Welcome to the Northern Virginia Community College Website

Accessibility Navigation:


College ESL - Level 5

  • students taking notes

If your ACCUPLACER ESL placement test result is College ESL Level 5, you have to take these two classes:

ESL 51 Composition III (5 credits)
ESL 52 Reading III (5 credits)

When you enter Level 5, we expect that you are already able to read academic English and are able to handle most texts used in introductory general education courses. We also expect you to be able to read narratives with complex, non-linear structure, extended essays and other opinion-based writing and outside sources for basic research. In your writing, you should be able to express fairly complex ideas with clarity, fluency and logical organization. You should also be able to comprehend academic lectures and participate in class discussions in many college classes.

To complete Level 5, you must take two classes (10 credits). ESL 51 focuses on writing and ESL 52 on reading. In these classes, you will work on responding critically to readings at the college level.

Common Activities in College ESL Level 5 Classes

  • Students read a variety of non-fiction materials with an emphasis on opinion-based writing including essays, newspaper columns and editorials. They also read articles from periodicals and journals, excerpts from academic texts, novels and other works of fiction.
  • They write summaries, critical responses and essays on a variety of topics. The focus is on developing cohesive, well-supported, thesis-driven essays. Students become skillful in drafting, revising and editing techniques.
  • They listen to and take notes on classroom presentations and participate in small and large group discussions.

An additional Level 5 composition course, ESL 58 Writing Workshop II, is available on some campuses to students who do not pass ESL 51. Students who pass ESL 58 do not have to repeat ESL 51.

Students who complete ESL 51 must pass a departmental essay exam and pass ESL 52 in order to be permitted to register for ENG 111. ESL faculty members recommend ENG 111/ENF3 or ENG 111 depending on students’ abilities.

Click on the course names to see the NOVA Course Content Summaries for College ESL Level 5 courses.

ESL 51 Composition III
ESL 52 Reading III
ESL 58 Writing Workshop II

Level 5 students may also register for ESL 72 Spelling and Vocabulary, ESL 73 Accent Reduction, ESL 35 Applied Grammar I and ESL 45 Applied Grammar II. Click here to find out more about College ESL elective classes.