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BASALT

(Bradford Academic Skills And Language Test)

Information for Test Takers

Who is the BASALT for?

The Bradford Academic Skills and Language Test (BASALT) is for students whose first language is not English and who want to start their degree course without attending a preparatory English programme beforehand. If this is you, you need to provide evidence of your ability in English by taking a test which is recognised by the university. BASALT is one of the tests available to you.

When and where can I take the BASALT?

The BASALT is administered on the University of Bradford campus throughout the year. We can also offer the test in our Dubai and Beijing Offices. Other locations will be announced in September. If you have been offered a place at the university, or you are thinking about studying with us, a member of our Admissions Team (pg-admissions@bradford.ac.uk) will contact you with information about when and where you can take the test.

What does the BASALT include?

The BASALT includes the following components, each of which is worth 25%:

  • Part 1 Reading (Detailed Reading 15%, Skimming 10%)
  • Part 2 Listening (Lecture Listening)
  • Part 3 Writing (Essay)
  • Part 4 Speaking (Discussion)

Below is more detailed information about each part of the test.

Part 1 - Reading

Reading 1: Detailed Reading

Duration & InputQuestion typesPurpose
  • 40-45 minutes
  • 1 text of 3-4 pages from a textbook or other source aimed at the general academic reader
Questions types are chosen from: Multiple-choice, short answer, and gap-fill. To test your ability to understand the key ideas and their supporting details in a text of general academic interest.

Reading 2: Skimming

Duration & InputQuestion typesPurpose
  • 20 minutes
  • 1 text of 3-4 pages from a textbook or other source aimed at the general academic reader.
  • Matching 7-9 paragraph summaries with paragraphs.
  • There are the same number of paragraph summaries and questions, i.e. there are no extra paragraph summaries.
To test your ability to read an academic text quickly in order to locate the main topics or sub-topics of the text, and to understand how the topics relate to each other.

Part 2 - Listening

Duration & InputQuestion typesPurpose
  • 10-13 minutes
  • A structured semi-authentic academic lecture on a topic of general academic interest
  • Part 1: Completing a set of student’s lecture notes based on information from the first half of the lecture.
  • Part 2: Taking notes on some key ideas in the second half lecture and then answering open-ended questions with your notes.
  • Before the lecture begins, you will have 3 minutes to read the student notes in Part 1 of the lecture and the topic headings on your note-taking sheet in Part 2 of the lecture.
  • At the end of the lecture, you will have 15 minutes to answer the open-ended questions and also to check your answers to Part 1.
  • To identify relevant details from a lecture in the form of statistics or short pieces of information.
  • To identify the main ideas of a lecture.

Part 3 - Writing

Duration & InputQuestion typesPurpose
65 minutes: 15 minutes compulsory planning time + 50 minutes writing time.
  • Two paragraphs of 250-300 words in total.
  • There is no specific “essay formula” to follow. Instead, the question requires the use of some of the typical language of academic writing: Description of problems, solutions, causes, effects, similarities, and differences.
  • A list of ideas related to the question is provided to help you plan your essay. The use of them is optional.
  • To test your ability to construct and develop a coherent idea with a logical progression which is relevant to the question.
  • To test your ability to use language accurately and appropriately.

Part 4 - Speaking

Duration & InputQuestion typesPurpose
6-12 minutes depending on the size of the group:
2 people - 6 minutes
3 people - 9 minutes
4 people - 12 minutes
  • A question, or set of questions, on a topic of general academic interest.
  • A list of ideas related to the question is provided to help you plan what you will say. Their use is optional.
  • You will have 5 minutes to prepare your ideas.
  • To test your ability to express and develop a coherent idea with a logical progression which is relevant to the question.
  • To test your ability to interact with other participants in a seminar situation.

We wish you success!