Test of Interactive English, A1 Level

Qualification Structure

The Test of Interactive English consists of two units:

Unit Name
Spoken Test of Interactive English
Written Test of Interactive English
Unit Name Examination Title
Spoken Test of Interactive English Spoken Test of Interactive English A1-B1
Written Test of Interactive English Written Test of Interactive English A1-B1

Candidates must achieve a grade of at least A1 level in each examination in order to achieve the overall qualification at A1 Level.

Overview of Candidate Knowledge, Skills and Understanding at A1 Level

Unit: Spoken Test of Interactive English
The Candidate can:
Interact in a simple way
Ask and answer simple questions
Initiate and respond to simple statements
Produce simple mainly isolated phrases to describe people and places
Follow slow and carefully articulated speech
Understand instructions and follow simple directions
Participate in simple conversation
Show only limited control of a few simple grammatical structures and sentence patterns in a learnt repertoire
Use a basic vocabulary repertoire of isolated words and phrases related to particular concrete situations.
Pronounce a very limited repertoire of learnt words and phrases can be understood with some effort by native speakers used to dealing with speakers of his/her language group.
Manage very short, isolated, mainly pre-packaged utterances, with much pausing to search for expressions, to articulate less familiar words, and to repair communication
Get an idea of short simple descriptions, especially if there is visual support
Recognise familiar names, words and very basic phrases in the most common everyday situations
Unit: Written Test of Interactive English
The Candidate can:
Write a short simple postcard
Write numbers and dates, own name, nationality, address, age, date of birth or arrival in the country etc. such as on a hotel registration form
Write simple phrases and sentences about themselves and imaginary people, where they live and what they do.
Use a basic repertoire of words and simple phrases related to personal details and particular concrete situations
Show a limited control of a few simple grammatical structures and sentence patterns
Write in full sentences using appropriate punctuation
Understand short, simple messages
Understand instructions and follow simple directions

Topics and Text Types at A1 Level

Details of the general topics and text types that Candidates are expected to be familiar with and may be examined upon as part of their assessment for the qualification at this level.

At A1 Level, Candidates will encounter topics which are both familiar and relevant to them as learners of English. These will include:

  • Family Life
  • Hobbies and Pastimes
  • Personal details / experiences
  • Holidays and Leisure Activities
  • Shopping
  • Work and Jobs
  • Health
  • Education and Training
  • Services
  • Weather and the Environment
  • Transport

At this level, Candidates are expected to read and understand short texts with repeated language patterns on these familiar topics.

The types of texts Candidates need to read will depend on their reasons for reading, e.g. employment, college course, childcare, enjoyment.

The following are examples of words a Candidate would typically be expected to be able to read, write and use at this level:

Personal Key Words

  • Country of origin, e.g. The United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Mozambique
  • Languages, e.g. Portuguese
  • Names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates

Topic-based Vocabulary

  • Days of the week
  • Months of the year
  • Words on forms: name, address, telephone, number, date, country, signature etc.
  • Family members, e.g. Sister, mother
  • Words on menus, e.g. Tea, coffee
  • Everyday vocabulary, e.g. Appointment, sale

Social Sight Vocabulary

  • Danger
  • Toilets
  • Exit
  • Way in
  • Way out
  • Office
  • Reception
  • No Smoking
  • Right, left

High-Frequency Words

A, an, the, of, to, in, on, off, out, from, with, there, is, are, am, has, have, work, live, like, want, speak, going, shopping, go, can, come, I, she, he, we, they, no, not, me, my, and, but

Written Work

In written work at this level, Candidates are expected to write to communicate information to an intended audience in documents such as:

  • Forms
  • Lists
  • Notes and simple messages
  • Simple letters


Candidates should be able to recognise the basic sound–symbol relationships and common letter patterns in words that are of real interest to them as individuals, working from a context. The order in which these sounds and patterns will be taught will depend on the words learners want and need to write.

Learners whose first language does not have the same phonemes as English will have difficulty in recognising the sound and therefore the associated symbol. Establishing a good knowledge of the alphabet and print awareness is essential at this level to enable the learner to begin independent sound- blending, both in written and phonic form.

Phonics (sound–letter correspondence)

  • Recognise initial, middle and final consonants
  • Recognise consonant digraphs ch, sh, the
  • Recognise medial short vowel sounds in simple words, e.g. Hat
  • Write correct initial letters in response to the letter sound, word, object or picture
  • Recognise and name each letter of the alphabet and be aware of alphabetical order
  • Write final consonants in simple words, e.g. Shop
  • Write correct letter corresponding to short middle vowel sounds in simple words, e.g


Some suggestions for taking common patterns from texts learners want or need to write:

“I live in Southwark. Southwark is in south London. I live in a big house.”

Other words with ou – our, four, pour. Learners are encouraged to group the words visually, and/or by sound.

Language Specification at A1 Level
Functions Grammar Discourse markers Topics
  • Directions
  • Describing habits and routines
  • Describing people and places
  • Giving personal information
  • Greetings
  • Telling the time
  • Understanding and using names
  • Understanding and using prices
  • Adjectives: common and demonstrative
  • Adverbs of frequency
  • Comparatives and superlatives
  • Going to
  • How much/how many and very
  • Common uncountable nouns
  • I’d like
  • Imperatives (+/-)
  • Intensifiers - very basic
  • Modals: can/can’t/could/couldn’t
  • Past simple of “to be”
  • Possessive adjectives
  • Prepositions, common
  • Prepositions of place
  • Prepositions of time, including in/on/at
  • Present continuous
  • Present simple
  • Pronouns: simple, personal
  • Questions
  • There is/are
  • To be, including question + negatives
  • Verb + ing: like/hate/love
Connecting words and, but, because
  • Everyday routines
  • Family life
  • House and neighbourhood
  • Food and drink
  • Hobbies and pastimes
  • Holidays
  • Work and jobs
  • Shopping
  • Leisure activities
  • Weather

Communicative Functions & Notions at A1 Level

  • Give personal information
  • Ask for personal information
  • Introduce family and close friends
  • Tell the time/day
  • Ask the time/day
  • Express ability
  • Enquire about ability
  • Say when you do not understand
  • Ask for clarification
  • Check back
  • Correct
  • Spell words aloud
  • Describe places and things
  • Give information as part of a simple explanation
  • Give single-step directions and instructions
  • Make requests – ask for directions
  • Enquire about prices and quantities
  • Make requests – ask for something
  • Make requests – ask someone to do something
  • Respond to a request
  • Express likes and dislikes
  • Express feelings
  • Express wishes
  • Express views
  • Agree and disagree
  • Apologise
  • Express a preference
  • Express thanks
  • Greet
  • Respond to greetings
  • Describe health and symptoms
  • Invite and offer
  • Accept
  • Decline
  • Take leave
Key Language Items at A1 Level
Simple sentences
  • Word order in simple statements, e.g.:
  • Subject – verb – object
  • Subject – verb – adverb
  • Subject – verb – adjective
  • Subject – verb – prepositional phrase
  • Word order in instructions
  • There is/are + noun (+ prepositional phrase)
  • Yes/no questions
  • Wh– questions
  • Question words what/who/where/how much/how many
  • Contracted form of auxiliary
  • Imperatives and negative imperatives do it! Don’t do it!
Noun phrase
  • Regular and common irregular plurals of nouns
  • Very common uncountable nouns
  • Personal pronouns
  • Demonstratives
  • Determiners of quantity
  • Indefinite article a/an with singular countable nouns
  • Definite article the
  • Possessives: my/your/his/her, etc
Verb forms and time markers
  • Simple present tense of: be/have/do; common
  • Regular verbs
  • Have got – indicating possession
  • Present continuous of common regular verbs
  • Contracted forms of: subject and auxiliary
  • Auxiliary and negative
  • Modals: can + bare infinitive to express ability
  • Would + like for requests
  • Use of simple prepositional verbs containing prepositions on, off, in, out
Adjectives Common adjectives after be
Adverbs and prepositional phrases
  • Common prepositions and prepositional phrases of place
  • Simple adverbs of place, manner and time
  • Use of intensifier very
Discourse Sentence connectives – then, next