English and Arabic Language Proficiency Tests in Saudi Arabia

The National Centre for Assessment in Higher Education offers proficiency tests in English and Arabic language for non-native speakers. The educational institutions in Saudi Arabia accept these proficiency test scores for admissions.

Standardized Test for English Proficiency (STEP)

The STEP test assesses the English language proficiency of the students. 

Eligibility Criteria

Following students are eligible to take the STEP test:
  • Students who want to apply to the English departments in the higher education institutions in Saudi Arabia are required to take this test. 
  • Students who want an exemption from studying English courses in their respective programmes
  • Students who have applied for English departments and want to get placed as per their relevant level of proficiency must take the test
  • Students who want to apply for post-graduate programmes
  • People who want to work in private sector
  • English language teachers who want to obtain a certificate in English

Tests Times

The standardized test for English proficiency (STEP) is conducted thrice per year. To know the exact test dates, click here.

STEP Structure

The STEP tests has four sections: (percentage of questions)
  • Reading Comprehension 40%
  • Sentence Structure 30%
  • Listening Comprehension 20%
  • Composition Analysis 10%
Duration: 3 hours 

Total no. of questions: 100

Type of questions: Multiple-choice 
Each question has four options; candidates are required to select the right answer form the 4 choices given (A, B, C, D). 

The STEP test sections are:

Listening: A few recordings are played and on the basis of it, candidates are required to answer a few questions.

Reading comprehension: This section consists of a passage. Candidates are required to read and understand the passage, and answer questions accordingly. This section also consists of a few short statements that have 1 to 2 questions. 

Sentence structure: This section requires the candidates to choose the correct answer from the options given as per the correct grammar, and complete the sentences. The grammar points are correct usage of adverbs, verbs, adjectives, gerunds, definite and indefinite articles, subject-verb agreement, and nouns. 

Composition Analysis: This section has questions based on punctuations, capitalization, incorrect structures, and sentence combining or ordering.  


To register for the STEP test, click here.

To know more about the test, visit the official website of the Center.

Arabic Language Test for Non-Native Speakers

This test assesses the Arabic language proficiency of the non-native speakers. Students who wish to study in higher education institutions of Saudi Arabia must take this test (if the language of instruction is Arabic). This test focuses more on the academic knowledge and skills, rather than communication skills. 


The test has three sections (percentage of questions), which are further divided into six parts: 
  • Reading comprehension 40%
  • Writing 35%
  • Listening comprehension 25%
Every part is of 25 minutes

To know more about this test, click here.
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