What is the Diagnostic test and why is it so important to us?

Diagnostic test of language skills and knowledge of a foreign language (yes, there is a good reason why we separate these two, keep reading and you will get to know the difference!) is a detailed and comprehensive test designed to test all four language skills, vocabulary and grammar. Every student is different: someone speaks with ease, but has a limited range of grammar use and vocabulary, another is familiar with grammar rules, can read and understand interlocutors, but fears speaking. That is why we practice comprehensive testing to gain insights into all aspects of your language skills. The diagnostic test was designed by graduate philologists, long-time foreign language teachers with extensive experience and excellent knowledge of foreign languages they teach, the ways people learn, and taking into account European and global standards in language education and level classification (above all CEFR scale that stands for Common European Framework of Reference prescribed by the Council of Europe).

English skills diagnostic testing

In addition to what most placement tests test (vocabulary and grammar), the Diagnostic test also tests your passive skills (listening and reading) and ACTIVE language skills (writing and speaking), in a way similar to the standardized international exams for foreign languages. Why is this so important? When we learn foreign language, we first develop passive language skills while active language skills develop somewhat more slowly. It may happen that your passive skills are far more developed than your active skills and that an ordinary ‘paper-based’ placement test would place you at a language level where you would not be comfortable when practicing speaking, although you might find grammar understandable. This would be very counterproductive and inefficient for your further learning. Or, it may happen that your vocabulary range is rather extensive, but you lack the knowledge of grammar to help you ‘pack’ all those words to say what you want. This would again be a very inconvenient and limiting factor for further learning if not addressed in time. These levels of development of language skills, knowledge of grammar and vocabulary are what teachers evaluate during diagnostic testing taking into account CEFR regulations on specific language knowledge and skills for each level, giving an opinion and recommendations on the type of course and language level best suited JUST FOR YOU and your current language needs.

The Diagnostic test is especially important for students who want to prepare for international exams (IELTSTOEFLGMATGRE, SAT, ACT, FCE, CAE, CPE etc.). It gives us a great insight into the current status of your language skills and level so that we can give you the most accurate estimate on how much time, hours and independent work you would need to prepare for your exam and achieve just the result you want or need. And not only that, it also helps your teacher to adjust exam prep classes to suit you, your knowledge and skills and the goals you want to achieve.

Taking the diagnostic test

Duration

between 70 and 120 minutes (depends on the type/purpose)

What it entails

online testing, written and oral assessment

Time slots

Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 8 pm

Price

20-30 euros (depends on the type of diagnostic testing being done)

Other information

After the testing, each candidate receives a detailed report on the estimated development of each language skill and the overall level according to the CEFR scale; teacher's opinion, advice and recommendations in terms of further language training, as well as a proposal for a personalized preparation program.

Answers to some of the common misconceptions

Common misconception #1

I have completed a B2 language course at another school. Why do I need to take some test again? Why don’t you simply enroll me into the IELTS/TOEFL/... prep course?

The truth is...

You might have had a longer break since the last time you attended a language course and might need some time first to revise; or maybe you have watched a lot of YouTube videos or movies in the meantime, listened to news and podcasts, or read newspapers and books in the foreign language you are learning, so your language has advanced a lot during that time. Or, maybe your last language course was given in a rather large group setting where you didn't have the opportunity to practice speaking and grammar use enough, which would mean that these are the skills you'd now need to focus more on. All these ’might/may/maybe' are there because we have yet to get to know you and our diagnostic test makes it possible for us to find out the answers to all such questions. It also helps us, and therefore you too, know exactly where your language knowledge and skills are at the time of enrollment, which then enables us to come up with a plan on how to get you where you need to be - whether it's a career goal or a specific score at an international exam you need to achieve in order to get into the university program of your dreams - this helps us design the course JUST FOR YOU! Every learner is different which is why we want to offer you a learning experience that is just right for you and that will bring you the best results.

Common misconception #2

I did a free placement test/level assessment online, it said that my language level was such-and-such. How come you’re now saying something different?

The truth is...

Online assessments and grammar-based tests are not adequate to assess all your active and passive language skills (reading and text analysis, writing, listening and speaking). What they can assess, and only if the are very carefully designed (and most of them are NOT), are grammar knowledge and recognition of vocabulary i.e. your (usually just passive) vocabulary range and precision. Language skills also include speed, fluency, conciseness, efficiency of expression and the effectiveness of expressing ideas and getting your message across, as well as many other aspects of language knowledge and use. All of these are assessed as part of our diagnostic test and help us choose the best option for you according to your present knowledge and level of language skills, to match your goals and plans for further foreign language training.

Common misconception #3

I’ve heard about placement tests for language courses, but how is your ‘diagnostic test’ different?

The truth is...

Most language schools test few things: mostly grammar, a little vocabulary and, in some rare cases, speaking skills. Now that you have come this far, you already know what is assessed with our diagnostic test and it should be clear that such comprehensive testing is quite different from usual placement tests. Imagine if from the very beginning of your course you had a teacher who knew exactly the specifics of your language skills when you started off and what you wanted to achieve by further improvement of your language! At Queen Victoria Education, teachers strive to adapt the materials and activities in a way that will contribute as much as possible to the linguistic growth of their students, so that everyone gets exactly what they need and what will help them develop their language the most and in the best possible way.