FAQs for ISE (paper edition) video conference exams

We have prepared some answers to potential questions about online delivery of Trinity's ISE (paper edition) English language speaking and listening exams in Trinity registered exam centres around the world. 

  • For UK SELT arrangements click here.

They are Trinity's usual ISE (paper edition) speaking and listening exams. However, instead of candidates having a one-to-one discussion with the examiner in person, they have a one-to-one discussion with the examiner on a computer via Zoom video conferencing software.

Yes - the exam content and skills assessed are the same and results and certificates will be issued in the same way as for our usual ISE exams. The exam delivery format is different because, although it takes place in a registered exam centre, the examiner is present online via Zoom video conferencing software.


Centres simply download the Zoom app once from the internet to their desktop/laptop computer.

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

Centres need to use a desktop or laptop computer with either a webcam and an inbuilt microphone or a plug-in headset with working microphone. 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

Exam centres must be equipped with appropriate hardware, software and internet in order to administer online exams. Details are outlined in Additional Information guidance for 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. This can be checked here.  
  • 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. 

You need to have both working audio AND video to be able to take an exam on Zoom. 

These exams cannot be taken on mobile devices as they are not suitable for certain parts of these interactive exams. 

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. 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   
  • 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 

Candidates first enter a ‘virtual waiting room’, where they 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.

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 when prompted. 

If none of these options work, please inform the examiner by email and contact your Trinity representative

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 monitor in the virtual room, who you will not be able to see or hear. 

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.  

First, centre support staff should try letting the examiner know by email, if necessary. If the issue is not quickly resolved within your centre, please contact your Trinity representative too. 

First, try to let the examiner know by email. If the issue cannot be quickly resolved, centre staff should contact their Trinity representative.  

This is not permitted - Zoom automatically detects and prevents screen recording software. 

Candidates cannot log in or take this exam from home because this exam delivery method is strictly designed for delivery at registered exam centres.  

Please contact your Trinity representative immediately if the problem can’t be resolved within the time advised in your training and the exam will be rescheduled. 

There is no difference in difficulty level between the standard version of these exams and the online versions. 

A score would not be affected by a bad internet connection. Our examiners are trained to identify the difference between difficulties with Zoom/internet/microphones/webcams and English language-related issues, such as poor fluency, or not remembering the words needed to complete a sentence, for example.  If the internet connection is very bad the exam will be rescheduled.

Candidates should prepare for the exam and exam tasks in the usual way.

Students should practise and prepare as they would normally for Trinity speaking and listening exams. Parents/guardians should download and practise using Zoom with their children before the exam so that they feel familiar with waiting rooms, using chat boxes and talking to people via the app. 

The chat box is usually used at the start of the exam to let the examiner know what Topic they will be talking about. Centre support staff can help with this. 

Unfortunately, it is not possible to offer feedback sessions at the end of these alternative delivery method of exams because of the different logistical and scheduling requirements necessary for online exam delivery.  

Yes, they are - there are no differences to Trinity’s usual results and certificate arrangements. 

Yes - the exam times are the same, though the examiner timetabling arrangements are different where more examiner breaks are needed and there is a short gap between candidates. More details about this are contained in the booking information for centres and administrators. 

The examiners have been trained to use their professional judgement to determine whether any issues the candidate is having are language-related or not.  

All cases are considered individually. Please register details of needs in the usual way.

The examiners have attended online assessment training and are regularly checked via Trinity’s quality assurance processes. 

The candidate's name is entered onscreen spelt as on the booking form (centre staff can assist) and the candidate confirms their identity at the examiner’s request. An onscreen notice also reminds the candidate that the session will be recorded and states that candidates must be who they say they are. 

The candidate's name is entered onscreen spelt as on the booking form (centre staff can assist) and the candidate confirms their identity at the examiner’s request. An onscreen notice also reminds the candidate that the session will be recorded and states that candidates must be who they say they are. 

Yes. The recordings will be used for quality assurance, monitoring and standardisation purposes and are for the benefit of the candidate and examiner. Recordings of exams are retained at Trinity’s central office and not made available to centres or candidates. 

To prevent this happening, we have put a number of measures in place following a thorough review of all security settings. Uninvited guests will not be able to participate in any of our exam sessions. 

Zoom collects information such as the computer IP address and details about the device Operating System but they do not use this data obtained for advertising. You have control over your own cookie settings when visiting their websites. For more information, visit Zoom’s privacy policy here  

ISE Reading & Writing exam dates for exams in registered centres can be found here.

Please get in touch with us on reporting@trinitycollege.com.

The exams carried out through the video conferencing platform are assessed in the same way, and to the same high quality and standards, as the in-person exams. The exam results are determined in the same way as in-person exams, based on Trinity’s prescribed criteria and descriptors. Exams are regularly monitored through our validation processes.

If for any reason, you would like your exam results to be reassessed, we can do this through our formal results review service.

If you would like to provide feedback or make a complaint about the service you have received please email. complaints@trinitycollege.com 

You can find our complaints process here.

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