Pearson English International Certificate: Preparation vs familiarization

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The new online Pearson English International Certificate is an assessment that tests a candidate’s English language ability across all CEFR levels from A1 to C2. Perfect for students or workers, now test-takers can schedule their test at any time at a Pearson-approved testing center or at home using OnVue, our Online Proctoring system.  

Unlike other English assessments when it comes to preparation, test-takers don’t have to prepare in the traditional sense. 

The International Certificate tests real-world English communication skills. That means candidates don’t need to cram or memorize information as they would for other types of English language assessments. Rather, to optimize their score, they simply need to be familiar with the format, structure and timings of the test.  

We’re going to explore the differences between preparation and familiarization. We’ll also take a look at some resources to help test-takers become familiar and comfortable with the test.  

Preparation vs familiarization 

1. Preparation  

Test preparation typically involves having students work through textbooks. Often following a curriculum and memorizing a lot of information that they might need in an exam.  

This is a useful approach to take with test-takers who are preparing for knowledge-based tests, such as grammar or vocabulary tests. It is unnecessary to do this with Pearson English International Certificate candidates.  

2. Familiarization  

This focuses on familiarizing test-takers with the test. It involves teaching the test format and tasks, practicing the questions, and showing learners how scoring works.  

Students review practice tests before taking it.​​ This not only shows them the range of tasks and questions, but also teaches them how to navigate the online platform and helps them manage stress or nerves on the big day.  

Four resources to help students become familiar with the International Certificate  

These resources offer practice, tips and strategies to help you guide your students to success and reach their English language goals: 

1. Readiness Test  

The official Readiness Test is a quick, online test that predicts student’s outcome on their actual test. It also gives a complete breakdown of scores across speaking, listening, reading and writing so they can see where they need to spend more time studying. 

The Readiness Test is available for candidates to take at levels A2, B1, B2 and C1 and takes around one hour to complete.  

They will then instantly receive a detailed Readiness Report, which features ‘traffic light indicators.’ These show if they are ready (green), potentially ready (amber) or not ready (red) for the International Certificate.  

If test-takers are interested in knowing more, the test also provides a detailed summary of their current English abilities in each of the four language skills. If they need a little extra help improving a skill, the test will also recommend activities they can do to help bring up their level for the exam.  

This gives test-takers the boost of confidence they need if they’re on track to take the International Certificate. And if they’re not quite ready, it shines a light on where extra work needs to be done! 

Find out more about our Readiness Test here.  

2. Warm Up app 

Our free, official Warm Up app offers students exam practice. It is an easy and convenient way for students to test their English knowledge and familiarize themselves with the Pearson English International Certificate.  

Available to download on iOS or Android phones and tablets, highlights include: 

Authentic test content  

The app uses items like those test-takers can expect to see in their real test, to practice reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.  

Available across all levels  

It is available for test-takers across all levels from Beginner to Advanced (A1-C2). The questions included in the app mirror those in the test for each level.  

Access at any time 

The great thing about Warm Up is that you’ll have access to it anywhere at any time. You can use it on your commute to work, while you’re having breakfast or on your lunch break!  

The app includes bonus features. It allows candidates to track their progress, offers valuable test tips and provides extra resources.  

Download the Warm Up app here.  

3. Test tip guides  

We have a selection of familiarization and test tips guides for teachers and students that can be used in and out of class.  

Our teacher and student guides offer all the key test information. The guide includes its features, format, question types, and marking. The guides also incorporate a useful frequently asked questions section. 

The test tips guide is unique in that it offers an explanation, examples and tips for each individual task within the test. The tasks come in the order that they will appear in the test making it easy to follow. It’s the perfect tool for familiarizing your students with the Pearson English International Certificate. Use it to help your students develop useful strategies for test day. 

Download the resources here: 

4. Video introductions  

You can also find a number of helpful introductions to the International Certificate on our YouTube channel. Check them out and explore all the question types featured in the International Certificate. 

We have a video dedicated especially to learners taking the levels A1 and A2 test, as well as one for those taking the B1 and above test. 

Each one covers every question type in the test in the order that they will appear. It offers an example question and also shows someone completing the task.  

This is great for familiarizing students with the test and the different types of questions and skills they’ll need to know.   

Watch our levels A1 and A2 and B1 and above videos now.  

Find out more about the Pearson English International Certificate 

These tools will help to make the experience less stressful, more enjoyable and will ultimately help students to reach their language goals.  

If you’d like to find out more about the computer-based Pearson English International Certificate today, head over to our website or read our introduction blog

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