Facebook Twitter LinkedIn


The Graduate Student Instructor Oral English Test (GSI OET) is a procedure for testing the spoken English of prospective graduate student instructors whose undergraduate education was at an institution in which the language of instruction is not English. The evaluation procedure is a performance test that consists of four tasks that assess a test taker’s competence and effectiveness in the type of communication typically used by GSIs at the University of Michigan.

The test evaluates proficiency at the high intermediate to advanced level. The tasks and evaluation criteria of the GSI OET also serve as diagnostic tools to identify the linguistic strengths and weaknesses of a test taker. A rating of B or higher is required to be approved for an appointment as a GSI.

Test Format


  • is semi‐structured
  • is face‐to‐face
  • involves 1 candidate 2–3 evaluators (senior, junior, and optional faculty)
  • contains 4 scored tasks (Warm‐Up, Lesson Presentation, Office‐Hour Role Play, Video Questions)
  • lasts 14–15 minutes
  • is recorded for quality assurance purposes

Read a description of the different tasks for the GSI OET.

Rating Guidelines

Evaluators rate test takers in real time. During the test, each evaluator writes comments based on the evaluation criteria (PDF). At the end of the test, the candidate leaves the room and each evaluator independently rates the prospective GSI using the holistic rating scale (PDF). Evaluators then discuss the linguistic strengths and weaknesses of the candidate to reach a final rating.

GSI OET Scores Eligible to Teach?
A (high pass) Yes
B (pass) Yes
C (fail) No
D (fail) No

A candidate's performance on the entire test is evaluated and all tasks are taken into consideration. This means that tasks are not rated separately, and candidates do not pass or fail the test based on performance on only one task. Additionally:

  • candidates are not rated relative to each other
  • a candidate's ability to teach is not rated
  • a single, final rating is given
  • test reports are sent to departments within 48 hours of test administration

Video of Sample Tasks

A complete GSI OET with performance commentary of a B-level performance is available below. A full transcript of the audio commentary (PDF) is also available. 


Sample Questions and Possible Responses

Video clips are available for seven additional sample questions for the GSI OET.

  • Keep in mind that these are not the exact questions that appear on the test
  • Responses in the video clips are not the only possible responses (notice, however, that each response is expanded beyond a simple “yes” or “no” and clearly shows that the listener has understood the question) 
  • These samples are intended to help you familiarize yourself with the format of the test

Scheduling a GSI OET

Tests are scheduled by the departments where prospective GSIs will work.

  • The department arranges test dates and times with CaMLA and notifies students of the testing schedule
  • If a candidate has a documented disability and needs special accommodations, refer to the information in special accommodations

For further information about the GSI OET, contact gsioet@cambridgemichigan.org.

Become a GSI OET Evaluator

Interested in becoming an evaluator for the GSI OET? CaMLA is currently seeking speaking evaluators in the Ann Arbor, Michigan, area.