Friday, April 5, 2013

Get Certified!

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Dear ESO students,

English has been part of your life for several years now, as you have been dealing with it at school since Primary or even Nursery School in some cases.

However, each individual has their own particular situation: some students learn English exclusively at school, others attend private out-of-school lessons and it is also possible that either mum, dad or close relatives are native English speakers. But are you certain about your English level? “How much” English do you really know?

With the future in mind, you may have thought about officially certifying your English level at some point (thousands of leading businesses and educational institutions around the world require you officially prove your language level). This is the reason why we would like to put forward a brief overview on two of the most well-known exams for this purpose: University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations and Graded Examinations in Spoken English from Trinity College London.


These exams assess your proficiency in the four basic language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Below, there is a summary of the most suitable examinations Secondary School Students may sit:

1-Young learners English (YLE)






Devised for children from 7 to 12 years old. There are three levels:


Listening
(about 20 minutes)
4 parts/20 questions
Reading & Writing
(20 minutes)
5 parts/25 questions
Speaking
(3–5 minutes)
5 parts

-Movers: (level: A1)
Listening
(about 25 minutes)
5 parts/25 questions
Reading & Writing
(30 minutes)
6 parts/40 questions
Speaking
(5–7 minutes)
4 parts

- Flyers: (level: A2)
Listening
(about 25 minutes)
5 parts/25 questions
Reading & Writing
(40 minutes)
7 parts/50 questions
Speaking
(7–9 minutes)
4 parts







·
2-Adult learners

-Key English Test (KET): (level: A1)

Reading and Writing
(1 hour 10 minutes)
9 parts/56 questions
50%
Shows you can understand simple written information such as signs, brochures, newspapers and magazines.
Listening
(30 minutes, including 8 minutes' transfer time)
5 parts/25 questions
25%
Requires you to be able to understand announcements and other spoken material when people speak reasonably slowly.
Speaking
(8–10 minutes per pair of candidates)
2 parts
25%
Shows you can take part in a conversation by answering and asking simple questions. Your Speaking test will be conducted face to face with one or two other candidates and two examiners. This makes your test more realistic and more reliable.


Reading and Writing
(1 hour 30 minutes)
Reading: 5 parts/35 questions
Writing: 3 parts/7 questions
50%
Shows you can read and understand the main points from signs, newspapers and magazines, and can use vocabulary and structure correctly.
Listening 
(30 minutes,
 
plus 6 minutes' transfer time)
4 parts/25 questions
25%
You have to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials including announcements and discussions about everyday life.
Speaking 
(10–12 minutes per pair of candidates)
4 parts
25%
Shows how good your spoken English is as you take part in conversation by asking/answering questions and talking, for example, about your likes and dislikes. Your Speaking test will be conducted face to face with one or two other candidates and two examiners. This makes your test more realistic and more reliable.


Reading 
(1 hour)
3 parts/30 questions
20%
Shows you can deal confidently with different types of text, such as fiction, newspapers and magazines.
Writing 
(1 hour 20 minutes)
2 parts
20%
Requires you to be able to produce two different pieces of writing, such as letters, reports, reviews and short stories.
Use of English 
(45 minutes)
4 parts/42 questions
20%
Tests your use of English with tasks that show how well you can control your grammar and vocabulary.
Listening 
(about 40 minutes)
4 parts/30 questions
20%
Requires you to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials, such as news programmes, presentations and everyday conversations.
Speaking 
(14 minutes per pair of candidates)
4 parts
20%
Tests your ability to communicate effectively in face-to-face situations. You will take the Speaking test with one or two other candidates.

Cambridge also offers the possibility of sitting CAE (Certificate in Advanced English) and PCE (Certificate of Proficiency in English) regarding levels C1 and C2 from the CEFR respectively. However, we chose not to include extensive information about them as these highest levels are not achieved in Secondary School.






This examinations test candidates' ability in listening and speaking. They are one-to-one oral examinations with a Trinity examiner.

There are 12 grades altogether which are linked to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). There are four stages with three grades at each stage: 

Grades 1-3
Grades  4-6
Grades 7-9
Grades 10-12
Initial
Elementary
Intermediate
Advanced
5–7 mins
10 mins
15 mins
25 mins
Conversation
Conversation
Conversation
Conversation




What is A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 and the CERF?
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, abbreviated as CEFR, is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages, put together by the Council of Europe.  Its main aim is to provide a method of learning, teaching and assessing which applies to all languages in Europe. The six reference levels (see below) are becoming widely accepted as the European standard for grading an individual's language proficiency


-For more information on these tests or on your particular English level, you can contact us anytime at school or via email or visit the official websites for Cambridge and Trinity at:


No copyright infringement intended. For educational non-commercial purposes.

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