Language Proficiency Index Essay Topics

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——————————————————————————-





Registration Information

Applicants to the UNBC MBA program must be able to speak, write and understand English well in order to be successful in the UNBC MBA program. Applicants whose first language is​ not English, regardless of citizenship or country of origin, must submit evidence of English proficiency prior to admission. This may be in the form of any one of the following:

English pro​ficiency scores older than two years are not valid for admission purposes.

The test score must be transmitted to UNBC directly by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

The UNBC education code is 0320.

Please visit the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website for more information.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The Test of English as a Foreign Language™ (TOEFL) measures the ability of nonnative speakers to use and understand English. The TOEFL test measures English language proficiency in reading, listening, and writing and is offered on computer in most regions of the world. In areas where access to computer-based testing is limited, a paper-and-pencil version of the test is administered.

The computer-based TOEFL test is offered at institutional sites such as colleges and universities, and at testing centers operated by Prometric, a division of Thomson Learning.

The computer-based TOEFL test has four sections:

  • Listening measures the ability to understand English as it is spoken in North America.
  • Structure measures the ability to recognize language that is appropriate for standard written English.
  • Reading measures the ability to understand short passages that are similar in topic and style to academic texts used in North American colleges and universities.
  • Writing measures the ability to write in English on an assigned topic.

The paper-based test has three sections:

  • Listening Comprehension measures the ability to understand spoken English.
  • Structure and Written Expression measures the ability to recognize standard written English.
  • Reading Comprehension measures the ability to read and understand nontechnical material.

The paper-based TOEFL test takes about 3.5 hours to complete.

The Test of Written English (TWE®) is also required for everyone taking the paper-based test. Test takers are given 30 minutes to write a short essay on an assigned topic. The essay is evaluated on the test taker's ability to support and organize new ideas and to use standard written English. Special knowledge of the topic is not needed to write the essay.

Required score: at least 570 in paper-based test and at least 88 in computer-based test.

The UNBC institutional TOEFL code is 0320.

Download TOEFL Practice Material

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is used as the language of communication.

IELTS covers all four language skills: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking and is offered in two test formats - Academic and General Training.  All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules and there is an option of either Academic or General Training Reading and Writing Modules. Academic is suitable for candidates planning to undertake higher education study or who are seeking professional registration.  General Training is suitable for candidates planning to undertake non-academic training or work experience, or for immigration purposes. Applicants to the UNBC MBA program should select the Academic test format.

The first three modules - Listening, Reading and Writing - must be completed in one day.  The Speaking Module may be taken, at the discretion of the test centre, in the period seven days before or after the other Modules.

Total Test Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Required score: at least 6.5 overall, with not less than 6.0 in any of the four modules.

Download IELTS Practice Material

Language Proficiency Index (LPI)

The purpose of the Language Proficiency Index (LPI) is to provide information about an individual's competency in English.

The test consists of four parts comprising 80 points: identifying errors in sentence structure (10 points); identifying errors in English usage (10 points); evaluating and/or summarizing short prose passages (20 points); and writing an argumentative essay (40 points).

Required score: 5 or more

English as a Second Language (ESL)

A passing grade from an English as a Second Language (ESL) course at an approved level from a recognized institution can be used when applying to the MBA program.

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