What does the examination involve?
Listening – This is a test of listening comprehension in the context of general language proficiency.The test is in four sections.The first two sections are concerned with social needs, while the last two are concerned with situations more closely related to educational or training contexts. Texts include both monologues and dialogues between two or three people, and are heard once only.
Reading – The Academic Reading module consists of texts of general interest dealing with issues which are appropriate for, and accessible to, candidates entering postgraduate or undergraduate courses.The module consists of three passages or sections with forty questions. Question types include multiple choice, sentence or summary completion, identifying data for short-answer questions, matching lists or phrases and identifying writers’ views/attitudes.
A variety of question types are used for the forty items, including multiple choice, short-answer questions, notes/summary/flow chart completion, sentence completion, labelling a diagram and matching.
Writing – Appropriate responses for the Academic Writing module are short essays or general reports, addressed to tutors or to an educated nonspecialist audience.There are two compulsory tasks.Task 1 requires at least 150 words and Task 2, the more heavily weighted, requires at least 250 words. In Task 1,Academic Writing module candidates are asked to look at a diagram, table or data and to present the information in their own words. In Task 2, candidates are presented with a point of view, argument or problem and asked to provide general factual information, outline and/or present a solution, justify an opinion, and evaluate ideas and evidence.
Speaking – The Speaking Module takes between 11 and 14 minutes. It consists of an oral interview between the candidate and an examiner. There are three main parts. Each part fulfils a specific function in terms of interaction pattern, task input and candidate output.
In Part 1 the candidate answers general questions about themselves, their homes/families, their jobs/studies, their interests, and a range of similar familiar topic areas.This part lasts between four and five minutes.
In Part 2 the candidate is given a verbal prompt on a card and is asked to talk on a particular topic.The candidate has one minute to prepare before speaking at length, for between one and two minutes.The examiner then asks one or two rounding-off questions. In Part 3 the examiner and candidate engage in a discussion of more abstract issues and concepts which are thematically linked to the topic prompt in Part 2.The discussion lasts between four and five minutes.