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Language tests and diplomas

If you want to know whether your English is good enough or if you want to study abroad, you can take a language test at the Language Center.

Students

Student English Language Assessment (SELA Test)

How proficient are you in English and is your level high enough to enroll in an English-taught Master's program, and to write a thesis? Will you also be able to cope with your English when you go abroad? You can now test your level of English using the Student English Language Assessment.

The SELA is freely available to all Tilburg University students on Canvas.

After the test, you receive a score, an indication of your level, and feedback based on the CEFR levels. You can see what you are able to do at this level and what you can do to improve your English. Simply put, the test will tell you if you need to work on your English and which course can help you do that. Please remember that the SELA is a self-assessment tool and can not be used for official certification purposes. 

Exchange students

Proof of language proficiency

How proficient are you in English and is your level high enough to enroll in an English-taught Master's program, and to write a thesis? Will you also be able to cope with your English when you go abroad? You can now test your level of English using the Student English Language Assessment.

The SELA is freely available to all Tilburg University students on Canvas.

After the test, you receive a score, an indication of your level, and feedback based on the CEFR levels. You can see what you are able to do at this level and what you can do to improve your English. Simply put, the test will tell you if you need to work on your English and which course can help you do that. Please remember that the SELA is a self-assessment tool and can not be used for official certification purposes. 

Staff: assessments English

The Assessment has been developed to examine if every employee is at a suitable level of English for their job. All new employees are required to take this assessment. There are tests for:

Academic staff

As a lecturer or researcher, you are confronted with English on a daily basis. Many of you will have to lecture in English. Most can handle this quite well, but you surely remember situations in which you would like to express yourself more subtly. Maybe you discover you only know of one way to explain something, or maybe you look for the right word and find that you are a bit stuck. And how good or bad is your pronunciation really?

Procedure and results

During half a day, you are tested on the following skills:

  • Receptive skills (80 minutes): This online computer adaptive test is designed to test grammar and vocabulary as well as a person’s understanding of meaning when communicating in English.
  • Writing (75 minutes): your written proficiency is tested by means of an academic writing task.
  • Speaking (25 minutes) by appointment: during a brief conversation in pairs, your oral proficiency (and pronunciation) are tested in different settings (social talk, a conversation about an academic topic of your choice, and a discussion). The oral assessment is done soon after your general testing session by means of a conversation.  Speaking assessments on other days are indicated as online/on-campus so you can choose the setup that best suits you.

The results, indicated as a CEFR level, reflect your level in the different skills that have been tested. You will also receive advice about the possible courses suitable for your level and specific needs. To effectively function in English, academic staff should have a C2 CEFR level. Depending on the test results, your supervisor will enable you to attend any necessary courses.

Costs

Participation is free of charge. 

Dates

  • Wednesday 7 February 2024 - 09:00 - 12:00 - on campus - Register before 30 January (fully booked)
  • Thursday 29 February 2024 - 09:00 - 12:00 - on campus - Register before 20 February (fully booked)
  • Tuesday 19 March 2024 - 13.00 - 16:00 - on campus - Register before 10 March (fully booked)
  • Thursday 4 April 2024 - 09:00 - 12:00 - on campus - Register before 26 March
  • Thursday 23 May 2024 - 13:00 - 16:00 - on campus - Register before 14 May (fully booked)

Registration

Register here 

  • Registrations are processed in order of receipt.
  • There is a maximum number of participants for each assessment.

For more information, please contact the Language Center secretariat (tel. 2508, A 15) or Linda Mous, Coordinator of the English section (tel. 3125, A 15). 

Interesting links

Managerial staff

As a policy advisor or other Tilburg University managerial staff, you are confronted with English on a daily basis. Maybe you have to present at information meetings or answer questions from international staff. Most can handle these situations quite well, but you surely remember situations in which you would like to express yourself subtly. Maybe you discover you only know of one way to explain something, or maybe you look for the right word and find that you are a bit stuck. And how good or bad is your pronunciation really?

Procedure and results

During half a day, you are tested on the following skills:

  • Receptive skills (80 minutes): This online computer adaptive test is designed to test grammar and vocabulary as well as a person’s understanding of meaning when communicating in English.
  • Writing (75 minutes): your written proficiency is tested by means of writing an answer to a university-related question.
  • Speaking (25 minutes) by appointment: during a brief conversation in pairs, your oral proficiency (and pronunciation) are tested in different settings (social talk, a conversation about a work-related topic, and a discussion). The oral assessment is done soon after your general testing session by means of a conversation.  Speaking assessments on other days are indicated as online/on-campus so you can choose the setup that best suits you.

The results, indicated as a CEFR level, reflect your level in the different skills that have been tested. You will also receive advice about the possible courses suitable for your level and specific needs. To effectively function in English, managerial staff should have a C1 CEFR level. Depending on the test results, your supervisor will enable you to attend any necessary courses.

Costs

Participation is free of charge.

Dates

  • Wednesday 7 February 2024 - 09:00 - 12:00 - on campus - Register before 30 January (fully booked)
  • Thursday 29 February 2024 - 09:00 - 12:00 - on campus - Register before 20 February (fully booked)
  • Tuesday 19 March 2024 - 13.00 - 16:00 - on campus - Register before 10 March (fully booked)
  • Thursday 4 April 2024 - 09:00 - 12:00 - on campus - Register before 26 March
  • Thursday 23 May 2024 - 13:00 - 16:00 - on campus - Register before 14 May (fully booked)

Registration

Register here 

  • Registrations are processed in order of receipt.
  • There is a maximum number of participants for each assessment.

For more information, please contact the Language Center secretariat (tel. 2508, A 15) or Linda Mous, Coordinator of the English section  (tel. 3125, A 15).

Interesting links

  • Information about IELTS: International English Language Testing Systems
  • Information about the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference): European Council Proficiency Guidelines
Secretarial and administrative staff

At Tilburg University campus you hear more English all the time. Administrative staff and secretaries should also be able to communicate with foreign students and employees. That is why the Language Center has specially developed an English assessment for secretaries.

The assessment and results

During half a day, you are tested on the following skills:

  • Receptive skills (80 minutes): This online computer adaptive test is designed to test grammar and vocabulary as well as a person’s understanding of meaning when communicating in English.
  • Writing (75 minutes): your written proficiency is tested by means of writing an answer to a university- or education-related question.
  • Speaking (25 minutes) by appointment: during a brief conversation in pairs, your oral proficiency (and pronunciation) are tested in different settings (social talk, a conversation about a work-related topic, and a discussion).  Speaking assessments on other days are indicated as online/on-campus so you can choose the setup that best suits you.

The results, indicated as a CEFR level, reflect your level in the different skills that have been tested. You will also receive advice about the possible courses suitable for your level and specific needs. To effectively function in English, secretaries should have a B2 CEFR level. For administrative staff, a B1-B2 CEFR level is recommended. Depending on the test results, your supervisor will enable you to attend any necessary courses.

Costs

Participation is free of charge.

Dates

  • Wednesday 7 February 2024 - 09:00 - 12:00 - on campus - Register before 30 January (fully booked)
  • Thursday 29 February 2024 - 09:00 - 12:00 - on campus - Register before 20 February (fully booked)
  • Tuesday 19 March 2024 - 13.00 - 16:00 - on campus - Register before 10 March (fully booked)
  • Thursday 4 April 2024 - 09:00 - 12:00 - on campus - Register before 26 March
  • Thursday 23 May 2024 - 13:00 - 16:00 - on campus - Register before 14 May (fully booked)

Registration

Register here 

  • Registrations are processed in order of receipt.
  • There is a maximum number of participants for each assessment.

For more information, please contact the Language Center secretariat (tel. 2508, A 15) or Linda Mous, Coordinator of the English section (tel. 3125, A 15).

Interesting links

  • Information about IELTS: International English Language Testing Systems
  • Information about the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference): European Council Proficiency Guidelines
Frequently asked questions

The Language Center has listed the most important questions about the assessment. Is your question not on this list? The Language Center employees will gladly help (ext. 2508).

Why an English assessment?

As determined in the strategic plan 2006-2009, Tilburg University wants to grow into an international campus where international students, lecturers, and researchers feel welcome. By doing so, Tilburg University hopes to increase its appeal on the international market and become and international university that can compete with other Dutch and foreign universities. At an international campus, it is important for every employee to have English skills (listening, reading, speaking, and writing). The assessment has been developed to examine if every employee is at an appropriate level of English.

What level should I have?

Four different levels have been documented, related to the different types of positions, because not everybody needs to have the same proficiency level. We distinguish between academic staff, managerial staff, secretaries and administrative staff. Each group has a different assessment and different target level, yet even within these categories, there is variation between the levels. The Language Center has determined recommended levels. Together with your supervisor, you determine which level is necessary to do your work. This could therefore vary from person to person.

Does every employee have to take the assessment?

Every employee will be confronted with English students and colleagues to some extent. A lecturer might need to teach in English, a front desk officer might have to give students directions in English, and supporting staff might need to write memos or minutes in English. Because everyone, in their own way, will increasingly be confronted with English, all Tilburg University employees will have to take the assessment.

What happens if I am not at the recommended level of English?

Tilburg University offers its staff the opportunity to work on their English. The Language Center offers a number of possibilities for you to improve your English. You can choose a course or training that suits you best. There are individual tutorial sessions, but you can also take a course with a group of close colleagues. The Language Center website lists a number of possibilities, but your department can also ask to have a course developed specially for a specific group of employees. The basic principle is that every employee is given sufficient time and space to reach the appropriate level of English. Besides, it is also possible to take a course before you take the Assessment. In that case, the course will prepare you for the test.

What if I have no time for a course?

Because there are different course options, a course or training can always be combined with work. A course can, for example, be spread over a longer period of time in order to combine it with periods of high work pressure. Together with your supervisor, you determine how to combine the English course with your regular activities. Together you agree on what work you can do during the course, or if certain duties will be (temporarily) taken over or put on hold.

Is there a Dutch course for foreign employees?

There are a number of course options for foreign employees to work on their Dutch. Because Tilburg University's focus is on creating an international campus, foreign employees are not required to take any of these courses. However, they are stimulated to do so. Of course, foreign employees are also required to be sufficiently proficient in English.

How do I register for the assessment?

You can register for the Assessment on the Language Center website.

Can I use a dictionary?

The writing section of the Assessment is done on a computer in Word. You can use the Word spellchecker as well as an (external) online dictionary if you wish. This is allowed because under normal circumstances, you would also look up information you don’t know online. However, we recommend not using this too much as it also takes up time. You are under no circumstances allowed to use machine translation tools like Google Translate and Deepl. Dictionaries or other external tools are not allowed in the receptive skills test.

Can I keep up my level of English with a course after the assessment?

There are a number of possibilities to keep up your level of English. The most obvious way is in your everyday work. If English is sufficiently used there, keeping up your English comes naturally. You can also look for someone (for instance a colleague) with whom you speak English on a regular basis. Watching English programs on TV or Netflix with English subtitles or reading an English book are of course very useful. In addition, it is possible to take part in a number of English courses, but these options will not be free of charge.

What is the time investment for the assessment?

The assessments lasts approximately 3 hours on the assessment day itself. Afterwards, you meet up for a speaking assessment which lasts about 25 minutes. The total time investment is therefore a little over 3,5 hours.

No preparation is necessary for the assessment. The test is a level assessment, so it measures your current level of English without necessary preparation. However, you can decide to review some of the difficult grammar points beforehand.

The speaking test can also be done without preparation. However, academic staff are asked to prepare a very short part of a lecture or presentation about their research. This should not take more than 15 minutes in total.

Obtaining official diplomas with an international character

CILS: Certificate for Italian as a foreign language

CILS is short for ‘Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera’ and means ‘Certificate for Italian as a foreign language’.

The CILS certificates are official and internationally recognized certificates proving your knowledge and command of Italian. The certificates attest to your level of Italian as a non-native language and they are awared on behalf of the University of Siena. The Italian Ministry of Scientific Policy recognizes the certificates for admission to Italian universities. Both non-Italians and Italians abroad (children of Italian immigrants) as well as foreign immigrants in Italy can take this test.

It is possible to take this test at Tilburg University. No previous degree is required to take the exam.

More information about CILS    Contact Rita Sorce 

DELE: Diploma for Spanish as a foreign language

DELE stands for 'Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera' and means 'Diploma for Spanish as a foreign language'.

The DELE diplomas are the only official and internationally recognized diplomas that attest to the knowledge of Spanish. They are awarded by the Instituto Cervantes on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

You can take this exam at Tilburg University.

More information about DELE