Academic writing requires the ability to be clear in the expression of ideas, to demonstrate the ability to think critically about a subject, and to properly reference sources.