The LPI test

What is the LPI?

The Language Proficiency Index (LPI) is an English language test of reading and writing.

(More info at: What is the LPI?)

The LPI test is taken by the students who do not meet the Course Entry Requirements at UBC before

The deadline to take the LPI test can be found at: First Year English Courses UBC

Note: In most cases, IELTS will not satisfy the English course entry requirements.

If you find out that you have to sit the LPI exam, the fastest way to register for it is registering online on their website. After you register, print out the ticket that will be emailed to you, and attach a passport sized photograph to it. You have to take this ticket with you to the exam, along with a photo identification ( I took my passport).

How much should you study?

How much should you study?

The amount of time that should be spent preparing for the LPI depends between individuals. If you have studied in an institute where the main language of teaching was English, or have sat the IELTS, SAT or the TOEFL before, you shouldn’t be worried too much. Practicing one or two essays, and taking a peek at the most common grammatical errors should be enough.

If you feel like your English isn’t up to the standard and that you do need to work on it, here are some resources that might be helpful for you.

  • The UBC Writing Centre offers two non-credit courses — Writing 098 and Writing 099–designed to help students prepare for university writing and the LPI.
  • The Writing center also offers free tutoring services for students, more information is available at Writing Center: Tutoring
  • You can order study materials from the official LPI website.
  • You can also find some of the study materials at the Education Library, UBC.




The LPI test is a 2.5 hour examination consisting of four parts.

  • Sentence Structure
  • English Usage
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Essay Writing
Sentence Structure:
Ten sentences are presented, and examinees are asked to recognize, though not identify by name, common errors in sentence structure. The sentence errors tested are selected from the following:
  • An incomplete sentence – An English sentence must have a subject, and a verb of its own. It can have any number of clauses, but in order to be considered a complete sentence, it must have at least one independent clause. For example, ‘Why did Jack fail the midterm?’ ‘Because he missed a lot of classes.’ The second sentence begins with a dependent clause, and does not have an independent clause, and therefore it is considered to be an incomplete sentence. A complete sentence would have been, ‘He failed the midterm because he missed a lot of classes.’
  • A run-on sentence (sometimes called a comma fault) In simple terms, a comma error occurs when two complete sentences are merged in to one using a comma. A comma in this case isn’t simply strong enough to hold the two sentences together. For example,
    WRONG: ‘I want to make dinner, I went to get groceries’.
    CORRECT: I want to make dinner, so I went to get groceries. Or, I want to make dinner; I got groceries.
    Read more on: Comma Splice
  • A misplaced modifier A misplaced modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that is improperly separated from the word it modifies / describes. Types of misplaced modifiers and their examples:
    Misplaced Adjectives- INCORRECT: I ate a hot plate of pasta. (This means that the plate was hot.)
    CORRECT: I ate a plate of hot pasta.
    Misplaced Adverbs –    INCORRECT: He is just done with the math home-work. (This means that he has finished homework just now)
    CORRECT: He is done with just the math home-work. *Note: Both sentences can be correct depending on what you’re trying to say.
    Misplaced Phrases –   INCORRECT: I cried after the midterms marks were posted buckets of tears.
    CORRECT: I cried buckets of tears after the midterm marks were posted.
    Misplaced Clauses –  INCORRECT: I left my shoes at the door that I wore today.
    CORRECT: I left my shoes that I wore today at the door.

Difference between Phrases and Clauses:

A phrase is a collection of words that may have nouns or verbs, but does not have a subject doing a verb.
A clause is a collection of words that has actively doing a verb

  • A dangling modifier- A dangling modifier is a phrase or clause that is not clearly and logically related to the word or words it modifies  (i.e. is placed next to).
    Do a Practice Exercise.
  • Faulty pronoun reference – when a pronoun you add can refer to more than one noun in the same sentence, and therefore creating ambitious meaning. Example, ‘When you’re done eating the food in the bowl, throw it away.’ In this sentence, ‘it’ is the pronoun, and it is not clear whether it is being used to refer to the bowl or the food itself. Therefore, this sentence can have two meanings,
    It could mean that the bowl should be thrown away after eating, or it could also mean that the leftover food should be thrown away.
    The correct form of writing this sentence would be ‘When you’re done eating the food in the bowl, throw the leftover away’ (or throw the bowl away).
    Practice Exercise
  • Faulty subject-verb agreement – This is the topic that I find the most challenging, it has a lot of rules, but I believe that with practice this becomes easy as pie. The basic rule is that, a singular subject takes a singular very whereas a plural subject takes a plural verb.
    This website explains all the rules clearly and concisely, and there is a practice exercise at the end as well : The Blue Book of Grammar
  • Faulty parallel structure –  in simple terms, the style of writing should be consistent in a sentence.

    Practice Exercise

Essay Topics
  1. Discuss Canada’s Medicare System and your personal experience with it
  2. People are living longer now a days. Discuss the reasons why this maybe true
  3. Should government spend more resources to protect endangered wild animals?
  4. “Gifted athletes should be admitted to college without having to meet the regular admission standards.” Agree OR disagree.
  5. The Internet is more frustrating than useful. Agree OR disagree.
  6. Would you rather support a national charity or a local charity?  Be specific.
  7. “Physical education is an important program for all high school students.” Agree OR disagree.
  8. Would you pay $2000 for a pair of shoes by a recognized designer? Why OR why not? Be specific.
  9. Should governments spend the most money on health care or on education? Be specific.


———————————————————————–x Best of luck! x——————————————————————————-





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I am a tiny 18 year old with big dreams, in a big city. I like to eat, and dance in the rain. My goal in life is to make you fall in love with me, through my words.

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7 comments on “The LPI test
  1. There’s noticeably a bundle to know about this. I suppose you made certain fine points in attributes also.

  2. Sahana says:

    This was very useful, thanks!

  3. shay says:

    Thanks a lot for writing this blog. I have already done IELTS but now came to know have to do LPI for English courses , here at UBC , thus was searching internet for an overview about LPI, this was quite helpful. Really appreciate it.

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  5. Thanks for the article.

  6. dallas nisbet says:

    iam writing the lpi on Saturday. I have been . Practicing essay writing the most. Do you know of a website where i can get practice on sentence structure and english usage. anything will help .

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