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Registration begins for 2009/10 Common English Proficiency Assessment Scheme

The University Grants Committee (UGC) announced today (April 1) that students of UGC-funded undergraduate degree programmes who expect to graduate at the end of the 2009/10 academic year can register for the Common English Proficiency Assessment Scheme (CEPAS) from today until 5 pm on October 19, 2009.

To facilitate students' participation in CEPAS, the UGC has been improving the registration and testing arrangements over the years. As in previous years, students can register online by visiting the CEPAS website (www.ugccepa.com), where the dates and availability of each testing session can be found.

With the assistance of the institutions, a series of testing sessions from July 2009 to May 2010 would be arranged for all students of UGC-funded undergraduate degree programmes who will be in their final year in 2009/10 academic year.

Summer testing sessions will continue to be offered from July to November this year. Job-seekers who need to know CEPAS results at an earlier date will benefit from this option.

This year, the registration period is from April 1 to October 19, 2009 (5 pm). Students who want to register for the testing sessions from July to November 2009 should do so by 5 pm on April 30, 2009. Students may check these dates by visiting the CEPAS website. Students are encouraged to register as early as possible as the seats are on a first-come, first-served basis, and some testing sessions may become full during the registration period.

Participating students are eligible for reimbursement of the test fee (once only), if they agree to have a statement printed on their transcript indicating that they have participated in the Scheme. The statement only indicates participation; it does not contain the actual score.

Despite its voluntary nature, more than 11 000 final-year students participated in the Scheme last year, which was encouraging. This year, we again encourage each and every eligible student to take part in the Scheme.

For more detailed information, students can visit the CEPAS website, call the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) hotline at 2620 0321 or contact the Registrar's Offices of the eight UGC-funded institutions.

CEPAS is a voluntary assessment scheme intended to encourage students to be more aware of the importance of proficiency in English and to provide a common framework for assessing and documenting graduating students' English proficiency. The UGC announced the adoption of IELTS as the testing instrument for CEPAS in July 2002. Through the assessment, the UGC aims to benchmark the English proficiency of local tertiary students against a reliable, internationally validated instrument which will serve as useful reference for students when they enter the workforce after they graduate or when they pursue further studies.

IELTS is an internationally validated English testing instrument. In recent years, over 900 000 candidates took the IELTS test annually around the world. It covers all the four skills in English language, namely listening, reading, writing and speaking. Its results are reported on a band scale from 0 to 9.

An overall band of 6.5 or above with no subtest score below band 6 obtained in the same sitting in the Academic Module of IELTS within the 2-year validity period of the test are accepted as equivalent to "Level 2" result in the Use of English paper of the Government's Common Recruitment Examination.

Ends/Wednesday, April 1, 2009