The C1 for Trinity, also known as the ISE III consists of two modules. The first being Reading and Writing and the second Speaking and Listening. The Trinity exams have the same validation as their equivilents (Cambridge ESOL etc.), but their are some individual differences that candidates may wish to take into account.
- The Trinity College London is a well established institution and it is known for its innovation and quality.
- The exam can be done in separate parts. If you wish to do the Reading and Writing part first and at a later date do the Speaking and Listening, you can.
- You only need to achieve 50% to pass the exam.
- There is a lot of material available online.
- Candidates do the speaking exam alone (some people may like that)
- Depending on where you live, there might not be as many exam dates as exams like Cambridge, so you might have to wait later to present the exam.
- The speaking evaluation scale is a little more ambiguous than that of Cambridge and it can be more difficult to know how to pass.
- You need to do a 4 minute monologue that you must prepare beforehand, this can be time consuming.
- There are fewer levels of exams, only B1-C1. Whereas with Cambridge you can study from A1-C2 level of the EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK FOR LANGUAGES
- Candidates do the speaking exam alone (some people may dislike that)
Reading and Writing:
This part of the exam lasts for two hours. Candidates must do 4 tasks. They need to do two reading tasks, the 1st is known as the long reading and the 2nd is the multiple text reading. Then they need to do a reading into writing task and a further extended writing. To see examples of the exam click HERE. THE READING AND WRITING EXAM TESTS THE CANDIDATES COMPREHENSION SKILLS AND ALSO HOW TO INTERPRET TEXTS. tHE WRITING PART EVALUATES THE CANDIDATES WRITTEN EXPRESSION.
Reading part 1: Long reading
Candidates need to read a long text and then answer 15 questions about the text. For questions 1–5 they must read the 5 paragraphs and assign the best title from the options A-F. There is one option extra that should not be used. For questions 6–10 candidates have to choose the five statements from A–H that are TRUE according to the information given in the text and write the letters of the TRUE statements on the lines below (in any order). For questions 11-15 candidates should complete sentences 11–15 with an exact number, word or phrase (maximum three words) from the text.
Reading part 2: Multiple-text reading
This part of the exam is self explanatory. In this section there are four short texts for you to read and some questions for you to answer. For questions 16-20 candidates must read the for questions and decide which text A-D the question refers to. You CAN use any of the letters (A-D) more than once. For questions 21-26 the candidates must read 8 statements and select 5 that are true. For questions 26-30 candidates must complete the sentences with the exact words or phrase from the texts to complete the information.
Reading into writing
In this part of the exam candidates need to review the texts from reading part 2 (multiple-text) and write a text of 200-230 words. CANDIDATES SHOULD ALWAYS MAKE A PLAN BEFORE WRITING THE ESSAY, LETTER, EMAIL, ARTICLE, REVIEW OR REPORT AND IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THEM TO PREPARE A BASIC MODEL FOR EACH TYPE OF TEXT BEFORE THE EXAM. STUDENTS NEED TO USE THEIR OWN WORDS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, NOT JUST COPY THE TEXTS, ALTHOUGH THEY CAN MAKE REFERENCE TO THEM.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO REVIEW THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ESSAYS THAT CAN COME UP IN THE EXAM, CLICK GUIDANCE ON WRITING GENRES FOR MORE INFORMATION
In the final part of the reading and writing section of the exam the candidates need to write an essay of 200-230 words. THEY MUST INCLUDE THEIR OPINION ON A TOPIC AND PLAN THE ESSAY BEFORE WRITING. THE SAME AS WITH THE READING INTO WRITING PART OF THE EXAM, THEY SHOULD PRACTICE EACH GENRE OF TEXT AND PREPARE A BASIC MODEL TO PLAN AND WRITE IN THE EXAM.
For more information on the different types of essay click HERE
Speaking and Listening
The speaking and listening part of the exam lasts for about 25 minutes. For the speaking part there are 3 tasks and the listening only has one part. THE ADVANTAGE OF THE TRINITY EXAM IS YOU CAN PREPARE SOME OF THE PARTS BEFORE THE EXAM AND YOU CAN ALSO TAKE NOTES DURING. HERE IS A SAMPLE VIDEO FOR THE EXAM.
The examiner will always begin with some casual icebreaking questions to help relax the candidate.
Speaking part 1: Topic discussion talk (about 6-7 minutes)
Candidates prepare a topic with a HANDOUT of exactly 4 minutes (you have a timer to help you organise the speaking). The examiner will take notes during the topic to ask questions afterwards.
CANDIDATES NEED TO PREPARE THE TOPIC BEFORE, PRACTICE SAYING IT IN 4 MINUTES AND MAKE SURE THAT THEY CAN ANSWER (PREDICTABLE) QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TOPIC.
SEE OUR POST ON How to Carry Out an Amazing Monologue
Speaking part 2: Collaborative task (about 3-4 minutes)
The collaborative stage of the exam involves one task. The examiner makes a statement about a topic. The candidate must lead the conversation and ask questions to elicit more information and continue the conversation.
CANDIDATES MUST PRACTICE QUESTIONING: FULL QUESTIONS, SHORT QUESTIONS, QUESTION TAGS AND NEGATIVE QUESTIONS.
Speaking part 3: Conversation task (about 3 minutes)
In the conversation part of the exam the candidate sets a conext by starting a controversial topic. Candidates need to converse with the examiner and discuss the different points of view about the topic.
CANDIDATES NEED TO GIVE THEIR OPINION, SHOW AGREEMENT OR DISAGREEMENT, JUSTIFY THEIR POINTS OF VIEW, DEVELOP THE TOPIC AND NEGOTIATE AN OUTCOME.
Listening: Independent listening task
Candidates need to listen to a recording twice. The first time they listen, they need to just listen and then summarise what they have heard in a few short sentences. The second time they listen, the candidate is asked a question before the recording and they can take notes while listening. The examiner then repeats the question and the candidate must answer the question in exactly 1 minute (the candidate can look at a timer while they do it).
Scoring (assessment scale)
To help candidates, I will include the scoring information from trinitycollege.com
Each stage of the development of the ISE exam has followed strict academic processes to ensure the test is of the highest standard. This also includes setting and maintaining pass boundaries, and the reporting of results. Trinity consulted a panel of external experts to determine the score boundaries for each skill, using procedures described in the Manual for Relating Language Examinations to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment, produced by the Council of Europe. Their judgments were further reviewed by leading statistical experts in the field of assessment.
The total score for Reading is 30. Candidates will pass the reading part if they score at least 15 at ISE Foundation, ISE I and ISE II, and at least 16 at ISE III. They will achieve a Merit if they score 23 and a Distinction if they achieve 28 or higher.
The total score for Writing is 28. Candidates will pass the writing part if they score at least 14 at ISE Foundation, ISE I and ISE II, and at least 15 at ISE III. They will achieve a Merit if they score 20 and a Distinction if they achieve 25 or higher.
The total score for Speaking is 16. Candidates will pass the speaking part if they score at least 8. They will achieve a Merit if they score 12 and a Distinction if they achieve 15 or higher.
The total score for Listening at ISE Foundation and ISE I is 8. Candidates will pass the listening part at these levels if they score at least 4. They will achieve a Merit if they score 5 and a Distinction if they achieve 7 or higher. The total score for Listening at ISE II and ISE III is 4. Candidates will pass the listening part at these levels if they score 2. They will achieve a Merit if they score 3 and a Distinction if they achieve 4.
Conclusions about the exam
The Trinity exam has its advantages and it is similar to the Cambridge Advanced Exam (CAE) in some ways (Genre of writing texts, casual speaking exam). The speaking part of the exam seems a little more challenging than the CAE as candidates need to prepare a monologue and they are alone in the exam, but on the other hand, there is only one examiner which is less intimidating for the candidate. The listening part of the exam is without a doubt easier than the CAE LISTENING as there is only one task and the candidate only needs to speak about what they have heard; this makes it more flexible.