How much time does the exam take?
TGLS operates a progressive examination format. The total duration of the exam depends on the candidate’s language proficiency. The written components (Grammar and Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension, and Writing) are the most time-consuming. The oral component (Speaking) takes between 10 and 15 minutes. The table below shows the approximate time needed for each part of the exam.
You say that the exam is progressive. What does this mean?
The examination system is designed to test through each language proficiency level. Test questions are arranged from the easiest to the most difficult. The result of the first part of the exam (Grammar and Vocabulary) leads to adjustments in the difficulty level of the rest of the exam. Consequently, this exam part has the most questions and starts with a difficulty level of A1. The difficulty level changes gradually as the candidate’s knowledge increases. When a certain number of mistakes at a given level have been made, a candidate’s level is partially established. The same process is followed for the Reading and the Listening parts of the exam, unless the candidate reached the level of B2 in part 1. In which case, the second and third components start from level B1. The results obtained in the first three exam parts decide the level of difficulty of components four (Writing) and five (Speaking).
What use is the certificate?
Nowadays a foreign language is not just an indispensable skill in a variety of industries but it is increasingly becoming a standard requirement for many companies both home and abroad. A TGLS certificate guarantees a reliable assessment of the language skills declared on every C.V./resumé. Schools and universities, especially those involved in EU Programmes for student development or foreign exchanges, may use such a tool to measure learning progress and to independently and objectively assess language competence at the end of foreign language courses.
Training institutions and project coordinators also make use of TGLS tools to reliably demonstrate that participants have met the requirements of language projects.
Many training courses and European Union projects require an objective evaluation of progress and ability at the end of learning. A TGLS certificate is approved by the EU and external certification adds value to any training course.
Additionally, should a particular programme require it, TGLS entry and exit tests can be carried out either side of a course of study in order to clearly demonstrate what progress has been made.
What are the exam task types?
The Grammar and Vocabulary component features the following task types:
- Filling gaps with words from a box
- Jumbled sentences (ordering words to make a coherent sentence)
- Error correction
- Filling gaps with one word (words are not suggested)
- Single choice questions
- Completing sentences with correct word forms
- Transformation – paraphrasing sentences with the use of a given word
In the Reading Comprehension component the following task types are used:
- Gapped text (filling gaps in a longer text with words from a box)
- Single choice questions (the level of difficulty is adjusted to the candidate’s level)
- True, False, Not Given questions
- Choosing paragraph headings
- Matching sentences to gaps in a text
Listening Comprehension. This component contains the following task types:
- Filling gaps with a missing word, sentence, or number
- Single choice questions
- True, False, Not Given questions
In the Writing component candidates complete two written assignments.
- In the first part they are asked to answer questions with full sentences (lower levels) or write a short essay (higher levels).
- The second task, depending on the level, would be a description of a person, a place, a past event, etc. Or a specific piece of written work, such as a letter, an e-mail, a story, etc.
The Speaking component of the exam is a live structured opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their oral language skills. It is divided into four parts.
- The first part begins with general questions about the candidate’s life, family, job, interests, etc. These questions serve to assess the candidates ability to deal with familiar topics and to help make the candidate feel a little more comfortable.
- In the second part candidates are asked to describe a single picture or compare two pictures. They also need to answer specific questions about the pictures (lower levels) or questions related to the wider topic of the pictures (higher levels).
- The third part features role play which is based on everyday situations (e.g. at the doctor’s, in a shop, on the street, etc).
- The final part is a monologue in which candidates are asked to speak on a given topic for about 30 seconds (lower levels) or one minute (higher levels).
How to prepare for the exam?
TGLS exams are designed in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages and are not based on any specific syllabus. The format allows for a holistic approach to language acquisition and exam preparation, rather than a narrow focus on certain language structures and forms. This approach also means that candidates are rewarded for their entire language repertoire and shows that certified candidates are genuinely competent at the level indicated. A well-balanced combination of theoretical knowledge and practical exercises will provide adequate preparation for the exams. Additional activity, such as reading authentic material, watching/listening to English language films, tv programmes, and the radio, as well as real life communication in a work context or with English speaking friends, can only consolidate the language acquisition process.
What can trainers do to help candidates?
Because of its specific attributes (the progressive nature and identification of a candidate’s current proficiency level) the exam does not require any special preparation. However, language trainers running courses which end with TGLS exams might use widely available course books (e.g. New English File, Cutting Edge, Headway, etc.) as well as sample and past papers of common exams such as KET, PET, FCE, CAE, CPE, TOEFL, TOEIC, etc. They are also advised to use and recommend authentic materials (newspaper articles, websites for language learners, podcasts, etc.).
Is it possible to fail the exam?
TGLS exams are designed to reflect a candidate’s abilities and therefore it is not possible to fail the exam. This is because the level of difficulty is not set before the candidate starts the exam but progresses in accordance with the candidate’s performance.
Does TGLS provide a certificate?
Every exam taker receives a TGLS certificate with a test result showing their actual level of language proficiency. Where we provide examinations for corporations, employers receive a result report instead of a certificate.
What does the test result mean?
- numerically – showing an overall points score between 0 and 450,
- graphically – indicating the specific level achieved in each skill component,
- descriptively – declaring the overall proficiency level according to the CEFR scales A1 to C2
How should the result be interpreted?
As can be seen, a candidate who scored 237 out of 450 points achieved a general English language proficiency level of B1. Grammar and Vocabulary knowledge is well-established and clearly seems to be the candidate’s strong point. Listening and Speaking skills are in accordance with the candidate’s general level of proficiency. However, Reading and Writing skills are weaker areas and indicate something that could be improved. In this way, not only do TGLS certificates focus on what a candidate’s skills are but they also acts diagnostically, identifying areas in which candidates, teachers, and employers can target for improvement.
How long is the certificate valid?
The certificate does not expire or need to be renewed. However, it will become inadequate if the candidate’s proficiency level improves or worsens over time. In this case, the exam could be taken once more in order to upgrade the result.
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