WPLN is a test to show your English proficiency.

This can be important in a number of ways. A WPLN score is a  requirement if you want to join most WSQ courses

Also, if you employ non-Malaysian work permit holders in the F&B, Retail or Hotel industry, you can lower your foreign worker levy when your employees have a sufficiently high WPLN score.

If you need that WPLN cert, knowing what you are getting into and how to make the best of it is essential.

WPLN is an English proficiency test by SkillsFuture Singapore. Notice the N in WPLN; N means numeracy, so besides an English proficiency test, the test also tests your mathematics. It is not that complicated if you learned mathematics in school before.

Technically, you won’t fail WPLN, but you must score high enough for the cert to make sense.

WPLN scores are divided into eight levels. From Level 1 to 8.



Find out more first before taking the plunge. Don’t be a blind man leading the blind.

What do the levels in WPLN mean?

WPLN is used to rate your English and maths proficiency somewhat similarly to IELTS and TOEFL. This is the framework that Skillsfuture uses for entry into their programs if you do not have an O level certificate.

In a nutshell

Workplace Literacy (WPL) – measures your English literacy (Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing)

Workplace Numeracy (WPN) – measures your Numeracy (How well you deal with numbers)

There are 8 WPLN levels.

Level 1 (Beginner) Level 2 (Elementary)
Level 3-4 (Pre-Intermediate) Level 5 (Intermediate)
Level 6 (Upper-Intermediate) Level 7-8 (Advanced)

Which WPLN level do people usually aim for?

For all intents and purposes, Intermediate Level (WPLN level 5) is what most people aim to obtain first.

Why 5?

Because level 5 is high enough to gain entry to most WSQ courses. Some require only 4, e.g. Private hire driver’s license (PDVL).

Although it is important to aim high in life, there is a vast difference between level 7 and level 3 which could mean several extra years of English training in between, so it is important to find out the exact WPLN level you need.

We set it at WPLN 5 because at 5 you are at the level you are comfortable with listening and speaking English.

It is important to speak English well because if you don’t, you cannot work well with others and can’t take any higher learning courses in Singapore.

How do I improve my level to obtain level 5?

Remember I mentioned that moving from levels 3 to 7 can mean several years of training.

It is not all that surprising if you note that a typical Singaporean kid takes six years of English school to go for PSLE and another four years of secondary school to go for O levels.

Please note that time spent is not only in learning in school, and we can split it into three components:

Small group english class. Teacher and 6 students

Class time

Small group of students doing English language exercises in books.


Women pointing upwards with 1 finger on each hand. One finger points to a text block with "learn grammar", the other to a text block saying "practice speaking"


So when we say you would need an estimated 300 hours to advance to the next English CEFR level, It is 160 – 120 hours of class time, with the remainder consisting of regular practice and revision.

From level 1 to 3 

To break through from 1 (Beginner) to 3 (Elementary) level, you will need at least 300 hours.

From level 3 to 4

Congratulations! You only need around 150 – 200 hours to reach Pre-Intermediate Level.

From 4 to 5

You can speak, read and write but with glaring grammatical errors. You won’t sound professional, but it is good enough for you to get by. People at this level are usually stuck in a rut. It would seem impossible to progress, but everyone can advance to the next level with the right mindset and training. You will need between 200 to 300 hours. Over the years, we have helped many of our Intermediate level students to progress further and received reviews from them. You may find some of them here.

From 5 to 6,7,8

Your English level is quite close to that of a native speaker.

You can speak confidently and write well in various situations.

Students at this level usually attend specialised courses to work on a specific area they wish to hone. Such as pronunciation, email writing or presentation skills.

We run regular courses for students at WPLN level 5.

You may find some of the courses here.


I’m happy you took the first step by completing our English placement test. If you haven’t, click here for the test

Now that you know your average level, don’t you think it is time to advance to the next one?


WPLN Sample test paper

The test is split into six components. Click on each button to see sample exercises.

1. WPL Core Test (grammar and vocabulary)

The Core Test consists of two parts. The first part assesses your knowledge of English
grammar. The second part assesses your knowledge of English vocabulary.

2. WPL Reading Test

This test assesses your reading ability. The tasks become more difficult as the test

3. WPL Listening Test

The Listening Test has four task types. You can choose to listen to the question once or

4. WPL Writing Test

There are four parts to the Writing Test. You will interact in a social media-type written
conversation and write emails. All writing tasks are marked by an examiner.
Make sure you fully understand the questions. Plan what you are going to write and then edit
your writing before clicking to the next question. The most common mistakes include:
• Not answering the questions (going off-topic).
Read the question and understand what you need to do.
• Writing too much but with poor grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Keep to the word count and focus on accuracy.
• Not using a variety of sentence structures.
• Not writing in sentences or paragraphs.
• Using SMS (text messaging) spelling.
The total time allowed for the Writing Test is 50 minutes. The timings for each section below
are recommendations only.

5. WPL Speaking Test

For each question, you are given a maximum amount of time to speak but you can end the
recording early by clicking on a stop button. Please make sure you fully respond to the
question before you stop the recording.
The most common reasons people receive lower scores than they expect include:
• not doing a proper sound check (details on how to do this are shown below)
• not speaking clearly
• not answering the questions
• giving under-length answers – not using the full amount of time to speak
• overusing words such as ‘and’ and ‘so’
• speaking in simple sentence lists
• not using a variety of sentence structures.

WPLN Preparatory Course

Before you take the test, know your target WPLN score. As we said earlier, level 5 is what you should aim for.

Three simple steps

1) Find out the WPLN level you need to achieve.

2) Click here to check your current level quickly with our in-house test.

3) Contact us here if your level test result is lower than your target WPLN level.

WPLN course from other schools

We notice a few schools offering WPLN courses. At this moment, we are not very sure if they are offering a preparatory class or an English class. Do note the time required to “level up”. If you are in level 3 and they promise you can level up in 10 weeks. It is impossible. Imagine it is like asking a primary three student to skip two years and pass a primary four exam. Is it possible? We speak on behalf of an English school that has operated for more than ten years, and we don’t think so.

WPLN level 4 is a requirement to reduce foreign worker levy for hotel, retail and F&B industries

To qualify as higher-skilled workers, non-Malaysian Work Permit holders working in the hotel, retail, and F&B industries must also obtain level 4 of the Workplace Literacy and Numeracy (WPLN) listening and speaking assessments. After taking the test at British Council, they will inform MOM automatically. You don’t need to apply to MOM for conversion to a higher-skilled worker levy. Click here for WPLN test samples.
Malaysia – Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). If you wish to use a diploma or higher qualification, you must produce a copy of the transcript or a letter from the institution stating the course duration. North Asian sources (NAS) – High school certificates People’s Republic of China (PRC) – Diploma
Suppose you do not have the relevant certificates under the “Academic” tab. You can also apply for a part-time Nitec course to qualify for the higher-skilled migrant worker category.
You can also apply for WSQ certificates for the following industries For the landscape industry (SSIC 81300) Higher Certificate in Landscape (Arboriculture) Higher Certificate in Landscape (Horticulture and Turf Maintenance) Higher Certificate in Landscape (Nursery) Certificate in Landscape Operations (This programme is no longer available and valid only for certification obtained before 10 Feb 2022.) For the agri-technology industry (SSIC 01141, 01142, 01149) Higher Certificate in Landscape (Nursery) Certificate in Landscape Operations (This programme is no longer available and valid only for certification obtained before 10 Feb 2022.)
Market-Based Skills Recognition Framework (MBF) Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $1,600. You can update your worker’s salary using WP Online. Has worked in Singapore as a Work Permit holder for at least 4 years. More information here

At English Express and other Crystal Learning language schools, we see language, first of all, as a tool. It is a tool to understand courses you plan to take or to communicate with your colleagues well.

Many students spend money to take the WPLN test but don’t do well because they are not at the correct level.

Over here, we spent years perfecting a test to determine your level. Instead of spending money to do it elsewhere, do it here first for free to quickly find out where you are at now.


Ready to start?

Take our English level test


Completely free


Find out your level here for free and see if you can go for your WPLN test.