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Integrated Skills in English (ISE)

Guide for Teachers ISE II (B2)


Reading & Writing | Speaking & Listening

Trinity College London


www.trinitycollege.com
Charity number 1014792
Patron HRH The Duke of Kent KG
Copyright 2015 Trinity College London
Published by Trinity College London
First edition, March 2015

Contents

Contents
ISE II Reading & Writing exam
Overview of the ISE Reading & Writing exam 
Who is ISE Reading & Writing for?
Introduction to ISE Reading & Writing tasks
Glossary of reading skills for ISE II
Glossary of writing aims for ISE II
Candidate profile

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6
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10

Task specifications for ISE II Reading & Writing

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Task 1 Long reading


Task 2 Multi-text reading
Task 3 Reading into writing
Task 4 Extended writing

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Preparation activities for ISE II Reading & Writing

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Task 1 Long reading: Reduce, reuse, recycle 


Task 2 Multi-text reading: Mysterious monsters
Task 3 Reading into writing: Happiness report
Task 4 Extended writing: The advantages and disadvantages of using mobile phones

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ISE II Speaking & Listening exam


Overview of the ISE Speaking & Listening exam

40

Who is ISE Speaking & Listening for?


Introduction to ISE Speaking & Listening tasks
Glossary of speaking aims for ISE II
Glossary of listening skills for ISE II
Candidate profile

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Task specifications for ISE II Speaking & Listening

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Topic task
Collaborative task
Conversation task
Independent listening task

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Preparation activities for ISE II Speaking & Listening

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Topic task: Talking about various topics from healthy eating to extreme sports
Collaborative task: Talking about school uniforms
Conversation task: A conversation about living in society today

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Appendices
Appendix 1 Sample Reading & Writing exam paper

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Appendix 2 Information on the Speaking & Listening exam

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Appendix 3 Suggested grammar for ISE II

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Appendix 4 ISE II Task 3 Reading into writing rating scale

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Appendix 5 ISE II Task 4 Extended writing rating scale

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Appendix 6 ISE II Speaking and listening rating scale

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Appendix 7 ISE II Independent listening rating scale

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Guide for Teachers ISE II

Foreword
Trinitys Integrated Skills in English (ISE) exam assesses all four language skills reading, writing,
speaking and listening. In the ISE exam, all four skills are tested in an integrated way, reflecting
how skills are used in real-life situations.
This guide will:
give you a brief overview of the two modules of the ISE II exam Reading & Writing and
Speaking & Listening
offer some practical advice for preparing students for each task in the exam
provide some example activities that you can use in the classroom.
For more classroom activities to help prepare your students for ISE as well as the exam specifications
documents see www.trinitycollege.com/ISE
Please note that ISE IV has a different format see www.trinitycollege.com/ISE for details.

ISE II Reading
& Writing exam

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Overview of the ISE Reading & Writing exam


Trinitys ISE Reading & Writing exam tests reading and writing skills through an integrated approach,
reflecting the way reading and writing interact in the real world. The ISE Reading & Writing exam is
currently offered at four levels of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) from A2
to C1. The purpose of the exam is to assess candidates skills in reading and writing in the English
language in a context which reflects their real world activity and their reason for learning English.
The reading texts reflect the range of sources a student may encounter in an educational or academic
context and the way that they need to find, select and report relevant and appropriate information.
The writing tasks reflect the kind of activities a student does in a school or college context, such as
essay writing.

Who is ISE Reading & Writing for?


The intended candidate is a young person or adult, typically at secondary school or college who is
using English as a second or foreign language as part of their studies in order to develop their skills
and improve their knowledge of a range of subject areas. The typical ISE candidate is aged between
11 and 19, but may be older.
Candidates at the lower levels of the exam (ISE Foundation and ISE I) are generally young people or
adults in school or college who are taking ISE as part of their preparation for entrance into university
or as evidence to progress to a higher level of English study within their mainstream or English
language school. At the higher levels of the exam (ISE II and ISE III), candidates are typically young
people or adults preparing for further education who are required to prove their English language
proficiency levels within an educational context.

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Introduction to ISE Reading & Writing tasks


The Reading & Writing exam consists of four tasks.
Task 1 is the Long reading task, where candidates read a single text and answer 15 questions. The
aims of this task are to understand the main idea of a paragraph or text and to understand specific
information at sentence, phrase and word levels.
Task 2 is the Multi-text reading task, where candidates read three texts (in ISE Foundation) or four texts
(in ISE I, II and III) and answer 15 questions. The aims of this task are to understand the main idea of a
paragraph or text, to understand specific information at sentence, phrase and word levels and to find
specific information in different texts in order to create a text summary.
Task 3 is the Reading into writing task, where candidates produce a piece of writing based on the three
or four texts in Task 2.
Task 4 is the Extended writing task, where candidates produce a piece of writing in response to a question.
ISE Foundation

ISE I

ISE II

ISE III

CEFR level

A2

B1

B2

C1

Time

2 hours

2 hours

2 hours

2 hours

Task 1

Long reading
300 words
15 questions

Long reading
400 words
15 questions

Long reading
500 words
15 questions

Long reading
700 words
15 questions

Task 2

Multi-text reading
3 texts
300 words
15 questions

Multi-text reading
4 texts
400 words
15 questions

Multi-text reading
4 texts
500 words
15 questions

Multi-text reading
4 texts
700 words
15 questions

Task 3

Reading into writing Reading into writing Reading into writing Reading into writing
70100 words
100130 words
150180 words
200230 words

Task 4

Extended writing
70100 words

Extended writing
100130 words

Extended writing
150180 words

Extended writing
200230 words

Please see pages 8 and 9 for glossaries of reading skills and writing aims for ISE II.

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Glossary of reading skills for ISE II

Reading for general


comprehension

Reading the details of a wide range of lengthy, complex texts likely to be


encountered in social, professional or academic life

Skimming

Reading to get the general meaning of the paragraph, text or infographic


(illustration with text)

Reading for gist

Reading to get the main idea of the paragraph, text or infographic


Quickly identifying the content and relevance of news items, articles and
reports on a wide range of professional topics and decide if closer study
is worthwhile

Scanning

Reading long and complex texts or infographics to find relevant details


Finding information, ideas and opinions from highly specialised sources
on a familiar topic or within his/her field of interest

Careful reading to
understand specific
facts, information
and significant points

Reading to understand specific, factual information at the word, phrase


or sentence level
Reading to understand important points in a text
Looking for main points and clues from context
Identifying which information is factual, which is opinion
Identifying which information is the main point and which information is
an example, or details
Comparing and evaluating information at sentence, phrase and word level
Adapting style and speed of reading to different texts and purposes

Deducing meaning

Inferring meaning, eg the writers attitude, line of argument, mood and


intentions, and anticipate what will come next
Guessing the meaning of unknown sentences, phrases and words from
their context

Understand a range
of texts

Reading specialised articles outside his/her field, with occasional use of


a dictionary to confirm understanding
Reading articles and reports concerned with contemporary problems in
which the writers adopt particular positions or points of view

Summarising

Reading to understand specific, factual information at word, phrase,


sentence and paragraph levels
Reading to identify the main conclusions in clearly structured and
signposted argumentative texts
Synthesising and evaluating information and arguments from a number
of different types of texts
Summarising a wide range of factual and imaginative texts
Commenting on and discussing contrasting points of view and the
main themes

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Glossary of writing aims for ISE II


Reading for writing

Showing understanding of reading texts


Identifying common themes in reading texts
Summarising or paraphrasing ideas from reading texts

Task fulfilment

Answering the question fully


Using the correct number of words to answer the question
Showing awareness of the reader and the purpose for writing

Organisation and structure

Presenting ideas and arguments clearly


Using the best format to fulfil the task
Structuring the writing appropriately, eg using beginnings and
endings and using paragraphs

Language control

Using a range of grammar and vocabulary


Using grammar and vocabulary accurately
Using spelling and punctuation accurately

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Candidate profile
Reading
A candidates who passes ISE II can understand a range of texts on familiar subjects and from a range of
specialised fields. In task 1 and task 2, they are assessed on their ability to read across several texts and
demonstrate a range of reading skills including skimming, scanning, reading for gist, reading for main
ideas or purpose, reading for detail, reading for specific information, inferring and summarising.
A candidate who successfully passes ISE II Reading can:
read with a large degree of independence, adapting style and speed of reading to different texts and
purposes, using appropriate reference sources selectively
scan quickly through long and complex texts, locating relevant details
quickly identify the content and relevance of news items, articles and reports on a wide range of
professional topics, deciding whether closer study is worthwhile
obtain information, ideas and opinions from highly specialised sources within his/her field
use a variety of strategies to achieve comprehension, including listening for main points and
checking comprehension by using contextual clues
summarise a wide range of factual and imaginative texts, commenting on and discussing contrasting
points of view and the main themes
use a broad active reading vocabulary, but may experience some difficulty with low-frequency idioms
understand specialised articles outside his/her field, provided he/she can use a dictionary
occasionally to confirm his/her interpretation of terminology
understand articles and reports concerned with contemporary problems in which the writers adopt
particular stances or viewpoints
paraphrase/summarise ideas, opinions, arguments and discussion

Reading into writing


In addition to the reading skills for task 1 and task 2 (above) and the writing competences for task 4
(below), a candidate who successfully passes ISE II Task 3 Reading into writing can:
identify connections and themes between multiple texts in task 2
identify content from the text in task 2 that is relevant to task 3
synthesise information in task 2 to produce coherent responses to suit the purpose for writing in
task 3 (eg to offer solutions to a problem and/or evaluation of the ideas)

Writing
In task 3 and task 4, candidates are assessed on their ability to write according to four categories:

Reading for writing


Task fulfilment
Organisation and structure
Language control

A candidate who successfully passes ISE II Task 3 Reading into writing and Task 4 Writing can:
synthesise and evaluate information and arguments from a number of sources
express news and views effectively in writing and relate to the views of others
write clear, detailed texts on a variety of subjects related to his/her interests, following established
conventions of the genre concerned
write clear, detailed descriptions of real or imaginary events and experiences, marking the
relationship between ideas in clear, connected text
write an essay or report that develops an argument systematically, with appropriate highlighting of
significant points and relevant supporting detail, giving reasons in support of or against a particular
point of view, and explaining the advantages and disadvantages of various options
evaluate different ideas or solutions to a problem
summarise a wide range of factual and imaginative texts, eg news items, interviews or
documentaries containing opinions, commenting on, discussing and contrasting points of view
arguments and the main themes
summarise the plot and sequence of events in a film or play.
These reading and writing profiles are based on the level Independent User, B2, of the Council of
Europes Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).
The candidate profile above is a simplified version for quick reference for teachers.
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ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Task specifications for ISE II Reading & Writing


Task 1 Long reading
Task

One reading text followed by 15 questions

Text

Genre: The text is complex with factual ideas, opinions, argument and/or
discussion. It is the type of text that the candidate sees in their own educational
context (eg textbook, article, review, magazine, website).
Subject areas for ISE II:

Society and living standards


Personal values and ideals
The world of work
Natural environmental concerns
Public figures past and present
Education

National customs
Village and city life
National and local produce
and products
Early memories
Pollution and recycling

Text length

500 words (approximately), divided into five paragraphs

Number of
questions

15 questions in three sections

Question types

Title matching (Questions 15)


These require the candidate to choose the most appropriate titles for each
paragraph of the text. The text has five paragraphs and there are six titles to
choose from. Some useful reading subskills to practise for this section are:
skimming
scanning
reading for gist
understanding the main ideas of each paragraph.
Selecting the true statements (Questions 610)
These require the candidate to select the five true statements from a list of eight
possible answers. Five statements will be true according to the text and three will be
false. Some useful reading subskills to practise for this section are:
careful reading for specific information
understanding specific, factual information at the sentence level
comparing, evaluating and inferring
distinguishing principal statement from supporting examples or details
distinguishing fact from opinion.
Completing sentences (gap fill) (Questions 1115)
In this section, the candidate completes sentences with a word or phrase taken
from the text (up to three words). Some useful reading subskills to practise for
this section are:
careful reading for comprehension
understanding cohesion via lexico-grammar patterns or collocation
understanding specific, factual information at the word and/or phrase level OR
inferring and understanding across paragraphs (eg writers attitude, line
of argument etc).

Assessment

Each question is worth one mark.

Timing

Candidates are recommended to spend 20 minutes on this part of the exam.

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ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Task 2 Multi-text reading


Task

Four reading texts followed by 15 questions.

Text

Genre: The texts are complex with factual ideas, opinions, argument and/or
discussion of the kind that would be familiar to the candidate from their own
educational context. One text is a mainly visual representation of information with
some text (for example a diagram, drawing, map or table, taken from a textbook, an
encyclopaedia or an online discussion).
Subject areas for ISE II:
National customs
Society and living standards
Village and city life
Personal values and ideals
National and local produce and products
The world of work
Early memories
Natural environmental concerns
Pollution and recycling
Public figures past and present
Education
All four texts are on the same topic and should be thematically linked.

Text length

500 words (approximately) across the four texts.


One text is mainly visual with some written language.

Number of
questions

15 questions

Question
types

Multiple matching (Questions 1620)


In this section, the candidate chooses the most appropriate sentence to describe each
text. Some useful reading subskills to practise for this section are:
skimming
scanning
reading for gist
reading for purpose or main ideas.
Selecting the true statements (Questions 2125)
In this section, the candidate selects the five true statements from a list of eight
possible answers. Five statements will be true according to the text and three will
be false.
Some useful reading subskills to practise for this section are:
careful reading for specific information
understand specific, factual information at the sentence level
Inferring
scanning.
Completing summary notes from a bank of options (gap fill) (Questions 2630)
In this section, the candidate completes sentences with a word or phrase taken
from the text (up to three words). Ten possible answers are given, out of which the
candidate selects the correct five. Some useful reading subskills to practise for this
section are:
careful reading for comprehension at the word and/or phrase level across the
texts
inferring
summarising.

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Assessment

Each question is worth one mark.

Timing

Candidates are recommended to spend 20 minutes on this part of the exam.

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Task 3 Reading into writing


Task

A writing task in which the four texts from task 2 are used to respond to a prompt.
The response should only take information from the texts in task 2.
There is space for planning the response.
The candidate should go back and check the response when they have finished.

Task focus

This section assesses the ability to:


identify information that is relevant to the writing task and common themes and
links across multiple texts
paraphrase/summarise factual ideas, opinions, arguments and/or discussion
synthesise such information to produce coherent responses to suit the purpose
for writing (eg to offer solutions to a problem and/or evaluation of the ideas).

Output length 150180 words


Genre

The writing genre will be one of the following:


descriptive essay
discursive essay
argument essay
report
article (magazine or online).

Timing

Candidates are recommended to spend 40 minutes on this part of the exam.

Task 4 Extended writing


Task

A writing task in which the candidate responds to a prompt.


There is space for planning the response.
The candidate should go back and check the response when they have finished.

Task focus

This section assesses the ability to produce a clear and detailed text following the
instructions. The target language functions that the candidates are expected to use
are: express opinions, evaluation, making suggestions.

Output length 150180 words


Genre

The writing genre will be one of the following:

Topic

informal letter
formal letter or email
review
report.

The writing prompt will be on one of the topics for ISE II:

Timing

descriptive essay
discursive essay
argument essay
article (magazine or online)
informal email

Society and living standards


Personal values and ideals
The world of work
Natural environmental concerns
Public figures past and present
Education

National customs
Village and city life
National and local produce
and products
Early memories
Pollution and recycling.

Candidates are recommended to spend 40 minutes on this part of the exam.

For a sample ISE Reading & Writing exam, please see Appendix 2.
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ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Preparation activities for ISE II Reading & Writing


Task 1 Long reading: Reduce, reuse, recycle
Teacher notes
Level: ISE II
Focus: Task 1 Long reading
Aims: To develop reading strategies by reading a short article about the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse
and Recycle) and answer three sets of questions
Objectives: To scan an article for gist, to skim an article and answer true/false/not given
questions and to skim an article to complete sentences with information from the text
Skill: Skimming and scanning
Topic: Recycling and environmental concerns
Language functions: Giving advice, giving reasons, opinions and preferences
Lexis: Environmental concerns
Materials needed: Whiteboard, pens, slips of paper, one student worksheet per student
and dictionaries
Timing: 60 minutes

Procedure
Preparation
1. Print or copy one worksheet per student.
2. Prepare slips of paper and write one of the following categories on each slip of paper: a group of
teenagers, a group of elderly people, a group of very young children, a group of students, a group
of soldiers, a group of housewives/husbands. There needs to be one slip of paper per two students. You
can repeat the categories if necessary.

In class
1. Explain to the class that today in class they will be doing a reading activity that will help them to
prepare for the Long reading task of the ISE II test.
2. Tell the class they are going to learn about what we should do with the waste and rubbish we
produce. Write waste and rubbish on the whiteboard and elicit the meanings. Ask students to
work in pairs and discuss what they do in their daily life to reduce waste. Carry out feedback as a
group. Write suggestions on the board.
3. Put the following words on the board: deal with, packaging, refuse, borrow, durable,
collection points, create, fibre. These words are in a text about the environment they are going
to read later. Tell the students to discuss the meaning of each word in pairs. Let them look up any
unknown words in a dictionary, if possible.
4. Go over the answers in open-class. Ask concept-check questions for one or two more challenging
words. [Examples of concept-check questions: do you say yes or no when you refuse to do
something? What is another word for create?]
5. Tell the students they are going to read about the three Rs of the environment. Write The three
Rs on the board. Give each student one worksheet and tell them they have two minutes to read
the article. Tell the students they need to answer A. What are the three Rs of the environment?
Stop the students after two minutes and let them write down the answers. Then ask the students to
compare their answers in pairs.
6. Go over the answer together as a class. [Answer: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle]
7. Tell the students they are going to read the article again but now they have more time. Ask the
students to do task B. Tell the students that there are five statements and that they need to say

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ISE II Reading & Writing exam


whether each statement is true, false or not given. Check the students understanding of true,
false and not given.
8. After four to five minutes, ask the students to compare their answers with their partner. Ask five
students to come to the whiteboard and tell them to each write down one answer.
9. Go over the answers together as a class.
10. Tell the class they now need to complete task C which involves them completing the sentences at
the bottom of the page by looking for the information in the text. Do one example together as a
class. Ask the students to compare answers once they have finished.
11. Write the following words on the board: teenagers, the elderly, very young children, students,
soldiers, housewives/husbands. Elicit for each group of people one example of items they use
or buy on a regular basis and write it under the corresponding heading. [Examples: teenagers
fashionable clothes, the elderly newspapers, very young children toys, soldiers bullets,
housewives/husbands a mop.]
12. Now ask the students to work in pairs. Give each pair one of the slips of paper that you prepared
before the class. Tell them they cannot show their slip of paper to the other students. Ask each pair
to brainstorm ideas on what this particular group uses on a daily basis. Then ask the students to
brainstorm ideas on how this particular group can reduce, reuse and recycle.
13. After 5 to 10 minutes ask the students to do present their ideas for the class. The other students
guess which group the presentation is for.

Extension activity
For students who finish the task early, tell them to write one or two True/False questions for the text.
They can then ask their partner the questions and feedback on their answers.

Further support activity


1. Ask stronger students to check the answers of students who are finding the task difficult.
2. Number the lines in the text and ask the students finding the task more challenging to locate the
answers in the text. Alternatively ask them to underline the answers in the text.
3. Tell the students finding the task more challenging that the answer for the gist task can be found in
the first paragraph.
4. Give students finding the task more challenging more time to complete the True/False/Not Given
questions.

Homework
1. Ask the students to look online or in a book for more ideas on how to reduce, reuse and recycle. Ask
the students to report back in the next class.
2. Ask students to find the video of the song Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by Jack Johnson and the lyrics
on the internet. Tell the students to listen to the song while following the lyrics. Ask the students in
the next class if they liked the song.

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ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Student worksheet: The three Rs


The three Rs of the environment
People everywhere in the world produce a lot of rubbish but there is not enough space and
landfills are filling up quickly. If we want to save our planet, then the so-called three Rs are
essential for learning how to deal with the waste we produce. The three Rs are reduce, reuse,
and recycle. Here are a number of tips on what you can do to save the environment.
Reduce
A good place to start is by buying things that dont have a lot of packaging. Then there are items
you may not use very often, so you might as well borrow them from someone instead of buying
them. Nowadays, newspapers can be read online so buying the paper edition is not necessary.
The same goes for emails and hence it is usually not necessary to print them out. Generally, the
use of electricity can be greatly reduced by, for example, turning off lights that are not used.
Reuse
When you go shopping, refuse plastic bags and bring a bag with you instead. If youre not buying a
lot, a bag is not necessary to begin with. Reusable bags should be heavier and more durable. If you
prepare your lunch at home, put it in a plastic lunch box. I always keep shoe boxes as they are great
to store stuff. Many cities have collection points for used clothes. If you have clothes that are still in
good shape, you can bring them to the collection points rather than throwing them away.
Recycle
Recycling is a process that makes it possible to create new products out of old ones. Paper,
aluminum, glass and plastic can often be recycled.
Glass has been used for thousands of years and is relatively easy to recycle. Aluminium can be
recycled quickly and easily. Paper is recyclable but it cannot be recycled forever. The small fibres
in paper eventually become very weak so that they cant be recycled into good paper anymore.
Also, not every type of paper is recyclable as some high-quality paper is too expensive to recycle.
A. Read the text quickly. What are the three Rs of the environment?
B. Read the text again. Are the statements True, False or Not Given?
Statements

True, False or Not Given?

1. The author suggests borrowing certain items rather than buying them.
2. According to the author, shoe boxes can be very useful to store things.
3. Used clothes can be donated.
4. Its not possible to recycle aluminum over and over again.
5. Empty plastic bottles are relatively easy to recycle.
C. Complete the sentences with information from the text.
1.

are almost to full capacity.

2. If possible, try to buy items with little or no


3. Bring your own bag but make sure it is
4. Its a waste of paper if you print your
5. Many cities have
redistributed to people in need.

.
and

.
.

where people can take used garments that are then

6. There is a limit to how many times paper can be recycled because it is made of
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ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Answer key
A. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
B. 1. True 2. True 3. True 4. False 5. Not Given
C. 1. Landfills 2. Packaging 3. Heavy, durable 4. Emails 5. Collection points 6. Fibre

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ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Task 2 Multi-text reading: Mysterious monsters


Level: ISE II
Focus: Task 2 Multi-text reading
Aims: To develop reading strategies by reading texts about mysterious monsters and answering
three sets of questions
Objectives: To scan and skim the four texts and decide which text each question refers to, to
show understanding at sentence level by selecting true statements from a list and to complete
summary notes
Skill: Skimming, scanning and summarising
Topic: Unexplained phenomena and events
Language functions: Speculating and expressing and expanding ideas and opinions
Lexis: Lexis related to mysteries
Materials needed: Whiteboard, pens, one worksheet per student and dictionaries
Timing: 1 hour

Procedure
Preparation
Print or copy one student worksheet per student.

In class
1. Explain to the class that today they will be doing a reading activity that will help them to prepare for
Reading Task 2 Multi-text reading of the ISE II exam. Tell the students that in this part of the exam
they are given four short reading texts with a total length of 450500 words to read and answer
questions on. They have 20 minutes to complete the task. They then use this information in task 3 to
complete a writing task.
2. Tell the students they are going to read about four mysterious monsters. Write monsters on the
board and elicit its meaning.
3. Give each student one worksheet. Ask the students to read the texts quickly to find out what the
four mysterious monsters are. Ask the students to compare their answers in pairs and then give
feedback as a group.
[Answers: 1. A giant worm or slug 2. A lake creature 3. An enormous fish 4. A huge lizard]
4. Write the following questions on the board and ask students to discuss them in pairs for five minutes:
What makes a mysterious monster?
Where is a good place for a mysterious monster to live?
Do you have any mysterious monster stories from your country?
Carry out group feedback.
5. Give each student one worksheet and tell them to complete task A. Tell the students that they need
to decide which text each question is referring to. Tell the students that they are practising their
skimming skills and that this means that they need to read quickly without focusing on details or
words they dont know. Tell the students that they have only three minutes to complete the task.
Stop the students after three minutes and let them write down the answers. Then ask the students
to compare their answers in pairs.
6. Go over the answers together as a class and write the answers on the board.

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ISE II Reading & Writing exam


7. Tell the students that they are going to read the texts again. Ask them to carry out task B. Tell the
students that they need to put a tick () next to the five statements that are true according to the
information in the texts. Tell the students that they are now practising their scanning skills, which
means that they look for specific details in the text. Tell the students that they now have four to five
minutes to complete the task because they need to read more carefully. After four to five minutes,
ask the students to compare their answers in pairs. Go over the answers together as a class.
8. Ask students if they found the task difficult and if they felt they had enough time to complete the task.
9. Tell the class they now need to complete task C which involves the students completing the
summary notes by looking for specific information in the text. Tell the students they have seven
minutes to complete this task. Do one example together as a class. Ask the students to compare
answers once they have finished. Go over the answers and put them up on the board.
10. Elicit from the students what the different parts of the reading task are. Tell them that each task
focuses on different reading skills. Explain to the students that they can prepare for the exam tasks
by finding short texts online and carrying out three different tasks. Tell the students that for the first
task they should read quickly and answer the question: What is the text about? Then they should
read the text again but more carefully and find five details in the text. The third time they read they
should give themselves more time and write a short summary.

Extension activities
1. Ask the class to discuss, in pairs, different kinds of mysterious monsters. Carry out feedback as a group.
2. Ask students to find a new word in the text and use it in a sentence.

Further support activities


Ask the students finding the task more challenging to underline the answers in the text.

Homework
Ask the students to look online or in a book for another mysterious monster. Ask the students to report
back in the next class.

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ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Student worksheet: Mysterious Monsters


Read the following text and answer the questions below.

Mysterious Monsters
1. Uruguay, a country in South America is not short of mysteries. This time the mystery is
about what seems to be a really scary creature. There have been sightings of a terrifying
subterranean monster. The creature looks like a giant worm or slug that crawls out of the
earth. It is believed to be about 4 metres in length. There have been similar eyewitness reports
in other South American countries. It is believed that the snake-like creatures have large
tentacles which would make it look like a very scary monster indeed. The skin is reported as
being smooth and the colour is supposed to be dark. Scientists speculate that the creatures
could be some kind of amphibian without limbs.
2. Vancouver Island is a mysterious island off the coast of North America. Why is it mysterious?
It has wild nature with mountains, woodlands and extremely deep lakes. The deepest lake at
600 metres is called Cameron Lake. Several scientists are investigating the big lake following
reports of a mysterious lake creature. A number of people are sceptical and suggest the large
creature is just a beaver or perhaps an otter. However, researchers used special scanners to
explore the depths of the lake and discovered something big that moves around deep under
water. There is a possibility that it is a subterranean river. It has also been suggested that it is
something both more exciting and terrifying: a lake creature.
3. Lake Iliamana is a huge lake in Alaska in North America. The lake is over 120 kilometres long.
Gigantic lakes are often thought of as mysterious; think for example of the famous Loch Ness
monster in Scotland. Now Lake Iliamana has its own monster. Airplanes flying over the lake claim
to have seen an enormous fish of about 9 metres long. The fish is reported to be silver-coloured
and to resemble a shark. Different theories were put forward, some more plausible than others.
One of the more credible ones is that the fish are sleeper sharks. The mystery remains though as
how could they have adapted to freshwater?
4. Australia is famous for its many unique animals. It does not come as a surprise then that
sightings of mysterious monsters have been reported in Australia. It is known that a huge
lizard of 6 metres in length called the Megalania lived in Australia. The dinosaur has been
extinct for thousands of years or so it is believed. The original people of Australia, the
Aboriginals claim the huge lizard still exists. There have indeed been several sightings that
sound very much like what the Megalania would have looked like. A number of farmers
for example have reported a huge lizard of over 4 metres in length. In the late seventies,
a scientist was returning to his vehicle after a long day working in the field when he saw
something big. He thought it might just be a log so he got into his car and started the engine.
Then the object began to move

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ISE II Reading & Writing exam


A. Read the four texts and decide which text each question refers to A, B, C or D.
Which text
1. describes how technology was used to look for monsters?

Text:

2. implies that an eye witness saw a monster when driving?

Text:

3. refers to a creature with a frightening appearance?

Text:

4. mentions a country that has more mysteries than most?

Text:

5. gives scientific evidence of movement under water?

Text:

B. Read the text again. Tick () the five statements from 18 below that are true according to the
information given in the four texts.
Statements

True?

1. Giant worms or slugs have been seen in more than one country.
2. Scientists in Uruguay are not convinced that a monster exists.
3. Scientific research in Vancouver has been inconclusive.
4. Lake creatures usually live in shallow water.
5. A sleeper shark has been spotted in Lake Iliamana.
6. There are several likely explanations for what people have seen
in Alaska.
7. Australia has wildlife that is not seen in other countries.
8. A scientist has recently reported seeing a lizard-like creature
C. Complete the summary notes below with suitable words or phrases from the texts.

Summary notes: Mysterious monsters


Uruguay is thought to be the home of an underground living creature without any
(1.)
.
Scientists have discovered something moving in the depths of a lake in Vancouver.
People often believe that (2.)
In Alaska, the creature looks like a (3.)

lakes are mysterious.


.

In Australia, there have been several sightings of a creature which looks like a lizard.
(4.)

the local people in Australia, believe the monster exists.

The monster in Australia is thought to be a dinosaur which everyone believed was


(5.)
.

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ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Answer key
A.
1. = text B
2. = text D
3. = text A
4. = text A
5. = text B
B.
True statements: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7
C.
1. limbs
2. gigantic
3. shark
4. Aboriginals
5. extinct

22

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Task 3 Reading into writing: Happiness report


Level: ISE II
Focus: Task 3 Reading into writing
Aims: Students practise writing a report based on four input texts
Objectives: Students can demonstrate their understanding of the input texts in a short written
text, students can write a coherent text in the required format and students can locate and
summarise/paraphrase ideas and attitudes provided in the texts
Skill: Incorporate information from input texts into a written report
Topic: Personal values and ideals
Language functions: Expressing agreement and disagreement, speculating, predicting and
expressing certainty and uncertainty, eliciting further information and expressing and expanding
ideas and opinions
Lexis: Vocabulary related to feelings and emotions and vocabulary related to research projects
Materials needed: Whiteboard, paper and pens and one student worksheet per student
Timing: 80 minutes

Procedure
Preparation
1. Print or copy one worksheet per student.
2. Think about how to explain the vocabulary in step 3 below.

In class
1. Tell students they are going to perform a writing task similar to task 3 of the ISE II Reading & Writing
exam. Tell them the subject of their writing task will be happiness.
2. Write happiness on the board. Ask students individually to list five things that make them happy.
Ask the students to compare what they have written with a partner. Elicit some answers from the
class, and write on the board.
3. Tell students they are going to take a happiness survey. Give each student a worksheet. Before
they read text A, check the students understand the following words: rewarding, optimistic, sense
of purpose, satisfied, committed, involved, in control. Now ask the students to complete the survey
individually and read what their score means. Tell students they will not be asked to share their
answers, as they may find the topic sensitive.
4. Write on the board Are men or women happier? Divide the class into groups of three or four
students. If possible, group students with members of the same sex. Ask them to discuss the
question and try to come to an agreement. After five minutes, stop the discussion and ask each
group to briefly give feedback to the class.
5. Tell students they are going to read three more texts about happiness. Put students in pairs. Give
each pair one text to read, either B, C or D. Ask them to discuss what kind of text they think it is and
where they would expect to find it. After two minutes, discuss as a class.
Example answers:
Text B Part of a research report comparing men and womens happiness. It could be found as an
appendix to an undergraduate essay.
Text C An online forum on men and womens happiness. It could be found following an online
article about the same topic.
Text D An article about men and womens happiness. It could be found in a magazine or newspaper.
6. Put students back in the same groups as in step 4. Ask them to discuss the evidence they can find in the
three texts to support the argument that men are happier than women, and the opposing argument that
women are happier than men. After 10 minutes, stop them and ask if anyone has changed their opinion.
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ISE II Reading & Writing exam


7. Ask the students to read the Writing task instructions on the worksheet. Ensure the students are
aware of what they have to do. Before they start writing, ask the students some questions to check
their knowledge of reports, for example:
How is a report typically structured?
How is it different from an essay?
What kind of language is used?
8. Tell the students they have 10 minutes to plan the task. Monitor and make sure they plan in note
form, not full sentences.
9. Tell students they have 30 minutes to write the task. After 25 minutes, ask students to stop writing
and to check their work for errors.
10. Collect in their writing and mark for the next lesson.

Extension activity
Students who finish more quickly can be asked to invent and write more entries for the forum in text C.

Further support activity


For students finding the tasks difficult, the writing task can be broken down into stages. Firstly, ask
them to write two or three sentences summarising the information for each of the texts B, C and D.
Secondly, ask them to link these sentences together to form a paragraph. Finally, ask them to write an
introductory and a concluding sentence.

Homework
Students write a questionnaire similar to that in text A about values and ideals in general. You can elicit
some example questions at the end of the lesson to help them. In the following lesson, they can carry
out the questionnaire and write a report on their findings.

24

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Student worksheet: Happiness report


Aim: To practice task 3 of the ISE II Reading & Writing exam.

Reading texts
Read the following texts about happiness and then perform the writing task below.

Text A
How happy are you?
Questionnaire to discover how happy you are.

How Happy Are You?


Take this Happiness Questionnaire to discover how happy you are.
Instructions:
Read the sentences about happiness then rate how much you agree or disagree with each one by
ticking the appropriate box. When you have finished, add up your total points and read what your
score means.

Strongly
disagree
(1 point)

Slightly
disagree
(2 points)

Neither
agree nor
disagree
(3 points)

Slightly
agree
(4 points)

Strongly
agree
(5 points)

I think that the world is a


good place
I feel that life is very
rewarding
I am very optimistic about
the future
I have warm feelings
towards almost everyone
I have a sense of purpose
in my life
I am satisfied about
everything in my life
I have happy memories of
the past
I feel pleased with the
way I am
I am always committed
and involved
I feel that I am in control
of my life

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ISE II Reading & Writing exam

What your score means:


3550 Your happiness levels are above average. You are satisfied with most aspects of your life.
2034 Your happiness levels are average. There are some aspects of your life that could be

improved, but generally you are happy.
019

Your happiness levels are below average. This does not necessarily mean you are unhappy,
but there could be an imbalance in your life and particular areas may need attention.

Text B
Results of the happiness survey at Burlesbrook University
Participants = 15 male and 15 female third year Sociology undergraduate students

12
10
8
6
4
2

0
3550 2034 019
Male

Female

Text C
Are men or women happier?

26

Rachel (female)

Definitely men. Women worry too much about the way they look,
what other people think of them, getting old. Men dont bother about
stuff like that.

Amy (female)

@Rachel I agree. I often think Id be happier if I was a man!

Carlo (male)

I think men are happier. My girlfriend is always upset about


something, and my mum and my sister arent much better.

Kaya (female)

I think women are happier. We are more focused and ambitious.


We also make better use of our time.

Jon (male)

@Kaya Id have to disagree with you. I think women are less happy
precisely because they take on too much and they dont know how
to relax!

Divia (male)

Im not sure thats something men normally think about

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Text D
Are men or women happier?
According to a recent study, men are happier than women. The study compared the amount of
time each sex spent relaxing with the amount of time they spent worrying. The results showed
that women spend two hours per week more than men worrying, and men spend more hours
per week relaxing.
However, a similar study carried out in the same month revealed that women are happier. Women
rated their happiness as an average of 7 out of 10 compared to just 6.5 out of 10 for men. One in
five said that they were a 10 out of 10 in terms of happiness, compared to one in eight of men.
The question that arises is whether more studies are needed, or whether it is impossible for
research to prove that one sex is happier than the other.

Writing task
Use the information from the four texts you have read to write a short report (150180 words) entitled:
A comparison of men and womens happiness levels
Plan your report before you start writing. Think about what to include and make some notes in this box:
Planning notes:

Now write your report of 150180 words. Try to use your own words as far as possible.

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ISE II Reading & Writing exam

28

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

29

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Model answer to essay question


A comparison of men and womens happiness levels
This report will start by looking at what makes men and women happy. It will then show the results of
our in-class survey.
What makes men and women happy?
Men are generally satisfied when they have a steady and challenging job which has optimistic job
prospects. Men tend to be a lot happier when they have time for their hobbies.
Women are happy when they have a comfortable job working with friendly people. They are happier
when they have time to chat with their closest friends about everything.
Survey results
The results of the survey showed that:

Women dont feel in control of their lives


Women find their jobs more rewarding than men
Men have a strong sense of purpose
Men worry more about the future than women
Neither men or women feel they have enough free time

Conclusion
The results show that neither men nor women are happier and that it is evident that they all need more
free time available to increase their levels of happiness.

30

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Task 4 Extended writing: The advantages and disadvantages of


using mobile phones
Level: ISE II
Focus: Task 4 Extended writing
Aims: To write an essay on the advantages and disadvantages of using mobile phones and also
give an opinion
Objectives: Planning an essay, writing an introduction, giving advantages and disadvantages,
writing a conclusion and giving an opinion
Skill: Writing an essay in four paragraphs
Topic: Technology
Language functions: Highlighting advantages and disadvantages and giving reasons, opinions
and preferences
Lexis: Essay writing
Materials needed: Student worksheet, board, plain paper and pens
Timing: 1 hour

Procedure
Preparation
Print or copy one worksheet per student.

In class
1. Tell the class they are going to do an activity which will help them prepare for ISE II Task 4
Extended writing. For this part of the exam, they have to write an essay of between 150180 words in
40 minutes.
2. Write Mobile Phones on the board. Ask the class to think of one word which they think of when
they see those words. Ask the students to whisper to their partner what that word is.
3. Ask 510 students for examples of words their partner thought of. Write some of the good examples
on the board (eg great, convenient, essential, expensive, easy, fun, Blackberry, iPhone,
apps, friends, Facebook, music).
4. Give each student a number from 14 (depending on the class size max of six students per group).
Now ask all number 1s to work together, all the number 2s to work together, all the number 3s and
the number 4s to work together. Give them a few minutes to find their groups and ask them to sit in
different parts of the room.
5. Give each student one student worksheet and tell the groups of 1s and 3s they are going to work on
advantages of mobile phones, and the groups of 2s and 4s are going to work on disadvantages of
mobile phones. Ask students if they know the meaning of advantages (eg good or positive things), and
disadvantages (eg bad or negative things). For 10 minutes, each group talks together and writes down
their ideas under A on the worksheet. Ask them to write at least five advantages or disadvantages.
6. Now ask the groups to present their ideas to the class. Write down the ideas on the board under two
columns: Advantages and Disadvantages.
Advantages

Disadvantages

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ISE II Reading & Writing exam


7. Ask the class which ideas they think are the best. Choose four good ideas for advantages and four
for disadvantages. Leave only the good ideas on the board. Now ask the students to look at B on the
worksheet which introduces an essay question. Tell the students that this is a typical exam question.
8. Ask the students the following questions about essays:
What is an essay?
What is the purpose of an essay?
Who do you write an essay for?
What types of language do you use in an essay?
First ask the students to discuss the questions with their partner and then give feedback in open-class.
9. Explain to the class that before writing any essay, it is essential that they think carefully about the
essay question for 10 minutes and write down any ideas they may have in note form. Ask them why
they think this is important. [Answer: It gives them time to think about the topic and focus on the
best ideas.]
10. Elicit from the students how many paragraphs they think is best for this type of essay. Explain
that four paragraphs are appropriate for this type of essay and this is how it should be structured:
Paragraph 1 an Introduction, Paragraph 2 a paragraph on the advantages, Paragraph 3 a
paragraph on the disadvantages and Paragraph 4 the conclusion. Ask the students to complete C
on the worksheet and feedback in open-class.
11. Now ask the students to discuss with their partner what the purpose of the introduction is and
what they should include. Elicit some ideas from the students. Then tell the students that in the
introduction they should:
introduce the topic for example, There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to using
mobile phones
Then tell the audience what the purpose of the essay is for example, In this essay I will discuss
both the advantages and disadvantages of using mobile phones and finally I will give my opinion.
Ask the students to complete D on the worksheet.
12. Draw the students attention to some of the common expressions used to express the advantages or
disadvantages of something. See E on the worksheet. Ask the students to place the expressions in
the correct column. Students to complete the task individually and then feedback in open-class.
13. Ask the students to discuss what they should include in paragraph 2 (the first paragraph of the main
body). In paragraph 2, they should discuss the advantages (or disadvantages) of using a mobile
phone. Elicit some ideas from the students. For example, One advantage of having a mobile phone
is that you can contact anyone at any time, this has made life much easier because you can be
more flexible and you can contact people at the last minute to change plans. Ask the students to
complete the first part of F on the worksheet.
14. Ask the students to discuss what they should include in paragraph 3 (the second paragraph of the
main body). In paragraph 3, they should discuss the disadvantages (or advantages) of using a mobile
phone. Elicit some ideas from the students. For example, One disadvantage of having a mobile
phone is that you might become addicted to using it and you use it too much, you stop talking to
people and instead play games on your phone or use Facebook. Ask the students to complete the
second part of F on the worksheet.
15. Draw the students attention to linking expressions on the worksheet. Explain they are words or
phrases used to connect or join language. For example, this is because... Ask the student to complete G
on the worksheet.
16. Finally, ask the students to discuss what they should include in paragraph 4 (the conclusion). The final
paragraph should be a short conclusion. Elicit from the students what they should include. (For example,
it should state both the advantages and disadvantages of mobile phones and their opinion. For example,
In conclusion, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using a mobile phone. In my opinion the
advantages outweigh (are more than), the disadvantages and are essential for our lives today, we could
not live without them. Draw the students attention to key phrases such as in conclusion and in my
opinion. The students should complete H on the worksheet. Feedback in open-class.
17. Give students feedback on their writing and review the main focus of the lesson.
32

ISE II Reading & Writing exam


Extension activity
More advanced students can write down the advantages and disadvantages of something else
(eg going to university).

Further support activity


Students finding the task difficult can practise writing the notes for longer, and writing fewer words.

Homework
Ask the students to write an essay (150180 words) (four paragraphs) on the advantages and
disadvantages of going to university.

33

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Student worksheet: Advantages and disadvantages of using mobile phones


You are going to do an activity which will help you prepare for ISE II Task 4 Extended writing. For this
part of the exam you have to write an essay. The topic of the essay is mobile phones.

A. Introduction to the topic


What is the first word you think of when you see these words?
Tell your partner quietly what the word is. Tell your teacher what your partners word is.
Working with your group, think of some advantages (good things), or disadvantages (bad things),
about mobile phones. Write down your best ideas.
You should spend 10 minutes on this activity. Think of five or more ideas.
Ideas
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

B. An essay question
Look at the essay question below:
Write an essay (150180 words) for the school magazine about the advantages and disadvantages of
using mobile phones. Give your opinion about whether there are more advantages than disadvantages.

C. Overview of an essay (fill in the gaps)


An essay this length should have

paragraphs

A. An i
B. A paragraph about
C. A paragraph about
D. A c

D. Writing the introduction


Paragraph 1
With your partner, discuss what the purpose of an introduction is and what it should include.
Write an introduction to an essay on mobile phones using the following model.
There are a number of
both and give my opinion.

34

and

to

in this essay. I will discuss

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

E. Common expressions
Here are some expressions used for expressing advantages and disadvantages
A negative effect
A good point
The downside
A drawback
An objection

A positive aspect
An argument in favour of
A negative aspect
A criticism of

Decide which expressions can be used for advantages, and which ones are used for disadvantages. Write
them in the box.

Advantages

Disadvantages

F. Main body paragraphs


Paragraph 2
In the next paragraph you should discuss the advantages of using mobile phones.
For example, One advantage of using a mobile phone is that you can contact anyone at any time, this
has made life much easier because you can be more flexible and you can contact people at the last
minute to change plans.
Now you write a paragraph about the advantages of using mobile phones. Write three advantages.
Begin like this, One advantage of using a mobile phone is that... Try to use some of the expressions
you learned in section E.

Paragraph 3
In the next paragraph you should discuss the disadvantages of using mobile phones. For example, One
disadvantage of having a mobile phone is that you might become addicted to using it and you use it too
much, so you stop talking to people and instead play games on your phone or use Facebook.
Now you write a paragraph about the disadvantages of using mobile phones. Write three disadvantages.
Begin like this One disadvantage of using a mobile phone is that... Try to use some of the expressions
you learned in section E.

35

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

G. Linking expressions
Now here are some linking expressions. What is a linking expression? What does link mean? Decide
together or look it up in a dictionary.
Link means
Here are some common linking expressions:
A common example of this is when
This is because
In other words
However

So
Therefore
Another objection to

(this) is that

Write three sentences explaining the advantages of using mobile phones with your best ideas. Use an
expression from the box and a linking expression from the box. You have 10 minutes to do this.

Now write three sentences explaining the disadvantages of using mobile phones with your best ideas.
Use an expression from the box and a linking expression from the box. You have 10 minutes to do this.

H. The conclusion
Paragraph 4
The final paragraph should be a short conclusion stating both the advantages and disadvantages of
mobile phones and giving your opinion.
For example In conclusion there are both advantages and disadvantages to using mobile phones. In my
opinion the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and they are essential for our lives today, we could
not live without them. What do you think outweigh means?
Now we are going to work on a conclusion to your essay. Begin like this In conclusion, there are both
advantages and disadvantages to using mobile phones. In my opinion...

36

ISE II Reading & Writing exam

Answer key
Advantages: A good point, a positive aspect, an argument in favour of
Disadvantages: A negative effect, the downside, a drawback, an objection to, a negative aspect,
a criticism of

Model answer to essay question


There are a number of advantages to using mobile phones, in this essay I will discuss both the
advantages and the disadvantages and give my opinion.
An argument in favour of using mobile phones is that you can contact anyone at any time. A common
example of this is when you are going to be late and you can tell people about it so they are not kept
waiting. Another positive aspect is that we are all better informed as we can check the internet whenever.
On the other hand, there are various drawbacks of using mobile phones. One is that people can no
longer have so much privacy, so, they may be busy with something important but their phone rings and
disturbs everybody. A further objection is that people just use them so much they become addicted,
this is a problem.
In conclusion, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using mobile phones. In my opinion the
advantages outweigh the disadvantages and they are absolutely vital for our lives today, we simply
could not live without them.

37

38

ISE II Speaking
& Listening exam

39

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Overview of the ISE Speaking & Listening exam


Trinitys ISE Speaking & Listening exam tests speaking and listening skills through an integrated approach,
reflecting the way the two skills interact in the real world. The ISE Speaking & Listening exam is currently
offered at four levels of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) from A2 to C1. The
purpose of the exam is to assess candidates English language skills in speaking and listening in a context
which reflects their real world activities and their purpose for learning English.
The integrated speaking and listening tasks reflect the kind of activities a student will do in the
school or college context. Additionally, the recordings used in the Independent listening task reflect
the way that students find, select and report relevant and appropriate information in an educational
or academic context.

Who is ISE Speaking & Listening for?


The intended candidate is a young person or adult, typically at secondary school or college who is
using English as a second or foreign language as part of their studies in order to develop their skills
and improve their knowledge of a range of subject areas. The typical ISE candidate is aged between
11 and 19, but may be older.
The candidate, at the lower levels of the exam (ISE Foundation and ISE I), would generally be a young
person or adult in school or college who would be taking ISE as part of their preparation for entrance
into university or as evidence to progress to a higher level of English study within their mainstream
or English language school. At the higher levels of the exam (ISE II and ISE III) the candidates are
young people or adults preparing for further education where they are required to prove their English
language proficiency levels within an educational context.

40

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Introduction to ISE Speaking & Listening tasks


The Speaking & Listening exam consists of several tasks and increases in length as the level increases.
The table below shows the progression across the levels.
ISE Foundation ISE I

ISE II

ISE III

CEFR level

A2

B1

B2

C1

Time

13 minutes

14 minutes

20 minutes

25 minutes

Topic task

4 minutes

4 minutes

4 minutes

8 minutes

Collaborative task

4 minutes

4 minutes

Conversation task

2 minutes

2 minutes

2 minutes

3 minutes

Independent listening task

6 minutes

7 minutes

8 minutes

8 minutes

1 minute

2 minutes

2 minutes

Examiner administration time 1 minute

The Topic task (ISE Foundation, ISE I, ISE II, ISE III)
What is the Topic task?
Before the exam, the candidate prepares a topic of his or her own choice and in the exam this topic is
used as a basis for a discussion.
What language skills can the candidate demonstrate in the Topic task?
The Topic task provides the candidate with the opportunity to:

talk about a topic which is of personal interest or relevance to them and which they feel confident about
have a degree of autonomy and control over this task
show they can link sentences together to talk about a subject at some length
demonstrate the language functions of the level
show that they can engage in one-to-one, unscripted discussion with an expert speaker of English
demonstrate that they can understand and respond appropriately to examiner questions and points

Can the candidate bring notes with them?


In the ISE Foundation and ISE I exams, candidates are required to complete a topic form which they give
to the examiner at the beginning of the exam. The topic form contains notes that helps to support the
candidate in their preparation for the exam and also in their discussion of the topic with the examiner.
It is important to tell the candidate that the examiner will choose the sequence in which the points on
the topic form are discussed, not the candidate. The topic form is also used by the examiner to ask
questions of the candidate. This encourages spontaneous conversation and discourages recitation by
the candidate.
In the ISE II exam, candidates do not need to complete a topic form but they are encouraged to bring
notes or mind maps with them to the exam.
In the ISE III exam, the candidate must prepare a formal handout to accompany their formal topic
presentation. They must give the handout to the examiner.

Level

Support

ISE Foundation

Topic form with four points

ISE I

Topic form with four points

ISE II

Candidate may use notes or a mind map

ISE III

Formal handout must accompany presentation

For example topic forms see Appendix 1.

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ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

The Collaborative task (ISE II and ISE III only)


What happens in the Collaborative task?
The examiner reads the candidate a prompt. The candidate responds to the prompt by starting,
leading and maintaining the interaction. For example, the candidate can ask questions to find out
further information, respond to information and comments from the examiner, demonstrate skills in
turn-taking in a conversation, etc. It is essential for the candidate to interact and collaborate with the
examiner. The candidate should not wait for the examiner to lead the conversation and monologues
from the candidate will receive a low mark.
What is the examiners prompt?
The prompt presents a dilemma, some circumstances, or an opinion. The candidate then needs to
take the initiative to find out more about the background of the examiners circumstances or position
and engage the examiner in a sustained discussion about his/her circumstances or views. All of the
examiners prompts are prepared in advance by Trinity. Examiners are all trained to add their own
standardised backstory to the prompt in order to personalise it and support the interaction. By asking
the examiner for further information, in the Collaborative task, the candidate finds out more about the
examiners backstory and the prompt.
What language skills can the candidate demonstrate in the Collaborative task?
The task provides the opportunity for the candidate to demonstrate his or her ability to take control
through the use of questioning techniques and language functions like requesting information, getting
clarification and asking for further detail. The Collaborative task gives the candidate the opportunity to
show that they can initiate turns in the conversation and control the direction of the interaction. This
task requires an authentic exchange of information and opinions, with the language functions listed at
each grade arising naturally out of the task.
There is no Collaborative task at ISE Foundation or ISE I.

The Conversation task (ISE Foundation, ISE I, ISE II, ISE III)
What is the Conversation task?
The Conversation task is a meaningful and authentic exchange of information, ideas and opinions. It
is not a formal question and answer interview. In the Conversation task, the examiner selects one
subject area for discussion with the candidate.
What are the possible subjects for discussion?
The lists of possible subjects for each ISE level are written in the guide for teachers for the particular
level. The subject areas have been carefully selected to offer a progression through the levels from the
concrete subjects at ISE Foundation to the abstract at ISE III.
What about the interaction in the Conversation task?
The examiner will ask some questions, but at each ISE level, the candidate is expected to take more
responsibility for initiating and maintaining the conversation. The candidate is also expected to ask the
examiner questions in order to develop the interaction. These questions should arise naturally out of
the conversation.

The Independent listening task


What is the Independent listening task?
Listening skills are tested in an integrated way together with speaking skills in the Topic task,
Collaborative task and Conversation task. The Independent listening task is different. In this task, the
candidate has the opportunity to demonstrate the kind of listening skills that are required in lectures
and lessons, for example. In this Independent listening task, the candidate listens to recordings and
responds to questions. The candidate then gives written responses and also answers questions in
conversation with the examiner, depending on the level.
What is the procedure for the Independent listening task?
The examiner plays one or two recordings to the candidate, and the candidate writes the answers to
some questions on a worksheet, or they respond to prompts from the examiner about what they have
heard. The candidate listens to the same recording(s) twice.
While the candidate is listening to the recordings, they are encouraged to take notes to support their
listening and study skills. However, the candidates notes are not assessed as part of the exam.
42

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Glossary of speaking aims for ISE II


Communicative
effectiveness

Responding appropriately to interaction


Initiating and maintaining conversation

Interactive listening

Showing understanding of other speakers


Following the speech of others

Language control

Using a range of grammar and vocabulary


Using grammar and vocabulary accurately
Avoiding making errors which effect the understanding of the listener

Delivery

Using clear and understandable pronunciation


Using stress and intonation

Glossary of listening skills for ISE II


Intensive listening
in detail to gather as
much information as
possible

Understanding specific, factual information at the word and/or phrase level


Listening for explicitly stated ideas and information

Intensive listening
for detailed
understanding

Listening to understand all or most of the information the recording


provides

Extensive listening
for gist, for main
ideas and for global
understanding

Listening to get the topic and main ideas of the recording

Deducing meaning

Guessing the meaning of unknown utterances, phrases and words from


their context
Inferring meaning, eg the speakers attitude, line of argument, mood
and intentions

Inferring attitude,
intentions,
viewpoints and
implications

Identifying which information is factual and which information is opinion

Identifying the
difference between
main and subsidiary
points, supporting
examples or details;
Identifying the
difference between
facts and opinions

Identifying which information is key information, and which information


is a supporting example or detail
Identifying which information is the main point and which information is
an example, or details

43

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Candidate profile
Speaking
A candidate who successfully passes ISE II can:
initiate, maintain and end discourse appropriately in unprepared one-to-one conversations, using
effective turn-taking
engage in extended conversation on most general topics in a clearly participatory fashion, even in a
noisy environment
communicate spontaneously with good grammatical control without much sign of having to restrict
what he/she wants to say
use a level of formality appropriate to the circumstances
use the language fluently, accurately and effectively on a wide range of general, academic,
vocational or leisure topics, demonstrating the relationships between ideas
interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity with a native speaker without creating
communication difficulties
highlight the personal significance of events and experiences
explain views clearly by providing relevant explanations and arguments
convey degrees of emotion and highlight the personal significance of events and experiences
outline an issue or a problem clearly, speculating about causes or consequences, and weighing
advantages and disadvantages of different approaches
give clear, detailed descriptions on a wide range of subjects of interest, expanding and supporting
ideas with subsidiary points and relevant examples
develop a clear argument, expanding and supporting his/her points of view at some length with
subsidiary points and relevant examples
explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options
intervene appropriately in discussion, exploiting appropriate language to do so
ask follow-up questions to check that he/she has understood what a speaker intended to say, and
get clarification of ambiguous points
use circumlocution and paraphrase to cover gaps in vocabulary and structure.

Listening
A candidate who successfully passes ISE II can:
understand standard spoken language, live or broadcast, on both familiar and unfamiliar topics from
personal, social, academic or vocational life
understand the main ideas of complex speech in standard English on both concrete and abstract
topics, including technical discussions
understand extended speech and complex lines of argument on familiar topics signposted by explicit
markers
understand recordings in standard English from social, professional or academic life
identify information content, speaker viewpoints, attitudes, mood and tone
understand most recorded or broadcast audio material delivered in standard English and identify
the speakers
use a variety of strategies to achieve comprehension, including listening for main points, and
checking comprehension by using contextual clues
understand a clearly structured lecture on a familiar subject, and take notes on points he/she
considers important
summarise extracts from news items, interviews or documentaries containing opinions, argument
and discussion.
These speaking and listening profiles are based on the level Independent User, B2, of the Council of
Europes Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). The rating scales and language functions
of ISE II have been linked to the CEFR level B2.

44

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Task specifications for ISE II Speaking & Listening


Topic task
Task type and
format

The Topic task is an integrated speaking and listening task.


The candidate prepares a topic for discussion. It is recommended that the
candidate prepares some notes for the examiner, for example, some bullet points
or a mind map.
The examiner and the candidate discuss the prepared topic and any notes in an
authentic exchange of information and ideas.

Timing

4 minutes

Task focus
and language
functions

The candidate is expected in this task and throughout the speaking exam to show
their ability to use the language functions of the level. These functions are:

Examiner role

The examiner poses questions to the candidate. The examiner will ask questions
to elicit the language functions of the level (see sample exam for example stem
questions). The examiner is also expected to interrupt the candidate where
appropriate to discourage recitation and encourage spontaneous conversational flow.

initiating and maintaining the conversation


highlighting advantages and disadvantages
speculating
giving advice
expressing agreement
expressing disagreement
eliciting further information
negotiating meaning (establishing common ground).

Collaborative task
Task type and
format

The Collaborative task is an integrated speaking and listening task. The examiner
reads a prompt which creates an information gap. The prompt may express a
dilemma or opinion. The candidate needs to ask the examiner questions to find
out more information and keep the conversation going.

Timing

4 minutes

Task focus

The candidate is expected in this task and throughout the speaking exam to show
their ability to use the language functions of the level. These functions are:

Examiner role

highlighting advantages and disadvantages


speculating
giving advice
expressing agreement
expressing disagreement
eliciting further information
negotiating meaning (establishing common ground).

The examiner reads a prompt containing an opinion or dilemma. The examiner also
has two alternative back stories which contain the background information that
the candidate is expected to find out through the course of the conversation. The
examiner is expected to respond naturally to the candidates questioning and to
encourage them to keep the conversation going. The examiner is not expected to
give away too much information in one turn, or to unnaturally restrict information.

45

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Conversation task

46

Task type and


format

The Conversation task is an integrated speaking and listening task. The examiner
selects one conversation topic from a list and asks the candidate questions to
start a conversation about the topic.

Timing

2 minutes

Task focus
and language
functions

The candidate is expected in this task and throughout the speaking exam to show
their ability to use the language functions of the level. These functions are:

Examiner role

The examiner uses the list of subject areas and their own test plans to ask
questions and elicit the target language functions of the level (see sample test
for example stem questions).

List of subject
areas

Assessment

This task, together with the Topic task and Collaborative task, is assessed in
four categories:
Communicative effectiveness
Interactive listening
Language control
Delivery.

highlighting advantages and disadvantages


speculating
giving advice
expressing agreement
expressing disagreement
eliciting further information
negotiating meaning (establishing common ground)
asking for opinions
negotiating meaning.

Society and living standards


Personal values and ideals
The world of work
National environmental concerns
Public figures past and present

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Independent listening task


Task

Candidates listen twice to a recording. They listen once and report the gist of
what they have heard. They listen a second time and report the detail. They are
encouraged to take notes during the second listen only.
The recording is approximately 2 minutes and 45 seconds long.

Timing

8 minutes

Task focus
and language
functions

Candidates show that they are able to process and report information,
including main points and supporting detail
Placing information in a wider context
Inferring information not expressed explicitly
Reporting speakers intentions.
Inferring word meaning.

Examiner role

The examiner plays the recordings and reads an instructional rubric including a
gist question and a more detailed question.

Assessment

This task is subjectively scored using a rating scale, which means that the examiner
decides the score. The examiner considers how many facts are reported correctly
and whether the candidate answered immediately or was hesitant.

For text of a sample ISE Speaking & Listening exam, please see Appendix 2. You can also view videos
of sample exams on the Trinity website at www.trinitycollege.com/ISE

47

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Preparation activities for ISE II Speaking & Listening


Topic task: Talking about various topics from healthy eating
to extreme sports
Teacher notes
Level: ISE II
Focus: Topic task
Aims: Talking about various topics in a natural and spontaneous way
Objectives: Generating ideas and asking and answering questions about various topics
Topic: Communicate facts, ideas, opinions and explain viewpoints about a chosen topic linked
across a series of extended turns
Language functions: Highlighting advantages and disadvantages, describing past actions in the
indefinite and recent past, speculating
Grammar: Second and third conditional, used to, present perfect continuous tense and reported speech
Lexis: Various health, technology, sports, society, news and lifestyle
Materials needed: Board, pens, blank paper, topic and question cards
Timing: 60 minutes

Procedure
Preparation
Print or copy and cut out topic cards and question cards (one set per group of four to eight students).

In class
1. Explain to the class that at ISE II, candidates are expected to communicate facts, handle
interruptions and engage the examiner in their topic. This lesson will help them with this. If
necessary, explain the meaning of each of these areas to the students and give examples.
2. Write TOPIC on the board in large letters. Elicit some ideas from students about good ideas for
topics that they themselves can talk about. Write some ideas on the board. These should be taken
from a wide range.
3. Explain to the students that their topic must be a personalised topic, on a subject they are personally
interested in, knowledgeable about and are able to talk about. Tell them they are going to practise
talking about various different topics.
4. Write interrupt on the board. Ask students for examples of how they can interrupt someone
(eg Could I just..., So what youre saying is...?, Can I just interrupt you for a second...?). Ask them
to practise these expressions together.
5. Divide students into groups of four to eight, give each group a set of topic cards and question cards
each. Pre-teach any unfamiliar vocabulary vegetarianism, veganism, extreme sports, and chess.
Tell them to place the topic and the question cards face down on the table in two sets. Ask them
to pick one topic card from the pile and to pick up one question card. Someone in the group has to
answer the question they have picked up relating it to their topic card. The group can help formulate
the question if it is incomplete. Model an example of what you want the students to do in openclass. Once one student has answered the first question, repeat the process with a different student
picking up a different question and until all of the questions have been answered.
6. While the students are carrying out this activity, walk around each group listening to their ideas and
encouraging them to speak more, making sure everyone is involved. Also, make a note on the board
of any recurring errors.
7. Once the students have completed all of the topic cards (around 2030 minutes), give the students
some feedback on how well they completed the task.
48

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam


8. Now ask the students to either choose their favourite topic card or to think of another topic and
prepare to talk about it and to write down some questions. Encourage them to use the language
requirements and grammar of the level. (Elicit or explain what they are from the current syllabus).
9. As an example, for new technologies some questions could be If you had a thousand Euros [change
to your currency as relevant], what item of technology would you buy? or If you had had a thousand
Euros in your parents generation, what item of technology would you have bought? Elicit some
more questions based on the grammar of the level.
10. Now give each student a piece of paper and ask them to write the topic they have chosen in the
middle. Draw lines from the topic (like in their topic form), writing their questions down. Explain they
are going to present their topic to the group for approximately 10 minutes. Walk around checking
everyone is involved and motivated.
11. Bring this activity to a close, ask for the names of the topics and write them on the board. Ask
each student to think of a question to ask about each of the topics and write it down. Now each
group presents their topic to the class. Make sure everyone in the group takes part in this. Ask
various students to ask each group questions about their topic. Encourage dialogue and interaction
between groups.

Extension activity
More advanced students can prepare their own topic for the exam.

Further support activity


Students finding the task more challenging can be encouraged to think of vocabulary related to a topic
of their choice.

Homework
Ask students to choose someone to talk to outside of class (a friend or family member for example).
They should ask this person questions about a topic which they are interested in and be ready to tell
the class about it.

49

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Question cards

50

What is it?

Why have people chosen


to do?

Would it be difficult to do?

What are the advantages and


disadvantages of?

In the past, would people


have done?

What do you think of?

In the future, will people


still do?

Ask someone a question


about this.

Talk for 1 minute about this

Interrupt someone when they


are speaking about this

How long have you


been doing?

If you could, would you do?

When you were younger, did you


used to do?

What have people just been


saying about?

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Topics
Veganism and vegetarianism

Extreme sports

The value of university education

Chess

The importance of work experience

Multicultural societies

The economic side of football

New technologies

Latest top news stories

Why are some people so rich, others so poor?

The importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle

How our generation can make the world a better place

The best thing that has happened to me is...


51

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Collaborative task: Talking about school uniforms


Level: ISE II
Focus: Collaborative task
Aims: To interact orally with other students about their opinions on a situation
Objectives: To brainstorm ideas about a topic or situation, to learn and practise ways of asking for
opinions and information and to practise giving opinions and turn taking
Topic: School uniforms and school teachers
Language functions: Asking for information and opinions, eliciting further information
Grammar: Question formation
Lexis: Fashion, clothes and discipline
Materials needed: Two pictures one of pupils in uniform and one of pupils not in uniform and one
worksheet per student
Timing: 45 minutes

Procedure
Preparation
1. Find two pictures of students one picture with students wearing uniforms and one of students not
in uniform.
2. Print or copy one worksheet per student.

In class
1. Tell the students that today in class they are going to think about school uniforms, give their opinions
about school uniforms and ask other students about their opinions of having or not having school
uniforms or no uniforms. Tell the class that what they are doing in the lesson today is to help with
part of the ISE II exam where they will be talking to the examiner and asking the examiner questions.
2. Use the following phrases to get information from the class about wearing/not wearing uniforms.
Give as many turns as possible to students, making sure that they are listening to one another. For
example, you can ask:
Student 1, whats your opinion about school uniforms? (show students the picture with the
students wearing uniforms)
Student 2 Do you agree with what student 1 said about uniforms?
Student 3 What do you think?
How do you feel about not wearing a uniform, Student 4? (show students the picture with the
students not wearing uniforms)
Can you tell me more about why you think this?
3. Draw up a table on the board with the following headings:
Advantages of wearing uniforms

Disadvantages of wearing uniforms

Ask the class for ideas about wearing uniforms/no uniforms and give ideas yourself. You should end up
with some of the ideas listed on the worksheet.
4. Tell the class your opinions about uniforms. Use these phrases: I think I believe..., As far as Im
concerned From my point of view

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ISE II Speaking & Listening exam


5. Ask the class, How do we give our opinion about something? The class should respond with the
same phrases you have just used. Write these phrases on the board and practise the pronunciation.
6. Ask the class What are the questions we use when we want to ask what someone thinks about
something or what their opinion is?
[The class should respond: Whats your opinion about...? What do you think about...? How do
you feel about...? Do you agree with me/Student 5 about? Can you tell me more about why you
think?] Write these phrases on the board and practise the pronunciation.
7. Now tell the class they are going to ask each other questions about their opinions of school
uniforms. Divide the class into groups of four.
8. Hand out one worksheet per student. Tell the class to read the worksheet about the advantages and
disadvantages of school uniforms and then to ask the members of their group for their opinions
about the topic. They should try to use the ideas, phrases and questions on the worksheet and
the board when they are speaking. If they have other ideas and opinions, they can use those, too.
Everyone in the group must take turns.
9. Give the class six minutes to practise asking for and giving opinions/getting information about what
each group member thinks. Walk around the class and make sure all the students are taking turns.
As you walk round, make a note of common mistakes.
10. Give the class some feedback on common errors. Write up some common mistakes on the board and
get the class to correct them.
11. Now tell the class you are going to give them another topic to discuss in their groups and they must
find out the opinions of other students in their groups.
12. The topic is: Students do better at schools where teachers are very strict about behaviour,
homework, punctuality, speaking in class and rules than when teachers are not strict. Write the
topic on the board.
13. Give the class 10 minutes to think and write a few notes about their ideas. Then ask the students
to find out the opinions of the rest of their group of four. Let the students ask and answer in their
groups for 10 minutes.
14. Ask the class for their opinions. Remind the class that they have learnt how to give opinions and
ask someone else for their opinion and that is what they will need to do in the speaking part of the
ISE exam.

Extension activity
Students who finish the task early choose a further discussion topic and ask other able learners about
their opinions, for example, Single sex schools versus mixed boys and girls schools.

Further support activity


Write some example questions on the board for the second activity. For example:

Whats your opinion about teachers giving students extra homework?


What do you think about teachers who dont mind if students forget to do their homework?
How do you feel about teachers who punish students?
Whats your opinion about teachers who have many rules/no rules?
Are students happy in strict classes?

Homework
Ask the students to ask their friends in other classes who are learning English, or a relative, what they
think about school uniforms and why.

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ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Student worksheet: Talking about school uniforms


Advantages of wearing uniforms

Disadvantages of wearing uniforms

Its cheaper for parents to buy one uniform


and not a lot of different clothes
Everyone in the town or city can recognise
the students from one school
Students can be proud of their school image
and identity
Students dont spend a lot of time thinking
about clothes every day
It makes everyone equal

Students cant develop their own style of dress


Students cant choose clothes that suit them
Students cant wear accessories, for example,
jewellery or different shoes
Students cant choose their own colours
Students cant develop independence.

Add more ideas of your own to the boxes below.


Asking for opinions/more information

Giving opinions

What do you think about..?

I think...

Whats your opinion about..?

I reckon...

How do you feel about..?

As far as Im concerned...

Do you agree with xx/me about..?

From my point of view...

Can you tell me more about..?

I agree with... about

Students do better at schools where teachers are very strict about homework, behaviour,
punctuality, speaking in class and rules than when teachers are not strict

Whats your opinion about this? What do others in your group think?

54

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Conversation task: A conversation about living in society today


Level: ISE II
Focus: Conversation task
Aims: To converse with a partner about objects that society uses today
Objectives: To think about a topic, to learn appropriate conversational phrases and to use the
phrases in a short conversation about the topic
Topics: Modern society
Language functions: Eliciting further information, expressing and expanding ideas and opinions,
expressing agreement/disagreement and negotiating meaning
Grammar: Modals in polite phrases
Lexis: Household/family objects
Materials needed: Worksheet per student
Timing: 55 minutes

Procedure
Preparation
1. Print one copy of the worksheet per student.
2. Check you are familiar with all the objects in the box on the worksheet. You can add new/different
objects if you think they are more appropriate to your context.

In class
1. Tell the students that they are going to practise having a conversation, which is part of the ISE II
speaking exam. They are going to have a conversation about objects, for example, a fridge, a computer,
or a car, that they think are essential (things that we absolutely need) or just helpful (things that make
our life easier) for life today in a family. They are then going to tell their partner about their opinions
of these things. They are also going to learn some phrases to help them with the conversation and
phrases that they can use in the exam.
2. Give out the worksheet and tell the students to read the box where there are some objects listed.
Check that the students know the meanings of all the objects and how to pronounce them. Then
get the students to work in pairs for 10 minutes and to decide whether the objects in the box are
essential or helpful. They need to choose at least eight items. Before they start, ask in open-class
why, for example, a fridge is essential or necessary.
[The students might say, A fridge is essential because in the summer the food can spoil and its
good to have cold drinks. My family cant live without/do without a fridge or we could get sick. Or a
dishwasher is useful because it makes life easier in families. Its a time-saver.]
Write any essential vocabulary on the board.
3. When the students finish the activity, get more feedback from the students and write more ideas
and vocabulary on the board, even if students have different opinions.
4. Make sure that you have a good list on the board of objects that the students consider necessary
or helpful to modern society and the reasons why the students think they are necessary or helpful.
Then tell the students that they are going to have a conversation with their partners about this and
that they need to give their opinions and ask their partners whether they agree or not and why.
5. Ask the students what language they will need to use in a conversation like this. You could ask the
students, What expressions can you use to give your opinion? How can you ask someone if they
agree with you or not?
[They could say, In my opinion, a is essential because Well, I think that is helpful because Do
you agree with me that?]
Tell the students to look at their worksheets and read Box A aloud to their partners.

55

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam


6. Then ask the students to look at box B on the worksheet and read the phrases they can use if
they dont understand what their partner says in the conversation. Get the class to practise the
pronunciation of these phrases. You can ask the class to add in any other expressions they know
that they can use when they dont understand.
7. Put the class into groups of three. Tell two students in the group they are going to have a
conversation about their opinions of modern objects in family life. Write three questions on the
board for them to start their discussion: What do you think about..? Whats your opinion of..? Do
you think ais essential or useful? Tell the third student in the group to listen for the phrases which
express opinion and ask for clarification that are on the worksheet. The student must give points for
each time a phrase is used. The two students talk for two minutes. The third student will tell them
when to stop. At the end of the time the third student will say which student used the phrases on the
worksheet more.
8. Change roles in the group of three so that a different student is counting the phrases for the next
conversation.

Extension activity
Students who finish early can think about and then talk together about another topic, for example, the
qualities that friends should have, using the phrases suggested.

Further support activity


If some students are finding the activity difficult, you could write more ideas on the board about why
things are necessary or helpful so they can be used as prompts.

Homework
Students could prepare five ideas about the environmental problems in their country and why they think
they are problems. They could then discuss with a partner in class for two minutes, using the phrases.

56

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Student worksheet: A conversation about living in society today


Are these objects essential or helpful? Why? Categorise each object. You can add other objects.

Box A
DVD/DVD player

mobile phone

freezer

television

land-line

car

tablet

a stove or cooker microwave

electric mixer

vacuum cleaner or hoover

electric razor

computer

mower

electric toothbrush

E-book reader

hose

fridge

gym equipment

Essential

Helpful

Use the phrases below in your conversation to give and ask opinions.

Box B
Useful phrases for giving an opinion
In my opinion, a... is essential because...
Well, I think that... is helpful because...
Do you agree with me that...?
Why do you think that...?
Well, Im not so sure about... I think that...
Other phrases

57

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Listening task: Working from home


Level: ISE II
Focus: Listening task
Aims: To provide practice in identifying gist and specific information from a listening text
Objectives: To familiarise students with the type of listening tasks that they will face at ISE II
Topic: Working from home
Language functions: Highlighting advantages and disadvantages, predicting and expressing
certainty and uncertainty, expressing agreement and disagreement and speculating
Lexis: The world of work
Materials needed: A recording of the audio script (if possible), enough photocopies of the audio
script for each student and board pens
Timing: 1 hour

Procedure
Preparation
Make sure a recording of the audio script has been made on an MP3 player or equivalent device. If this
is not possible the teacher may read out the audio script in open-class.

In class
1. Tell students they are going to practise a listening task for the ISE II speaking test. In this task they
will have to listen to a recording of approximately 400 words, first listening for gist and then making
notes of more specific details.
2. Tell them they will begin by discussing the world of work. Ask students to discuss in pairs or groups
of three, for two minutes, whether they know anyone who works from home, and whether they like it
or not. Ask a few students to share their discussion with the class.
3. Now dictate the following to the students: My friend has told me that she has given up going to the
office and started working from home. She said it wasnt quite what she had expected.
4. Students can check each others papers to see what they have written and correct them if
necessary. Ask students what they think his/her friend means by this. This should elicit there are
disadvantages as well as advantages of working from home.
5. Divide the class into two (or even four groups depending on class size), and ask each group to
consider the advantages OR disadvantages of working from home. Ten minutes should be enough
time for the students to discuss this.
6. Draw two columns on the board

Advantages

Disadvantages

Ask a student from each group to write their advantages/disadvantages on the board as a series of
bullet points. They should have come up with at least three or four advantages and disadvantages.
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ISE II Speaking & Listening exam


7. Tell the students that they are now going to listen to the audio which talks about the world of work.
First they will listen for general understanding of the script gist. Ask them if they think the speaker
is in favour or working from home or not. The students can make notes on a piece of paper as they
would in the listening exam.
8. Play the audio script.
9. Ask the students to discuss their answers in pairs and threes. [Answer: Yes he/she was generally in
favour of working from home, and maybe the students can tell you why (see Answer key)]
10. Tell the students that you are going to play the recording again. This time, ask the students to make
bullet points of the advantages and disadvantages of working from home (there are four advantages
and three disadvantages). Play the recording a second time.
11. Ask the students to compare their notes in pairs or threes. While the students are doing this,
monitor and ask one student to write on the board the answers for the advantages, and another to
write up the disadvantages.
12. Confirm the answers (see Answer key on page 59). How similar were they to the suggestions they
made in stage 6?
13. Give students the audio script, ask the students to read it and underline any expressions the
students are not familiar with.
14. Ask students to reflect on the listening activity. Why were some parts difficult? Is it unknown
vocabulary, or is it the linking of and elision of words (particularly phrasal verbs such as check up on
you, stick to it, stuck in.
15. Give students two to three minutes to speculate whether they would like to work from home in groups
of three. After they have done that you could have a class vote on it to see which is more popular.

Extension activity
Students who finish the activity early can write sentences meaningful to them, using the new
vocabulary items that they have seen in the audio script.

Further support activity


The recording can be played a third time for students finding the activity challenging, following the
audio script. Students can ask for the recording/reading of the audio script to be stopped when the
students experience difficulties.

Homework
Ask students to research other lexical items connected with the world of work which they will have to
explain to other members of the class in the next lesson.

59

ISE II Speaking & Listening exam

Audio script
Have you ever sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic in the rush hour and wondered how much better it
would be to work from home instead of doing the daily commute to the office? It seems that more and
more people have been working from home in recent years, but is it really as great as it seems?
Many people have started to work from home but then realised there were a lot of drawbacks that they
had not considered. Some workers reported that working from home had proved to be very isolating at
times. They had missed the day-to-day contact with their colleagues. For example, it is nice to chat to
colleagues in the breaks about things that are happening at work, or even talking about simple things
like TV programmes from the night before. Some workers also said that they missed not having an IT
department, as they did not have someone to help them if they had a problem with their computer.
Many found that there were even more distractions working from home than there were at the office.
It can be extremely tempting to play around on the internet or constantly check social networking sites
which can be a terrible distraction now that the boss is not around to check up on you. Some even
reported that they had started watching daytime TV!
However, despite these disadvantages, there are of course a lot of great things about working from
home. It is possible to fill in the gaps when family members are ill or when children need to be picked
up from school. There is much greater flexibility in that one can work at the times you decide. Perhaps
you are an early riser and prefer to work from 5am in the morning or perhaps you work better in the
afternoons or evenings. Whatever it is, you can fix your own schedule, but it is better to be disciplined,
set a timetable and stick to it.
It is also possible to save money working at home. There would be no temptation to go out for lunch
with your colleagues, which if done everyday can really make a dent in your salary. Cooking lunch at
home will keep that money in your pocket. Finally, the best thing about working from home that most
people reported, was that they did not have to take that commute into work either on the train, or on
the bus, or worst of all in the car, when one was frequently stuck in frustrating rush-hour traffic.

Answer key
Gist question: Overall the speaker is positive about working from home, especially as he/she does not
have to commute to work.
Answers to listening task:

60

Advantages

Disadvantages

Dont have to commute to work


Can be flexible to attend to family needs
such as when someone is ill or children need
picking up
Flexibility to set own timetable of work
Can save money on food

Can feel isolated from colleagues


No one to help you with IT problems
Distractions of the internet, social networking
sites, daytime TV

Appendices

61

Appendix 1 Sample Reading & Writing exam paper

Appendix 1 Sample Reading & Writing exam paper


ISE II

SAMPLE

Integrated Skills in English II


Time allowed: 2 hours
This exam paper has four tasks. Complete all tasks.

Task 1 Long reading


As part of your studies you are going to read about maths skills. Read the following text and
answer the 15 questions on page 3.

The importance of maths skills


Paragraph 1
A new charity called National Numeracy (NN) claims that millions of adults across the country
have such poor mathematical skills that they are unable to carry out many of the basic
numerical tasks in everyday life that many of us do naturally. These include understanding
travel timetables, pay slips, household bills and even checking our change in shops. The charity
is keen to argue against the myth that maths at school is boring and not really important to us
once we get out of school and start to live in the real world. According to NN, nothing could be
further from the truth. It is estimated that poor numeracy skills amongst adults cost the nation
billions each year.
Paragraph 2
In addition, poor numeracy skills not only contribute to personal disadvantage to individuals
who are unable to carry out the most basic tasks, but they can also be linked to a number of
other social and personal ills. People without a basic understanding of maths are more likely to
be unemployed, more likely to suffer from depression and more likely to suffer from a number
of negative social circumstances we would all like to avoid, such as poor housing, poor health
and related problems. In short, it pays to possess at least some basic numeracy skills in order
to develop ones identity and wellbeing in a difficult world.
Paragraph 3
Whilst adult literacy has been improving, thanks to a number of government policies which have
provided money for practical support and solutions, adult numeracy has at the same time got
worse. The fact of the matter is that many people simply dont like maths and dont see any
point to it. Furthermore, maths isnt cool. Its apparently OK to say Im no good at maths whilst
there is much more reluctance to admitting to being unable to read. To many people, maths
is simply another inconvenient school subject for which there is no need to make much of an
effort because you wont need it once you leave school.
Paragraph 4
Unfortunately, the problem seems to be passed down the generations. Parents who tell their
children they were no good at maths at school are likely to find the same attitude amongst
their own children and will be unable to help them with their maths homework. Even today, with
interesting and practical new approaches to maths which have replaced simply learning things
by heart, maths is still one of those subjects that many kids hate.
Paragraph 5
Perhaps its the way its taught in schools, or the way teachers are trained to teach it, or the
failure of the teaching profession to attract gifted teachers of maths. There is obviously a need
to present maths as a way of solving practical problems and working with others in a stimulating
way and of making people see its practical uses in everyday life, rather than treating it as a
waste of time and something one has to do until the end of school.

page 2

62

This exam paper has four tasks. Complete all tasks.

SAM

ISE II

asks.

Appendix 1 Sample Reading & Writing exam paper

ISE II

SAMPLE

Questions 15 (one mark per question)


The text on page 2 has five paragraphs (15). Choose the best title for each paragraph from AF
below and write the letter (AF) on the lines below. There is one title you dont need.
1.

A Why numeracy is not regarded as being as important


as literacy
B How attitudes towards maths are handed down
C How maths skills are related to other skills
D Possible causes of poor attitude to maths
E The results of poor maths skills in daily life
F Social and mental problems because of poor maths skills

Paragraph 1

2. Paragraph 2
3. Paragraph 3
4. Paragraph 4
5. Paragraph 5

Questions 610 (one mark per question)


Choose the five statements from AH below that are TRUE according to the information given in
the text on page 2. Write the letters of the TRUE statements on the lines below (in any order).
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

The charity is trying to make maths at school more interesting.


The writer feels the government is trying to deal with the issue.
According to NN, adult numeracy is at its lowest ever point.
People with poor maths skills often have other problems too.
Maths is regarded as a subject which one has to put up with until
the end of school.
F There are now more interesting approaches to maths than there
used to be.
G Many people feel very bad about admitting their poor maths skills.
H According to NN, poor adult numeracy is a financial burden on the country.

A
B
C
D
E

Questions 1115 (one mark per question)


Complete sentences 1115 with a word, phrase or number from the text (maximum three words).
Write the word, phrase or number on the lines below.
11. The common belief that maths is not useful is a

12. As well as practical problems, having difficulty with basic maths can also affect ones
.
13. People are more likely to say they cant add up than to say they cant
.
14. In the writers view, poor numeracy may be due to the fact that its difficult to recruit
of maths.
15. The writer argues that people need to see the
of maths in daily life.

Turn over page

page 3

63

Appendix 1 Sample Reading & Writing exam paper

ISE II

SAMPLE

Task 2 Multi-text reading


As part of your studies you are going to read about memory. In this section there are four short
texts for you to read and some questions for you to answer.
Questions 1620 (one mark per question)
Read ques tions 1620 first and then read texts A, B, C and D below the questions.
As you read each text, decide which text each question refers to. Choose one letter A, B, C or D
and write it on the lines below. You can use any letter more than once.
Which text
16. reports on an investigation into brain activity under different conditions?
17. describes how the brain computes external information in order to make memories?
18. recommends a specific technique for remembering vocabulary?
19. compares the impact of different activities on the process of remembering?
20. presents some surprising results with implications for teaching and learning?
Text A

Chris blog - Study tips


December 10, 2014

Mnemonics are really cool tools to help you remember facts. Theyre techniques or strategies
consciously used to improve your memory, and are especially useful if, like me, you often
forget things. One of these strategies, which is specifically used for language learning, is called
LinkWord Technique. It uses a visualised image to link a word in one language with a word in
another; for example, in Thai, the word khao means rice, so you would have to imagine a cow
eating a bowl of rice! The funnier the image, the more memorable it is! But the system does
have drawbacks creating a scene for every new word you learn can take up a lot of time. You
might also have problems finding similarities between the two languages. Still, give it a try!
Text B

Memory
Our senses play an important part in memory creation, starting with a biological process known
as encoding, which can involve all five. For example, when you first meet someone, your sense
of sight will capture what they look like, while your ears will register the sound of their voice. Your
sense of smell may pick up some perfume. Perhaps you shake hands, thus bringing in the sense
of touch. Going for a coffee together could even mean that taste is involved.
Each of these separate sensations is immediately sent to a part of your brain called the
hippocampus, which combines them into your experience, or memory, of that particular person.
Whether or not that experience will be moved from your short-term to your long-term memory is
also believed to depend on the hippocampus, which processes its importance and decides if its
worth remembering. Exactly how it does this is not yet understood, but its role is vital: if it did not
discard most of our daily experiences, our memories would be too full to function.

page 4

64

This exam paper has four tasks. Complete all tasks.

SAM

ISE II

asks.

Appendix 1 Sample Reading & Writing exam paper

ISE II

SAMPLE

Text C

The Memory Pyramid

We remember:
25% of what we see
and hear
30% of what we
demonstrate to others
35% of what we read
50% of the things we discuss with others
70% of what we learn by physically doing things
90% of what we teach to others!

Text D
New research from a leading US university has
uncovered an unconscious form of memory which
could mean that people are capable of learning while
theyre asleep. As researcher Vally Pugland told us:
Weve found evidence that the brain continues to
process information without our knowing it, and this
ability may aid our waking memory.
Researchers played notes, then released certain
scents, to sleeping participants. Later, the same notes

were played to them without the accompanying


scents. The participants reacted by sniffing when
they heard the notes, even though they couldnt have
smelt anything this time. This happened both while
they were asleep and awake. This would suggest
that people can learn new information while they
sleep, said Pugland, and that this can unconsciously
affect their behaviour when theyre awake. We now
need to investigate whether this new sleep memory
could improve classroom performance.

Questions 2125 (one mark per question)


Choose the five statements from AH below that are TRUE according to the information given
in the texts above. Write the letters of the TRUE statements on the lines below (in any order).
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.

A Our memory would stop working if we remembered everything we saw


and did.
B Sight is the most important sense for the creation of memories.
C The link between words is easier to recall if it is associated with an
amusing scene.
D The sniffing behaviour was only observed when the participants
were sleeping.
E There are both advantages and disadvantages to the LinkWord Technique.
F Experiences that are important to us tend to generate long-term memories.
G Research has shown that sleep memory can lead to better exam results.
H We generally remember more of what we do with others than what we
do on our own.

Turn over page

page 5

65

Appendix 1 Sample Reading & Writing exam paper

ISE II

SAMPLE

Questions 2630 (one mark per question)


The summary notes below contain information from the texts on pages 4 and 5. Find a word or phrase from
texts AD to complete the missing information in gaps 2630.
Write your answers on the lines below.

Summary notes
The power of memory
starts with a biological process: (26.)
different senses can be involved
area of the brain that processes physical sensations:
(27.)
understanding of short-term memory versus long-term memory
discovery of conscious versus unconscious forms of memory
based on research recently undertaken at a (28.)
involving two particular senses: (29.)

and

the memory pyramid illustrates the relative effectiveness of different activities


memory improvement strategies, eg (30.)

page 6

66

This exam paper has four tasks. Complete all tasks.

SAM

ISE II

asks.

Appendix 1 Sample Reading & Writing exam paper

ISE II

SAMPLE

Task 3 Reading into writing


Use the information from the four texts you read in Task 2 (pages 46) to write a short article
(150180 words) for a website giving advice for students on how to improve memory skills.
You should plan your article before you start writing. Think about what you want to say and make
some notes to help you in this box:
Planning notes

(No marks are given for these planning notes)

Now write your article of 150180 words on the lines below. Try to use your own words as far as
possible dont just copy sentences from the reading texts.

Turn over page

page 7

67

Appendix 1 Sample Reading & Writing exam paper

SAMPLE

page 8

68

ISE II

This exam paper has four tasks. Complete all tasks.

SAM

ISE II

asks.

Appendix 1 Sample Reading & Writing exam paper

ISE II

SAMPLE

When you have finished your article, spend 23 minutes reading through what you have written.
Make sure you have answered the task completely. Remember to check how you made use of the
reading texts, as well as the language and organisation of your writing.

Turn over page

page 9

69

Appendix 1 Sample Reading & Writing exam paper

ISE II

SAMPLE

Task 4 Extended writing


You have been talkling about sports in class. Write an essay (150180 words) for your teacher
on whether or not sport should be a compulsory school subject. Give your opinion with reasons
and arguments.
You should plan your essay before you start writing. Think about what you want to say and make
some notes to help you in this box:
Planning notes

(No marks are given for these planning notes)

Now write your essay of 150180 words on the lines below.

page 10

70

This exam paper has four tasks. Complete all tasks.

SAM

ISE II

asks.

Appendix 1 Sample Reading & Writing exam paper

ISE II

SAMPLE

Turn over page

page 11

71

Appendix 1 Sample Reading & Writing exam paper

ISE II

SAMPLE

When you have finished your essay, spend 23 minutes reading through what you have written.
Make sure you have answered the task completely and remember to check the language and
organisation of your writing.

End of exam
Copyright 2015 Trinity College London

72

Appendix 2 Information on the Speaking & Listening exam

Appendix 2 Information on the Speaking & Listening exam


Videos of sample Speaking & Listening exams may be viewed at www.trinitycollege.com/ISE
There is a note-taking sheet on page 74 which may be photocopied and used in the classroom to help
students practise note-taking.

Sample listening exam


Examiner rubric:
Youre going to hear a talk about wind energy. You will hear the talk twice. The first time,
just listen. Then Ill ask you to tell me generally what the speaker is talking about.
Are you ready?
Now listen to the talk again. This time make some notes on your worksheet as you listen,
if you want to. Then Ill ask you what the reasons the speaker gives for and against the use
of wind energy.
Are you ready?

73

Appendix 2 Information on the Speaking & Listening exam

Notes
w

Extra notes

74

Appendix 2 Information on the Speaking & Listening exam

Audio script sample for listening exam


When it comes to investing in wind turbines to create electricity, there are various factors that need
to be considered. Most obviously, the creation of wind energy is clean. Unlike the use of coal or oil,
generating energy from the wind doesnt produce pollutants or require harmful chemicals, and its this
factor which weighs most heavily with those worried about the future of our planet. Moreover, wind
will never run out, unlike other natural, non-renewable resources. So it would seem to be a winner in at
least two very significant areas.
There are those, however, who continue to argue against the use of wind turbines but it has to be
said their arguments tend to focus on much more detailed issues, and largely ignore the bigger overall
picture. Its claimed, for example, that the blades of wind turbines can sometimes be dangerous to
wildlife, particularly birds. This may be true, but it seems a small price to pay compared to using other
means of power generation, which could end up destroying the habitats of those very same birds. In
addition, the sound turbines create can, admittedly, be a problem for those nearby. Perhaps a more
significant point, though, and certainly one often mentioned by those who object to turbines, is that it
requires a lot of open land to set them up, and cutting down trees seems to defeat the green purpose.
Those who criticise wind energy point out that the wind doesn't always blow consistently. And thats
certainly a drawback right now turbines typically operate at only 30% capacity. If the weather isnt
in your favour, you may end up without electricity. And when there is wind, well, severe storms or
extremely high winds might damage turbines, especially when theyre struck by lightning. As such
weather already damages existing methods of power production, however, this line of attack seems
to be without much merit.
Ultimately, wind is free. In suitable geographical locations, its there for the taking. While start-up
costs are still off-putting for some, its undeniable that the overall costs of producing wind energy
have been dropping significantly in recent years, and as it gains popularity, itll continue to become
more affordable. In many countries, the costs of purchasing and installing turbines are subsidised by
government schemes aimed to promote expansion. There are, no question, a number of problems
associated with turbines which still require solutions but in the longer view, the case for them
appears beyond doubt.

Answer key
Gist: Wind energy may be a good way to reduce damage to the environment, but there are drawbacks.
Overall, there is a strong case for using them (any broadly similar formulation is acceptable).

For

Against

Clean energy no harmful chemicals or


pollutants involved/produced
Will never run out
Doesnt destroy habitats as other power
generation means do
Essentially free/any associated costs falling
Bad weather can damage turbines

Turbines dangerous to wildlife, especially birds


Noisy
Require large area of open land may lead to
cutting down of trees
Supply of wind not consistent turbines
operating at 30% capacity

75

Appendix 3 Suggested grammar for ISE II

Appendix 3 Suggested grammar for ISE II


The list below gives some suggested grammar for students to practise when preparing for an
ISE exam. This list is intended to be for guidance only and is not a list of forms the candidate
must produce in the test.

Language requirements
Grammar
Second and third conditionals

Discourse connectors because of, due to

Simple passive

Present perfect continuous tense

Used to

Past perfect tense

Relative clauses

Reported speech

Modals and phrases used to give advice and


Linking expressions, eg even though,
make suggestions, eg should/ought to, could,
in spite of, although
youd better
Modals and phrases used to express possibility
and uncertainty may, might, Im not sure

76

Appendix 4 ISE II Task 3 Reading into writing rating scale

Appendix 4 ISE II Task 3 Reading into writing rating scale


Score

Reading for writing

Task fulfilment

Understanding of source materials


Selection of relevant content from source texts
Ability to identify common themes and links within and
across the multiple texts
Adaptation of content to suit the purpose for writing
Use of paraphrasing/summarising

Overall achievement of communicative aim


Awareness of the writer-reader relationship (style and register)
Adequacy of topic coverage

Full and accurate understanding of the essential meaning


of all source materials demonstrated
A wholly appropriate and accurate selection of relevant
content from the source texts
Excellent ability to identify common themes and links within
and across the multiple texts and the writers stances
An excellent adaptation of content to suit the purpose for
writing
Excellent paraphrasing/summarising skills of factual ideas,
opinions, argument and/or discussion demonstrated

Excellent achievement of the communicative aim


Excellent awareness of the writer-reader relationship (ie
appropriate use of standard style and register throughout the text)
All requirements (ie genre, topic, reader, purpose and number of
words) of the instruction appropriately met

Full and accurate understanding of the essential meaning


of most source materials demonstrated
An appropriate and accurate selection of relevant content
from the source texts (ie most relevant ideas are selected
and most ideas selected are relevant)
Good ability to identify common themes and links within
and across the multiple texts and the writers stances
A good adaptation of content to suit the purpose
for writing (eg apply the content of the source texts
appropriately to offer solutions, offer some evaluation of
the ideas based on the purpose for writing)
Good paraphrasing/summarising skills of factual ideas,
opinions, argument and/or discussion demonstrated (with
very limited lifting and a few disconnected ideas)

Good achievement of the communicative aim (ie easy to follow


and convincing for reader)
Good awareness of the writer-reader relationship (ie appropriate
use of standard style and register throughout the text)
Most requirements (ie, genre, topic, reader, purpose and number
of words) of the instruction appropriately met

Full and accurate understanding of more than half of the


source materials demonstrated
An acceptable selection of relevant content from the
source texts (the content selected must come from more
than one text)
Acceptable ability to identify common themes and links
within and across the multiple texts and the writers
stances (eg ability to discern when the same idea has been
mentioned in several texts and therefore avoid repeating it)
Acceptable adaptation of content to suit the purpose
for writing
Acceptable paraphrasing/summarising skills of factual
ideas, opinions, argument and/or discussion demonstrated

Acceptable achievement of the communicative aim


Some awareness of the writer-reader relationship
Most requirements (ie genre, topic, reader, purpose and number
of words) of the instruction acceptably met

Inaccurate and limited understanding of most source materials Poor achievement of the communicative aim (ie difficult to follow
Inadequate and inaccurate selection of relevant content from and unconvincing for reader)
the source texts (ie fewer than half of the relevant ideas are Poor awareness of the writer-reader relationship
selected and most of the selected ideas are irrelevant)
Most requirements (ie genre, topic, reader, purpose and number
of words) of the instruction are NOT met
Poor ability to identify common themes and links within
and across the multiple texts and the writers stances
(ie misunderstanding of the common themes and links
is evident)
Poor adaptation of content to suit the purpose for writing
(ie does not use the source texts content to address the
purpose for writing)
Poor paraphrasing/summarising skills of factual ideas,
opinions, argument and/or discussion (with heavy lifting
and many disconnected ideas)

Task not attempted


Paper void
No performance to evaluate

77

Appendix 4 ISE II Task 3 Reading into writing rating scale

Score

Organisation and structure

Language control

Text organisation, including use of paragraphing,


beginnings/endings
Presentation of ideas and arguments, including clarity and
coherence of their development
Consistent use of format to suit the task
Use of signposting

Range and accuracy of grammar


Range and accuracy of lexis
Effect of linguistic errors on understanding
Control of punctuation and spelling

Effective organisation of text


Very clear presentation and logical development of most
ideas and arguments, with appropriate highlighting of
significant points and relevant supporting detail
Appropriate format throughout the text
Effective signposting

Wide range of grammatical items relating to the task with good


level of accuracy
Wide range of lexical items relating to the task with good level of
accuracy
Any errors do not impede understanding
Excellent spelling and punctuation

Good organisation of text (eg appropriately organised


into clear and connected paragraphs, appropriate opening
and closing)
Clear presentation and logical development of most
ideas and arguments, with appropriate highlighting of
significant points and relevant supporting detail
Appropriate format in most of the text
Good signposting (eg appropriate use of cohesive devices
and topic sentences)

Appropriate range of grammatical items relating to the task with


good level of accuracy (with mostly non-systematic errors)
Appropriate range of lexical items relating to the task with good
level of accuracy (without frequent repetition
Errors only occasionally impede understanding
Good spelling and punctuation (may show some signs of first
language influence)

Acceptable organisation of text


Presentation and development of most ideas and
arguments are acceptably clear and logical, with
some highlighting of significant points and relevant
supporting detail
Appropriate format in general
Acceptable signposting (eg some inconsistent/faulty
use of cohesive devices and topic sentences)

Acceptable level of grammatical accuracy and appropriacy


relating to the task, though range may be restricted
Acceptable level of lexical accuracy and appropriacy relating to
the task, though range may be restricted
Errors sometimes impede understanding
Acceptable spelling and punctuation

Very limited or poor text organisation


Most ideas and arguments lack coherence and do not
progress logically
Inappropriate format throughout the text
Poor signposting (eg inappropriate or poor use of
cohesive devices and topic sentences)

Inadequate evidence of grammatical range and accuracy (may


have control over the language below the level)
Inadequate evidence of lexical range and accuracy (may have
control over the language below the level)
Errors frequently impede understanding
Poor spelling and punctuation throughout

Task not attempted


Paper void
No performance to evaluate

78

Appendix 5 ISE II Task 4 Extended writing rating scale

Appendix 5 ISE II Task 4 Extended writing rating scale


Task
Score

4 Extended
Task fulfilment writing

Organisation and structure

Language control

Overall achievement of communicative


aim
Awareness of the writer-reader
relationship (style and register)
Adequacy of topic coverage

Text organisation, including use of


paragraphing, beginnings/endings
Presentation of ideas and arguments,
including clarity and coherence of their
development
Consistent use of format to suit the task
Use of signposting

Range and accuracy of grammar


Range and accuracy of lexis
Effect of linguistic errors on
understanding
Control of punctuation and spelling

Excellent achievement of the


communicative aim
Excellent awareness of the writerreader relationship (ie appropriate
use of standard style and register
throughout the text)
All requirements (ie genre, topic,
reader, purpose and number of words)
of the instruction appropriately met

Effective organisation of text


Very clear presentation and logical
development of most ideas and
arguments, with appropriate
highlighting of significant points and
relevant supporting detail.
Appropriate format throughout the text
Effective signposting

Wide range of grammatical items


relating to the task with good level
of accuracy
Wide range of lexical items relating to
the task with good level of accuracy
Any errors do not impede
understanding
Excellent spelling and punctuation

Good achievement of the


communicative aim (ie easy to follow
and convincing for reader)
Good awareness of the writer-reader
relationship (ie appropriate use of
standard style and register throughout
the text)
Most requirements (ie genre, topic,
reader, purpose and number of words)
of the instruction appropriately met

Good organisation of text (eg


appropriately organised into clear and
connected paragraphs, appropriate
opening and closing)
Clear presentation and logical
development of most ideas and
arguments, with appropriate
highlighting of significant points and
relevant supporting detail.
Appropriate format in most of the text
Good signposting (eg appropriate
use of cohesive devices and topic
sentences)

Appropriate range of grammatical


items relating to the task with good
level of accuracy (with mostly nonsystematic errors)
Appropriate range of lexical items
relating to the task with good level of
accuracy (without frequent repetition
Errors only occasionally impede
understanding
Good spelling and punctuation (may
show some signs of first language
influence)

Acceptable achievement of the


communicative aim
Some awareness of the writer-reader
relationship
Most requirements (ie genre, topic,
reader, purpose and number of words)
of the instruction acceptably met

Acceptable organisation of text


Presentation and development
of most ideas and arguments are
acceptably clear and logical, with some
highlighting of significant points and
relevant supporting detail.
Appropriate format in general
Acceptable signposting (eg some
inconsistent/faulty use of cohesive
devices and topic sentences)

Acceptable level of grammatical


accuracy and appropriacy relating
to the task, though range may be
restricted
Acceptable level of lexical accuracy
and appropriacy relating to the task,
though range may be restricted
Errors sometimes impede
understanding
Acceptable spelling and punctuation

Poor achievement of the


communicative aim (ie difficult to
follow and unconvincing for reader)
Poor awareness of the writer-reader
relationship
Most requirements (ie genre, topic,
reader, purpose and number of words)
of the instruction are NOT met

Very limited or poor text organisation


Most ideas and arguments lack
coherence and do not progress logically
Inappropriate format throughout
the text
Poor signposting (eg inappropriate or
poor use of cohesive devices and topic
sentences)

Inadequate evidence of grammatical


range and accuracy (may have control
over the language below the level)
Inadequate evidence of lexical range
and accuracy (may have control over
the language below the level)
Errors frequently impede
understanding
Poor spelling and punctuation
throughout

Task not attempted


Paper void
No performance to evaluate

79

Appendix 6 ISE II Speaking & Listening rating scale

Appendix 6 ISE II Speaking & Listening rating scale


This rating scale is used by the examiner to make a subjective judgement of the candidates performance in
the speaking exam (the Topic, Collaborative and Conversation tasks).
Score

Communicative
effectiveness
Task fulfilment
Appropriacy of
contributions/turn-taking
Repair strategies

Interactive listening

Language control

Delivery

Comprehension and
relevant response
Level of understanding
Speech rate of examiner
interventions
Speed and accuracy of
response

Range
Accuracy/precision
Effects of inaccuracies

Intelligibility
Lexical stress/intonation
Fluency
Effects on the listener

Fulfils the task very well


Initiates and responds with
effective turn-taking
Effectively maintains and
develops the interaction
Solves communication
problems naturally, if any

Understands all
interventions on a first
hearing
Interprets examiners aims
and viewpoints accurately
by making links with earlier
information
Makes immediate and
relevant responses

Uses a wide range of


grammatical structures/
lexis flexibly to deal with
topics at this level
Consistently shows a
high level of grammatical
accuracy and lexical
precision
Errors do not impede
communication

Clearly intelligible
Uses focal stress and
intonation effectively
Speaks promptly and
fluently
Requires no careful
listening

Fulfils the task


appropriately
Initiates and responds
appropriately
Maintains and develops the
interaction appropriately
(eg expanding and
developing ideas, and
showing understanding of
what the examiner said)
Deals with communication
problems well

Understands most
interventions on a first
hearing
Interprets examiners aims
and viewpoints accurately
Makes prompt and relevant
response

Uses an appropriate range


of grammatical structures/
lexis to deal with topics at
this level
Shows a relatively high
level of grammatical
accuracy and lexical
precision
Errors do not impede
communication

Clearly intelligible despite


some use of non-standard
phonemes
Uses focal stress and
intonation appropriately
Generally speaks promptly
and fluently occasionally
affected by some
hesitancy
Requires almost no careful
listening

Fulfils the task acceptably


with support
Initiates and responds
acceptably
Maintains and develops
the interaction, but
contributions are not
always appropriate and/or
somewhat dependent on
the examiner
Manages to solve
communication problems,
but requires more than
one attempt and/or
does not always do this
naturally (eg What?)

Usually understands
interventions; occasionally
needs clarification
Shows occasional
uncertainty about
examiners aims or
viewpoints
Makes relatively prompt
responses

Uses an acceptable
range of grammatical
structures/lexis to manage
topics at this level, but
grammatical/lexical gaps
still cause hesitation and
circumlocution
Shows an acceptable level
of grammatical accuracy
and lexical precision
Most errors do not impede
communication

Intelligible despite some


use of non-standard
phonemes
Uses focal stress and
intonation acceptably
Speaks promptly and
fluently enough to follow
Requires some careful
listening

Does not fulfil the task


even with support
Does not initiate or
respond adequately
Does not maintain and
develop the interaction
sufficiently
Contributions are
inappropriate and/or
overly dependent on the
examiner
Has some difficulty in
resolving communication
problems

Has difficulty in
understanding
interventions
Frequently misinterprets
examiners aims and
viewpoints
Responds slowly due to
difficulty in understanding
input

Uses a limited range of


grammatical structures/
lexis that is not always
adequate to deal with
topics at this level
Does not show an
adequate level of
grammatical accuracy and
lexical precision
Some errors impede
communication

Generally intelligible or
sometimes unintelligible.
Use of non-standard
phonemes is sometimes or
frequently evident
Sometimes or often
misuses focal stress and
intonation
Speaks slowly. Sometimes
or often halted by
hesitancy
Requires (some) careful
listening

No performance to assess (candidate does not speak, or does not speak in English). Also use if no topic is prepared.

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Appendix 7 ISE II Independent listening rating scale

Appendix 7 ISE II Independent listening rating scale


This rating scale is used by the examiner to make a subjective judgement of the candidates
performance in the Independent listening task.
CEFR benchmark: Can understand standard spoken language, live or broadcast, on both familiar and
unfamiliar topics normally encountered in personal, social, academic or vocational life. Only extreme
background noise, inadequate discourse structure and/or idiomatic usage influences the ability to
understand. Can understand the main topics of propositionally and linguistically complex speech on
both concrete and abstract topics delivered in a standard dialect, including technical discussions in his/
her field of specialisation. Can follow extended speech and complex lines of argument provided the
topic is reasonably familiar, and the direction of the talk is signposted by explicit markers.

Identifies and reports all important points relevantly


Shows full understanding of main points, and how they relate to the message as a whole
Makes sense of connected English speech rapidly and accurately with confidence
Fully infers meanings left unstated (eg speakers viewpoints)

Identifies and reports most points relevantly


Shows good understanding of main points and is aware of the line of argument
linking them
Makes sense of connected English speech quite rapidly and accurately
Infers meanings left unstated (eg speakers viewpoints)

Does not succeed in identifying main points


Shows incomplete understanding, limited to factual level information

No performance to assess (eg candidate does not speak)

Identifies main points but incompletely or in a general way


Shows understanding of recording, but does not always grasp the line of argument
Makes sense of connected English speech with some degrees of promptness and accuracy
Infers some meanings left unstated (eg speakers viewpoints)

Constraints
This is primarily a test of listening; the spoken response should be treated as evidence of whether
the message has been comprehended.
Examiners should be guided by the grading criteria and by the following general questions:
How good is the candidates understanding of the content of the input?
How good is the candidates understanding of the speakers viewpoint?
How much of the message has NOT been responded to?
Examiners should avoid judgements based on pronunciation, grammatical accuracy and spoken fluency.

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