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HSE Independent English Language Test

During the 2nd year of their Bachelor’s degree, students of all HSE degree programmes (except for ICEF) must take the Independent English Language Test. The exam format is analogous to those of leading international English certification tests. Therefore, it provides students with an opportunity to gain real experience for passing future external examinations, as well as demonstrate their competency in the English language. This test aims at checking students’ preparedness for attending courses taught in English, as well as measuring their ability to read subject-related literature and communicate in academic discourse.

The grade obtained on the exam is recorded in the diploma supplement, which is provided to Bachelor graduates. It is also factored into the current rating for the 2nd semester of a student’s 2nd year of study and is worth 4 credits.

HSE teachers do not participate in organizing and administering this test. This task is performed by independent certified expert examiners, who assess students’ written and oral performance (essays and interviews, respectively) in accordance with international language standards.

Over recent years, students have performed well in the English Language Test. The overall average grade for the years since the exam was first introduced has never been lower than 6. For the record, a grade of 6 (i.e., equivalent to IELTS) is considered sufficient to take courses taught in English. Moreover, it may be accepted as a passing grade at a wide range of universities (e.g., London School of Business & Finance, Melbourne Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, Auckland University of Technology, Boston College, University of Birmingham, etc.,).

In 2016, 18% of second-year students at HSE passed the Independent English Language Test with excellent grades. As a comparison with international certificates, an IELTS grade of 7 permits admission to such high-ranking universities as Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge.

Test materials are developed every year exclusively for HSE students.

The test is structured as follows:

The written test is held annually in the period from 10 March to 30 March. It consists of 3 parts:

Reading –  you are given 60 minutes to complete a range of tasks based on 3 texts on a given academic topic;

Listening – divided into 4 sections. This part takes 40 minutes, which includes listening to a recording, completing tasks and writing down the answer on the answer sheet;

Writing – includes 2 types of tasks: a graph description (20 minutes) and an argumentative essay (40 minutes) [1].

The speaking test    

This test is held on a strictly specified date within the period from 31 March to 15 May (including both weekdays and weekends).

In this part of the exam, the student is shown a video containing specific tasks, separated by pauses that so that he/she can give the answers.

A student who has failed to attend any of the 4 examination parts shall be graded zero points and will not be allowed to take further examination sections. In case of non-attendance, all the grades a student has obtained for the previous parts of the test will be annulled.

If you have a valid English Language certificate confirming that you have passed an international English language test, you may write a request to transfer it into an HSE grade (this request should be submitted not later than 5 working days before the written part of the test).

Individual examination arrangements may be approved for students who have medical evidence of a condition that may affect their performance. In order to request an individual arrangement, you must write an application addressed to the Vice Rector and submit it to your Programme Office. In the application, please specify the arrangements required, as well as provide supporting medical documentation.

All students taking the test can access the course “Independent English Language Test” in LMS. There, they can read the “Procedures for Organizing and Conducting the Independent English Language Test (Appendix 10 to Regulations for Interim and Ongoing Assessment of Students)”, and learn about the examination rules for candidates, as well as prepare by uploading an audio file for the speaking part and an essay for the written part, which will be held in a computer classroom. The course is available in early March. If you cannot access the course, please contact your Programme Office.

Experience has shown that students who are clearly knowledgeable about the exam procedure beforehand are generally more confident when taking the exam itself.

If you have lost your LMS login and password, or if you do not use LMS on a regular basis, please check if your personal account is properly functioning. If any problem arises, please contact your Programme Office.

[1] This part of the test can be conducted via LMS.


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