TRKI FAQs

WHAT IS THE TRKI?
 
TRKI is the official Russian test of Russian as a foreign language, and we think it is the best Russian exam for adults currently available. It offers a more adult-oriented syllabus, is available at more different levels, and is in many respects a more demanding test of all the skills required to use a foreign language properly than some of the other exams available (for example, GCSE and AS levels). It is similar to DELF in French, or TOEFL and Cambridge ESOL in English.
 
HOW DO I REGISTER FOR THE TRKI TEST?
 
Registration for the 2017 tests opens on 18 March 2017. Simply follow this link to our TRKI registration form. The deadline for registration and payment is 9 June 2017.
 
WHY TAKE THE TRKI?
 
Preparing for an exam is a sure-fire way to motivate yourself to study, and to focus your language-learning. It also gives you a great way to assess how far you have progressed and gives you something concrete to work towards.

A TRKI qualification is an impressive addition to your CV – but even if that isn’t a concern for you, it is tremendously satisfying to have concrete proof of your proficiency.

At RLC the TRKI exam is run in conjunction with St Petersburg State University, and corresponds to a common European standard for language learning (called the Common European Framework of Reference for Foreign Languages, or CEFR), so is recognised throughout Europe.
 
WHAT DOES THE TRKI TEST INVOLVE?
 
There are six possible levels at which the tests can be taken. At each level the TRKI test comprises five ‘subtests’:

Subtest 1. Grammar and Vocabulary
A series of multiple-choice questions where you need to select the right word, ending, etc.

Subtest 2. Reading
Multiple-choice questions based on texts (depending on the level, these range from short texts such as adverts to newspaper articles).

Subtest 3. Writing
This involves a creative piece of writing: at lower levels, a letter or similar where you are given instructions about what information to include; at higher levels this may be a piece of criticism based on another text.

Subtest 4. Listening
Multiple-choice questions based on recorded extracts. At higher levels these are sometimes films rather than audio tracks.

Subtest 5. Speaking
A range of oral tasks, varying on the level. They include: providing responses to fixed dialogues; initiating dialogues in prescribed situations; summarising a text; talking on a prepared topic.
 
HOW MUCH DOES THE TRKI TEST COST?
 
The total cost of the TRKI tests (i.e. including all 5 ‘subtests’) ranges from £215 to £300, depending on the level and whether you were an internal or external candidate.
 
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CANDIDATE?
 
Internal candidates are those who have completed one term of group classes or 10 hours of individual tuition at RLC at some point between 1 October 2016 and 1 June 2017. Internal candidates are eligible for discounted test fees.
 
HOW DO I KNOW WHICH TRKI LEVEL I SHOULD SIT?
 
We offer a free face-to-face assessment with one of our Senior Tutors to all external candidates in order to determine which level is appropriate, and recommend areas of revision or further study.

Internal candidates will be advised by their current teacher, if necessary in conjunction with our Senior Tutor, on levels, revision and further study.

To arrange your free assessment, please complete the contact form here.
 
HOW LONG DOES THE TEST TAKE?
 
The test comprises five papers or 'subtests' which will be held over the weekend of 8 and 9 July 2017. Depending on your level, you will sit your written tests on one day and take your speaking test on the other day. Full details of the exam timetable will be released when registration closes on 9 June 2017.
 
WHAT DO I DO IF I CANNOT MAKE THE TIMES ALLOTTED FOR MY TESTS?
 
Because of the complexity of the timetable, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to offer you alternative times, and certainly this will only be possible in extreme cases. If you simply cannot make the times allotted you, please speak to the RLC administration team and we will try to offer an alternative.
 
IS JULY THE ONLY TIME YOU WILL BE OFFERING THE TEST IN 2017?
 
At the moment we only offer the TRKI tests once a year. However, we expect that from 2018 we will be able to offer the exams at different times of year as well.
 
WHAT PREPARATION CLASSES ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE TRKI TESTS?
 
In 2017 we plan to hold preparation classes for the first three levels (Elementary, Basic and 1st Certificate) on Friday evenings in May and June. These are a great way to make sure that nothing surprises you when you come to sit the tests. Preparation classes concentrate on exam technique (including understanding instructions in Russian) and any special areas of the syllabus that you may not have covered in your course work.

The timetable and cost of preparation classes will be fixed in March 2017. If you would like to express your provisional interest in attending a preparation class, please tick the relevant box when submitting your TRKI application form.

We will also be offering a special discounted rate on individual tuition in the lead-up to the exams; please ask the RLC administration office for more details.
 
IS THERE A PREPARATION CLASS FOR THE SPEAKING TEST?
 
The best way to prepare for the Speaking test is to take a mock test. These are available at all levels and need to be arranged individually. At Elementary and Basic levels the mock test lasts 45 minutes; at 1st Certificate level and above the mock test lasts 60 minutes. These times include 15-20 minutes for detailed feedback from the testing teacher. To arrange a mock Speaking test, please tick the relevant box on the TRKI Booking form and we will contact you to arrange a time.
 
WHAT PREPARATION MATERIALS ARE AVAILABLE?
 
We have a range of preparation materials for candidates who have registered for the test:
  • an exam description: this gives more details on the precise structure of the tests (number of questions, topics) at each level
  • the ‘lexical minimum’: this is the vocabulary list published for each level
  • the syllabus: in English and Russian, this explains the grammatical material you need to know
  • типовые тесты: the official standard tests; see ‘past papers’ below for more info
  • sample exercises from published textbooks: several of the newer textbooks published in Russia now routinely include exercises that are based on the kind of questions asked in the TRKI tests. We have selected a number of these and are able to distribute them to registered candidates. There are also books which are made up purely of TRKI-type exercises. We are able to advise candidates on these and in some cases supply them
  • sample tests from published textbooks: a few textbooks now include complete sample tests that are based on the tests
  • RLC listening exercises: we have recorded a number of listening tasks which accurately reflect the listening test
 
ARE THERE ANY TEXTBOOKS I CAN BUY TO HELP ME PREPARE FOR THESE EXAMS?
 
Most new textbooks published in Russia now grade themselves according to the CEFR/ALTE system (A1 [lowest], A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 [highest]). However, some textbooks are specifically designed to prepare students for the TRKI test (particularly the lower two levels); please contact us if you would like advice on this.
 
ARE PAST PAPERS AVAILABLE?
 
There is limited availability for past papers. The TRKI is not like an annual school exam, where new papers are set each year and past papers are publicly distributed. Since you can take the tests in Russia more or less whenever you want, examining centres are not allowed to give out tests, for the simple reason that many of them are ongoing: that is, the same test paper can be used for many weeks or months. Instead, what you get are ‘типовые тесты’ or ‘standard’ tests, which are samples of current tests. Occasionally there are differences between the standard tests and the actual ones – for example, in the timing of tests or the number of questions of a specific type – but we are able to warn students of this in preparation.

‘Standard tests’ for the relevant level are distributed to all candidates who have registered to take the exam. If you wish to see sample tests before deciding whether to sign up for the test, please contact Marysia Skwarka at RLC.

We do have two sets of past papers that we use as mock tests (see below). We do not distribute these to teachers and students, but use them as tests to be done under exam conditions. You can sign up to take a mock test when you complete your TRKI booking form.
 
ARE YOU RUNNING MOCK TESTS?
 
In addition to the four preparation classes, you can take mock tests at all levels. Three of the tests (Grammar/vocabulary; Reading; Writing) are sent to you for completion at home. You should do these under timed exam conditions and then return to us for marking. The mock Listening test is held at the Russian Language Centre in June, dates and times to be confirmed.

Please note that the mock Listening test can only be done at RLC.
 
I AM AN EXTERNAL CANDIDATE; CAN I STILL SIGN UP FOR PREPARATION CLASSES AND MOCK TESTS?
 
Yes. Please complete the relevant section of the TRKI booking form, and contact Marysia Skwarka at info@russiancentre.co.uk for more details.
 
WHEN DO I FIND OUT THE RESULTS OF THE TRKI TESTS?
 
The tests are taken back and marked at St Petersburg State University. We are normally sent the results within 3 weeks of the tests, so by the end of July. The certificates may take longer to arrive. We can, however, provide written confirmation of that fact that you have passed the test earlier if required.
 
WHAT VOCABULARY AND GRAMMAR AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW FOR THE TESTS?
 
When you register for the test, you will be supplied with a ‘lexical minimum’ (i.e. vocabulary list) and a syllabus for your level.
 
ARE THE TEST INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN IN ENGLISH OR RUSSIAN?
 
This depends on the level and test. At lower levels instructions are given in both languages, apart from the Speaking test, which is conducted entirely in Russian. As part of the TRKI preparation classes, and in your TRKI Preparation Pack, you will be given examples of all the possible instructions in Russian for your level.
 
AM I ALLOWED TO USE A DICTIONARY DURING THE TESTS?
 
It depends on the level and the test. You are not allowed to use a dictionary in the Grammar/vocabulary test at any level; at lower levels you are allowed to use dictionaries in the writing test. Please refer to the exam description for your level for details.

Electronic dictionaries or any other electronic reference tools are not allowed.
 
IN THE LISTENING TEST, HOW MANY TIMES WILL I GET TO HEAR THE TEXT?
 
This depends on the level. At lower levels recordings are normally played twice; at higher levels only once. Please refer to the exam description for your level for details.
 
IN THE SPEAKING TEST, WILL I BE GIVEN THE QUESTIONS IN WRITTEN FORM?
 
This depends on the level. At lower levels part of the speaking test involves a monologue on a topic which you have been given a short time (10 minutes) to prepare; you are allowed to use written notes for this. The other part of the test involves unprepared conversation. Please refer to the exam description for your level for details.
 
DO I HAVE TO USE PROPER HANDWRITING IN THE TESTS, OR CAN I USE PRINTED LETTERS?
 
At lower levels (Elementary and Basic), you may use printed Russian script. At higher levels you must use proper handwriting.
 
WHAT IS THE PASS MARK FOR THE TESTS?
 
  • To pass the TRKI test at Elementary, Basic and First Certificate levels, you need to average 67% across all 5 subtests. You also need to score at least 67% in 4 of the subtests and at least 60% in the other.

  • To pass the TRKI test at Second Third and Fourth Certificate levels, you need to score at least 67% in all five tests.

  • Individual subtests can be retaken within 2 years.
  •  
    WHAT GRADES CAN BE ACHIEVED?
     
    There are only two grades at TRKI: pass and fail. To pass the TRKI test you must pass all 5 subtests at the relevant level. If you fail one or more of the subtests, these can be retaken within 2 years, in which case you do not need to retake the subtests you have passed.
     
    IS THERE A MINIMUM AGE LIMIT FOR CANDIDATES?
     
    There is no minimum age limit to sit the TRKI tests. However, the tests are not really aimed at younger children: they are more suitable for older students or adults.
     
    WHO ARE THE EXAMINER AND THE AWARDING BODY?
     
    The examiner comes from the Centre for Language Testing at St Petersburg State University (SPbGU). The awarding body is the Russian Ministry of Education.
     
    HOW MANY HOURS OF RUSSIAN DO I NEED TO STUDY FOR EACH LEVEL?
     
    The Russian Ministry of Education publishes guidelines about the number of hours of study required to pass a particular level, which are shown in the table below. However, we believe all of the figures in this table should be treated as approximate: first, because they are designed for students who are studying Russian in Russia, and therefore tend to progress more quickly than those studying outside a Russian-speaking environment; secondly, a number of other factors (e.g. aptitude, frequency of study) clearly mean that they cannot apply equally to all students. Please also bear in mind that at the higher levels the hours of formal study suggested may appear quite small, but it is assumed that a significant amount of additional time will have been spent in a Russian-speaking environment.

    TRKI Hour per level Total hours
    Элементарный
    Elementary
    80–90 +/- 100
    Базовый
    Basic
    +150 +/- 250
    Первый сертификационный
    1st Certificate
    +345 +/- 600
    Второй сертификационный
    2nd Certificate
    +540 +/- 1100
    Третий сертификационный
    3rd Certificate
    +210 +/- 1300
    Четвёртый сертификационный
    4th Certificate
    +150 +/- 1450
     
    HOW DO THE TRKI LEVELS CORRESPOND TO GCSE, A-LEVEL AND OTHER UK EXAMS?
     
    The TRKI tests are designed to correspond to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), where foreign language ability is divided up into 6 levels. The table below shows how these levels correspond to UK academic exams as well as the Foreign Office's four recognised levels. However, there is much debate about how language ability should be classified, so we suggest you use these equivalencies as a guideline only.

    TRKI CEFR/ALTE UK Academic FCO
    Элементарный
    Elementary
    A1 Breakthrough GCSE lower grades
    Базовый
    Basic
    A2 Waystage GCSE higher grades Confidence/
    Survival
    Первый сертификационный
    1st Certificate
    B1 Threshold 'A' Level, Pre-U Functional
    Второй сертификационный
    2nd Certificate
    B2 Vantage lower degree
    Третий сертификационный
    3rd Certificate
    C1 Effective Operational Proficiency upper degree Operational
    Четвёртый сертификационный
    4th Certificate
    C2 Mastery Extensive
     
    WHAT DO THE TRKI TESTS OFFER ME WHICH I WON’T GET FROM A GCSE OR A-LEVEL QUALIFICATION?
     

    The main advantage of TRKI over other qualifications (e.g. GCSE, A Level and UK degrees) is that levels correspond to a common European standard (called CEFR; although see above for our reservations about this). Your level of Russian can thus be more easily judged by prospective employers in all European countries, and compared to speakers of other foreign languages.

    We also believe that the TRKI is simply a better and more practical test of Russian than many UK academic exams. It is more suitable for an adult audience, and in many respects a more demanding test of all the skills required to use a foreign language properly.

     
    I AM IN AN RLC GROUP. WILL STUDENTS TAKING THE TRKI PREPARATION CLASSES START TO LEAVE OTHER STUDENTS BEHIND?
     
    No, or extremely unlikely. The preparation classes are aimed at exam technique and addressing particular problems individual students may have (we ask students in advance to submit topics to be covered during the lessons).

    It is possible that TRKI students will pick up a few things during the preparation classes that will not be known to the other members of the group, but we certainly wouldn’t expect this to affect the overall balance of the group you are in.
     
    WILL I BE ABLE TO STAY IN THE SAME GROUP AFTER THE TESTS?
     
    We certainly hope so! There is no reason to think that the test-takers and non-test-takers won’t be able to continue together.
     
    WHAT IS THE TIMETABLE FOR THE TRKI TESTS IN 2017?
     
    The number of different levels and subtests means that the exam timetable is quite complicated! In 2017 for the first time we are offering the exams over the weekend, which we hope will make them more accessible for students working during the week.

    The exact timetable will be published after the closing of registration on 9 June 2017, when we know exactly how many candidates we have at each level. However, it is planned that students will sit their written tests on one day (e.g. Saturday) and take their speaking test on the other day (e.g. Sunday).

    The table below summarises the timetable for 2014. Please note this will not be the timetable for 2016.

    Monday 7 July Tuesday 8 July Wednesday 9 July
    Morning Session (09.00– 13.00) Elementary (1) (3) (4)
    1st Certificate (1) (3) (4)
    3rd Certificate (1) (3) (4)
    Basic (5)
    Basic (1) (3) (4)
    2nd Certificate (1) (3) (4)
    Elementary (5)
    1st Certificate (5)
    3rd Certificate (2) (5)
    Lunchtime Session (13.00–14.00) Basic (2) Elementary (2)
    2nd Certificate (2)
    1st Certificate (2)
    4th Certificate (2)
    Afternoon Session (14.00–18.00) Basic (5)
    4th Certificate (1) (3) (4)
    2nd Certificate (5) 4th Certificate (5)
     
    Test Conference
     
    Test
     
     
     
    TRKI: THE BASICS TRKI ENROLMENT
     
    EXAM DESCRIPTION TRKI: FAQs
     
    TRKI LEVELS
      RLC CALENDAR
     
    TWITTER
     
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