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TIE Examination




TIE: What is it?


The TIE exam (Test of Interactive English) has been developed in Ireland by a team of national and international professionals. It is designed to assign a level in the use of integrated skills for effective communication by English language users. Therefore, TIE is a competency-based test reflecting a task-based approach to learning. In line with this task-based approach, some of the materials for the examination are supplied by the candidates themselves in the form of a logbook, an appropriate English book, a documented investigation and a documented news story.


On completion of the exam, candidates receive a certificate from ACELS, which records their level of English using a scale based on the Council of Europe Common Scale. This certificate is recognised by the Irish Department of Education and Science.



The TIE test has two parts:


i)                     an oral test (app. 30 minutes per 2 candidates)

ii)                   a written test (app. 1 hour)


All parts of the above are compulsory with no options available.



The Oral Test


The oral test is composed of the following:


- Introduction (app. 2 minutes)?????????????????????????? ????????? personal introductions / exchange of personal information

?? (spontaneous)


- The Investigation (app. 10 minutes)????????????????? ????????? presentation of both candidates? investigation (X & Y)

?? (prepared)


- The Book (app. 4 minutes)????????????????????????????? ????????? presentation of the book (candidate X) / discussion

?? (prepared)


- The News Story (app. 4 minutes)???????????????????? ????????? presentation of news story (candidate Y) / discussion

?? (prepared)


- Decision-making Task (app. 5 minutes)??????????? ????????? materials provided by interlocutor/examiner

?? (spontaneous)?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? discussion by X & Y candidates

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? advantages & disadvantages discussed / reasons given

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? candidates? reasons/choices are developed by interlocutor


Candidates must bring their books and logbooks to the test. Any candidate who does not have these items will not be eligible for the TIE exam.?



The Written Test


The written test is composed of the following:


-          Task 1 : Candidates are asked to write an essay about either their book or their news story. Each candidate is asked to write about the task he/she didn?t discuss in the interview.

-          Task 2 : Candidates are asked to respond in writing to an ?authentic? task, e.g., a report or letter. Candidates are not graded on layout or format.



How can candidates prepare for TIE?


To prepare, candidates need to do the following:


-          Decide on and select a theme for their investigation. This is a piece of research or mini-project. Information should be researched and presented in an organised way and the findings recorded in candidates? logbooks. Candidates should be prepared to discuss and explain their topic.


-          Select a book in English, e.g., a graded reader, a novel or a reference book. Candidates are required to have read all, or a substantial part of, their chosen book. The chosen book is to be presented at the oral test, and candidates must be prepared to discuss the book with the interlocutor. Translation and non-English notes are not permitted.


-          Follow a news story over 3-4 days on TV, radio, newspapers or internet. Candidates must take notes and cuttings or printouts and put them into their logbooks with their own notes. In the oral test, they may be asked about the news story and the different media used to follow the story for 3-4 days.

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-          Produce a logbook at the oral test. The logbook itself is not assessed but is used as a memory aid during the oral interview as well as proof of candidates? work. Production of the logbook at the oral test is compulsory. It can include notes, explanations, diagrams & pictures and relate to the topics covered by candidates, such as, the investigation, news story and English book. During the year, students may work in groups, but, for the purpose of the examination, they must keep individual and unique logbooks of their own work and involvement.



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TIE at English in Dublin


At EID, the TIE exam is approached in the following manner:



The News Story


-          Various newspapers are used and given to the candidates. They then select the story which most appeals to them, cutting it out and sticking it onto a blank A4 page. The tutor then gives candidates a pre-typed worksheet on which they record details of their story, e.g., the title, participants, background, cause and effect, outcome and personal opinion of the student. Candidates then compare their worksheets in pairs or groups. The tutor is on hand at all times to clarify and explain any problems with vocabulary, grammar etc. Follow-up work may then occur, time permitting.

-          This technique prepares candidates for following a news story through print. TV or radio extracts may be used instead of or in addition to print media. Candidates practise their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills and develop the ability to cooperate and help each other.



The English Book


-          A class reader is selected by student vote from a selection presented by the tutor. This reader is then used, chapter by chapter, in conjunction with worksheets which give the candidates practice in reading, writing and speaking. In addition to answering factual questions based on the text, candidates are also encouraged to give their own opinion and expand their knowledge of vocabulary and functional English by cooperating both with each other and the tutor. When the reader is finished, students may be given a form in which they record their opinion and views on the story, its characters, level of interest, etc. Alternatively, a table quiz may be organised by the tutor based on the above topics relating to the reader.



The Investigative Project


-          The candidates select a topic from a list supplied by the tutor or, if they wish, they may choose one of their own. What is important is that the topic is of interest to candidates and will stimulate them to research it and write up a report in their logbooks. Candidates may use print media, such as, magazine and newspaper articles and photographs or they may use the internet room at EID, which has 30 broadband internet computers. Alternatively, candidates may visit places of interest and make their own notes and take their own photographs. Once the material has been collected, candidates should organise it and put it into their logbooks along with any photographs, diagrams etc.



Written Work


-          Written work, for example, e-mails, job applications, friend-to-friend letters, essays, reports, etc., is practised regularly in order to prepare candidates for the various topics they may encounter during the actual TIE exam. Peer correction is encouraged and appropriate feedback and correction is then given by the tutor.



Resources and Supplementary Materials


At EID, the following may be used by TIE candidates during their exam preparation :

-          The internet room has 30 broadband computers. Broadband allows faster access to the internet as well as quicker download times. There is no need to dial and connect as broadband is ?always on?.

-          TV, DVD and video are also used extensively by tutors preparing candidates for the TIE exam.

-          Newspapers & Magazines are widely available as well as worksheets which encourage TIE candidates to use a wide range of linguistic, social and communicative skills.

-          English Readers are specially designed to be used by various levels of candidate. Again, specially-designed worksheets are available to be used in class.

-          Simulated oral interviews are also held to give candidates an idea of what to expect during the actual TIE exam.

-          The overall structure of the exam is also regularly presented and explained in order to familiarise candidates as much as possible with the TIE format.



Methodology for TIE


-          Methodology consists broadly of the Communicative Approach, which simulates real-life situations and encourages productive language use in the classroom. The active skills of speaking and writing are practised along with the passive skills of reading and listening. Tutors make every effort to encourage candidates to cooperate in pairs and groups and thus emphasise the social and interactive nature of language, which is the primary focus of the TIE exam. Peer and tutor correction and feedback are also used, the idea being to involve candidates in correcting their own work. This helps them become aware of deeply embedded structural errors in addition to errors in vocabulary, syntax and spelling. A wide range of materials and up-to-date technical equipment is used, for example, CD, DVD, Video, print media, broadband internet, etc.



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