How are students selected?

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Students meeting the age and grade criteria are invited to take a 16-question, multiple-choice.

English test. The major purpose of the pre-test is to eliminate students with only a very limited knowledge of English. There are ten versions of the pre-test to discourage cheating.There are five sets of essay questions so students cannot share essay questions with their friends who may take the test at another test site in the future or at another session. Questions are designed to elicit factors that indicate the student’s maturity and suitability for international exchange. Essay questions focus on actual situations that students may confront, rather than abstract situations that may be more difficult to address. All testing is proctored by program staff and alumni.

Eligible students deciding to continue with the application process are invited to take the Pre- TOEFL test.

Students with the best assessments pass to the next level of the competition. They are asked to submit complete applications and are interviewed. Less than 15% of the original applicant pool is invited to complete applications. One U.S. and one Eurasian employee return to the test site to conduct 20-minute interviews with students who have been invited to complete applications. Interviews take place in both English and the student’s native language to enable interviewers to assess English language skills as well as to give students the best opportunity to present themselves. The complete application and computer data files are then forwarded to the American Councils headquarters office in Washington, DC for further processing and selection.