Overview of the Writing Test

Eligibility
Only those who score B2 level in both the reading and listening tests will be invited to take the writing test.The writing test is optional.

Content
There are two modules in the writing test:

  • General training
    • Designed for students hoping to join non-degree level orpractical training courses at institutions overseas
  • Academic
    • Designed for students hoping to join undergraduate or postgraduate degree courses at institutions overseas

Test takers should check the requirements of the scholarship they are applying for to ensure they register for the correct module.

For both the General Training and Academic modules, test takers will be required to complete two tasks. (See table below)

Task Types and Length
The writing test targets different kinds of writing behaviour. The test taker is expected to adjust the level of formality and style to meet the task requirements.

Depending on the module taken, test takers may be asked to write an email, letter, essay, leaflet, brochure, article or report on topics such as: work/employment, education, business, finance, current affairs, health and fitness, social issues, environmental issues, current trends, travel/ holidays, culture and traditions.

 

Test takers

Task type

Number of words

Task 1

all test takers

email, letter

200 words

Task 2A

academic module only

essay

300 words

Task 2B

general training module only

article, brochure, leaflet, report

300 words

Link to sample tasks

Criteria of assessment 
The test taker’s level of proficiency is assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Task fulfilment
  • Organisation
  • Grammatical range and accuracy
  • Lexical range, accuracy and appropriateness. 

For example, the test taker is assessed on how well s/he is able to:

  • Meet the task requirements
  • Organise a text effectively, linking sentences into clear, coherent text using a number of cohesive devices and following paragraphing conventions
  • Select and use an appropriate range of vocabulary and structures
  • Use a range of grammatical structures and functions

Link to writing scale

Time
Test takers have 90 minutes to complete the 2 tasks in the test.

Grading and Results
The result will be expressed in terms of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) proficiency scale. The CEFR describes six levels of language proficiency from basic users to independent and proficient users.  The knowledge, competencies and skills of an independent or proficient user are relevant to government officials wishing to undertake practical training or academic courses where English is the medium of instruction. Therefore the DIFA TES focuses on the following three CEFR levels:

  • B1, or Independent User: Intermediate
  • B2, or Independent User: Upper Intermediate
  • C1, or Proficient User: Advanced

Thus each test-taker will receive one of these six possible results:

  • Below B1
  • B1
  • B1+
  • B2
  • B2+
  • C1

Why use the CEFR? The CEFR is an internationally recognised framework of language descriptors that makes it easy to understand what level a test taker is at in terms of their reading, listening, writing and speaking abilities.

You can find out more about the CEFR by following this link:

http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/CADRE1_EN.asp

http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/education/elp/elp-reg/Source/Key_reference/CEFR_EN.pdf

 

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