Level A1

 

Reading

The reading test consists of 3 tasks, and takes a total of 25 minutes. The candidates may use printed (i.e. non-electronic) dictionaries throughout the Reading Test.

Task 1 – Short texts

There are five short notions about the meaning of well-known signs for which the candidates must find the picture of a sign from a choice of seven. There is one example, and one picture is not needed.

The task tests the ability to understand short descriptions of signs.

Task 2 – Scan Reading

The candidate reads eleven short statements on a single topic and sees four-six visual information sources (e.g. timetables or train tickets). The candidate’s task is to decide to which picture each piece of information relates. An example is provided.

The task tests scanning for specific information.

Task 3 – Multiple-Choice Reading

The candidate answers five multiple-choice comprehension questions supported by a visual aid (e.g. a postcard or a photo) to complete a single text of 120-150 words, normally an informal letter.

This task tests detailed comprehension, overall understanding and the interpretation of text related to a picture.

Writing

The writing test consists of two tasks and takes 20 minutes. The candidates may use printed (i.e. non-electronic) dictionaries throughout the Writing Test.

Task 1 – Form Filling

There is a form to be filled in with ten personal pieces of information. This task tests communicating basic personal information.

Task 2 – Picture Story

Candidates write a simple story based on a series of four pictures about simple, every- day, familiar topics. There is a starting sentence for them.

Listening

The listening test consists of 3 tasks, and takes a total of approximately 35 minutes. Candidates listen to recorded material and complete a task sheet. The candidates may use printed (i.e. no electronic) dictionaries during the last five minutes of the test.

Task 1 – Short Conversations

The candidate listens twice to six short recordings (one is an example) about a photograph or everyday objects and matches each conversation with one element of the photo, or one of five pictures.

This task involves listening for overall understanding.

Task 2 – Making notes

The candidate listens twice to a dialogue or an extended monologue. There are notes or questions based on the text which should be completed by five pieces of specific information. Each gap requires a single word, which the candidate must write while listening.

This task tests understanding the main points of a text, picking out important specific information and following very simple discourse.

Task 3 – Multiple-Choice Listening

The candidate listens to a monologue or a dialogue, and chooses the right answer by ticking one of three pictures. The recordings are played twice.

This task tests understanding the main points, listening selectively, understanding and utilising features of redundancy and understanding detail.

Speaking

The Speaking Test consists of four parts.

Task 1 – Interview

The interlocutor asks each candidate alternately four questions about everyday life.

This task tests talking about everyday life.

Task 2 – Presentation

Each candidate has a choice of two everyday topics (e.g. family, home, daily routine, etc.). They prepare a fluent one-minute speech about one of them in ten minutes before the exam, and present it in the exam room. The candidates may use printed (i.e. no electronic) dictionaries during the preparation.

This task tests the candidate’s ability to speak freely about their personal lives.

Task 3 – Transactional Dialogues

The interlocutor reads four very simple everyday situations, where candidates have to either respond to the interlocutor’s prompt, or initiate a three-turn dialogue.

This task tests the candidate’s functions in very simple everyday situations.

Task 4 – Picture Description and Discussion

Each candidate is given a picture with ten differences between the two, and five-five information-gap prompting words about the differences. They have to find the ten differences by forming simple sentences about the pictures.

This task tests the candidate’s ability to request and provide information about locations, appearances and actions.

 

Overview of exam

Test

Number of tasks

Time (minutes)

Marks

Reading

3

25'

25

Writing

2

20'

25

Listening

3

35' approximately

25

Speaking

4

20'

25

Total

 

1h 40 min + breaks

100

 

Level descriptors

 

A1 level

Listening

Can follow speech which is very slow and carefully articulated, with long pauses for him/her to assimilate meaning. Can understand instructions addressed carefully and slowly to him/her and follow short, simple directions. 

Reading

Can understand very short, simple texts, a single phrase at a time, picking up familiar names, words and basic phrases and rereading as required. Can understand short, simple messages on postcards. Can get an idea of the content of simpler informational material and short simple descriptions, especially if there is visual support. Can follow short, simple written directions (e.g. to go from X to Y).

Spoken Interaction

Can interact in a simple way but communication is totally dependent on repetition at a slower rate of speech, rephrasing and repair. Can ask and answer simple questions, initiate and respond to simple statements in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.

Spoken Production

Can produce simple, mainly isolated phrases about people and places.
Can describe him/herself, what he/she does and where he/she lives. Can read a very short, rehearsed statement – e.g. to introduce a speaker, propose a toast. Can make an introduction and use basic greeting and leave-taking expressions. Can ask how people are and react to news.
Can understand everyday expressions aimed at the satisfaction of simple needs of a concrete type, delivered directly to him/her in clear, slow and repeated speech by a sympathetic speaker.

Writing

Can write simple isolated phrases and sentences. Can write simple phrases and sentences about themselves and imaginary people, where they live and what they do. Can ask for or pass on personal details in written form. Can write a short simple postcard. Can write numbers and dates, own name, nationality, address, age, date of birth or arrival in the country, etc. such as on a hotel registration form.