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SLE - Test of Oral Proficiency: description of the test

The Second Language Evaluation Test of Oral Proficiency (SLE-TOP) evaluates your ability to speak and understand your second official language (French or English). A certified assessor administers the test, which includes language activities about work-related topics. The test is administered by telephone or in person, and lasts 20 to 40 minutes. It includes the following four parts.

Part 1: Questions and answers about work or other familiar activities

1)You answer brief questions about your work or other familiar activities (e.g. studies or volunteer activities, if you are not currently employed) for which short, factual responses are expected.
2) Duration: two to six minutes.

Part 2: Evaluation of comprehension and oral expression – short messages and brief conversations

  • The assessor will play you two short telephone messages (10 to 15 seconds each) and two brief work-related conversations (30 to 35 seconds each).
  • After listening to each recording twice, you are asked to identify the reason for the call, what needs to be done or what help is being offered.
  • Duration: about seven minutes.

Part 3: Short talk with follow-up questions

  • The assessor proposes three topics.
  • You choose one topic and have a minute and a half to prepare a short talk on that topic.
  • Your talk will last two to three minutes.
  • After your talk, you will be asked to answer some follow-up questions.
  • Duration: 10 to 12 minutes.

Part 4: Evaluation of comprehension and oral expression – long conversation

  • The assessor will play you a recording of a work-related conversation between two persons at a meeting (two minutes).
  • After listening to the recording twice, you are asked to provide a brief summary of its content and answer some related questions.
  • Duration: 11 to 13 minutes.
The TOP gradually becomes more difficult. The assessor will inform you of the different phases of the test. Based on the degree of proficiency you demonstrate during the test, the assessor will determine whether you have to take all four parts of the test, or just the first two or three. The assessor uses a computer to select the questions and play the recordings, and to save the entire test.