The Trinity Integrated Skills in English exams are a series of exams designed by the internationally renowned Trinity College London English for Speakers of Other Languages examination board in order to provide non-native English speakers with a consistent assessment device to demonstrate their level of English proficiency. Offered at five distinct skill levels, the Trinity ISE (as the exam sequence is more commonly referred) is ideal for candidates of all skill levels. Typical applicants include adolescents, young adults, university students, and others who need to certify their language proficiency for educational or professional purposes. Moreover, it is recognized by the UK Border Agency as proof of English proficiency for Tiers 1, 2, and 4 visas.
Because there are actually five exam levels to chose from, the Trinity ISE exams offer students an exam structure that integrates all four functional components of English proficiency while simultaneously offering a clear and consistent pattern of assessment. This means that students can measure their progress over time in all aspects of English proficiency with the same kinds of tasks and exercises. Such a design, used in other Trinity ESOL exams, is meant to provide positive feedback to students by emphasizing incremental improvements over time.
In addition to the range of levels available, because the Trinity ISE exams feature a “portfolio approach” that requires tasks to be completed outside of the testing center prior to the day of the test students have the opportunity to include class work and demonstrate their abilities in non-testing environments.
Finally, as the on-site written examination itself utilizes computer-assisted (rather than pen-and-paper) for part of the writing exercises, students more accustomed to computer word processing will benefit.
As noted above, though the ISE exams are available at five distinct levels of difficulty, they all employ a consistent structure and design. Moreover, as these five levels are directly mapped to the Common European Framework of Reference, students are easily able to judge which examination (and certification) level is appropriate for them. Accordingly, the follow chart explains this correspondence:
|Exam Level||CEFR Level|
The portfolio requires candidates to submit three pieces of their written work that have been completed prior to the exam date. These pieces, known as tasks, are to be chosen from a published list of 15 tasks for each level. These 15 options are subdivided into three sections (of five options each) from which test takers must select. While candidates are able to choose their own tasks from this list, they must present one task from each section. This ensures that they are able to deal with the three different types of writing:
Though similar in nature, as the level of examination increases so too does the level of rigor (and word count) expected of each portfolio piece.
Across the five levels, each of the three components is weighted equally (although the specific number and nature of the tasks involved may vary). Accordingly, the portfolio always accounts for 20% of a students overall result, the written exam for 30%, and the interview for 50%. Depending on their performance, successful candidates are eligible for Pass, Pass with Merit, and Pass with Distinction certifications according to their performance.
The Trinity ISE is offered at certified testing locations on fixed dates throughout the year. You can find a list of exam dates and locations on the Trinity ESOL website but please note that the ISE IV is not available with the same frequency as the other levels. It is important to check with the relevant testing center before finalizing any testing arrangements.