Frequently asked questions

How many images do I need for the Individual Oral?


It depends on the number of students taking your class:

  • Up to 10 students: 5 stimuli total (1 from each theme)
  • From 20 to 40 students: 10 stimuli total (2 from each theme)




What can be a "visual stimulus" for the IO?


It may be one of the following:

  1. Photo
  2. Poster (Any language that naturally appears on the image should be minimal and must be in the target language. It must not provide vocabulary and structures that would give a student an unfair advantage)
  3. Illustration
  4. Advertisment




How do I choose my visual stimuli?


An effective visual stimulus is one that:

  • is clearly relevant to one of the five themes in the course
  • is culturally relevant to the target language
  • offers opportunities for students to demonstrate their international-mindedness
  • offers sufficient visual text for students to describe a scene or situation
  • allows the student to offer a personal interpretation
  • enables the teacher to lead the student in a wider conversation
  • is relevant and of interest to the student’s age group




Can students take notes during their preparation-supervised time?


During this preparation time, the student may not have access to course materials, class notes, dictionaries (in any form), computers, mobile phones or other IT equipment. The student must be given a blank sheet of paper on which to take brief working notes (a maximum of 10 bullet points). These notes may be used for reference only and must not be read aloud as a prepared speech.




What is the length of the listening texts?


In the new listening comprehension component the students will be exposed to three different audio passages. Text A will last up to 1 minute. Text B, up to 2 minutes. Text C, up to three minutes. Total duration of the paper will be 45 minutes. They are based on the five themes and is a mark-based paper (25 marks) that weights 25% of the overall score. Want to know more? Click here




How many times do students get to listen to the three audio passages during listening comprehension?


From "Instructions to candidates" from Ab Initio Specimen paper (first exam 2020) - There will be three audio texts. - There will be three minutes of reading time at the start of each audio text. - Each audio text will be played three times. - There will be a two-minute pause before each audio text is repeated.




Must the visual stimulus be given a caption?


No, the visual stimulus must simply be labelled in the target language only with the name of the theme to which it belongs.





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