Communication Skills online FAQs

We have prepared some answers to potential questions about the online delivery of Trinity’s Communication Skills Grade Exams for individual candidates in registered exam centres. We hope you find these useful.

They are the same as Trinity's Communication Skills Graded exams for individual candidates but delivered online. Instead of interacting with the examiner in person, candidates attend their usual registered centres and interact with the examiner online using a desktop/laptop and Zoom video conferencing software.

Yes - the exam content and skills assessed for these online digital delivery exams remain the same, and the results and certificates will be issued in the same way as for our face-to-face Communication Skills exams.

The health and safety of all candidates, exam centre staff and examiners are a priority for us. For this reason, we have developed an alternative method of assessment delivery for some of our exams. Trinity examiners do not need to visit exam centres to assess Communication Skills candidates as they will be conducted online via video conferencing software. This assessment mode of delivery has been designed to be implemented with the health and safety of candidates and exam centre staff in mind, and for registered exam centres to be able to support and administer the exams according to local or regional government requirements. Centres should follow the Additional Information guidance provided to Centres.

Candidates should prepare for their Communication Skills exam tasks in the usual way. They are also advised to practise using Zoom with family and friends before the exam, so that they feel familiar with waiting rooms and interacting with people onscreen. Candidates at higher levels should also familiarise themselves with using the ‘share screen’ function if they are using PowerPoint presentations.

Download the Zoom app and practise using Zoom.

Candidates send their PowerPoint file to the centre in advance, and centre staff upload it to the desktop/laptop before the exam, so that the candidates can 'share screen' with the examiner during the exam presentation task.

Candidates should position themselves exactly the same way as if doing a live face-to-face exam. Follow the syllabus instructions as to whether to sit or stand.  When standing, the examiner may ask the candidate to step forward or back so they can be seen clearly on camera. 

The texts for Grade 6 (speeches) and Grade 7 (advertisements) can be found in the Support Guide  for these online exams and candidates should familiarise themselves with the texts for their grade before the exam. Follow the guidance in the Support Guide for details on how to prepare for the exam tasks. 

Instead of showing their CV to the examiner, candidates will state the role/job they are applying for and the examiner will ask them relevant questions.

Instead of showing their CV to the examiner, candidates will state the role/job they are applying for and the examiner will ask them relevant questions.

The candidate selects a scenario from the Support Guide. In the exam the examiner will ask the candidate which scenario they have prepared for and the candidate will then deliver their address.  The examiner will then ask the candidate to change one aspect of their speech. The candidate will be given two minutes to make this adjustment before presenting their speech again incorporating the change.

Yes - candidates can still bring visuals, or an object into the online exam room if it is small and simple enough for the examiner to see onscreen. Bringing an object to the exam room must be in line with exam centre rules and guidelines and must adhere to local restrictions and guideline policies.

Trinity is committed to creating an inclusive environment where candidates with special educational needs, disabilities and health conditions are able to demonstrate their skills and feel welcomed. Please see the page below for details of a range of adjustments available for those requiring additional support.

Candidates with special needs and disabilities (Speech and Drama)

Zoom is the video conferencing software that Trinity is using for these exams. Exam centres simply download the Zoom app once from the internet to their desktop/laptop. See also Technology and equipment requirements.

Zoom is the only video conferencing software that can currently be used to take a Trinity exam. To participate, it is essential that exam centres download the Zoom app, though they do not need to create a Zoom account. 

No - Candidates cannot take this exam from home because this exam delivery method is designed for secure delivery at registered exam centres.

Exam centres with bookings will be invited to receive training on how to set up and run an exam session online. In the meantime, you could practise by downloading and opening the Zoom app and practise using Zoom.

On exam day you will select ‘Join a meeting’ at the recommended time in advance of the session as advised in your instructions from Trinity, then:

  • Enter the examiner’s meeting ID provided for the session
  • Enter the candidate’s first and last name
  • Ensure the full name is entered exactly as it appears in the booking. The examiner has been instructed only to allow candidates into the exam whose full name matches their timetable.
  • Select ‘Join’ to enter the waiting room
  • Wait for the examiner to admit entrance to the virtual exam room
  • The examiner should then be able to see and hear the candidate and start the exam

The exam centre is responsible for presenting the correct candidate and ensuring that the spelling of the candidate uses the exact spelling as the booking entry. At the start of the exam, the examiner will ask the candidate to confirm their name. If the name does not  match the timetable/booking exactly the examiner will not allow the candidate into the room.

Please check the Additional Information guidance provided to exam centres for full details.

Usually there is no one else is in the online virtual exam room. However, on occasion, Trinity will monitor examiners to ensure the consistent application of assessment criteria and exam procedures, so there may also be an examiner

Exam centres should advise candidates what to expect when they enter the ‘virtual waiting room’, and that they should wait until the examiner admits them - they should not have to wait long. They will see a notice on the screen to reassure them that the examiner knows they are there.

The examiner can see the name of candidates and that they have signed in, but the examiner cannot hear what the candidate is saying or see what the candidate is doing in the waiting room.

Exam centres must be equipped with appropriate hardware, software and internet in order to administer online exams. Details are outlined in the Additional Information guidance provided to exam centres. Specifically, exam centres must have: 

  • An internet connection, broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE).
  • For exams to be delivered continuously and without disruption, exam centres should ensure they have a Wi-Fi speed of 10mbps download, and 5mbps upload. It is the responsibility of the exam centre to check they meet these requirements.
  • A laptop or desktop with speakers and a microphone, either built into the desktop/laptop or through a USB plug-in.
  • Power cable and power for laptops. Laptops/PCs need to be connected to AC power at all times during the session.

Exam centres need to use a desktop/laptop with either a webcam and an inbuilt microphone or a headset with working microphone. You need to have both working audio AND video to be able to take an exam on Zoom. If you are using headsets, you will need to ensure you adhere to local health and safety measures for hygiene and sanitisation.

Please note that tablets, such as iPads and mobile phones are not suitable devices for these exams. 

Check that the web camera lens is not obstructed and that the audio is unmuted. If this does not work, try checking that your microphone or camera is not connected to another app, such as Skype, as this can prevent Zoom from connecting. Try leaving the meeting, closing the Zoom app, re-entering the meeting code and going through the audio and video checks again. 

First, exam centre staff should sign in the Zoom meeting ID using the name ‘Exam support’ or ‘Centre staff’. You can then communicate with the examiner via Zoom conferencing or the Zoom chat box. If the issue is not quickly resolved within your exam centre, please contact your Trinity representative.

First, exam centre staff should contact their Trinity representative. If you experience technical difficulties and your exam session is outside of office hours, please do wait for the examiner to call you. This call may come from an unidentified number. The examiner is instructed to call you 5 minutes before the session if you are not online. Please make sure your contact details on the Trinity online system are up to date.

Please contact your Trinity representative immediately if the problem can’t be resolved within the timescales advised in your training materials and the exam will be rescheduled. (Note the examiner has the exam centre contact details and knows to contact the centre representative if there are technical difficulties.)

Exam centres can:

  • Sign into Zoom with for example: ‘Exam Support’
  • Email your Trinity support contact

A score would not be affected by a bad internet connection. Our examiners are trained to identify the difference between difficulties with Zoom / internet / latency / microphones / webcams and issues related to candidates’ communication skills. If the internet connection is poor and affects exam delivery, the exam will not proceed.

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