In contrast with traditional exam preparation, the Test of Interactive English (TIE) requires task based preparation on the part of the learner and the teacher’s guidance and support respectively. Therefore, learners should be encouraged to select the content of the test material (news story, book) they will be tested on which appeals to their own interests. The primary objective is that the learners bring their own interests into the classroom and thus perceive the learning procedure as an enjoyable experience.
Preparing the Book and the News Story
The Book that the candidates may choose can be on any subject and genre – Fiction/ non-fiction books, original texts or graded readers are all acceptable. On our website, www.tieexams.gr, you can see an indicative list of books candidates can choose from. On the day of the exams, it is necessary that candidates bring with them the book they have chosen.
Candidates should also select a news story that they can follow on an online source. The topic of the news story may vary – sports, science, business, technology or even showbiz news – anything that appeals to the candidates’ interests is eligible. The sources that the candidate has used must be stated as well as the title/topic and dates of the articles. It is important to point out that it is mandatory for learners to follow their news stories from two different sources.
Dos and Don’ts
Focusing on the written part of the examination, candidates are expected to write a letter/email/article/essay etc. on the book they have read or the news story. In their produced texts they need to ascertain that they:
- do not solely reproduce the story
- do not copy/ plagiarize sections from the story
- do not include parts of the story which are not relevant to what the task requires
- produce text that is relevant to the task question
- actively engage with their materials by using them to provide examples, justify or support their point of view
- address the task directly and express their personal viewpoint
It is important to remember that candidates are assessed on the level of English they used to write about the book/news story and not on the level of the materials they have chosen. More specifically, candidates’ assessment is based on the following criteria: Visual Reception, Production & Text organization, Task Achievement, Grammatical Accuracy & Complexity, Lexical Range & Appropriacy and Orthographic Control & Punctuation. In the following example, we can see how these criteria are applied:
You would like to participate in a blog discussion where people post their opinion about the books they have read. Write a text for the blog explaining what you didn’t like about the book you read.
I have recently read a high fantasy novel titled “The Chronicles of Narnia: The lion, the witch and the wardrobe” written by C.S Lewis. The story revolves around four siblings who enter the mystical land of Narnia through a wardrobe and their adventures to set the land free from the enchantment of the white witch. Although the book is brilliant, I did not like its ending.
At the end of my book, the young brothers, Peter and Edmund fight against Jadis, The white witch. When Aslan, the great lion enters the battlefield, it runs after Jadis and kills her. The prophecy is fulfilled and Narnia is free again. Aslan crowns the four children the first Kings and queens of Narnia and leaves after the ceremony. I was really disappointed when Aslan disappeared for no apparent reason! The only explanation might be that he is not a tamed lion. Beyond this fact, another point which made me dislike the book’s ending was the reign of the siblings. Although the writer gives a detailed account on the three-day stay of the children in Narnia the fact that twenty years of reign pass like water, was rather abrupt.
All in all I enjoyed my book thoroughly except for its ending as it was predictable that the Children would leave Narnia. Moreover, I would have liked that the four children stayed in Narnia. At least I was pleasantly excited that these adventures were only the beginning for the children and C.S Lewis definitely kept his promise.
This is an example of a fully satisfactory script. The candidate has successfully incorporated in his/her text the parts of the story that are relevant to the task question. What is more, he/she has effectively used those parts as reference in order to comment on his/her book and express as well as support his/her personal point of view.
In conclusion, in order to boost the learners’ best performance, it is important to remember that learners should be a) encouraged to make the choice of their materials, b) trained to read task instructions carefully and provide replies that meet task requirements and c) in the position to refer to their materials in order to discuss their content in support of their answers.