Overview of the Reading Test

Content
The reading test will contain five tasks and a minimum of 30 items. Each task consists of a reading text followed by a number of items, usually between 6 and 10. The reading texts will vary in terms of difficulty from intermediate to advanced and in terms of topic from general to specialized.

Types of Reading Behaviour
The test items target the test takers’ ability to:

  • identify specific information and important details
  • read for main ideas and supporting details
  • infer propositional meaning
  • identify the gist of a text

Test Methods
In the test the following methods of testing reading may be used:

  • Multiple Choice
  • Note Form
  • Multiple Matching
  • True/False with Justification
  • Sequencing

Multiple Choice
In this test method test takers are required to complete a number of questions based on the text. Test takers are provided with four possible solutions (A, B, C, or D) for each question. There is a sample multiple choice task on the website.

Note Form
This method requires the test taker to answer a number of questions or to complete a number of sentences based on the text. In both cases the test taker should write the answer in the space provided using not more than 4 words. There is a sample note form task on the website.

True/False with Justification
This test method requires the test taker to read the text and then look at a number of statements that follow the text.  For each of these statements, the test taker must decide whether the statements are true or false and provide the justification or proof by copying four words from the text. There is a sample true/false with justification task on the website.

Multiple Matching
In this test method a number of phrases have been deleted from the reading text that can be found in a table beneath the text. The test taker has to decide where these phrases belong in the text. There is a sample multiple matching task on the website.

Sequencing
In this test method the test taker is required to read a text and put a series of events that are taken from the text into the order in which they took place. There is a sample sequencing task on the website. 

Time
The test taker will have 90 minutes to complete the 5 tasks in the test.

Scoring and Results
Each correct item will receive one point, irrespective of its level of difficulty. Mistakes of spelling, punctuation and grammar will not be penalized under the note form method. Under the true/false with justification method it is necessary to say whether the statement is true or false and to provide the justification in order to get the point. Mistakes of spelling, punctuation and grammar will not be penalized under the true/false with justification method.
The total number of points a test taker achieves will then be converted to a result expressed in terms of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) proficiency scale.
What does this mean? The CEFR describes six levels of language proficiency. However, the current MFA test will only target three of them:

  • B1, or Independent User: Intermediate
  • B2, or Independent User: Upper Intermediate
  • C1, or Proficient User: Advanced

Thus each test taker will receive one of these six possible results:

  • (Below B1)
  • B1
  • B1+
  • B2
  • B2+
  • C1

Why use the CEFR? The CEFR is an internationally recognised framework of language descriptors that makes it easy to understand what level a test taker is at in terms of their reading, listening, writing and speaking abilities.
You can find out more about the CEFR by following these links:
http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/CADRE1_EN.asp
http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/education/elp/elp-reg/Source/Key_reference/CEFR_EN.pdf