Language Proficiency Examinations (LPE)


Language Proficiency Examinations (LPE) Preparation programme

Language Proficiency Examinations (LPE)
Enrolment period: 10 April - 3 May 2017

We are pleased to announce the registration period for the 2017 Language Proficiency Examinations (LPE).

The purpose of the LPE is to test candidates' written and spoken knowledge in any of the six official languages of the United Nations.

The written part of the 2017 LPE is scheduled to be held as follows:
Tuesday, 5 September 2017: Chinese, English, Russian
Wednesday,6 September 2017: Arabic, French, Spanish

Enrolment procedure:  https://hr.un.org/page/language-proficiency-examination-lpe


Timeline icon LPE - Process and Timeline

Applicants should determine their eligibility for 2017 LPE and prepare required supporting documentation before registration period begins. Any questions applicants may have should be addressed to the Test Site‘s Local Administrator.  For detailed information, please click on the appropriate steps in the table below:


2017 LPE - Process and Timeline

24 March 2017

1. Announcement of participating test sites and fee-paying entities

24 March - 10 April 2017

2. Applicants should determine their eligibility, prepare supporting documents and update their Inspira profile

10 April - 3 May 2017

3. Applicant registration period

10 April - 10 May 2017

4. Screening of applications by Local Administrators (applicants should monitor their email messages)

11 - 17 May 2017

5. Final chance for applicants to respond to pushed-back applications, if applicable

18 - 24 May 2017

6. Final screening of pushed-back applications by Local Administrators

6 - 12 June 2017

7. Endorsement of registration fee by fee-paying entities

30 June 2017

8. Checking final convocation/rejection status in Inspira

Before 5 September 2017

9. Exam Preparation

5 - 6 September 2017

10. Administration of written exam

1 August  - 13 October 2017
(depending on Test Site)

11. Administration of interviews

February 2018

12. Announcement of results


Applicants should regularly check their emails and LPE website for updates. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure their email contact information in Inspira is correct, to ensure proper communication.


The written part of the LPE consists of a series of multiple-choice questions covering listening comprehension, a composition, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar.
Subtest I : Listening Comprehension (25 points) (40 minutes)
The listening comprehension subtest consists of a series of recorded texts followed by multiple-choice questions. The texts will test comprehension of dialogues, single sentences, news items and an interview. You will hear each text twice and you may take notes. The answers to these and to all other multiple-choice questions will be marked on a separate answer sheet. The approximate length of the listening comprehension subtest is forty minutes, the exact time depending on the length of the recorded texts. A pause is provided after each question for you to select your response.
Subtest II : Composition (20 points) (50 minutes)
For the composition you will be given two topics, each related to work or personal experience. After choosing one topic, you will write at least 200 words in the examination booklet provided. Your writing will be principally judged on the basis of your control of vocabulary and syntax, the coherence of your paragraphs and your range of expression.
Subtest III : Reading Comprehension (30 points) (60 minutes)
In the reading comprehension subtest, you will be given several passages to read. Most of the passages will be one or two paragraphs long while the remaining passages will each be five paragraphs long. After each of the shorter paragraphs, you will answer one or two multiple-choice questions, and after each of the longer passages, you will answer up to seven multiple-choice questions. The suggested time for this section, sixty minutes, should be ample for you to read the texts and mark your answers.
Subtest IV : Vocabulary (10 points) (15 minutes)
The vocabulary subtest is made up of two types of questions. For the first ten questions, you will be asked to select the word which most logically and appropriately completes each sentence. In the following ten questions, you will choose the word closest in meaning to the underlined word in each sentence.
Subtest V : Grammar (15 points) (25 minutes)
In the grammar subtest, you are given thirty sets of sentences. One of the sentences in each set is incomplete. You are to select the word or words that best fit the context both from a syntactic and logical point of view.
The oral part of the proficiency examination consists of an interview up to 12 minutes long, conducted by one person. The purpose of the oral part is to obtain a sample of the candidate''s linguistic competence in the language being tested. In order to preserve the anonymity of the candidates and to ensure that the grading of the oral part is fair and objective, the interview will be recorded and all recordings will be coded and corrected anonymously. United Nations Headquarters will then listen to the recorded interview and evaluate it on the basis of fluency, comprehension, correctness and range of expression. As fluency and range of expression are important components of the overall evaluation, it is in your best interest to speak as much as possible during the interview. This will also give the evaluators the largest possible sample on which to base their evaluation.

LPE contact information
For inquiries from individuals at UNHQ: email unlpeny@un.org
For inquiries from individuals based at other duty stations: email your local LPE Administrator

Frequently Asked Questions
Visit the FAQs page and look under Examinations > Language Proficiency Examination

Important documents: