International Relations Directorate

International Students FAQ for Proficiency Exams

1. I am a newly registered international student. When is my English/Turkish Proficiency Exam?

If you have completed your registration, the Registration Office must have sent a Registration Completion Document to your ISU e-mail address. Please see that document for the date of your exam. You need to contact the Registration Office if you have not received your Registration Completion Document.

2. Why do I need to take an exam?

Like all students, international students are expected to prove the necessary language skills in the medium of instruction of their departments to start and continue their studies. These language skills are academically focused and crucial for students to get the most out of their education in the upcoming years. As the Foreign Languages Department, we administer Proficiency exams in English and Turkish to assess these academic skills in the target language.

3. What does The Istinye University English Proficiency Exam (ISTEP) look like? What should I do to pass?

We administer two exams on the assigned exam dates. On the exam date, you will first take an online Cambridge Placement Test (CEPT Reading and Listening) to understand your level. If you are B1 and above, you will be eligible to take a writing exam right after the placement test to prove your Academic Writing skills. In the Writing Exam, you will be asked to write an essay. If your calculated score proves a minimum of B2-level English proficiency, you will be exempt from the English Preparatory Program and start your studies in your own department right away. If not, you will be assigned to classes appropriate for your level and study in the Preparatory Program in the following year.

4. How can I prepare for the ISTEP?

The Istinye University English Proficiency Exam (ISTEP) is a skills-based test that is composed of 3 parts: listening, reading, and writing. You can see a sample of the online Placement Test (Reading & Listening) here:

5. Can I change my ISTEP date?

International students are expected to take the exam on their assigned date. If you have an emergency that keeps you from being on campus that day, you should contact Binnaz Posul (, International Students Responsible, to carefully explain your emergency and ask for a change. Please be reminded that students are advised to take the exam by the time the Preparatory Program classes start (please see ISU Academic Calendar for the dates).

6. How am I going to know my results?

All results are announced on the website of the Istinye University Foreign Languages Department ( The Placement Test results are announced shortly after the test, and students need to follow the announcements carefully to see whether they are eligible to take the Writing exam on the same day. They can see their final results on the same website.

7.What happens if I can’t pass the ISTEP? Can I take it again before the beginning of the semester?

International students who cannot prove B2-level English proficiency in the ISTEP exam will be entered into the Preparatory School and should wait for the class lists announcement later for their Preparatory School Classes. These students cannot retake the exam and will follow the exam calendar of the Preparatory School once they start their Prep. School education.

8. I missed the exam written on my Registration Completion Document, and I am out of town. What am I going to do?

Although it is crucial for the students to take the exam assigned to them, it is not the end of the world if you miss it. If you miss your exam date you should contact Binnaz Posul (, International Students Responsible, once you are in Turkey and ready to take the exam to be added to the list for the upcoming exam. Please do not send any notifications before then and remember to include your student number in your email.

9. Can I prove my English proficiency in another way?

Students can submit an official TOEFL score (either the TOEFL iBT or TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition) to be exempt from the Istinye English Proficiency Exam (ISTEP) and the English Preparatory Program. The minimum score for admission is 75 on the Internet-based tests. Please note that official TOEFL scores must be ordered from ETS and sent to Istinye University Foreign Languages Department Undergraduate Organization (reporting code C821). Unofficial score report copies or other English proficiency exams (IELTS, PTA, etc.) are not accepted.