The International Teaching Assistant Oral Interaction (ITAOI) exam is available to international students who wish to be teaching assistants at MSU and who have successfully completed AAE 451 or AAE 452, offered by MSU’s Teaching Assistant Program.

For more information, please view the ITAOI Exam Summary and Sample Tasks (PDF)

Policies and Procedures

For Departments:

Registration is required. Qualified students may register for the ITAOI exam, starting 3 weeks before the test date, online at the MSU Speaking Online Test System

Next Test Dates:   

  • 2024
    • Monday, November 25, 2024: Registration will be open from November 4 to 15.

If you have any trouble registering for the test, please email at

Note: For ITAOI exam results, the ELC also administers an appeal process in cooperation with the Graduate School. Please see the section Appeal Procedure by Review Board.


Before the test:

I am enrolled in an ITA support course (AAE 451 or AAE 452) and will take the ITAOI this semester. Is the ITAOI a final exam for this course?

No. The ITAOI is not a final exam and will not affect your grade in either AAE 451 or AAE 452.

What if I don’t successfully complete the ITA course I’m enrolled in? Can I still take the ITAOI?

No. Successful completion of either AAE 451 or AAE 452 is required.

I am currently enrolled in, and plan to successfully complete, an ITA support course. May I take the MSU Speaking Test instead of the ITAOI?

Yes. However, Graduate School policy limits ITA testing to one test in any two-month period. This means you cannot take both the ITAOI Test and the Speaking Test in the same semester.

How can I be sure the 6 teaching concepts I will have to choose from are appropriate for me and my field of study?

The ELC Testing Office consults directly with individual departments to assess the appropriateness of teaching concepts assigned to prospective ITAs during ITAOI administration. Students with specific concerns in this area are invited to email related questions to the ELC Testing Office at The Testing Office may consult with a student’s advisor or other departmental representative regarding these questions.

On the day of the test:

After I receive the email containing my choice of teaching concepts one hour before the test, may I consult the internet while preparing my lesson?   


Will I be able to use my notes during my presentation?

Yes. You may make notes on your own notecards or a sheet of paper to use during the test.

Am I required to create slides or use electronic images in my lesson?

No. You are welcome to draw a simple visual with chalk or whiteboard marker. It’s up to you how you would like to present your topic.


Will the quality of my visual aids be evaluated? No. The visual aids are meant to support your teaching. The quality and clarity of speech while explaining and referring to the visuals will be evaluated, but not the visual aids themselves.


How many visual elements should I include in my teaching? You may choose to include 1-3 pre-prepared visual elements during the teaching task. You may also use the chalkboard to write and draw freely during the exam. You may choose any combination of presentation mode for the visual elements of your lesson (projector and/or chalkboard).


Will I have access to a computer or projector during my presentation? Will I be able to project a slide or image to provide visual support to my teaching?  

You will have access to a classroom computer and projector during the ITAOI. Use of personal tablets, phones, and other electronic devices during the exam is not permitted.

If I choose to prepare visual aids in advance, how will I access them during my lesson? If you choose to prepare slides or other digital visual elements to use while teaching, slides must be uploaded to a shared folder before the start of the test. A link to this folder will be provided in the email you will receive 1 hour before the test. Your uploaded digital visual aids will only be accessible to the examiners and to you (not to other examinees).

If I want to draw some visual aids on the board before I begin my presentation, will there be time to do so?   

Yes. You will be given up to two minutes to prepare for the teaching demonstration by writing on the board.

Who are the examiners?

You will interact with two examiners, who act both as raters and students. All examiners have extensive experience in the field of English as a Second Language and have received additional training on the administration of the ITAOI from the ELC Testing Office.

I know the examiners will ask some questions during my teaching presentation. Won’t their questions affect the time I have to finish my planned presentation?

Just as in an actual classroom setting, your teaching plan may be affected by questions from your audience. The examiners are aware that their questions affect the time you have to cover the material you planned. You will have two minutes at the end of the lesson to summarize the main points that you have covered so far. You will not be penalized if you run out of time.

Will anyone other than the examiners be in the room during the exam?

No. There will be three people in the room while the ITAOI is administered: two examiners and one examinee.

After the test:

When will my results be available?

Results are released to departments through the online Speaking Test/ITAOI registration system within five business days of test administration. Students can view these results once their departments release them (i.e., make them viewable). If you are unable to view your test results one week after the test, please contact your department about their policy on releasing Speaking Test/ITAOI results directly to students.

If I do not receive a score of 50 or higher, may I take the ITAOI again?

Yes. Students who score below 50 on their first ITAOI may retake the test one time in an attempt to meet MSU’s spoken language proficiency requirement for Teaching Assistants. As with the MSU Speaking Test, the student’s hiring/home department must approve the student’s test registration through the online registration system.