Comprehension of reading texts and audio needs to be assessed, but for each text and audio track the candidate may have an opinion, or an example, so why not give them the opportunity to write or talk about it and assess that too? Additionally, many of the grammar-based tasks are open-ended. Candidates are given more opportunity to use their own ideas and to use the language communicatively.
It is quite often the case to find exercises with no overall context at all, just random questions to check grammatical structures and vocabulary. Path exam tasks are contextualised as much as possible. The setting is provided by a dialogue, a short story, a letter, etc., thus focusing on the active use of language rather than on meaningless and mechanical repetition.
Path exam tasks feature anecdotes and stories, discussions and arguments, business meetings and speeches; the kind of situations and scenarios that people experience in everyday life. Path exams are designed to prepare candidates for the real world.
In real life, people often get the opportunity to prepare to speak; for example, when giving a presentation or attending a job interview, when they need to conduct research beforehand and organise what they are going to say. Path exams allow preparation time for students at higher levels, which has a significant impact on the candidates’ performance, providing a better sample of what that particular learner can achieve in the language.
The aim of writing is to communicate ideas; to create a text which can convey a clear message and have an effect on the reader. Provided writers fulfil their communicative objective, writing has nothing to do with the number of words used. That is why exam designers have eliminated word counts. Path exams focus on the message which is to be transmitted, and on the communicative competence the candidate has in order to do so, not on how many words the candidate has used.
In real-life communication, we use our language skills in an integrated way. New technologies have reinforced this holistic view of reading, listening, speaking and writing. Path exams have sought to integrate the papers, where feasible, so as to provide candidates with more contextualised, true-to-life situations in which they can put the language to work.
In everyday life, speaking is far from being a structured predictable activity. Even though some of the speaking is organised and follows a pattern, most of it does not. Path exams incorporate this conception of speaking and allow for a non-scripted conversation between the examiner and the candidate so that real communication can actually occur. However, strict guidelines are provided to the examiner to ensure there is no unfair advantage for one candidate over another.
Path International Examinations feeds on the enriching and open dialogue established with students, teachers, school administrators and examiners. As a result of this continuous feedback, examinations are reassessed and redesigned so as to meet the needs of exam centres and to keep up to date with the latest developments in language education and the world’s continual evolution.
Candidates are often nervous and do not perform well if they are not comfortable with the examiner. For Path International Examinations, it is paramount to make candidates feel at ease so that they can use their speaking skills at their best. Path examiners have been trained to create a positive atmosphere in which candidates can show their true level of English. Before the speaking module begins, the examiner gathers all candidates in a room to have a brief warm-up session and help them reduce the level of stress and anxiety.
Most exams just provide centres and candidates with a mark or a brief description of their performance. Path International Examinations offers all centres a detailed report with comments, so that they can get to know how the students have performed, the areas of the language at which they excel and those areas which still need to be improved.
Students often perform better when they know what to expect. For this reason, Path International Examinations offers full mock exam sessions so that students can get acquainted with the exam system and use the feedback provided by the examiner to redirect the learning process or to work on certain aspects of the language in which they seem to have difficulty. This is an alternative to simply doing a mock exam in one’s time.
Path International Examinations comprises exam modules, which may be taken separately or altogether. If you fail a Path exam overall, it may be that you passed one particular module, e.g. speaking. In this event, you will receive a pass certificate for the speaking module. This means that, the next time you sit an exam, you only need to sit the writing and listening modules, saving you time and money. Read more
Students often perform best when they are engaged, and technology helps them do so. In order to make the speaking module a more interactive experience, Path International Examinations provides all candidates with tablets so as to replace the use of printed pictures.