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International Teaching/Course Assistant Screening Exam

Note: TA screenings/waivers will not be available between the following dates:

  • November 20 - 28, 2021
  • December 7, 2021 - January 2, 2022

If you believe you qualify for a waiver (click here for criteria), please visit this link to enter your information and schedule an appointment directly with Kristopher.


International graduate students who wish to be appointed as teaching assistants or course assistants must first be screened by EFS for readiness to use English in a teaching role. To make an appointment, a student should visit the following link to enter their information and book an appointment directly with Kristopher Geda.

NOTE:  Students who are native English speakers or who have substantial experience (see below for criteria)in English language environments may request a waiver.

Important Guidelines

  • The TA screening should be taken at least one full quarter before the quarter of the TA assignment if possible.
  • We recommend that prospective TAs notattempt the exam during their first quarter at Stanford unless required by their departments.
  • Prospective TAs with outstanding EFS requirements in basic spoken English courses (EFS 690A, 690B, 693A and 695A) are normally not allowed to take the screening exam. Incoming students who are required to take the EFS Placement Exam must complete that exam first and be free of requirements in the preceding courses. 
  • Students who complete the course  EFSLANG 692, Speaking and Teaching in English, are usually cleared for TAing and waived from this exam unless the instructor determines that sufficient proficiency has not been demonstrated. Contact Kristopher Geda for questions regarding this option. 

The most important factor in taking the exam is for the student to be confident that they command the appropriate level of speaking and listening proficiency to take on the challenging responsibilities of teaching in English. Students who believe their English is insufficient are strongly recommended to take additional EFS courses in listening and speaking prior to attempting the exam.

About the TA Screening

This half-hour English screening involves a simulation of an office-hour interaction between a TA and student, during which time the prospective TA's accuracy, fluency, and communication style are evaluated. The prospective TA should bring an introductory textbook from their field. This book need not be the actual book from a course they might TA or CA for; rather, it should be indicative of the type of content covered in such a course. The examiner will select two sections from the textbook and the prospective TA will be given five minutes to decide which of these to focus on for the simulated office hour. The exam will begin with an oral reading to get a preliminary assessment of the prospective TA's pronunciation. This is followed by the office hour simulation with the examiner in the role of a student. No advance preparation is needed.

The result of the exam and immediate, practical feedback is given, along with recommendations. Those who need additional English preparation will be required to complete EFS 692 Speaking and Teaching in English or other EFS courses, such as Pronunciation. Until such requirements are completed the student cannot receive a TA appointment; however, they may be appointed as a CA (Course Assistant) if the examiner clears that option.

Retesting prior to fulfilling the requirements is normally not allowed until at least one quarter has passed, and students may ask to be retested only once before fulfilling their requirements.

Click here to request and schedule a TA screening.

--> Note - 18 August 2021 <--

Please be aware that TA screening appointments are limited at this time due to English language placement testing. More appointments will become available beginning September 14 and continuing into Fall quarter.

Requesting a Waiver

A student requesting a waiver should meet one of the following conditions:

1) being a permanent resident or DACA recipient,

2) completing five or more years of study in the United States or another English-speaking country, or

3) having five or more years of professional experience in English (or a combination of (2) and (3) exceeding five years).

Click here to request and schedule a TA waiver.


Faculty or staff questions regarding TA clearances should be addressed to Kristopher Geda, EFS Coordinator