Certification of competence in English

General information

In the new context of the European Higher Education Area, languages have become of central importance for all members of the university community. The URV has decided to rise to the challenge of promoting multilingualism and requires its graduates to have a command of a third language, preferably English.

Before you can graduate from the URV, you must certify that you have a B1 command of English, French, German, Italian or Portuguese according to the Common European Framework of Reference. You can accredit this command in various ways:

  • Completing 12 credits of subjects taught and assessed in the corresponding language.
  • Drafting and defending your bachelor's thesis in the corresponding language.
  • Submitting a recognised certificate of the level (list of certificates recognised by the Academic Management Service)
  • Passing or the B1 examination offered by the URV's Language Service.

The Language Service provides an English-language examination. During the academic year, the information about the various examinations will be updated on the Language Service's website, so that you can find out exactly when the examinations will be held and when the registration periods start. You will also receive an email with the information about each of the exam sessions.

Information and resources for the B1 examination

Description of the ACLES certification

Since November 2013, the URV has been accredited to organise English-language examinations at the B1 and B2 level in accordance with the model of the Association of Higher Education Language Centres (ACLES). All candidates who pass an exam of one of these levels organised by the URV's Language Service will be awarded a certificate with the ACLES seal of quality, recognised by the Conference of Rectors of the Spanish Universities, the Interuniversity Council of Catalonia, and the Agency for the Management of University and Research Grants.

The association ACLES includes most of the Catalan universities and about 40 more from the rest of Spain. It is also a member of the European association CERCLES.

The B1 and B2 English examinations organised by the Language Service are for everybody who needs to certify their competency in English. They assess candidates' command of the language according to the criteria of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and are therefore suitable for students who have followed a course based on these criteria or who have acquired their knowledge in other ways.

General description of the B1 level

Learners can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

Description of skills
 

Listening

People can understand the main points of clear 'standard' speech on familiar matters connected with work, school, leisure, etc. In TV and radio current-affairs programmes or programmes of personal or professional interest, they can understand the main points provided the speech is relatively slow and clear.

Reading

People can understand texts that contain every-day or job-related language. They can understand personal letters in which the writer describes events, feelings and wishes.  feina.
 

Spoken interaction

People can deal with most situations likely to arise whist travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can enter unprepared into conversation on topics that are familiar, of personal interest or pertinent to everyday life (for example, family, hobbies, work, travel and current events).

Speaking

People can connect phrases in a simple way in order to describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions. Can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. Can narrate a story or relate the plot of a book or film and describe their reactions.P

Writing

People can write simple connected texts on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can write personal letters describing experiences and impressions.

Functional and grammatical contents of level B1

Functional content

  • Basic vocabulary of the home, family, work, shopping for everyday products (clothes, food, newspapers and magazines, etc.), leisure and travel (airports, luggage, etc.).
  • Weather.
  • Quantifying things, going into detail.
  • Expressing likes and preferences and offering things to an interlocutor.
  • Describing basic feelings (boredom, worry, etc.) and more complex ones (homesickness, etc.).
  • Expressing an opinion on a familiar topic and providing an in-depth argument.
  • Introducing yourself to other people.
  • Engaging in simple conversations that do not involve understanding specific vocabulary on familiar topics, and in more specific conversations on topics that are familiar to the speaker.
  • Asking for and giving simple information about places.
  • Describing habits and daily activities.
  • Asking for and giving information about events.
  • Describing people and places.
  • Quantifying things.
  • Expressing likes.
  • Expressing agreement and disagreement.
  • Expressing an opinion.
  • Offering to do something.
  • Arranging an appointment.
  • Giving advice.
  • Showing interest.
  • Expressing feelings.
  • Telling stories and talking about experiences and events.
  • Holding a simple conversation about health with a health professional.
  • Writing formal and informal letters.
  • Filling in forms.
  • Writing postcards.
  • Writing texts on the pros and cons of a particular issue
  • Narrating stories.
  • Making requests and offers.
  • Expressing obligation and permission.
  • Holding a telephone conversation and using habitual formulas.
  • Making suggestions.
  • Expressing probability in the present and the past.
  • Expressing complaints.
  • Apologising.
  • Giving opinions and advice.
  • Expressing habit.
  • Making hypotheses.
  • Structuring an argument (pros and cons).
  • Emphasising.
  • Expressing possibility and probability.
  • Expressing interest and surprise.
  • Narrating experiences in detail.
  • Giving accurate descriptions of well-known things.

Grammatical content

  • The verb to be: Conjugation. Affirmative, interrogative and negative. Short answers.
  • Have and have got as ways of expressing possession. Morphosyntactic differences. Have as an auxiliary verb to create perfect tenses.
  • Infinitive of purpose.
  • There is/are.
  • Possessive pronouns and adjectives, and the Saxon genitive ('s).
  • Comparative and superlative adjectives.
  • Adverbs and adjectives.
  • The passive voice (present and past).
  • Interrogatives. Interrogative pronouns (who?, why?, how much?, etc.).
  • Quantifiers (some, any, much, many, a few, a little, a lot of; compounds: something, anyone, nobody, everywhere, etc.).
  • Like as a preposition (What is [...] like?).
  • Subordinate clause of time.
  • The use of auxiliaries (do, be, have).
  • Interrogative and negative statements. Short answers. Indirect questions. Question tags.
  • Modal verbs for expressing obligation, permission and probability.
  • Questions with like, as a verb and as a preposition.
  • Indirect speech (reporting verbs, reported statements, questions, requests and commands).
  • Relative clauses.
  • Prepositions (of place, time and movement).
  • Phonetics and pronunciation.
  • Verb tenses. Simple, continuous and perfect aspects. Active and passive voice.
  • Narrative verb tenses (past simple, continuous and perfect; active and passive) and frequency adverbs.
  • Future verb forms (will, shall, going to, present continuous, present simple).
  • Verb patterns.
  • Conditionals (types 0, 1 and 2).
  • Modal verbs and related forms.
  • Verb forms for expressing habit in the present and the past (will, would, used to, to be/get used to + -ing.
  • Questions. Subject/object questions. Prepositions in questions.
  • Relative clauses, and participle and infinitive phrases.
  • Conjunctions, adverbs and prepositions.
  • Articles (a/an, the, one, zero article).
  • Distributive pronouns (each, every, no, one, both, either).
  • Verbs with a particle (phrasal verbs).
  • Conjunctions and connectors (linking words).

Resources for the B1 examination in English

a)     Exam structure

The URV's B1 English exam consists of five sections, which evaluate different aspects of language competence:

Section Content Length %
1. Reading Candidates must show that they understand simple original and/or slightly adapted texts at the word, phrase, paragraph and whole text level. There are two parts and a minimum of two texts (one of the parts can contain more than one text). The items that evaluate a candidate's understanding can be of various types: multiple choice, chronological ordering of paragraphs, inserting sentences into the text, true-false, etc. 60 minutes 20%
2. Listening Candidates must show that they can understand both formal and informal dialogues and monologues on everyday matters. The items that evaluate a candidate's understanding can be of various types: multiple choice, matching, ordering events, true-false, etc. 30 minutes (approx.) 20%

3.

Writing

Candidates must show that they can produce two simple texts of different types: a narrative, a description, a letter, an email, a report, a review, etc. 75 minutes 20%

4.

Speaking

The speaking test consists of an interview in pairs. Candidates must show that they can make a presentation, respond to questions and interact with their partner. 15-20 minutes 20%

5.

Use of English

Candidates must show that they understand the language system by completing texts with appropriate verb forms, responding to multiple-choice questions, formulating questions, transforming sentences, completing texts with appropriate words (rational cloze test), etc. 60 minutes 20%

    

b)      Grades
The exams are open to all members of the university community - students and staff - and also to non-members. However, the great majority of candidates are undergraduates from our university.

c)      Candidates
The exams are open to all members of the university community - students and staff - and also to non-members. However, the great majority of candidates are undergraduates from our university.

d)       Sample examen

e)      Materials

As well as this sample exam, you will find some exercises to practise some section at "Certificació - Anglès" of the Self-Access Centre's Moodle.

ACCESS TO MOODLE

Don't forget that you can also take advantage of the services provided by the Self-Access Language Centre to work on speaking and writing. If you would like further information, get in touch with us at the following email address:

crai.espaillengues(ELIMINAR)@urv.cat


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