School of Foreign Languages

Testing Unit

The tests are prepared by the Testing Unit. The Testing Unit works in cooperation with the Curriculum and Material Development Unit and the Measurement and Evaluation Unit to ensure that the tests are designed to meet the aims of the program. The School of Foreign Languages determines what constitutes a passing score.



The levels of students in the Preparatory Program are determined by the Placement Exam. Those who score at least 69.50 are entitled to take the Proficiency in English (PIE) Exam.  Those who obtain at least 64.50 in the PIE qualify to pass to their faculties.

IN-MODULE ASSESSMENTS (A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6) and CPG (Classroom Performance Grade):

Throughout each module, students complete six in-module assessments. The in-module assessments are designed to evaluate students’ vocabulary, grammar, reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills. The in-module assessments are a vital part of the students’ learning during the module, not only because they are a prerequisite for the end-of-module exam, but more importantly because they allow students to assess their progress prior to the end of the module.


In-Module Assessments (A01, A02, A03, A04, A05, A06, A07)

Assessment type and weighting:

A01: Grammar and Vocabulary %10
A02: Listening and Reading %15
A03: Grammar and Vocabulary %10
A04: Writing %20
A05: Speaking %15
A06: Portfolio Homework %20
A07: Classroom Performance Grade (CPG) %10
Total: %100


Feedback is an essential element of in-module assessments. After the assessments, students receive feedback. Having agreed on any area of particular weakness for the students, the instructors can then advise the students of the best course of action to rectify this, which may include advising them to go to the Self Access Centre, where they can find further resources and support.


Classroom Performance Grade is composed of four components which are Use of Target Langauge, Participation, Engagement, and Self-Improvement.

Details regarding the assessments and Gateway Exams can be accessed on our Blackboard web site ( Only SFL Prep instructors and Prep students have access to this page.


The Gateway examinations are tests designed to assess the English language competence of students who have successfully completed the necessary in-module requirements at their respective level. The aim of these examinations is to determine whether the students' proficiency in English is at a suitable level to enable them to progress and be able to participate fully at the next level. Thus, the Gateway exams assess whether the student has met the pre-determined objectives of the level in reading, writing, listening/note-taking and speaking. Students who show the necessary competence in these areas are deemed to be ready to move up to the next level. To be eligible to take the Gateway Exam, students are required to score a total of at least 59.50 (59.50/100) in continuous in-module assessments and not to exceed the absenteeism limit. 

Students who score at least 59.50 in the Gateway exam progress to the next level.

Students at the Upper-Intermediate level (D) do not take the Gateway exam. Provided that they score a total of at least 64.50 (64.50/100) in continuous in-module assessments and do not exceed the absenteeism limit, they qualify to sit the Proficiency in English exam.

Further information regarding the in-module assessments and Gateway Exams can be found on In order to access these, one must be either a member of staff or student in the SFL.

The aim of the PIE exam is to determine whether the students’ proficiency is at a level which will enable them to follow and actively participate in the courses offered in their faculties or departments.

The PIE exam has two components as a written exam and a speaking exam, which are administered on two consecutive days.

PIE Written Exam:

The written component of the PIE is designed to assess candidates’ academic reading, academic writing, and listening skills as well as their grammar and vocabulary knowledge. All the answers in the exam, with the exception of the writing part, are coded on the optical form.
The written component of the exam is held in three sessions, and the total duration of the written exam is 245 minutes.
 Session I:   Writing  80 minutes
Session II:  Listening & Reading105 minutes
Session III: Use of English  60 minutes
The written component of the PIE exam accounts for 80% of the total PIE grade.
PIE Speaking Exam:

The speaking component of the PIE Exam is a 10-minute structured interview between an interlocutor and a candidate and is designed to assess candidates’ ability to:
expand their answers and produce relevant, coherent and meaningful speech,
speak fluently without unnatural hesitation,
use correct intonation and pronounce individual sounds correctly so as to be understood clearly,
use a range of grammar and vocabulary, both accurately and appropriately.
The speaking exam lasts for 10 minutes per student.
The speaking component of the PIE exam accounts for 20% of the total PIE grade.
Students who score at least 64.50 (80% of the written component and 20% of the speaking component) are qualified to pass to their faculties.

Further information regarding the Proficiency in English (PIE) Exam can be found on


Selected response optical forms are scored by optical scanners, and the speaking and writing sections of the tests are graded by a selected group of faculty members. All the evaluators have been trained in holistic and analytical scoring, and their scoring is regularly checked against that of the other evaluators in order to ensure consistency and fairness. Writing sections are graded by two evaluators independently. If their evaluations do not agree, the test paper is submitted to the Testing Unit for a final decision.


When all the exams have been scored, individual results (scores) are announced on This is usually about three days after the exam is given.


All students have the right to appeal against their grades in the Gateway and PIE examinations. These appeals must be submitted within three days of the official grades announcement. On receiving these appeals, the Testing Unit checks the exam results. If a mistake in the points calculation is found, the necessary amendments are made. Students can then contact the SFL secretariat to find out about the results of the appeal. 



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