International Certificate home testing: Benefits, rules and requirements

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Young woman at a laptop.

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. As we’ve previously written, the Pearson English International Certificate is now available online (as well as in its original 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’re going to 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, as well as not being 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 simply 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 are the Readiness Test, which predicts readiness to pass the International Certificate, as well as the Level and Benchmark Tests – assessments which teachers find invaluable for placing new students in the right class and tracking their progress to proficiency.  

4. Quicker to mark and issue results 

The test will be scored using a mix of artificial intelligence and human examiners until 2022. While examiners mark the speaking and writing sections, our intelligent scoring technology will automatically mark the reading and listening tasks.  

All tests will be scored using this AI system from 2022 onwards. This will speed up turnaround time for results, making the whole process much more efficient than the paper-based exam.   

Pearson’s world-leading scoring technology is trusted by governments, businesses and universities globally and powered by the expert input of thousands of skilled, experienced English teachers. From 2022, the online International Certificate will be 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 most remote areas of the world to get a recognized English certificate and change their lives, so 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 duration of the test.   

We recommend that they use a personal rather than a work computer as the testing software uses a secure browser which 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 will need to have their government-issued ID, such as 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 asking 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 of good sound quality so that listening and speaking 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.  

If anyone appears – even momentarily – during the test, the proctor is required to end the test session. The candidate is the only person that is 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 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 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 there are no prohibited items in the room before beginning.  

No handwritten notes allowed 

Test-takers re not permitted to take handwritten notes during the test. They may use the notes feature in their browser to take notes.  

Find out more about the online Pearson English International Certificate 

We are committed to making the International Certificate experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible for both teachers and students alike.  

Find out more about the computer-based Pearson English International Certificate. 

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