Front Cover of Step To Proficiency BooksKEY FACTS

Guided learning hours: 700-800 approx
Independent study/Exposure: 350-400
Total qualifcation time: 1050-1200
AIM certificated: AIM Level 2 qualification in ESOL on the UK National Qualification Framework
Ofqual qualification number: 601/4947/4
Pass marks: Refer:<50%; Pass: 50-64%; Merit: 65-79%; Distinction: 80%+


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What does the Proficiency STEP test?

Over the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking (optional though recommended for anyone wanting to use this qualification to enter university)
New elements that this level tests are:

  • Evidence of wide vocabulary
  • Evidence of control of structures and organisation of language
  • Collocation not just individual words
  • Control of style and Idiom
  • Differentiation of variety and tone when necessary

What does the student have to do in their Proficiency test?

  • A formal academic composition (AcCEPT)
  • A composition (General)
  • Two messages, formal and informal
  • A summary
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Matching
  • Gap fill
  • Sentence transformation
  • Word transformation
  • Note-taking
  • True/false/doesn’t say statements

The student has a very good active vocabulary and structural understanding and can therefore undertake a course of study in English in further or higher education.

Student performance indicators

  • Write clear, organised text on descriptive, narrative, or discursive topics, including giving opinion and explaining the advantages and disadvantages of a given issue
  • Write letters, both formal and informal
  • Read and respond to a longer text on any topic, concrete or abstract
  • Provide an accurate summary of a text
  • Use language to perform any function likely to arise in a normal social or learning context
  • Manipulate structures to create emphasis, and vary style and idiom
  • Listen and respond accurately to passages and questions in a variety of forms and contexts, delivered at a normal speaking pace

A good example of an essay at this level:

Smoking should be banned in all public places, including bars and restaurants.

Nowadays an increasing pattern of arguments may be noticed as far as smoking is concerned. Should it be banned in all public places or must it continue to be allowed? This is a controversial issue which separates people into two opposing groups: supporters and opponents of smoking.
The most significant reason for saying that smoking should be banned is the health factor. Not only the smoker, but also the people around him may damage their lungs and in the worst case suffer from lung cancer. In addition, pregnant women shouldn't be exposed to cigarette smoke because - as Doctors say - smoke can easily damage the unborn baby, and cause it serious problems, after it is born.
Furthermore, another important reason that shows that smoking should be restricted and banned in public places is that of the discomfort it creates. Imagine a smoker entering a 'no smoking' bar, and all of the people around him smelling the smoke on his shirt and slowly moving away from him. In addition to the above, a smoker's breath is very bad and a person who does not smoke will feel discomfort talking with him.
On the other hand, a majority of people state that smoking is a right that every person has, and shouldn't be banned because that would mean violation of his human rights. Of course, tobacco industries are also against a smoking ban in public places due to well-known reasons. They will lose millions of dollars if the ban exists because the person will only smoke in his house and will not buy cigarrettes all the time.
Concluding, and taking all the above into consideration, smoking plays an integral part in many people's lives but, as far as the 'public' factor is concerned we shouldn't smoke in public places because that would mean violation of a non-smoker's rights, whereas the smoker can choose not to if he or she wants

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