Second Language Certification

The Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute offers a language certification test, which gives students an opportunity to have their abilities in English or French formally recognized. This certificate will be a definite asset when entering the job market.

To take the test, students must first enrol in an online self-study course (FLS3500 for French as a Second Language and ESL3100 for English as a Second Language). This self-study course allows students to practice and to perfect their skills in the language.

Registration

All full-time or part-time regular students and special students may register. However, it is most appropriate for those who:

  • identify themselves as being at a high-intermediate to advanced level of proficiency in their second language;
  • have completed a number of years in an immersion program or in secondary-level academic second language courses;
  • have completed ESL2122/ESL2121 or FLS2522/FLS2521 or more advanced level ESL or FLS courses at the University. 

Students may register for ESL3100 or FLS3500 in uoCampus. However, if it is being added as a sixth course, students must register for this course in person at their faculty, department or at the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute.

Students who have previously received a CTN in ESL3100 or FLS3500 may take the course again. However, they may only register for the course four (4) times.

Registration Fees

For most full-time regular undergraduate students, there are no extra fees for this course. However, this may vary by faculty so students should confirm with their faculty.

Graduate, part-time and special students will be required to pay the usual tuition/incidental fees for a three-unit course.

Students on a co-op work term are exempt from the tuition fees for this course, but must pay the incidental fees for a three-unit course. 

Opportunities to Prepare for the Final Exam
  • Individual Practice

Students use the preparation website (ESL3100 or FLS3500) to practice listening, reading, writing and speaking, and to learn more about good test-taking strategies.

  • Practice Test

Students may take a full practice test online. Students who take the test before the term's eighth week will receive a feedback report which will give them an idea of their level and areas of weakness in writing and speaking. These reports will be available 5 business days after the student takes the test. Information about how to access the test can be found on the preparation websites (https://esl3100.wordpress.com/ or https://fsl3500.wordpress.com).

  • Additional Speaking Practice

Students seeking opportunities to practice speaking with others may take advantage of OLBI’s Conversation Groups. More information is available at https://olbi.uottawa.ca/resources/students under the heading OLBI Mentoring Center.

Important Dates

FALL 2017

Access to the Practice Test – as of September 5, 2017.
Deadline to take practice test and receive feedback – November 3, 2017
Final Exam – Saturday, December 2, 2017 and Sunday, December 3, 2017

 

WINTER 2018

Access to the Practice Test – as of January 8, 2018.
Deadline to take practice test and receive feedback – March 9, 2018
Final Exam – Saturday, April 7, 2018 and Sunday, April 8, 2018

Final Exam

The final exam is a standardized proficiency test.For this reason the exam is only offered twice a year.

The exam is administered over the course of two days. Students must be available on both dates.

The listening, reading and writing components are administered on the first day and students must allow 4 hours for this part of the exam. Each section of the exam is timed independently.

The speaking component takes place on the second day. This component is administered on an individual basis. Individual tests are scheduled between 9 am and 6 pm. Individual interview times and locations will be emailed to each student on the Monday preceding the written test.

Description of the four test components

Listening Component

The listening component consists of four to six recorded listening passages which is heard twice. The test questions are all multiple-choice and are printed in the test booklet. Students mark their answers on a computer-readable "bubble" sheet. This component includes between 30 and 40 questions and lasts approximately 60-90 minutes.

Reading Component

The reading component has two parts: a reading comprehension section and a Cloze passage. The reading comprehension section consists of four to six reading passages, which may vary in length from approximately 400 to 800 words. This section includes approximately 30 to 40 multiple-choice questions. The cloze passage consists of a passage with blanks where words have been deleted from the text. Students must choose, from multiple-choice options, the word that best fits the blank. All answers must be marked on a computer-readable "bubble" sheet. The entire Reading Component lasts approximately 60 to 90 minutes.

Writing Component

The Writing Component is a written composition. Students have 50 minutes to write approximately 300 to 400 words on a specified topic of general interest. The topic is presented in such a way so as to elicit a written response relating factual information and providing opinions and/or recommendations about this information.

Speaking Component

The Speaking Component is an oral interview. After an informal conversation with the interviewer, students are given a short reading passage, and are asked to discuss some of the issues raised in the passage. The interview, which is recorded, lasts between 15 and 20 minutes.

Schedule

FALL 2017

Listening, Reading and Writing Components
Saturday, December 2, 2017, from 9 am to 1 pm  
Location: Will be confirmed by email.

Speaking Component
Sunday, December 3, 2017 between 9 am and 6 pm
Location: Will be confirmed by email.

 

WINTER 2018

Listening, Reading and Writing Components
Saturday, April 7, 2018, from 9 am to 1 pm  
Location: Will be confirmed by email.

Speaking Component
Sunday, April 8, 2018 between 9 am and 6 pm
Location: Will be confirmed by email.

Policies
  1. Re-test Policy: Students may register for the ESL3100/FLS3500 a maximum of four times. Students who have received at least a level 2 in the listening and reading sections of the exam are permitted to repeat the writing and/or speaking components only.
    • Option 1:     A student would like to repeat the writing component to improve their mark: this student may request to only repeat this section of the test at a scheduled test session.
    • Option 2:     A student would like to repeat the speaking component to improve their mark: this student may request to only repeat this section of the test at a scheduled test session.
    • Option 3:      A student would like to repeat the writing and speaking components to improve their marks: this student may request to repeat these two sections of the test at a scheduled test session.
    • Option 4:      A student would like to repeat the listening and/or reading component to improve their mark: this student must repeat the listening, reading and writing components at the next scheduled test. They are not required to repeat the speaking section of the test.

    Eligible students who do not wish to repeat the entire test must submit their request by email (L2test@uOttawa.ca). These requests must be submitted a minimum of 10 business days before the test. Requests received after this deadline will not be accepted.

  2. Test Dates: The test is offered twice a year. The test is administered once in the fall term and once in the winter term.
  3. Deferred Exams: Students who are not able to attend the exam must request a deferred mark from the Faculty of Arts. Students granted a deferred mark must write the test at the next scheduled test session (e.g. a student who received a deferred mark in the fall session would write the test during the scheduled exam for winter session).
  4. Access Services: Students registered with Access Services will complete the writing and reading components at Access Services. These students are exempt from the listening component. The speaking component is administered by two trained evaluators the day after the written test.
  5. Speaking Test: Students will receive an email two weeks before the test giving them the opportunity to provide information about their availability the day of the speaking test.
Results

Final Grade
Students who receive at least a level 2 in each of the four test components will receive a final grade of P (pass).
Students who receive a level 1 in one or more component of the test or who do not write the test will receive a final grade of CTN (continuing).

 

Student Score Report
Each student will receive an email informing them of the levels they received in each section of the test. The results are sent 6 to 8 weeks following the test.

 

Certificate
Students, who receive at least a level 2 in each component of the test, will be mailed an official University of Ottawa Second Language Certificate.  The certificate will indicate the level achieved by the student in each section and includes the abbreviated level descriptions. The certificates are mailed by the Registrar’s Office 12 to 16 weeks following the test.

 

Level Descriptions

Listening Comprehension (L) and Reading Comprehension (R) Skill Levels

L1, R1

Incomplete global comprehension.

L2, R2

Almost complete global comprehension; Comprehends many explicit details

L3, R3

Complete global comprehension; Comprehends almost all explicit details

L4, R4

Complete global comprehension; Comprehends all explicit and implicit details


Speaking (S) and Writing (W) Skill Levels

S1, W1

Communicates with difficulty

S2, W2

Communicates somewhat effectively, with some imprecision

S3, W3

Communicates effectively, with ease and minor imprecision

S4, W4

Communicates very effectively, with ease and precision

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