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Methodology of Preparing for Certification Test Examinations

Methodology of Preparing for Certification Test Examinations

      The Pushkin State Russian Language Institute (PSRLI) has accepted test certification examinations in everyday and business Russian since 1995. One can take them in the numerous examination centers across Europe where successful candidates will be awarded a state international-standard certificate.

      Both the candidate and the teacher coaching him/her for the examinations should, first of all, have a very good idea of what is tested there. Since a variety of textbooks are used in learning, the teachers and the candidates most often think in terms of the training's duration, but not the outcomes of language learning. Some believe that 400 to 600 classroom hours will suffice to prepare for the Russian Language. Everyday Conversation Certificate.

      However, the testing practice shows that some candidates attain this level within a shorter period, while others fail to reach the language proficiency required for obtaining the certificate even after ten years of learning. It is precisely for this reason that we recommend you to familiarize carefully with the communicative tasks the trainees should be able to address at each language proficiency level. To do the tasks, the testees are expected to have mastered certain vocabulary and grammar material, not necessarily covered in the textbooks they used. Please pay attention to such matters!

      The candidates are to demonstrate their practical skills in everyday and business communication.

      It is common knowledge that different test systems use different types of assignments and offer different instructions for their performance. It is desirable that the candidates familiarize in advance with the test structure as a whole and the types of assignments it contains. This will help save time on doing the assignments at the examination and focus of the test contents.

      To this end, intensive courses for groups and individuals in certification examination preparation are offered, with their length varying from 3 to 40 hours.

One can prepare for the examination on its own using the test practical-assignment books with keys for self-checks, exercises for each examination part (vocabulary, grammar, listening comprehension and speaking) as well as examination block samples. Please pay attention to the time it takes you to do the assignments when you practice.

      When you prepare for the test leading to the Threshold Certificate you could use the practical test exercises Russkii Yazuk. Tsel I Resultat by E. L. Korchagina, S. I. Romanchuk, N. I. Samuyilova and E. M. Stepanova. For Business Russian Certificate (Intermediate level): Business Contact practical test exercises by L. S. Zhuravleva, M. M. Kalinovskaya, L. B. Trushina et al.)

      When you do an assignment, try to first understand what life-related task it contains. A consistent approach to resolving a specific task is the key criterion in the assessment of the candidates' answers while grammar correctness is a secondary one.

      Practical experience shows that listening comprehension is the most challenging part of the examination (especially for those who have never been to Russia and thus lack sufficient experience in communicating in Russian). We strongly recommend you use, during your preparation, the audio tapes that accompany the practical exercise books. These tapes will also help you to better follow the pace of the speech you will hear at the examination.

      E. L. Korchagina

      Elena Lvovna Korchagina

      Deputy Head, the Test Control Department, the Pushkin State Russian Language Institute,

      Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences

Graduated from the Moscow State University in 1974, speciality - Russian as a Foreign Language; in 1988 studied at the post-graduate course of the Pushkin State Russian Language Institute; in1989 defended a thesis entitled Formation of communicative competency in reading educational literature at the initial level.

      Since 1974, E. L. Korchagina has focused on the RSL teaching methodology. She has authored articles on RSL methodology, teaching aids and manuals, test practical exercises.

Scientific interests:

  • Russian as a Second Language proficiency levels
  • Methods and techniques of communicative training and supervision
  • Testing as a means of objective independent supervision.

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