The Oral Proficiency Test is an assessment of your overall ability to communicate in your second language in both professional and social settings. This assessment is carried out by way of a 20 to 40 minute conversation with an evaluator. The conversation is recorded for record-keeping purposes. To ensure confidentiality, only designated evaluators are allowed to reassess recorded interviews. For the protection and security of the test, no copies are made of recordings. The cassettes are stored under lock and key and are erased in accordance with standard procedures.
The evaluation focuses on what tasks or functions you are able to perform in the second language, how accurately you are able to convey a message and your ability to express yourself fluently in the given content area.
- Tasks or functions include such activities as asking questions, relating events, giving explanations, expressing or defending opinions, or negotiating.
- Accuracy refers to the acceptability, quality and precision of the message conveyed. Accuracy features associated with each major proficiency level are grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Fluency and the ability to communicate are also taken into account.
- Content area refers to the numerous topics that have been broached during the conversation, all of which have a bearing on your professional or social life.
In order to verify certain language tasks, most interviews include a role play; examples of these tasks are given in this document. In some cases, role playing is prepared in advance and is presented in writing to candidates during the interview. In other cases, role playing is developed during the interview, with information given by the candidate. Role playing is then carried out orally.
Remember that what is being assessed is your ability to communicate, not the ideas or opinions you express. The interview is confidential, so feel free to express your thoughts, even if these conflict with your organization's stance on a particular issue. It is your responsibility to indicate to the evaluator when there is a particular subject you would rather not discuss.