Try the Game Zone with your students
The online contest
We can’t tell you exactly what questions are in the contest – that would be cheating! – but we can give you an overview of the type, number and level of questions that you should expect. Read on for an indepth look into the online contest.
For a more first-hand approach, we recommend taking a look at the demo. It gives examples of 25 questions from a level 1 contest and is the best way to really undestand how the contest works.
What is the format of the contest?
There are two parts to the contest: listening and reading. Both parts are taken in the same sitting with no break in between. The time allowed for both parts is 45 minutes.
All the questions are multiple choice. There are four possibilities, only one of which is correct.
There are three degrees of question difficulty: easy, medium and hard. The test begins with easy questions, gradually introducing medium, then hard questions as the student progresses through the test. The hardest questions (“The Biggest Challenge”) come at the very end.
Students can answer the questions in any order by using the panel on the right. We recommend following the prescribed order, however, as it allows students to warm up on easier questions before attempting the more challenging ones. They can also use the panel to skip or return to questions at any time during the 45 minutes.
The majority of questions use images. The images provide context for the question and are also intended to make the contest more approachable and appealing to its young participants. Images are sometimes used in the question itself; participants may have to select which statement is true based on what they see in the image, or they may have to choose which of four images corresponds with a spoken or written text.
How many questions are there?
There are 55 questions in the online contest:
What is tested?
Students will hear individual words, short phrases or sentences, and longer dialogues or extracts (e.g. conversations, telephone calls or radio programmes). Students are commonly asked to demonstrate listening comprehension by:
In addition to comprehension, there are also questions on pronunciation, i.e. English sounds and syllable stress. Students may be asked to correctly identify words with the same phonemes by completing a list or finding the odd one out.
Finally, there are also cultural questions in the listening part of the test, as there are in the reading part. These test the students’ knowledge of English-speaking countries’ history, geography, customs and traditions.
All recordings are made using native English speakers with a speed of delivery appropriate to the level.
For this second part of the test, students will read a selection of texts, from short sentences to extended extracts (e.g. emails, articles, notices). Questions are divided as follows:
What level is the contest?
There are five levels of The Big Challenge contest. We refer to both the CEFR and class textbooks when writing the questions.
|The Big Challenge Levels||CEFR|
|Level 1||A1 to A1+|
|Level 2||A1+ to A2|
|Level 4||A2 to A2+|
If you have any questions about which level your students should take, please get in touch and we will be happy to assist.
How long does it take?
Students are given 45 minutes to complete the test. However, because they work at their own pace, some students may finish in under 45 minutes. When scheduling the contest, you should allow a few additional minutes before the test begins for students to enter their code and some information (school, region, etc), watch a quick demo and do a sound test.