Innovation in ELT
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Using Smart English A2, QSE B1, B2, C1 for Trinity College London

GESE & Revised ISE exams

Smart English and QSE B1, B2 & C1 are recognised as valuable preparation for Trinity College London Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) and Revised Integrated Skills in English (ISE).

Course & Level Trinity GESE Grade Revised ISE
Smart English A2 GESE Grade 3, 4 ISE Foundation
Quick Smart English Pre-Intermediate A2-B1 GESE Grade 4, 5, 6 ISE I
Quick Smart English Pre-Intermediate B1-B2 GESE Grade 7, 8, 9 ISE II
Quick Smart English Pre-Intermediate C1 GESE Grade 10, 11 ISE III

At each level the language functions, structures and subject areas closely match those of Trinity's GESE & Revised ISE exams and give students preparation in the relevant grammar & vocabulary. These course book activities also give students suitable tasks to help them think about and develop their own ideas about the relevant subject areas. In addition each unit has tasks that develop and teach students functional skills and sub-skills in reading, writing, listening & speaking that are assessed in the GESE and Revised ISE exam suites.

The QSE Split Editions, Parts A and B at A2, B1 and B2 allow students to follow a course that delivers at precisely the level of the Trinity Exam Grade they choose to take. These are a particularly focused and economic solution for short courses that offer a single Trinity GESE Grade at the end of each period of study.

Transferable Skills

The format of the Smart English and QSE Student's Book activities asks students to work together in pairs and groups to achieve learning objectives and skills. Throughout these activities students are making use of 'transferable skills' such as research, planning, organising, creativity, presenting, self-evaluation, self-correction, flexibility, problem solving, learning how to learn. As students follow these activities they also are being asked to develop critical thinking, self-management and presentation skills all of which are useful skills for success in Trinity exam tasks.


In Smart English (Activity 5 and CLIL Activity 8) and QSE B1, B2, C1 (Activity 3 and CLIL Activity 8) students learn and practise the subskills of reading for main idea (and purpose at B2 and C1) and reading for understanding specific facts at sentence level and word level. These subskills are assessed in the Revised ISE reading tasks.

These QSE reading texts give students experience of a wide variety of different types of text including multi texts, long texts and visual/graphical texts which match those used in the Revised ISE reading tasks and also represent typical text styles we all use in everyday life.

The Reading and CLIL sections at all levels ask students to use the ideas and information they've gathered from texts in a productive way, either through speaking or writing. These authentic real-life skills are an essential part of the Revised ISE Reading-into-Writing task and allow students to learn the subskills of writing.

Portfolio Writing

This section in all units (Smart English A2 Activity 9, QSE Pre-Intermediate A2-B1 Activity 9, QSE Intermediate B1-B2 / QSE Advanced C1 Activity 7), is particularly useful for students preparing for the Revised ISE Writing exam tasks as students will learn the stages of process writing and develop the skills needed to be successful writers. The Teachers' Guides give suggestions on how to help students to learn these skills in a structured way.

The Revised ISE writing tasks ask students to make use of a range of these writing skills - task analysis, text organisation, register and appropriacy, planning, self-evaluation and error correction. The QSE portfolio writing (Activity 7) exercises give students progressive tasks to make these skills achievable.


In each unit of QSE (at all levels) there are listening tasks (Smart English Activity 3, QSE Activity 5) to practise and develop a range of listening skills and teach students a sequence of activities to become effective listeners in authentic situations. For example, simple prediction tasks teach students to prepare to listen by predicting, warming up vocabulary and anticipating the content of the listening task.

After each listening text students are asked to make use of the ideas & information they've heard in a structured discussion. This task is helpful in preparing students for the Trinity Revised ISE independent listening tasks as in these exam tasks students are asked to give an oral report & response to the information they've heard in the listening text.

Speaking - Topic phase (GESE / Revised ISE)

In the Topic phase of the exam candidates are expected to hold a discussion with the examiner about a subject that interests them and that gives them plenty of ideas to talk about. The students' choice of topic should also facilitate the communicative skills and language functions of the grade so for example

Example : At Grade 4 (Smart English A2) candidates should take part in an informal discussion with the examiner and be ready to ask and answer questions about their Topic. They also must use the language functions of Grade 4 - talking about past events, future plans, comparisons, likes and dislikes and manner and frequency.

Example : At Grades 5 and 6 (QSE B1) candidates should take part in an informal discussion and be ready to ask and answer questions about their Topic. They also must use the language functions of the Grade (See Trinity Syllabus or the scope and sequence contents list at the beginning of the Student's Book)

Example : At Grades 7, 8, 9 (QSE B2) candidates should take part in an informal discussion and be ready to engage the examiner, ask about the examiner's opinions and respond to their comments. They also must use the relevant language functions of the Grade. In QSE Intermediate B1-B2 there are Your Topic tasks in Activity 9 of many of the units (alternating with Interactive Tasks and Conversation, see below).

At all levels candidates must be actively discouraged from producing and memorising a written text or any part of their Topic as this will have an adverse effect on their ability to take part in the exam and ability to fulfil the communicative skills and functions of the exam and often has a negative effect on pronunciation.

Speaking - Interactive Task (GESE / Revised ISE Collaborative Task)

At B2 level (Trinity GESE Grades 7, 8, 9 & Revised ISE II & III) this task gives students the opportunity to show their ability to initiate, manage and maintain a conversation based on a structured prompt given by the examiner. At each grade the structured prompts are designed to help candidates to make use of the language functions of the Grade relevant to the prompt. This should lead to an authentic exchange that the candidate initiates and manages - developing the candidate's ability to be an 'independent user' of the language rather than expecting others to lead and manage any interaction.

QSE Intermediate B2 Activity 6 Controversy, Activity 9 Interactive Task and Activity 10 Your answer, all help students to develop the active listening skills and the confidence in their own fluency ability that is necessary for this interactive/collaborative exam task.

Speaking - Conversation Task (GESE / Revised ISE)

In the Conversation phase of the Trinity GESE and ISE exam suites candidates are expected to be ready to have an authentic conversation on one or two of the subject areas listed for the grade. At all levels candidates should take some control over the conversation by asking the examiner questions and responding to the examiner's comments as well as replying to and commenting on the examiner's questions and statements. In Smart English A2 Activity 7, QSE Pre-Intermediate A2-B1 Activity 6, and QSE Intermediate B1-B2 Activity 9 all give students the opportunity to think about and discuss these subject areas. These activities provide specific input for the appropriate vocabulary and grammar relevant to the exam tasks.