The test was designed to assess skills in reading comprehension, writing, vocabulary, and oral communication.
The test has a specific and unique format that was created to assess the above-mentioned criteria in a timely and efficient way. You are not expected to do an extensive amount of preparation for this test. What we are trying to assess cannot be learned overnight. The review materials suggested (see the “How to Prepare for the Test” section below) are intended as review items, NOT as study items.
Format of the Test
The test consists of 3 parts. Starting times are arranged in advance. Expect to spend about 1 hr completing the test.
Part 1: Reading and Vocabulary
The candidate will receive a printed article (about 400 words) with a non-technical scientific theme. The candidate will need to read the article and answer a series of vocabulary questions. (Total time required is approximately 20 min.)
Part 2: Comprehension and Writing
Depending on the article used (see above), the candidate will be provided paper and asked to (1) write a set of 5 statements supporting the theme of the article (Pros) and 5 statements refuting the theme of the article (Cons) or (2) write their opinion on the topic of the article. The statements/opinions are expected to be grammatically meaningful and to use appropriate vocabulary to express fully and clearly the candidate’s ideas and opinions. (Total time required is approximately 20 min.)
Part 3: Oral communication
During the oral examination the candidate will be asked to describe their current research and discuss how it is progressing; additionally, they will be asked to offer their thoughts and opinions on the article they read. (Total time required is approximately 20 min.)
Understanding what is being evaluated
Postgraduate students at the 3rd Faculty of Medicine are expected to know English on a level that enables them:
to understand long and complex factual texts (specialized articles, manuals, monographs, etc.), even when they do not relate exactly to their field of study;
to understand spoken English, even when delivered at native speed;
to express themselves easily and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions, whether in conversations or discussions, both social and professional;
to formulate ideas and opinions with precision and relate their ideas skillfully to others;
to present clear, detailed descriptions of complex subjects with an effective logical structure, both in speech and in writing, that helps the listener notice and remember significant points.
Therefore, the examiners will evaluate the following:
How well did the candidate understand the text?
What was the quality of the “pro” and “con” talking points?
How well written were the talking points?
How clear was the candidate’s presentation?
How fluent was the candidate’s presentation?
How interactive was the candidate when questioned about their research or about the article?
How to Prepare for the Test
The suggestions offered here are completely optional. If you feel the need to review your grammar, then English Grammar in Use by Ray Murphy (any edition) is an excellent book. It offers programmed learning based on the review test presented at the back of the book.
To prepare for the reading, writing, and communication sections of the exam, you could read one or more of the following articles and then, in English, explain and discuss the article with a friend or colleague. You can also practice formulating several written statements that (1) summarize the main point(s) presented in the article, (2) try to describe the “pros” and “cons” if any, associated with the topic of the article, and (3) express your opinion on the subject of the article.
To prepare for the vocabulary part, you could read one or more of the articles above and pause whenever you find a word you do not know. Try to figure out the basic meaning from the context of the sentence and surrounding sentences. Check yourself using a dictionary.