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Language Examinations

Language Examinations

The Institute of Tourist Guiding requires that Blue and Green Badge guides who wish to guide in a language other than their first must have their speaking skills assessed to determine their ability to communicate in the target language.

The Oral Proficiency Interview conducted by Language Testing International (LTI) is the Institute-approved assessment of speaking skills.  To guide in English when it is not your first language you will need a C2, and in any other language a C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).  Descriptions of these grades can be found here:  https://www.coe.int/en/web/common-european-framework-reference-languages/table-3-cefr-3.3-common-reference-levels-qualitative-aspects-of-spoken-language-use

Candidates must be current members of the Institute.

Live Speaking Test (OPI)

The Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) measures your ability to speak in a particular language. It is an unscripted, approximately 30 minutes conversation on the phone with a Certified Tester.  It is adapted to your interests, experience, and level. The OPI resembles a conversation between two people but in fact follows a standard structure and protocol. Through a series of personalised questions a sample of speech is elicited and rated against the proficiency levels described in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)  To be rateable, a speech sample must clearly demonstrate the highest sustained level of performance of the speaker (known as the "floor") and the level at which the speaker can no longer sustain the performance (known as the "ceiling"), over a variety of topics. The four mandatory phases of the OPI are the: warm-up, level checks, probes, and wind-down.

The test is over the phone and it is an international call to the USA. It is the candidate who pays for this call. 

The examination costs $139 payable to LTI, plus there is a £30 fee payable to the Institute for proctoring (see below)

Upon completion of the test candidates should allow up to 20 days for their results to arrive by email from LTI and for their certificates to be made available to download. The Institute will also be informed of the proficiency level achieved.

Proctoring/Invigilation

As the test is taken over the phone it is necessary to confirm your identity. To remove the time and expense of travelling to test centres this will be undertaken by the Institute online and this identity check is the only part the Institute will play in your examination.

Proctoring is by Zoom and by appointment only. It costs £30 and this is payable to the Institute when you arrange your proctor and before booking your examination. Fifteen minutes prior to your OPI the proctor will check your ID (valid passport or driving licence) and help you access the test. Once your test is underway on the phone, the invigilator/proctor will leave the Zoom.

Booking and taking your OPI

Step 1

Contact the Language Committee of the Institute of Tourist Guiding by email (langcom@itg.org.uk) to arrange availability of an Institute invigilator/proctor.

Proctoring and speaking tests are available Monday – Friday between 1pm and 8pm. You will be asked to provide the telephone number which you will be using for your examination. You and your proctor will agree 2 slots of three hours at least 15 days ahead, and you make £30 payment to the Institute.

Step 2

Book your OPI using the following link:

https://tms.languagetesting.com/IndividualSite/FindyourInstitute.aspx?Id=2#nbb

Book your examination for the same times you agreed with your proctor. You make payment via the site and fill in your account information (name, address, contact and card details etc. The drop-down choices for State are idiosyncratic but just use the nearest match.)  Your exam date and time will then be confirmed by email by Language Testing International and the Institute will also be informed. N.B Check your dates carefully as the US formatting is with month and day inverted: mm/dd/yyyy 

Step 3

At least 3 days before the test check that you have everything you will need:

  • a PC, laptop or iPad with a stable internet connection and with webcam and microphone enabled ready for the proctor to confirm your identity via Zoom. This will be 15 minutes prior to the test, which is then taken over the phone.
  • a landline or a mobile phone with which to call the United States. A landline is recommended by LTI but if you are using a mobile phone wifi calling should be enabled or there should be a strong signal. A free internet service (Skype, WhatsApp) is unfortunately not an option because of the need to integrate the recording of the test.
  • your identity documents (valid passport or driving licence)
  • the Zoom meeting invitation link received from your Institute proctor.

Step 4

On examination day ensure you are online in good time to join the Zoom meeting with your Institute proctor.

Have a glass of water to hand, also a pen to note the phone and access numbers you will be given to call in the USA. 

Good Luck!