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 The OLA is a computerized test designed to assess the oral and academic proficiency of ESL students. Student responses are recorded electronically and are scored by experienced instructors. Test prompts include reading (pronunciation), summarizing a story, listening and responding to a video clip, and analyzing a graph/chart.


  • Students who place into* only one ESL course are not required to take ENGL 085.
  • Students who place into* both an ESL reading course AND an ESL writing course are required to take ENGL 085.
  • New students to HCC who have not taken the college’s Placement Test yet must take the Placement Test before taking the OLA (contact the Test Center – RCF 366).

*place into refers to test results from the HCC Placement Test

  • ENGL 085 is an advanced level course. It must be taken
    • after successfully completing ENGL 083 and/or 084 OR 
    • with ENGL 086 and/or ENGL 087 OR
    • after ENGL 086 and/or ENGL 087
  • ENGL 085 must be taken before ENGL 121.

If students are required to take ENGL 085 and their speaking skills are strong, they may be exempted from the ENGL 085 requirement by passing the Oral Language Assessment (OLA).

Upcoming OLA Test Dates (maximum number of students per session is 10) 

  • August 5 8:00-10:00am, DH223
  • August 17 5:00-7:00pm, DH223
  • August 20 2:00-4:00pm, DH223
  • August 27 2:00-4:00pm, DH210

 YOU MUST REGISTER in advance by filling out this form and clicking on ‘Submit’ below.  If you are eligible for the test, you will receive an invitation in Canvas to register for one of the test dates. 

The test takes about 15-20 minutes. Students will be tested one at a time in the order of their arrival.

Questions? Email        

You will be contacted via Canvas before your scheduled exam to confirm your registration.