Indiana University

The Department of Second Language Studies

Test of English Proficiency for Associate Instructor Candidates (TEPAIC)

Graduate students who are non-native speakers of English wishing to take an Associate Instructor (AI) position at Indiana University are required to take The Indiana University TEPAIC.

Why do I need to take the TEPAIC?

The TEPAIC Oral Interview is administered in order to determine whether international candidates for AI positions at Indiana University have a minimally acceptable level of general oral proficiency in English to give lectures and to interact with students who may not be accustomed to different varieties of English. Although candidates are not expected to communicate in English exactly like native speakers, it is expected that their proficiency level of spoken English will not hinder undergraduate student comprehension of any given subject/lecture.

What do I need to do before the TEPAIC?

See Candidate Requirements.(Registration section)




TEPAIC Registration

For a student to register, their department must send an email memo to stating the department's wish to have the student take the TEPAIC exam. Please send the student's full name, department, university ID, and latest TOEFL score with date of testing or date of IAET testing. This memo needs to be received no later than one week prior to the first day of sign-up for the session.

Before new candidates may sign up for the TEPAIC, they must have taken the TOEFL within the past two years and met the minimum TOEFL requirements, including the overall score, sub-scores, and writing score. If they do not have a TOEFL score which is two years old or less or if they do not have the minimum TOEFL score or sub scores, candidates have the option of retaking or taking a TOEFL or the Indiana Academic English Test (IAET). The department should verify these requirements are met prior to sending the memo to the email below.

A student who has been given permission by their department with a memo will need to come in person to register for their exam time. Students will need to present a picture ID. The sign-ups are first come, first serve and we strongly recommend a student come to sign-up during the first week as sessions fill up. While registering at Morrison Hall 216, candidates will schedule a future 20-minute interview appointment. The 20-minute oral interviews are usually held in Morrison Hall or a building nearby between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on a specific date, four times a year.

Due to the fact that rare, emergency situations do occasionally occur, a department may ask for a special TEPAIC session to be scheduled for 1 - 3 students. This is granted by the TEPAIC Coordinator on a case by case basis. If granted and if raters are available, a standard 20 minute TEPAIC interview session is scheduled per student. For a special TEPAIC session outside the normally scheduled quarterly testing times there is no option for an appeal session. Contact for more information.

Candidate Requirements

  • Be included in a list of candidates authorized to take the exam by the academic department which intends to hire them.
  • Be non-native speakers of English. (Definition of non-native speakers: Parents did not use English when communicating with the candidates in childhood.)
  • Be currently enrolled as a graduate student in an IU academic department.
  • Demonstrate an appropriate level of English proficiency by having passed all sections of the Indiana Academic English Test (IAET) or by having successfully completed all assigned T501 or T101 courses required by the results of the exam.
  • Candidates who have not taken the Indiana English Proficiency Exam may demonstrate an appropriate level of English proficiency by having met minimum TOEFL requirements within the past two years or meeting one of the other requirements for English proficieny within the past two years.
  • Students whose departments have judged that they have evidence of English proficiency from sources other than the TOEFL or IELTS may be allowed to take the TEPAIC under the following conditions: 1) a signed departmental memo attached to the department’s initial authorization stating that the department judges the student to have adequate proficiency in English; and 2) if the student does not pass the TEPAIC at the level required for teaching in their department, before being allowed to take the exam a second time, they must demonstrate proficiency through performance on the TOEFL or IELTS or successfully complete T502 “Communication Skills for International Associate Instructors.”

Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Requirements

Associate Instructor candidates must meet minimum TOEFL requirements before they register for the TEPAIC.

For either the Paper-based TOEFL (PbT), the Computer-based TOEFL (CbT), or the Internet-based TOEFL (IbT), candidates must have minimum scores in the following three areas: the overall TOEFL score, the sub-scores, and (on both the PbT and CbT) the essay component.

Test TypeMinimum Scores
Paper-based TOEFL (PbT)Overall score: 550
Sub-scores (listening, structure, and reading): each 55
Essay score: 4
Computer-based TOEFL (CbT)Overall score: 213
Sub-scores (listening, structure and reading): each 22
Essay score: 4
Internet-based TOEFL (IbT)Overall score: 79-80
Reading: 20
Listening: 19
Writing: 17

TOEFL scores may not be more than two years old. If candidates do not have TOEFL scores which are less than two years old, they must retake the TOEFL, have an appropriate score in another test of english profiency, or take the Indiana Academic English Test (IAET).

As a less expensive option for the TOEFL test, an admitted student may take an Institutional TOEFL (paper based) through the Intensive English Program (IEP). These tests are run approximately every 7 weeks. Please contact the IEP at for schedule and pricing.

Admitted students who have not been initially waived by the department and who do NOT satisfy the minimum TOEFL requirements or have a score in another accepted English Proficiency exam are required to take IAET (and the Second Language Studies T101 courses related to performance on that exam) For more information on the IAET, see below.

Other scores allowed for proof of English Proficiency

Other scores that may be used to determine the proper level of English Proficiency for the TEPAIC exam. These scores, if being used, should be added to the memo sent to authorize student sign-up. These scores, like the TOEFL, must be no older than 2 years old.

  • IELTS: 6.5 or above
  • MELAB: 79
  • Pearson PTE: 53

The Indiana Academic English Test

The Indiana Academic English Test (IAET) is an Indiana University entrance exam required of all undergraduate international students whose first language or mother tongue is not English, and all those graduate students who do not present minimum TOEFL scores (see the "TOEFL Requirements" Sidebar for details) or whose departments require the IEPE in addition to TOEFL scores. The IEPE is given several times a year, including August and early January.

The IAET is an intermediate-level proficiency test of English, designed to expose basic English language problems which might hinder success in students— academic pursuits. The approximately four hour exam includes a 45-minute composition, 5 minute oral interview, an integrated skills task, and a multiple choice sections for listening and reading comprehension.

There are three possible results of the IAET. The results for many international students permit them to proceed into full time academic studies with no classes in English needed. The results for some students require that they take one or a few support courses, called Second Language Studies (SLST) T101 (undergraduate) or T501 (graduate), which are designed to give students more practice in certain areas of English, for example in writing. Most of these courses are 8 weeks in length and may be taken at the same time as other academic classes. The results for a very few students, however, place them into a 7-week session in the Intensive English Program, where they study full time English and do not begin their academic coursework.

For more information about the IAET, please contactthe Office of Second Language Studies or the Office of International Services.

Note - Due to the fact the IAET testing periods often overlap the TEPAIC sign-up periods and exam, students are unable to take both the IAET exam and the TEPAIC within the same 30 day window. For example - If a student needs to take the IAET test in January, they will be unable to take the January TEPAIC exam.

Exam Dates

The TEPAIC is given officially four times a year: Early January, Mid Spring, Late August, and Mid Fall.

For all sign up dates below, the Second Language Studies office in Morrison Hall 216 is open for sign-ups 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM.

Departmental memos for student permission to sign-up need to be received two weeks before the sign up process begins.

Sign UpInterviewsAppeal ExamMemo Deadline
**December 2nd - December 6 and December 9th-12th January 7thJanuary 9th November 30th
March 23rd  – 27th and March 30th – April 2nd Tuesday, April 7th April 9th March 6th
August Exam (TBA)      
October Exam (TBA)      

** Please note that due to the scheduling of the first week of classes and the winter break, the January exam is a small session focused ONLY toward AI Candidates whose departments are intending them to teach for the upcoming January session.

Students with authorization from their department to take the TEPAIC exam may want to download and fill out the following data sheet. Please bring this with you to sign-up and it will speed the process along for you. TEPAIC Data Sheet.pdf

What will the TEPAIC interview be like?




Sample Questions


5 min.

Questions about contact information (i.e., address, email) and personal life (e.g., hobbies)

How do you like Bloomington so far?

Field of Study

5 min.

Questions about the interviewee’s research interests with follow-up questions

Tell us about your research interests.

Future Direction

5 min.

Questions about future and hypothetical situations

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Evaluation Criteria

Aural Proficiency

Question comprehension and appropriate response


Comprehensibility at the level of consonants, vowels, intonation, word stress, and enunciation


Grammar and vocabulary

Communicative and Organizational  Strategies

Arguments and explanations with appropriate examples and reasons at paragraph-level discourse, and awareness of listener


Appropriate speed, pauses, and intonation

I received a score after taking the TEPAIC. What does it mean?





Fully approved

Proficiency is near of native speakers; they can discuss any topic offered with ease; they produce idiomatic phrasing; they use appropriate grammatical constructions and vocabulary; they can understand questions and answer appropriately; they rarely suffer from communication breakdown.



Although not native-like, the speaker can handle any communicative situation which presents itself; intonation and pronunciation, although non-native, do not impede understanding; grammar and vocabulary are sophisticated, with only occasional errors; communication breakdowns are easily overcome through repair strategies.


Approved with reservations

The speaker, although non-native in intonation and pronunciation, is yet able to negotiate any topic with minimal difficulty; grammar and vocabulary are adequate, although less sophisticated than C2, the speaker uses a variety of communicative strategies to overcome deficiencies in other areas; the speaker may have occasional communication breakdowns, but can successfully employ appropriate repair strategies.


Review / Minor language training needed

Some or all of the criteria in the categories listed above are inadequate; intonation and pronunciation are impediments to comprehension; grammar and vocabulary are rudimentary; a halting presentation style shows difficulty in accessing aspects of language structure; a speeded up style indicates lack of awareness of prosodic elements (grammatical constructions, discourse features such as question and statement intonation, etc.); inappropriate response shows lack of comprehension on the speakers' part; the speaker lacks repair strategies to negotiate communication breakdowns.


Extensive language training required

Communication is difficult because of severe problems in some or all of the areas listed in NC4. Pronunciation, intonation, grammar, vocabulary and comprehension may all show problems significant enough to render understanding problematic; communication strategies, even if present, cannot compensate for severity of deficiencies. an interviewee who receives NC5 was probably not prepared for participation in this test and may need significant training time in order to successfully complete it.

Who are the TEPAIC interviewers?


The TEPAIC interviewers are trained graduate students from the Department of Second Language Studies. All have advanced degrees in linguistics and/or second language instruction as well as many years of experience in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and testing. Their training as interviewers, moreover, is on-going, with training and calibration sessions conducted quarterly.






What is the Appeal Exam?

You may register for the Appeal Exam if you have received the rating of NC4 in the TEPAIC oral interview. The Appeal Exam provides NC4 candidates with a second opportunity to demonstrate their English skills with a 30-minute teaching performance exam. In addition to a short interview, candidates demonstrate their ability to teach at an undergraduate level, answer questions in an office hour role play, and respond to typical student questions.

What will the Appeal Exam be like?




Evaluation Criteria

Background Interview

5-10 min.

Questions about background and educational interest

  1. Clarity, fluency, and intelligibility of the speech
  2. Ability to understand the questions

Teaching Segment

10-15 min.

You will prepare a short lesson where you explain a problem or a concept at a level appropriate for an undergraduate audience in an introductory level course or a lab. You may use the board.

  1. Language skills
  2. Presentation skills
  3. Teaching strategies
  4. Ability to understand and respond to questions

Office-Hour Role Play

5 min.

One of the evaluators will play the role of an undergraduate student with a request or a question you may encounter as an AI.

  1. Clarity and fluency of speech
  2. Interactional communication skills
  3. Ability to understand the intent of the question and clarify misunderstandings



The learning of second and foreign languages is a rich and fascinating process involving linguistic, psychological, cultural, and social dimensions. The Indiana University Department of Second Language Studies is dedicated to teaching and research on the structure, acquisition, and use of nonnative language in both instructed and contact contexts.