Detailed presentation of the NOCN Esol International Certificate

NOCN Listening
Passing Mark: 16/31
Duration: B1 - B2 35'
C1 - C2 40'

The Listening Part consists of 31 multiple choice questions (a, b, or c), and is divided in 3 parts. Each part is heard twice.

Before each part, candidates have 2 minutes to read the questions and another 2 minutes at the end to check and transfer their answers on the Answer Sheet.

The topics are based on everyday situations / scenarios.

  • Part 1: Consists of 10 sentences / questions and some may check grammar & vocabulary.
  • Part 2: Consists of 2 dialogues with 5 questions each.
  • Part 3: Consists of 2 broadcasts for B1 & B2, and 1 debate & 1 discussion for C1 & C2, with 6 and 5 questions respectively.

NOCN Reading
Passing Mark: 16/31
Duration: B1 - B260'
C1 - C275'

The Reading unit consists of 4 texts with 31 multiple choice questions (a, b, c).

Candidates are asked to answer clear written comprehension questions and questions related to error detection (e.g. spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax), synonyms, opposites or fill in a blank. Candidates must submit their answers on the Answer Sheet.

NOCN Writing
Passing Mark: 12/24
Duration: B1 - B2 60'
C1 - C275'

The Writing unit consists of 2 parts where for each part the candidates must write one composition. For each composition, the candidates are given 3-4 optional development points. The overall mark for the Writing unit results from each composition’s mark divided by 2. See here the criteria by which the compositions are marked.

  • Part 1: Candidates are invited to write a formal composition and can choose between two topics. The type of composition that may be requested is:

    • letter or email
    • article
    • report
    • description
    • argumentation

  • Part 2: Candidates are invited to write a composition in an informal format. This composition is mandatory and is always either a letter or an email.

The range of words for each composition, depending on the level being examined, is defined as follows:

Level 1st composition 2nd composition
B1 75-100 100-125
B2 100-150 150-200
C1 150-200 250-300
C2 200-250 250-300

Candidates write both compositions on the Answer Sheet.

NOCN Speaking
Passing Mark: 17/33
Duration: B1 - B29'
C1 - C213'

The Speaking unit consists of 3 parts with an examiner and a candidate and the topics are drawn from everyday situations.

The oral examiner, when necessary, reformulates the question and gives examples to the candidate.

  • Part 1: candidates are required to answer 5 personal questions, for two of which they have to list 3 options (e.g., 3 favourite holiday destinations).
  • Part 2: candidates are required to analyse how they would handle 2 given hypothetical situations. Each situation is handed to the candidate in writing.
  • Part 3: candidates must develop a dialogue with the interlocutor, based on one specific scenario, undertaking specific roles. One scenario is discussed per learner, which is also provided in writing. 2 minutes are given to prepare the conversation and make notes.

For the Speaking Mark Scheme click here.