Comprehensive ALI Online Placement Exam (CALIOPE)

Since January 2020, the Applied Language Institute has been offering its comprehensive online placement exam to all new and interested students. Because it’s online, students can take this exam from anywhere around the world that has internet access. New incoming students will be able to take this exam before coming to Kansas City, thus avoiding jet lag from interfering with their exam performance.

Exam Content and Time

Three language areas are tested separately for a total of 1 hour and thirty minutes maximum.

  • Reading Comprehension (30 minutes)
  • Writing Proficiency (30 minutes)
  • Oral Proficiency (15-30 minutes)

Upon completion, test takers may receive scores within 1-2 business days.

Test Takers

  • Anyone
  • Any ESL-Only or Conditionally Admitted student at UMKC. Check your I-20 to see if you are required to take the test.
  • Any student fully admitted to an academic program at UMKC.

Test Scores

Students will be given exam scores that reflect the ALI level they can be placed into. The exam ranges from Basic (0) to 5.

  • 5 – for graduate students only, one semester of ALI courses, pathway program eligible
  • 4 – highest level for undergraduate students, one semester of ALI courses, pathway program eligible
  • 3 – high-intermediate level, two semesters of ALI courses, pathway program eligible
  • 2 – low-intermediate level, three semesters of ALI courses to fully enroll in undergraduate programs at UMKC
  • 1 – high-beginning level, four semesters of ALI courses
  • Basic – beginning level, five semesters of ALI courses


Students will need a computer with internet access in addition to

  • Webcam
  • Microphone (built-in or headset)
  • Speakers (built-in or headset)

Cost & Limitations

CALIOPE is required for all new incoming students, but any interested student can take the exam at any time. After taking the exam, one’s score is good for 60 days. If students do not enroll in classes within 60 days after taking the CALIOPE, they will need to retake the exam.

  • $50.00 during peak times: approximately during the last 3 weeks in January, the last 2 weeks in May, the first week in June, and the last 3 weeks in August
  • Early Bird Special: use the promo code EARLYBIRD and pay only $30.00
    • The code will only be active 14-60 days prior to the first day of classes for new incoming students.
  • Special discounted rates may apply to UMKC & ALI partner institutions

To pay for the exam, visit our Test Payment website. Test takers must take the exam within 24-48 hours after paying for the exam.

If the Test Payment link does not work, please email

ALI students are not allowed to retake the exam unless they have had an interruption in their studies, such as skipping a semester or leaving mid-semester to come back at a later time. Students should discuss skipping a semester or leaving mid-semester with their academic advisor before leaving the ALI.