Getting ‘Real’ – a new challenge for language learners

An exciting new challenge was taken on by over 500 language learners in schools this summer looking to put their language skills to the test.

‘Real Lives’, a new exam series launched by the Awarding Organisation of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, takes an imaginative approach to testing learners’ ability to deal with authentic, real life situations. No more vocabulary lists, no rote learning, not a pre-prepared exercise in sight. This is about life as it happens, in front of you, with a real purpose and will be of particular interest to students who are cadets (ACF, SCC, ATC or CCF) or are completing awards such as The London Challenge, Duke of Edinburgh, St John's Ambulance Brigade.

It places the candidate in a critical situation, on a sinking boat or witnessing a street disturbance, where they need to grasp information fast and accurately. Some language items might be new to them but the context provides enough information to aid understanding, just like real life! It requires imagination, creativity and thinking - three hard-to-find features in modern day testing.

Set at CEFR A2, 'Real Lives' – with its twin pathways of Service Lives and Saving Lives – has captured the imagination of schools and language learners and, with no additional teaching or revision requirements, offers a stepping stone on the pathway to GCSE for year 10 learners with ambition and enthusiasm.

Check out the details on the CIOL website where you will also find this year’s sample and past papers.