International Second Language Proficiency Rating

AMES Australia can assess your English language against the International Second Language Proficiency Rating Scale (ISLPR).

The ISLPR provides a rating from 0 (no English) to 5 (Native speaker) for each of the four skill areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing. If required, a report on each of these skills can be provided.

There is no cost for the ISLPR assessment for private individuals if it is being undertaken for class placement only (no written report will be supplied). The cost of the ISLPR assessment to private individuals, including for teacher registration, is $350 (including GST) for a standard test and written report.

Assessments are available at AMES Australia Flagstaff.

Guidelines for the ISLPR test

About the test

This ISLPR test takes approximately 2 hours. Speaking, listening and reading skills are tested in a one-to-one interview that takes about 60 minutes. This interview is audio-recorded. For the writing test the assessor will give you task sheets and explain the tasks to you, then you will have 60 minutes to write.

See summary of ISLPR Descriptors

Test format

Speaking test

As the testing process is a holistic one, speaking skills are judged throughout the entire interview. However, the first part of the interview (about 15 minutes) is a structured conversation between the assessor and the interviewee. Topics range from personal experience to current affairs or professional issues. The assessor guides the conversation through a number of topic changes to allow the speaker to demonstrate the level of language that can be handled with confidence and accuracy.

Listening test

As the testing process is a holistic one, listening skills are judged throughout the entire interview. However, the second part of the interview is a structured listening task using authentic texts audio-recorded from Australian radio. The text may be a news item, an interview, or a community announcement. There are two texts and each is generally heard only once. You are encouraged to take notes while listening as an aid to memory. After you have listened to a text you must demonstrate your understanding by talking about it with the assessor. The assessor may ask questions to check your comprehension of particular details or simply ask that you summarise the text.

Reading test

You are given two texts to read and are required to demonstrate your understanding of each text by talking about it to the assessor. The assessor may ask questions to check your comprehension of particular details or simply ask that you summarise the text. Initial silent reading time is generally 10 minutes but may vary depending on the length and type of text. Texts are selected from a range of sources including professional journals, curriculum materials, newspapers, government websites, and school newsletters. Texts include reports, news stories, editorials, feature stories, and community information brochures. You may refer back to the text while talking about it with the assessor. Dictionary use is not allowed.

Writing test

You are given two writing tasks (totalling approximately 500 words) to complete in 60 minutes. One of the tasks will be directly related to teaching practice and will be directed to a specific audience. The text may be a letter, a report or an article for a newsletter. The audience may be students, parents, colleagues or officers in the education system. The second task will be a formal essay in which you will discuss or express an opinion on an education or social issue. Dictionary use is not allowed.

How to apply

ISLPR tests, including for teacher registration, are generally conducted two days per week.

  • Applications may be made to AMES Australia Flagstaff by phone on 13 2637 between the hours of 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.
  • Please note: Full payment must be made at the time of application to secure a booking.
  • Fees and Conditions
  • Fees for ISLPR tests for teacher registration at AMES Australia are:
  • Full test $350.00. Part test $88.00 per skill. We can accept cash/eftpos/credit card payments.
  • If it is your initial assessment you must sit for a full test. If you are re-sitting two or more sections you must sit for all of those sections.
  • If you arrive late for your test, you may be required to re-book a part test and pay a further part test fee
  • If you wish to cancel your test you must notify AMES Australia Flagstaff at least seven days before the test date. A full refund minus the $50.00 cancellation fee will then be provided. No refund will be provided if less than 24 hours' notice of cancellation is given.
  • If you wish to change the date or time of a booked test you must notify AMES Australia Flagstaff at least seven days before the test date. If you do not give seven days advance notice, you must pay an administration fee of $50.00.

Test Day Information

  • On the test day you must provide photo ID such as a passport or Victorian drivers licence for your statement of results
  • No personal items are permitted in the interview room
  • No test material may be removed from the interview room
  • You must sign that you have read and that you accept the policy and these conditions

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the ISLPR Test

What is ISLPR?

The ISLPR (International Second Language Proficiency Rating) is a scale from 0 to 5 where 0 equals nil English and 5 equals native-like proficiency.
For example Speaking 3 Listening 3+ Reading 4 Writing 2+

The difference between ISLPR/IELTS

  • IELTS uses a 9-band scoring system whereas ISLPR has a 12 level scale scoring system. See Chart for a simplified summary of the ISLPR descriptors at each level.
  • There is no pass or fail in either test. Assessors use detailed performance descriptors to assess a candidate’s level of English proficiency.
  • Please note: Each ISLPR descriptor level is a broad band so there is room to improve within a band. Therefore a candidate may re-sit one of the macro skills rated as 3+ and even after 10 weeks or more of study, although they may have made progress, this improvement may not be reflected in a change of score.

Where can I take the test?

The ISLPR test for teacher registration is conducted at AMES Australia’s Flagstaff centre only.

When should I apply for the test?

We recommend that you apply at least 4 weeks in advance to secure your place.

How long does the test take?

A full test takes about two hours. Speaking, Listening and reading skills are tested in a one-one interview, which may take up to 60 minutes. A further 60 minutes is allowed for the writing test.

How is the test conducted?

The ISLPR test is conducted by fully trained and experienced Language Assessors. The one-to–one interview is audio recorded. A second Language Assessor moderates the audio recording and the written tests before the results are finalised. Your responses to the listening section of the test may also be audio-recorded.


Test results are generally available ten working days after the test. On or before the tenth working day, the results will be mailed to the candidate at the address which is written on the application form. Results are not sent directly to the registration authority.

How is the test marked?

  • The test is marked by 2 independent qualified ISLPR assessors for the Speaking and Writing components.
  • All assessors are trained and retrained at frequent intervals.
  • In Speaking and Writing the depth, breadth, coherence and precision of the ideas and opinions you can communicate as well as the accuracy, range, appropriateness and fluency of the language are all factors which the assessors take into account.
  • In Listening and Reading you are assessed on how thoroughly you understand the information provided. This may include the speaker or writer’s tone, intentions and attitudes as well as the general ideas and specific details of the text. Your ability to cope with unfamiliar vocabulary and other features of the language is also important.

How can I get my results?

Results are mailed to you at the address which is written on the application form within 10 working days.

If my level is not high enough in a skill, can I be retested in that skill area?

Only those skills for which you did not receive the required level need to be re-tested. If you wish to repeat a full test or be re-tested in any skill you must wait at least 10 weeks from the date of your previous test as it takes time to develop language proficiency. We recommend that you reflect on your results and do some additional study before taking the test again.

Can I get feedback on my test results?

  • Verbal feedback on your performance from assessors will not be provided at the time of the test or after you receive your results.
  • When you receive your test result a Feedback sheet specifying where you have not performed to the required level will be attached to your score sheet. 
  • The Feedback sheet will only be provided for the Speaking and Writing components of the test.

Can I get a sample of the test?

Sample materials are not available. See above for details on the test format.

How should I prepare for the test?

  • You should practise using English in as many personal, social, academic and professional situations as you can. 
  • Try to get permission to spend some time in the workplace in a voluntary capacity. If possible try to familiarise yourself with the language and jargon of the profession. 
  • Use the internet to source reading material for the same purpose. Read newspapers, listen to the radio and practise discussing current issues. Practise writing your ideas and opinions within a time limit.
  • We do not recommend that you prepare for the ISLPR test by rehearsing or memorising formulaic language or set tasks.

What are some strategies I could use during the test?

  • If you do not understand something that the assessor has asked you, it is possible to ask for the assessor to repeat or rephrase the question.
  • You are advised to take notes in the Listening task as it is not a memory test. 
  • In the Listening and Reading sections you need to be able to paraphrase your answers, not simply repeat what you have heard or read.
  • In the Listening and Reading tasks you may have prior knowledge of the topic. Listen to the assessor’s questions carefully and do not volunteer information that you assume the assessor requires based on your knowledge of the topic.
  • For the reading section you can use a highlighter to mark key words or write short responses to questions. You will not be required to hand in written responses.
  • In the written section, pay attention to punctuation and paragraphing.
  • Do not ask the assessor how you have performed in a section of the test or at the end of the test.

Are there any further suggestions on how I can practise my English if I need to re-sit a section?

In order to prepare for this holistic from of assessment it is advisable that you consider enrolling in an advanced English language course. Learn more about AMES Australia English courses or contact us on 13 2637 to discuss your options.