With the holiday season approaching, it’s good to add some fun into teaching to keep your students engaged and motivated. We’ve created 12 simple classroom activities and tips that you can carry out with your primary class to encourage them to be good.
International Certificate home testing: Benefits, rules and requirements
Education has embraced remote and hybrid learning – and it looks like it’s here to stay as a more accessible option for students everywhere. For the same reasons, even higher-stakes English exams are proving it’s possible to throw off old-fashioned approaches and adapt to the changing needs and expectations of today’s test-takers. The Pearson English International Certificate is available online (as well as in paper-based format) and can be taken in a home environment. It has a number of benefits for both teachers and test takers.
In this post, we will look at why testing from home is a good option and explore the rules and requirements for the online Pearson English International Certificate.
5 benefits of remote language testing
1. Flexibility to take the test anywhere
One of the great things about taking the online International Certificate is that test-takers can do it from any private location with a reliable internet connection.
While we offer the option to take the test in one of our authorized computer-based testing centers, we now also offer testing from home with the OnVue online proctoring system. Both delivery methods are backed by the same level of robust security, meaning International Certificate test results can be equally trusted regardless of where the test was taken.
2. Fits into learners’ schedules
The online International Certificate allows test-takers to schedule their 2-hour test at a time that fits into their timetable and is not restricted by location. This means that they don’t have to take time off work or education to take the test, or suffer the additional stress or inconvenience this can cause to their lives.
Using just one system and one log-in, they register for the test, schedule it for whenever suits them and then, when the time comes, sign in to gain access to the online proctoring system.
3. Easy-to-use testing platform
The International Certificate is available through Pearson English Test Hub, the online assessment portal that brings teachers, test-takers and tests together in a single, user-friendly space.
Test Hub is extremely straightforward to use for scheduling, taking tests and accessing results – while also delivering powerful, data-rich insights into test performance for both teachers and test-takers.
Furthermore, we have clear resources showing new users how to navigate the platform, as well as online videos on our YouTube channel to help learners familiarize themselves with the online International Certificate format.
Also available through Test Hub is the Readiness Test, which predicts readiness to pass the International Certificate, as well as the Level and Benchmark Tests – assessments that teachers find invaluable for placing new students in the right class and tracking their progress to proficiency.
4. Quicker to mark and issue results
All tests are scored using an AI system. This speeds up the turnaround time for results, making the whole process much more efficient than the paper-based exam.
Governments trust Pearson’s world-leading scoring technology, businesses and universities globally and is powered by the expert input of thousands of skilled, experienced English teachers. Since 2022, the online International Certificate has been scored entirely using this system, bringing the score turnaround time to under 2 weeks – a fraction of the time taken to score the paper-based test.
5. Accessible to all
Running an assessment online means that many people from around the world can access it. So, this will allow people in some of the world's most remote areas to get a recognized English certificate and change their lives, as long as they meet the following requirements.
Pearson English International Certificate requirements
There are a number of requirements that test-takers need to be aware of when taking the exam from home. These include:
- a computer - test-takers must have access to a computer or laptop for the test duration. We recommend using a personal rather than a work computer as the testing software uses a secure browser that restricts other programs from running. Therefore, firewalls or network settings on work computers may cause problems.
- a government-issued ID - To sign in to the online testing system, test-takers must have their government-issued ID, such as a passport, identification card or driving license, ready to present.
- internet access - As the test requires continuous audio and video streaming, test-takers need to maintain a good internet connection. Additionally, we recommend connecting to a hardwire ethernet cable. Alternatively, test-takers should ask others at home to avoid using the internet during the exam.
- a headset - Test-takers need a wired headset to take the test, rather than a Bluetooth one. This needs to include a microphone. Make sure it is of good sound quality so that tasks can be completed effectively.
- a webcam - Test-takers need a webcam as they’ll be monitored by our online proctoring system throughout. This is to ensure that they do not have help from another person, or their notes nearby.
- a private testing space - Test-takers must ensure they have a quiet and comfortable location that is completely private while doing the test. The proctor must end the session if anyone appears – even momentarily – during the test. The candidate is the only person allowed to see and answer the test questions.
The International Certificate testing rules
There are a number of simple, yet critical rules to follow when taking the International Certificate test from home. These include:
- minors need adult consent - Test-takers who are under 18, an adult must be present to show their ID and provide consent. Then they must leave the room for the test to begin.
- test taker must remain in webcam view - The test is under 2 hours with one optional 10-minute break. Aside from this break, people taking the test must not stand up or leave their workspace.
- remove watches - Test-takers must remove all watches and smart watches to be stored out of sight.
- store personal items away - Test-takers must store all their personal items out of reach during the test. They can not use phones, books, pens, notes or whiteboards.
- clear exam workspace - There shouldn’t be any clutter on the desk or workspace. The proctor will check that no prohibited items are in the room before beginning.
- no handwritten notes allowed - Test-takers are not permitted to take handwritten notes during the test. They may use the notes feature in their browser to take notes.
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Sometimes, it’s nice to share cultural insights with our students so they can get a deeper understanding of the context of the language they are learning. However, without lots of time and money, it can be tough to travel to an English-speaking country yourself and experience what life is like first-hand.
But what if you could learn about British history, customs and culture from the comfort of your sofa?
That’s right - in an instant you could be transported back to the dark cobbled streets of 19th century London, to an industrial town in northern England or a rural village in Surrey.
Today, we want to share six English stories set in Britain that provide cultural, historical and social aspects of British life, both past and present.
So sit back, relax and let us take you on an adventure.
Written by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
This story about the intelligent and beautiful Emma was first published at the end of 1815. The book, which takes place in a fictional village called Highbury (located in the charming county of Surrey), covers themes such as romance, social class and female empowerment.
Emma is a social person who enjoys seeing people happy and contented. She spends her time arranging marriages between her friends but sometimes makes mistakes. Will the problems she causes upset people? And can she find love herself?
2. The Picture of Dorian Gray
Written by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
This philosophical yet supernatural thriller, first published in 1890, is full of lies, secrets and mystery. The tale revolves around the main character, Dorian Gray, who after inheriting a property from his grandfather, travels to London and soon makes new friends. One of his new acquaintances paints a portrait of Dorian, who makes a dangerous wish that he would give anything - even his soul - to stay as young and good-looking as he appears in the painting.
Soon, things start to go wrong and his life gets out of control. But he doesn’t seem to get older. Why? The terrible secret he’s hiding in his attic is the answer. What could it be? Allow yourself to travel back to Victorian times and see London through the eyes of this handsome and hedonistic young man.
Written by Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880)
Written under Mary’s pen name,George Elliott, this work of realism was first published in eight installments during 1871 and 1872. The story, set in the fictitious Midlands town of Middlemarch from 1829-1832, tells a tale of science and discovery. It follows Dorothea, a young woman determined to change the world and Dr. Lydgate, an ambitious man who wants to be a leader in science. Dorothea and Dr. Lydgate are both married, but soon their marriages go wrong.
Can they ever be happy? Will they achieve their dreams? Although the central theme of the book revolves around the marriage of the two main characters, with many historical references such as the 1832 Reform Act, the beginnings of the railways and the death of King George IV, Middlemarch is great for those who are interested in history as well as provincial life.
4. Four Weddings and a Funeral
Written by Richard Curtis (born 1956)
Those looking for a more modern look at British life can learn plenty about customs and cultures in this contemporary book, which has been adapted from one of Britain’s funniest and most popular films. Released in 1994, Four Weddings and a Funeral is about Charles (played by Hugh Grant in the film), a charming man who is very unlucky in love.
One day, during his friend’s wedding, he meets a beautiful girl called Carrie. Unfortunately, she does not plan to stay in England, and travels back to the United States. But they keep meeting each other, so maybe things can work out for the couple. Laugh while discovering the ins and outs of the British social scene in this romantic comedy.
5. North and South
Written by Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)
North and South, published in 1855, is about a young woman named Margaret Hale who moves with her parents from rural southern England to an industrial town called Milton in the north. There, she meets a wealthy mill owner named Mr. Thornton, and though she dislikes him, he immediately falls in love with her.
During her time in Milton, she witnesses what it’s like to work in the mills where employers and workers constantly clash. As his workers go on strike, will Mr. Thornton be able to charm Margaret? This complex and provoking story follows the working class struggle during the Industrial Revolution.
6. Oliver Twist
Written by Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Published in 1832, Oliver Twist was Dickens’ second novel. The story tells the tale of a young orphan we can all feel for. Oliver is brought up in a workhouse where he is beaten, starved and poorly treated. With no parents to look after him, he decides to run away to London, where he joins a gang of thieves.
His new friends look out for him, but can they protect him from a life of danger and crime? An interesting look at the darker side of Britain’s capital, Oliver Twist is still popular today with film, musical and TV adaptations.
Want some more reading inspiration for your English lessons?
Discover graded Readers featuring some of the world’s best-loved authors.
Pearson has Readers adapted from classic English novels with audio files and a comprehensive teacher resources section, meaning you can use them in class with your students too.
In the fast-paced world of business, there is one undeniable fact that holds true: employees are the key to success. Their commitment and expertise propel organizations towards their objectives, which is why investing in a learning culture is essential. The advantages are numerous and include improved staff retention, increased productivity and the goal of higher employee engagement.