Exams & Preparation

Find useful exam information and teaching ideas for your students.

Why take the ESB C2


With so many examinations on the market nowadays, we are frequently asked why students should choose the ESB C2 and the answer is simple – it is an examination written with the Greek market in mind which wholeheartedly focuses on what each and every student CAN do.

But how can we persuade our students? Here are just a few reasons:

  1. The written examination is 180 minutes and there are no breaks so the candidates can do the Reading, Use of English and Writing in whichever order they feel most comfortable with and can organise their time.
  2. The speaking test lasts 16 minutes for a pair of students and the students can choose who their partner is.
  3. They start with the listening and hear it twice.
  4. The reading has only 2 texts and the answers are always in order.
  5. Each part of the examination – Listening, Reading, Use of English, Writing and Speaking – counts for 20% of the total marks awarded to the students.
  6. The ‘pass’ mark is 55%’ with NO minimum mark required in any of the parts.
  7. The results are given in an easy-to-understand format that makes them understandable to us and easy to explain to parents.

So, let’s look at the parts of the exam in more detail:

10 three-option multiple-choice questions on two radio interviews [5 on each interview]. The focus here is on the language used in semi-formal situations.
10 three-option multiple-choice questions on three short conversations.
The focus here is on the language used in everyday situations.

Two texts with a maximum of 600 words in each with a total of 15 four-option multiple choice questions divided between the two.

Use of English:
Part One: 15 four-option multiple-choice questions testing the students’ grammatical knowledge.
Part Two: 15 four-option multiple-choice questions testing the students’ lexical knowledge.
Part Three and Four : two multiple- choice cloze texts with 10 four-option gaps each, testing the students’ knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, common collocations, negatives and their comprehension at sentence and text levels.

The students write one out of a choice of three topics, two essays and one formal email of 300 – 350 words. In each of the essay options, a statement is given on a topic and the students are expected to analyse it and give their opinion with justification.

The markers are trained to focus on what the students CAN do in the areas of:
Content and Appropriacy [Are all the points of the question covered and is the register appropriate?]
Organisation and Cohesion [Is the composition well-organised and does the syntax make it easy to read?]
Grammar: level-appropriate range and accuracy [Are the grammatical items used accurately and is there a range of grammar appropriate to C2?]
Vocabulary: level-appropriate range and accuracy [Are the words and phrases used accurately and is there a range of appropriate vocabulary?]

The Speaking exam lasts 15 minutes and is taken by students in pairs with two Speaking Examiners. As of December 2017, the Speaking exam retains the same format across all four levels to facilitate teachers and students who wish to work their way up to C2. All questions for all parts are taken from the 20 predictive topics below:

  • Animals
  • Clothes and Fashion
  • Communication and Language
  • Daily Life
  • Dreams and Ambitions
  • Entertainment and Culture
  • Fame and Famous People
  • Friends and Family
  • Food and Drink
  • Health
  • Holidays/ Tourism
  • Learning and Education
  • Leisure Time
  • Places
  • Science and Technology
  • Special Occasions
  • Sports and Hobbies
  • The Natural World
  • Travel and Transport
  • Work / Jobs and Professions

The Speaking exam has three parts:

Part One: Introductory personal questions to both students [approximately 3 minutes].
Part Two: Candidates are given two questions, one global and one more personal /local plus 8 options and they are required to hold a discussion using any of the option given in the prompt. For example:
Talk together about which of the following are the most important developments in global healthcare.
Tell each other what you believe has had the biggest impact on health in your country.
Medicine and drugs, Organ transplants, Improved sanitation, Wider access to medical care, Health education, Effective treatment for killer diseases, Clean water supplies , Improved diet
Part Three: Questions on a different subject to the one covered in Part Two to both students. [approximately 6 minutes]

The Speaking Examiners are trained to mark each student on what they CAN do, and not to mark them down on what they can’t do, in the following criteria:

  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary
  • Discourse management
  • Interactive Ability
  • Pronunciation

So, in answer to the question: ‘Why take the ESB C2?’

We can honestly say that it encapsulates the ESB philosophy that: Every Student Benefits. And what more can any exam offer?