Maybe it is time for some change…

It has been a while… well, a few years, since I wrote anything on my blog. The main reason being that we were, and still are, busy around the clock preparing public servants and government job applicants to PASS the three SLE tests.

Although both the reading comprehension and the written expression tests went through major make overs this past years, the oral test stayed the same… We are now in 2016 and this test has been around for the past 8 years: same format, more or less the same tapes, more or less the same follow up questions after the presentation and, if there was any change, it was in the difficulty level of the questions… and, useless to say that getting a C level in oral has become a huge challenge for everyone… even for people who are fluent in their second language.

I keep repeating that this test is NOT a conversation and candidates are expected to speak the way they would write. It does not make any sense to me! Good communicators must be clear, use simple sentences so that everybody get their message… Okay… listening to tapes and summarizing them serves a purpose and I do agree because it is important to assess the candidates’ comprehension level. However, I do not agree with the abstract follow up questions after the presentation of the third part of the test.

Not everyone can talk about abstract topics… and when they hear abstract questions, they just do not know what to answer… it is not a matter of language… it is a matter of mindset! Some people are “hands-on” and they live in the real world and they do not waste time talking about anything that is not concrete or leads to actual results. Unfortunately, many people fail at this test because they cannot find an answer to such idiotic questions.

My question now is: will someone, some day, wake up at the Public Service Commission and see the idiosyncrasy of this line of questions? Would it be more fair to ask follow up questions directly linked to the candidates’ presentation/story?… It is my two cents for today!


La vérité n’est jamais amusante. Sans cela tout le monde la dirait.

Michel Audiard



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