KHas Proficiency Exam Information for Teachers/Students
Listening Section (30 %)
Listening One – While Listening (13%)
Text – “Listening One” is a discussion between a lecturer and a student, talking about a current assignment for a content course. The theme relates closely to some of the major subject areas students will study in their Freshman year - a major aspect of history or science. However, they will be able to answer all the questions without any specialist knowledge. The length of the discussion is 14-16 minutes. They will listen to it only once.
Questions – There are 10-12 questions which may need a short answer or require filling in gaps in a sentence. They will address the content of the topic, and the lecturer’s/student’s views/attitudes/reactions to the topic. There will be 3 minutes to read the questions before the discussion begins. The order of the questions will be the same as the order of the information in the discussion. There will be 3 minutes to check their answers after Listening One is over.
Purpose – This part of the exam tests how well test-takers can identify and extract main ideas and important details from a discussion in an academic context, as well as how well they can follow a discussion. This skill is necessary because in the Freshman year and afterwards, students need to be able to participate in discussions with their tutors and teaching assistants on academic topics, trying to understand main points and supporting examples.
Listening Two – Lecture and Note-taking (17%)
Text – “Listening Two” is a lecture, related closely to some of the major subject areas students will study in their Freshman year - a major aspect of history or science. However, they will be able to answer all the questions without any specialist knowledge. The length of the lecture is 15-18 minutes and they will listen to it only once.
Questions – There are 8-12 questions which may need a short answer or require filling in gaps in a sentence. They will address the content of the topic and the lecturer’s views about the topic. Students will have 1 minute to read the note-taking headings before the lecture begins. After the lecture, are given 15 minutes to answer the questions by using the notes they have made. The order of the questions will be the same as the order of the information in the lecture. The response format will be short-answer and/or gap-fill.
Purpose – This part of the exam tests how well they can identify the main ideas and important supporting information in an academic lecture. This skill is necessary because in the Freshman year and afterwards, students need to be able to follow their tutors’ lectures in English and take notes from them, trying to understand main points and supporting examples.
Reading Section (40 %)
Part 1 - Skimming (15%)
Input Response Format Test Construct
• Science/social science theme
• Clearly organized text of 5-6 pages with strong internal coherence (probably from an undergraduate textbook) • Matching headings with paragraphs
• 7-9 items
• Questions will NOT follow the order of the text. • To locate quickly the main ideas in a text
• To determine which part(s) of a text is worth reading for a specific purpose
• For Skimming purposes, authentic texts will be used, i.e. undergraduate textbooks, although other appropriate sources may be used e.g. popular science or social science journals / publications, The Economist etc.
• This section aims to test whether students can cope quickly, selectively and effectively with extended amounts of text in order to determine what is worth reading, or whether a text (or certain parts of a text) is appropriate to read for a specific purpose.
• The task emphasizes the locating of information rather than deeper processing of the text, hence the need for a time-limit.
• The task expects students to do top-to-bottom and bottom-up processing of the text.
• Aims to mirror the reading demands of Freshman University Courses where students need to process large amounts of text in order to locate information and ideas of relevance to their studies, e.g. where to find ideas that may be used in writing or discussion.
Part 2 - Detailed Reading (25%)
Text - There will be two texts (Text A and Text B), 2-3 pages per text, which have a similar theme. Each text deals with a different aspect of that theme. For example, if the theme of the Detailed Reading section is the ‘Industrial Revolution’, one of the texts might be about the ‘Industrial Revolution in Britain’ and the other one might be about the ‘Industrial Revolution in France’.
Questions - There are 4-6 detailed reading questions on each text (Tasks 1 and 2). The order of the questions will be the same as the order of the information in the text(s). The response format might be short-answer, gap-fill of multiple-choice.
Task 3 asks students to complete a short gapped text based on some of the important information from Text A and Text B. Students will need to be able to pay attention to the similarities and differences in the information provided in the texts.
Purpose - The themes and the types of text in the Detailed Reading part are similar to some of the major themes and texts that students will study in the Freshman year. However, it is important to stress that this is a reading test and they will be able to answer all the questions without any specialist knowledge of these areas. The main subject areas are:
- major events in history (the causes / effects of social, political and economic change e.g. the family, the Renaissance, wars, revolutions, etc.; comparative history e.g. industrialization in two different countries)
- science and technology (e.g. biology, psychology, and environmental issues)
- psychology (e.g. personality, theories, history)
Writing Section (30%)
Question - One 350-word response in which the sts are asked about one of the following:
• the causes of something
• the effects of something
• the similarities between two things
• the differences between two things
• the solution to a problem.
To answer the question, they do not need to have any specialist knowledge about the subject.
Instead they can use their background knowledge. They will be graded according to:
• how clearly they explain their ideas
• how fully they develop their ideas
• their use of language.
Purpose - In the Freshman year, students will need to write different types of academic texts in
English. The question in this section is designed to test some of the academic written English skills that they will need later, especially language and organization of ideas.