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General Information about the New CCE Exam

CHANGES IN THE CCE EXAM AS OF 1 JANUARY 2018

The changes in the CCE Exam are the result of revision and comparison of the tested skills (in the original Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension and Grammar/lexical test /only B2 and C1/) with how the individual levels are defined by external standards (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, CEFR) and the needs of the candidates who apply for the CCE Exam.

This led to the creation of a new exam structure, meaning in short what is tested in the exam and what the interpretation of the results pertains to. This new definition of the structure resulted in the new version of the subtests Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension and the Grammar/lexical test (only B2 and C1).

The Writing and Speaking subtests will remain unchanged for the time being.

The procedure of compiling comparable test versions has also changed. More information about this process is available here.

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Most important changes in the CCE–B1 Exam

The structure of the exam has remained the same, meaning 4 tasks, 25 questions and 25 points in both subtests.

CCE–B1 READING COMPREHENSION LISTENING COMPREHENSION WRITING SPEAKING
Number of tasks 4 4 2 3
Number of questions 25 25 - -
Exam length 50 minutes 35–40 minutes 60 minutes 15–18 minutes
(per pair)
Maximum points 25 25 25 25
Cut-off score (60 %) 15 15 15 15

 

READING COMPREHENSION

LENGTH AND TYPE OF TEXT
The length of all texts has been extended significantly and texts containing simple arguments and exchanges of ideas have been added.

TASKS
The rearrangement task (requiring text reconstruction) was replaced with a task containing several shorter texts and the associated multiple choice questions.

LISTENING COMPREHENSION

LENGTH
Extended from 30–35 minutes to 35–40 minutes.

TASKS
All the multiple choice questions with 4 options are replaced with multiple choice questions with 3 options, because the dysfunctionality of the fourth option was demonstrated over the long term.

Detailed information about the changes in the CCE–B1 exam is available here:

Information about the "new" CCE–B1 (PDF, CZ)
Sample Exam CCE–B1 (PDF, 7 MB)
Sample Listening CCE–B1 (MP3, 35 MB)
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Most important changes in the CCE–B2 Exam

The structure of the exam for the Reading comprehension and Listening comprehension has remained the same, meaning 4 tasks, 20 questions and 20 points. In the Grammar/lexical test, the number of tasks was increased from 4 to 5, the number of questions and points has remained the same, i.e. 20 questions and 20 points.

CCE–B2 READING COMPREHENSION LISTENING COMPREHENSION GRAMMAR/ LEXICAL TEST WRITING SPEAKING
Number of tasks
4 4 5 2 3
Number of questions
20 20 20 - -
Exam length 50 minutes 40–45 minutes 30 minutes 80 minutes 18–21 minutes (per pair)
Maximum points
20 20 20 20 20
Cut-off score (60 %) 12 12 12 12 12

 

READING COMPREHENSION

TIME
Extended from 40 minutes to 50 minutes.

LENGTH AND TYPE OF TEXTS
The length of all texts has been extended significantly and the share of texts with a wealth of information, texts with arguments and exchanges of ideas has increased.

TASKS
The rearrangement task was replaced with a matching task, which tests the same skills (ability to follow a content and thought line and links in the text) – segments of the texts are inserted into the text; the options include two extra segments which do not belong to the text.

LISTENING COMPREHENSION

TIME
Extended from 30–35 minutes to 40–45 minutes.

LENGTH AND TYPE OF TEXTS
The length of all texts has been extended significantly and the share of texts with a wealth of information, texts with arguments and exchanges of ideas has increased

TASKS
All the multiple choice questions with 4 options were replaced with multiple choice questions with 3 options, because the dysfunctionality of the fourth option was demonstrated over the long term.

GRAMMAR/LEXICAL TEST

TASKS
The test contains a total of 5 tasks compared to the original 4 tasks.

Testing of lexicology, pragmatic meaning and language functions has been strengthened. For this reason, this subtest contains continuous texts on which the questions are based, in three tasks instead of the original one task.

There is a new transformation task to test word formation.

Detailed information about the changes in the CCE–B2 exam is available here:

Information about the "new" CCE–B2 (PDF, CZ)
Sample Exam CCE–B2 (PDF, 8 MB)
Sample Listening CCE–B2 (MP3, 38 MB)
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Most important changes in the CCE–C1 Exam

The structure of the exam for the Reading comprehension and Listening comprehension has remained the same, meaning 4 tasks, 30 (respectively 28) questions and 30 points. In the Grammar/lexicaů test, the number of tasks was increased from 6 to 8, the number of questions and points has remained the same, i.e. 30 questions and 30 points.

CCE–C1 EADING COMPREHENSION LISTENING COMPREHENSION GRAMMAR/ LEXICAL TEST WRITING SPEAKING
Number of tasks 4 4 8 2 3
Number of questions 28 30 30 - -
Exam length
60 minutes 50–55 minutes 50 minutes 90 minutes 23–27 minutes (per pair)
Maximum points 30 30 30 30 30
Cut-off score (60 %) 18 18 18 18 18

 

READING COMPREHENSION

TIME
Extended from 50 minutes to 60 minutes.

LENGTH AND TYPE OF TEXTS
The length of all texts has been extended very significantly and the share of texts with a wealth of information, texts with abstract topics, texts containing arguments, confrontations and exchanges of ideas has increased.

TASKS
The rearrangement task was replaced with a matching task, which tests the same skills (ability to use context signals to identify and follow thought and content links) – segments of the text are inserted into the text; the options include two extra segments which do not belong to the text.

A task with the multiple matching technique was added, meaning that texts are matched to the questions, whereas each text may be matched repeatedly.

All the multiple choice questions with 4 options were replaced with multiple choice questions with 3 options, because the dysfunctionality of the fourth option was demonstrated over the long term.

LISTENING COMPREHENSION

TIME
Extended from 30–35 minutes to 50–55 minutes.

LENGTH AND TYPE OF TEXTS
The length of all texts has been extended very significantly and the share of texts with a wealth of information, texts with abstract topics, texts containing arguments, confrontations and exchanges of ideas has increased.

Authentic recordings have been added to the Listening comprehension.

TASKS
A new open task has been added to simulate the "note taking" activity.

All the multiple choice questions with 4 options were replaced with multiple choice questions with 3 options, because the dysfunctionality of the fourth option was demonstrated over the long term.

GRAMMAR/LEXICAL TEST

TASKS
The test contains a total of 8 tasks compared to the original 6 tasks.

The tasks contain a short context of 1–3 lines of text.

Matching tasks to test lexicology, word formation and phraseology skills were newly added. Testing of lexicology, pragmatic meaning and language functions has been strengthened.

All the multiple choice questions with 4 options were replaced with multiple choice questions with 3 options, because the dysfunctionality of the fourth option was demonstrated over the long term.

Detailed information about the changes in the CCE–C1 exam is available here:

Information about the "new" CCE–C1 (PDF, CZ)
Sample Exam CCE–C1 (PDF, 9 MB)
Sample Listening CCE–C1 (MP3, 51 MB)
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Construction of comparable test versions

Our objective is to construct test version which we can say are comparable (equivalent) instruments which test the same context and structure in the same manner, and also that the results (achieved scores) from various versions can be directly compared.

With regard to some of the limiting conditions (relatively low number of candidates, limited pre-test options and ensuing impossibility of standard use of IRT procedures and a fixed cut-off score corresponding to 60% of the maximum point score), we address the issue of equivalence of test versions using the following steps:

Before the exam

Task development

  1. Each version of the subtest is constructed by a team of authors based on previously stipulated specifications.
  1. Each item and each text undergo several phases of moderation and control by a team of trained external and internal experts.
  1. All the tasks are pretested (to verify their structural quality and psychometric features) on an available sample, the pre-tests are statistically evaluated and the tasks modified as needed.
  1. All the tasks undergo standard setting, i.e. expert assessment aimed at stipulating the cut-off score for successful passing of the exam. The assessor's objective is to determine the score which would be achieved in the given task by a minimally competent candidate (MCC) on the given level. The concept of MCC was defined for all levels within the quality monitoring sub-project.
  1. Each task is then added to the task/item bank. It includes all the results from pre-tests, the cut-off score for a MCC and other descriptive characteristics (topic, genre, verified specific objectives, etc.).

Assembling test versions

  1. When assembling test versions, we are fully aware that the achievement of absolutely equivalent versions without additional measures is not possible given the aforementioned limitations. The assembly of test versions is therefore conducted using so-called modelling. Modelling is an internal term, which simply describes the process used to assemble (combine) versions, so that the sum of partial cut-off scores (stipulated by expert assessment) is as close as possible to 60%.

  1. In the case that it is not possible to compose a test version with a cut-off score at 60% using modelling, then an interval is stipulated on the score scale to determine by how much the resulting raw scores of the candidates must be transformed, i.e. "shifted" up or down, in order to balance this discrepancy.

Live testing

A unique test version is used for every exam date.

After the exam

  1. The candidates' results are statistically processed and evaluated and each candidate is given a raw score based on the number of correct answers.
  1. If it was not possible using modelling to assembly a version where the cut-off score does not diverge from 60%, the result of each candidate is linearly transformed (see figure above).
  1. Based on the result, a decision is made as to whether or not the candidate passed. The results are disclosed to candidates online within 30 days from the exam date. The certificates are sent to candidates via mail to the address in the application form.
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