The 5 W’s of the MET
(Michigan English Test)


Who takes the MET test?

The Michigan English Test (otherwise known as the MET exam) is an intermediate-level English proficiency exam administered by the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute. Although the MET exam technically assesses English proficiency over a number of levels (ranging from upper beginner to lower advanced), in practice it is intended for candidates with a secondary level of education who want to certify their general English language proficiency in social, educational, and workplace contexts. Accordingly, while the MET is frequently used by applicants for English immersion schools and by those applying for a job that requires a working knowledge of the English language, it is not useful as an admissions test for English-language higher education programs.

Why should you take the MET exam?

While the MET test is calibrated to certify applicants with English speaking abilities as diverse as A2 to C1 on the Common European Framework of Reference, in practice it emphasizes the intermediate level – B1 and B2 – levels of proficiency. More to the point, it emphasizes fluency (or in the words of the ELI, “communicative ability”) over accuracy. This means it primarily assesses a student’s ability to use English to express ideas rather than their formal knowledge of grammatical rules. Thus it is ideal for students and professionals who are able – and wish to demonstrate their ability – to perform in the functional tasks in English. Importantly, like other English Language Institute exams, the MET exam uses the conventions of American English. This means that the spelling, grammar, and pronunciation used throughout the exam with be of the American English style, resulting in a clear advantage for candidates who have studied and/or plan to use English in the United States.

What exactly is the MET test like and what can I expect to see on it?

The MET is a paper-and-pencil test comprised of 135 questions over two sections.

The first section of the MET exam, also known as the Listening section, is 60 mutiple choice questions and 45 minutes long. These 60 questions are subdivided into three parts that are used to assess candidates to understand spoken English in using excerpts from short conversations, longer conversations, and discussions.

The second section of the MET, also known as the Reading and Grammar section, is 75 questions and 90 minutes long. These 75 questions are subdivided into two parts, one emphasizing reading comprehension and another emphasizing grammatical correctness. The reading comprehension section is based on 50 multiple choice questions and the remaining balance of 25 questions is used to assess students’ knowledge of a variety of grammatical structures.

Importantly, while there is no formal “Vocabulary section,” a wide knowledge of English vocabulary is necessary to understand and answer the questions in the English-only listening and reading sections.

The MET exam does not have a pass score. Applicants are instead measured on a scale with a maximum of score of 80 for sections I and II, and a final average derived from the total of the two sections. Thus measured out of 80 and 160, clearly none of the scores are meant to be interpreted as percentages – or even as an indication of how many questions test takers answer correctly – but instead indicate where the test taker belongs on the language ability scale.

Where and When can you take the MET exam?

The MET test is offered once monthly (except for December) at test centers authorized by the University of Michigan. Because of regional differences, the exact date and cost of the exam is announced locally.

>> Learn more about other English language exams