Test Info

Below is info on the various exams taken by our students.

OPIc

 

  • Setup/Login Page: http://actfltesting.org/
    Demo Page: http://opicdemo.actfltesting.org/

    Info and Prep page for test-takers: https://chinese.olemiss.edu/tests/

    Step-by-Step Instructions for Proctors
    1. Print out the logins for each student so that you can give them to them on the day of the test, right before they begin (no sooner!).  I often email them to them or print them out and cut them into individual strips so that the students have them when they’re taking the exam. That way, if the internet browser stops and they have to refresh the page, they can log back in immediately.  It’s not a problem because the passwords expire after an hour or so.  Otherwise, they’ll have to ask you to come and help them log in again, which causes commotion and interrupts the other students.  It’s always a challenge to keep everyone quiet during the OPIc so that they don’t disturb the other students because they’re so nervous and/or frustrated.
    2. When students enter the testing room, ask them to turn off or silence their phones and to put their bags, phones, and other items at the front of the room.  This is not just to prevent the appearance of cheating, but to ensure that they don’t accidentally make noise and disturb their classmates when the exam is over.
    3. Once everyone is seated at a computer with headphones, and you have their full attention (they should be nervous enough to give it freely), this is a good time to tell them that:

      a) This will most likely be a stressful, frustrating experience.
      b) It is designed to mimic the actual OPI (a phone interview), but the questions are lined up by an algorithm just before the exam begins and will not change based on performance.
      c) All responses are saved as recordings and judged by actual trained and certified OPI testers after the fact.
      d) You will almost certainly find some (or many) the questions difficult, confusing, or unfair (not allowing you to give a full representation of what you’re capable of), but if you don’t take them too literally and just make sure to give full, confident recordings for the testers to evaluate, you will find that you receive a score that is very much in line with your current abilities.
      e) Why do your best? If you are a Flagship student, your ultimate goal is to achieve Superior, or ILR 3 proficiency. You may not get there this time, but no matter how badly you think you do, this exam will help you think about your future testing strategy. It will also help you throughout the coming year to digest every word and grammatical pattern from every lesson, every article, every sound byte, in a way that prepares you to use it effectively the next time you test. If you are prepared for the OPI, you should be more than prepared for real conversations, even in a very formal register and/or very advanced topics. If you are an ROTC student or wish one day to work for the federal government, your speaking proficiency may prove extremely valuable in job placement and compensation. In the coming years, it seems quite possible that officers could be given special assignments based on their language abilities (this is already the case in the Air Force). A number of agencies pay bi-monthly for ILR 3 language abilities in each skill. This can mean an annual “bonus” of upwards of $15k if you have ILR proficiency in multiple skills (reading, listening, speaking, writing). This will likely require re-testing using other exams and getting your scores in databases specific to your branch or agency, but this exam is excellent preparation.

    4. Give them their login credentials (two number strings).
    5. The students access the OPIc by going to the following website: actfltesting.org
    6. Complete a sound check, and make sure they listen to their own recording to make sure they are speaking loudly enough.
    7. Once they’ve tested the microphone, they click “next” at the bottom of the page.
    8. They input their username and password (both number strings) on the next page. Tell them to keep the login info handy in case they need to use it again (It expires in less than an hour after first logging in, so there’s no issue of them keeping it to cheat later).
    9. On the next three pages, they will be given a chance to give background information that will be used in the algorithm that generates their test. At this time, I explain to them the following:

      “This is a computerized speaking exam. You will not be talking to a human, but a human will be analyzing the recorded answers you give to each question on the exam.  As such, this is the only chance you’ll have to affect the questions you are asked.  When giving your educational background, work experience, living arrangements, and hobbies, it is best to list the items and situations that you have discussed most frequently in Chinese, rather than the ones that might best describe you.  For example, if you have a job, but you haven’t discussed what you do in detail with a Chinese person, just say you have no work experience.  If you love lacrosse but have only discussed more common sports, like soccer and basketball in Chinese class, then say your hobbies are soccer and basketball, and leave off canoeing. When listing your hobbies and interests, you only need to give 6 for the whole page, NOT 6 per section.  As you choose each one, think about the set of vocabulary words you’ll need to talk about that activity, NOT JUST THE NAME of the activity!  If you really don’t know any of the action verbs, equipment names, and/or essential items of the field, court, etc., you may want to leave the hobby in question off your list.”

    10. Tell them to STOP when they get to the page where they choose their level.  It is much less chaotic when the students discuss this all at one time.  Otherwise, students may find themselves starting the exam (and needing the room to be quiet) while other students still have important questions to ask.  

      Students will have 5 level options to choose from.

      Suggestions for Flagship students:

      after CHIN 112 – option 2

      after CHIN 212 – option 3

      after CHIN 215 (at Shanghai) – option 4

      after CHIN 314 – option 4

      after CHIN 418 – option 4 or 5 (this will depend on how much time a student has spent abroad and how ready they are for superior level questions)

      after CHIN 513 (normally at this stage, you will be taking the telephonic OPI)

      Suggestions for Project GO students:

      after 2 semesters or equivalent – option 2
      after 4 semesters or equivalent – option 3

      Students coming back from their first summer in China (equiv. of 6 semesters) have said that they have found the upper levels easier because the topics and vocabulary they practiced all summer were quite academic.  They felt more comfortable talking about social and political issues than they did talking about themselves, their families, and their interests.  Therefore, I recommend that students finishing CHIN 215 (first summer abroad) choose the 4th item and anyone in a higher cohort should choose the 5th (all the way at the bottom).

    11. After everyone has confirmed that they’ve chosen their level, you can have them go on to the last few pages of instructions and one more sample question.  After they have done the sample question, where they have to record their voices, they will begin the test.  Just before they do, I remind them of the following:

      “For each test question, you will have about a 90-second time window to prove what you can do with Chinese.  You should try to fill up that time with a good demonstration of your ability.  If you finish answering their question very fast, then expand on it.

      Also, you aren’t being graded for correct answers, so don’t worry if you didn’t understand the question perfectly.  Just answer fully what you THINK the question was.  If you only understood a few words, then just talk about those words.  If you didn’t understand anything, then say you didn’t, but you’d like to tell them about something you learned recently.  Whatever you do, give full answers that take up all or most of the time allotted.

      Students score higher when they talk fluently, even if they make some mistakes.  If you are a slow, careful thinker who doesn’t like to make mistakes, just pretend you are someone else for the next 30-45 minutes.  Talk loudly, clearly, and with confidence.  Your proctor will signal to you if you are talking so loudly that you might be disturbing someone.  The proctor may also signal you to speak louder if you seem to be talking too softly.  You don’t want to re-test because the microphone didn’t pick up your voice, nor do you want your shyness to affect your score.

      Finally, almost every student finds this test quite frustrating. RESIST THE URGE to voice your frustrations audibly during or immediately after the test. You will have a chance to do so, but not when and where it could affect other students who are testing.  Some of the questions are always strange or difficult, and students usually feel that they didn’t get a full chance to prove themselves.  In most cases, though, if they gave full answers to the reasonable questions, they do end up getting a score in the range that their teachers would expect them to get.  Remember, you WILL be taking this exam again.  This time will just be practice for later.  Getting used to the nervousness, tension, and frustration will allow you to perform to your full potential when you’ve got more Chinese under your belt and when you have the chance to take the telephonic or face-to-face versions of this exam.

      If the page freezes or a file won’t load, count to 10 and then reload the page.  You’ll have to log back in, so keep your login info handy.  If that doesn’t fix the problem, raise your hand and tell the proctor.  If a question won’t load (particularly a sample question, or the very first question on the exam), try refreshing the page, and then when you get to the first question, wait about 10 seconds after you’re given the option to hit the “play” button (usually indicated by that button changing color).  This will allow that question (and following questions) to fully load; not just partially buffer.  This trick has proved invaluable in the past.

      When the test is finished, you can simply close the browser window.  There is no log-out button.  Simply put the headphones down quietly, and avoid making noise until the last student has completed the exam.

      If you finish much faster or slower than your classmates, do not worry; this is not necessarily an indicator of how your score will compare with theirs.”

    12. Then, the students begin.  During the test, I do walk around and make sure that everyone is speaking loudly enough (and occasionally ask someone to talk more softly or to stop some other distractive behavior such as tapping or shaking their foot or leg).
    13. If a student’s test fails, and the above suggestions don’t fix it, then they’ll simply have to re-test later.  Try to take notes on exactly what happened to them so that we can troubleshoot the problems later.
    14. When students finish, I try to rush to them and instruct them on whether to sit quietly or to move quietly out of the room so that they aren’t tempted to do or say things that will distract their classmates who are still testing.

AC Reading/Listening

 

  • Setup/Login Page:  https://exams.americancouncils.org/index_pilot.php (to be accessed in advance by proctor)
    Demo Page: https://exams.americancouncils.org/access/samples.php

    Info and Prep page for test-takers: https://chinese.olemiss.edu/tests/

    Step-by-Step Instructions for Proctors
    1. Share the test prep info page with students prior to the testing date and ask them to read through the Reading/Listening section in advance.
    2. Note: The same login is used for each student; therefore, it must be entered by the proctor when the student sits down to test.
    3. Before the students arrive (well in advance if the network is weak), navigate to the test page given above on each computer (except in the rare case that the students are testing on their own laptops).
    4. You will be required to complete a quick system check. The exam will also download to the computer so that the student(s) will not be affected by slow or intermittent internet connections.
    5. You may be required to set a testing site number for each new computer, which will aid in live troubleshooting with the American Councils testing staff if needed.
    6. When the students arrive, click on the student login page, and enter the proctor login credentials (do not share with students).
    7. The student will then need to provide their own information before beginning the exam.

      First Name: [student first name] Last Name: [student LAST name] Email: [complete UM email address] ID: [UM email handle (without @go.olemiss.edu) NOT student ID (numerical, starting with 10)]

      For a description of the exam and suggestions on strategy, see the R&L Test section at https://chinese.olemiss.edu/tests/.


BYU Reading/Listening

 

  • Setup/Login Page: http://rtp.actfltesting.org
    Demo Page: none

    Info and Prep page for test-takers: https://chinese.olemiss.edu/tests/

    Step-by-Step Instructions for Proctors
    1. Each exam has a unique access code. It ONLY WORKS ONCE, so if the student accidentally closes the tab/browser, or if the computer freezes, we will have to request a new passcode and risk paying for it.
    2. The Reading and Listening exams have separate codes, so students can take a break between the two tests.

STAMP

 

  • Setup/Login Page: stamp4s.avantassessment.com
    Demo Page: https://stamp4s.avantassessment.com/avant/do/samplelogin

    Info and Prep page for test-takers: https://chinese.olemiss.edu/tests/

    Step-by-Step Instructions for Proctors
    1. There is one login for all students. Open the testing page in advance, and enter the login credentials.
    2. When students enter the testing room, ask them to turn off or silence their phones and to put their bags, phones, and other items at the front of the room.  This is not just to prevent the appearance of cheating, but to ensure that they don’t accidentally make noise and disturb their classmates when the exam is over.
    3. Make sure students start with the reading test and DO NOT continue to writing.
    4. When they finish the reading test, they can hit the “continue” button at the bottom center of the exam. When they return to the main page, they click on the listening/speaking button.
    5. When they finish the listening test, they can hit “stop test” in the top right of the screen, which will give then prompt them to log out of the exam altogether.
    6. Students can take a break between the two sections.