Language Competency Exam English

Test Structure and Assignments:

The English Language Competency Exam consists of written and oral part and usually starts promptly at 9:00 Saturday mornings. Please be sure to arrive at the testing location on time as latecomers will not be admitted.

The written test consists of three parts and lasts approximately 90 minutes. It includes listening comprehension, reading comprehension and a written essay. Recommended time allocation for each of these test parts is as follows:
Listening Comprehension - 25 minutes
Reading Comprehension - 25 minutes
Written Essay - 40 minutes
The examiners will not engage in strict monitoring of the time each participant spends on these separate assignments. However, all participants are encouraged to pace themselves accordingly to ensure that all required tasks are completed within 90 minutes from the start of the exam. Candidates are strongly advised to spend at least 10 minutes at the end of the exam to review and proof their work for accuracy and correctness.

Important: Please be advised that your speaking interview will take place after all of your written tests have been corrected and graded. Depending on the number of participants on any given day, you may be invited for your speaking interview in the early afternoon of the same day. The interview lasts approximately ten minutes, following which, providing that all of your requirements for the test have been fulfilled, your Language Competency Certificates will be issued immediately on the spot. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we work to make the testing procedure as efficient as possible.

The following assignments are included:

1. Listening comprehension. You will hear a text and/or several recorded dialogues. The tasks will include multiple choice and open-ended questions. Please read the assignment text carefully and be sure to closely follow the instructions of the examiner as this will largely determine your success in the listening comprehension section.

2. Reading comprehension. You will be given one or more short texts to read. The texts will be followed by multiple-choice, true/false/not given, matching or open-ended questions. Please note that no prior knowledge of the subjects of the texts is necessary as all information the candidates need to know in order to successfully answer the questions will be given or can be inferred from the texts.

3. Writing. You will be asked to write a well-structured essay consisting of about 200-250 words with at least three distinct paragraphs (introduction, main part and conclusion). There will be a choice of three essay topics, of which you will be asked to choose only one (please do not write on more than one topic!). The types of essays participants may be assigned to write may include a personal experience essay, an opinion essay or an argumentative (pro/con) essay. Please remember to answer your essay questions completely to the point, use formal academic writing style, appropriate transition words and phrases, correct grammatical and sentence structures, as well as proper spelling and punctuation. Since there are no specific grammar and vocabulary exercises in the test, both grammar and vocabulary will be evaluated based on your writing and speaking assignments.

4. Speaking. Your speaking ability will be evaluated either based on a brief conversation with your instructor, or based on a short (about 2-3 minutes) oral presentation on an assigned topic, followed by a question-answer session. The total interview time for each individual participant is not expected to exceed approximately 10 minutes. Please bear in mind that successful presentations usually have a similar structure to written essays -- at least three distinct parts with an introduction, main part and a conclusion.

As a general rule, in order to qualify for a C1 certificate, participants must achieve a score of 17 points out of 20 for ALL four skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. A lower score for any of the four skills will result in a lower-level certification. We appreciate your understanding and support as we try to make the exam fair and transparent for all participants.

Recommended Preparation Materials:

In preparation for the English Language Competency Exam at the Sprachenzentrum, participants may use a wide variety of printed or online materials for general standardized tests, such as IELTS, TOEFL or CAE. Textbooks and other academic materials for appropriate levels (B2 or C1) used in university classrooms or other learning institutes for adult education may also come across as quite useful.

Resources in print (available for purchase in bookstores or in online stores):

For Grammar: Raymond Murphy, "English Grammar in Use"
For Reading and Writing: "Guidelines: A Cross-Cultural Reader and Writer", edited by Ruth Spack


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73,00 €