English Support for Engineers

APSC 199 A/B - English Proficiency For Engineers

Instructor: Olga Xenodochidou - email: olga.xenodochidou@queensu.ca

Office: BMH Rm 300, Student Services

This is an online resource for students to develop skills that are necessary to organize and present technical information in a professional context. Students learn how to identify their most important findings and how to structure their report (organize technical information) to ensure that they will produce a technical document. In addition, this resource devotes considerable time to deconstructing students' writing to help them improve their English language skills. The instructor provides additional feedback on the professionalism of students' writing in one to one office hours. Making use of these resources will be beneficial in helping to pass the test. APSC 199 is a mandatory course to complete in the first year.

The test uses listening comprehension to formulate a written document. All Engineering students at Queen's University are required to take the test and it is a degree requirement for graduation. The test is not linked in any way to the TOEFL, IELTS, CAEL, MELAB, or any other test of proficiency in English. There are many ways to prepare for the test. Please see the information below;

Please refer to Regulation 15: Written English Proficiency.


Infographic: Tips for APSC 199 (English Proficiency Test) [PDF, 1.1 MB]


How does the test work?

In this test, a reader reads a situation aloud to the class. Both useful and irrelevant information is presented, students take notes and identify their most important findings and then summarize them into an email to a specific individual.

The email must:

  • be written in proper email format
  • clearly present the information given
  • delete irrelevant information
  • place information in a suitable order
  • be written in clear, concise, technically precise well-formed sentences
  • use proper punctuation and spelling
  • complete the "Final Submission" for grading

How is APSC 199 (English Proficiency Test) Evaluated?

The test is primarily scored in two categories using the rubric below:

Fail (F)

Pass (P)

1. Content

Critical information and important details required to achieve the purpose of report missing; email difficult to follow. Information is presented in a disorganized way that confuses the reader.

The report provides the required information and all the necessary details related to the accident/inspection in a logical order to the intended audience. No irrelevant information is present.

2. Correctness

Numerous grammar errors and frequent spelling errors; lack of paragraphs; not informal email format; disorganized and awkward sentence structure. Sentences don't make sense.

Well-formed sentences, organized paragraphs, and sentence structure, very few minor grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. The report is written in a formal email format.

Students are assigned a Fail (F), or Pass (P) for each of the two categories.

Note: Students need to receive a pass (P) on both content AND correctness categories to pass the test.

What if I require Exam Accommodations?

If you require academic accommodations, which are documented with an official letter of Accommodation through QSAS(Queen's Student Accessibility Services), then students must email the accommodation letter at least one week in advance of the date of the test. Please email Olga

What if I FAIL APSC 199?

You must re-take the test during your first year until you pass. An exam is offered every exam period every year. 

Please check out the APSC 199 page in OnQ:
  1. Login to OnQ.
  2. Choose the course from the drop-down menu.
  3. Find the course title, which is: APSC199--English Proficiency for Engineers

What if I still have questions?

Book an appointment with the instructor, Olga Xenodochidou, by clicking here.