Skills tested

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

understanding short descriptions

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

scanning for specific information

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

detailed comprehension, overall understanding


Preparing Students for the Reading Test

At level A1 candidates are supposed to understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences. For this, besides coursebook materials, students should be exposed to a wide range of text types, both graded coursebook material and from authentic sources.

For understanding the simply worded interpretation of widely known, mostly international signs might be an important reading skill at that low level, and that’s what Task 1 focuses on. Tasks of this type can be found in many coursebooks, and are useful in developing this skill.

To complete Task 2 (Scan Reading) successfully, candidates need to be able to approach the information in a non-linear way – as we often do when we wish to extract some pieces of information. Scanning tasks of the kind that are found in coursebooks are useful preparation; what is essential is that the teacher enforces a time limit, or makes the task a race, so that students are unlikely to approach the text in a linear, word-by- word fashion.

Task 3 (Multiple-Choice) focuses on the candidate’s ability to understand more complex texts, grasp overall meaning.