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Guide to the LPI Essay


The readers of this guide are likely required to write the Language Proficiency Index™ (LPI™) to demonstrate their reading and writing proficiency in the English language for a post-secondary educational institution, a professional association, or an employer. These organizations want to know how well a person is able to function in English on demand—how well a person can write about a topic without having time to prepare or extensively revise their writing. Such organizations want to count on the general level of a person’s English language writing skills and to be able to generally predict how this person will perform in an educational or work setting.

Paragon Testing Enterprises, a subsidiary of The University of British Columbia, develops and administers the LPI Test. The scores from this test can provide any of the types of organizations listed above with a means of evaluating a person’s English language skills. The LPI Test provides a consistent and standardized measure of English language proficiency in two skill areas: reading and writing. The LPI Test is a 2.5-hour test and has four parts. Each part of the test assesses a different area: Part I, knowledge of sentence structure; Part II, knowledge of English usage; Part III, reading comprehension and writing summaries; and Part IV, ability to write a clear and coherent argumentative essay.

This guide focuses on the writing tasks in the LPI Test: the essay (Part IV) and the summaries (Part III, Section B). Section I of this guide provides information about the essay for LPI writers who have English as a Second Language (ESL). Section II contains information about the essay for LPI writers who have English as their Native Language (ENL). Both of these sections provide samples of LPI essays that are developed from Level 3 to Level 5. These sections also contain comments about the sample essay in its assigned level, which allows readers to compare the differences between one essay level and the next. Section III provides brief information on writing summaries. LPI summaries are important because they can provide the LPI markers with additional information about a person’s writing abilities, especially in cases where a person’s LPI essay contains mixed levels of writing. Three appendices follow Section III: Appendix A: Test-Taking Tips (for before the test and during the test); Appendix B: Sample Essays for Levels 1, 2, and 6; and Appendix C: LPI Essay Instructions. A brief glossary is found at the end of the guide.


Table of Contents





ABOUT THE LPI TEST: Format, Preparation, and Scoring
On-Demand Writing


Overview of the LPI Essay Format


Preparing Your LPI Essay


Scoring Criteria for the LPI Essay


SECTION I: LPI Writers Who Have English as a Second Language (ESL)
Common ESL Writing Errors


Sample LPI Essays: ESL Writing


SECTION II: LPI Writers Who have English as Their Native Language (ENL)
Common ENL Writing Errors


Sample LPI Essays: ENL Writing


SECTION III: Writing LPI Summaries
Your Writing and the Summaries


APPENDIX A: Test-Taking Tips


APPENDIX B: Level 1, 2, and 6 Sample Essays


APPENDIX C: LPI Essay Instructions





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