BİLET Stage 2 (Proficiency Exam)

BİLET Stage 2 has four parts; Speaking, Reading, Listening and Writing. Below you may find the details for each section. Students who receive a grade of 60 or higher from this exam are exempt from the English Preparatory Year and can begin their departmental studies. Students who get a grade lower than 60 from this exam start at their relevant level in the English Preparatory Year according to their results from BİLET Stage 1.

Speaking Component

The weight of the speaking component of the exam constitutes 25% of the whole exam.

Each student takes the exam individually, and is asked questions in English by two English instructors. The exam takes about 4-5 minutes and each student is asked 3 - 4 questions about general topics that the student can express an opinion about.

  • Students are asked a few questions from general topics that anyone can have an opinion about. Each student will be asked about 3 - 4 questions from one of these general topics.
  • Students are asked agree/disagree types of questions as well as their thoughts about a certain topic by giving reasons and explanations.
  • There is no right or wrong answer to these opinion-type questions. They do not aim to test their knowledge on a certain topic but rather how they express their thoughts on that particular question/topic.
  • The questions may require students to describe something, to discuss the causes and effects of a situation, the advantages and disadvantages of something or comparing and contrasting the given situation with another.
  • Students should avoid giving short answers. They should try to provide sufficient details or explanations to the questions they are asked. The questions should be answered by giving as many examples and /or reasons as possible. Irrelevant answers should be avoided.
  • It may be useful for students to study basic communication techniques (e.g. when they cannot understand or hear a question well or they can ask the examiners to repeat or rephrase the question, self-correct, or clarify their points etc.)
  • Students should try to speak the language as accurately as possible and use a variety of structures and words.
  • If/when a student answers a question with mistakes or uses wrong words, they should stay positive. The communication should continue by using different strategies.
  • Long pauses should be avoided while speaking and the questions should be answered in a clear fluent tone of voice.
  • The effective communication techniques should be adhered to (eye contact, body language, tone of voice etc.)
  • Speaking skills will be assessed by considering the following:
    • Communication
    • Fluency
    • Accuracy and variety in using the language
    • Accuracy and variety in using vocabulary


Reading Component

The weight of the reading component of the exam constitutes 35% of the whole exam.

Students are given a semi-academic reading text between 1000-1500 words in the reading component of the exam.

This text must be read carefully to understand the main and supporting ideas. Reading questions ask about information in the reading text in a chronological order. The details in the text (e.g. the relationship or the comparison between two issues, cause and effect, advantages and disadvantages, finding examples from the text, inference) type of questions can be asked.

Students should remember the following when they take the exam:

  • Read the exam instructions carefully.
  • Before reading the text, read all the questions and try to understand what is specifically expected of you, following that you can start reading the text.
  • Underlining some key words within the text or finding the parts that are related to the questions will help you find the right answers to the questions.
  • Instead of translating every single sentence in the text, try to understand what message the paragraph as a whole is conveying.
  • There may be words within the text that you do not know. Do not let this upset you. Those unknown words may be guessed from the context or they may not be necessary for you to answer the questions.
  • Remember that you may make use of the linkers and conjunctions within the text as hints for you to understand the text.
  • Use your time efficiently. Calculate the time that is allocated to answer each question. When/if you find a question too hard to answer, do not spend too much time on it. After answering the rest of the questions, you will have time to come back to the question you skipped.
  • Remember to check your answers if you have time at the end of the exam.
  • Answer the questions clearly and directly. For your answers to be accepted as correct, the answers should not include irrelevant or incorrect information.
  • Make sure you answer the sentence completion or summary type of questions within the indicated word limits. If you are expected to answer using 5 words, the answers that contain more words than that are disregarded while marking.
  • Question types that may appear in this section are;
    • Typical “Wh-comprehension” questions (while answering these types of questions, information from the text can be directly used or students may wish to use their own sentences).
    • “Sentence completion” type of questions (these questions are answered by making use of the words from the text).
    • “Completion of a summary” type of questions (students are expected to complete the parts that are left blank meaningfully. It is possible to answer these questions using the words from the text).
    • Completing a table (a table with some information from the text is given and students are expected to complete the information by referring to the text).
    • A multiple choice question that asks for the main idea of the text.
    • A multiple choice inference question that asks for information alluded to in the text.


Listening Component

The general weight of the listening portion of the exam is 15%.

In this part, there is a recording of 10-15 minutes that is semi-academic in nature.

The student is allowed to listen to the recording once during the exam.  During this stage, the student takes notes from the recording on the outline sheet provided to them.  The outline contains important headings that the student should take notes under.  When the recording and the note taking stage of the listening is over, the respective question sheet is distributed. 

The order of the questions on the question sheet is the same as the information presented in the recording.  The students answer the questions by utilizing the outline sheet.  The questions can be about main ideas or important details, such as; the connection between two ideas/events, comparison, cause/effect, advantages/disadvantages, providing examples from the text, listing the sub categories or types.

  • Read the instructions carefully.
  • Before the recording begins, use the time given to you to study the outline and prepare to take notes on the subject.  The sub headings in the outline provide you with the main parts of the topic, the order of the information, and the main areas you need to focus on while taking notes.
  • Instead of trying to write everything down, try to use abbreviations and symbols that can show connections like a cause-effect relationship or comparison. 
  • It is very important to pay attention to the connectors being used in the recording during the note taking stage.  These will be useful for you to follow the flow of information during the recording, understand the topic, and answer the questions.
  • There may be vocabulary items you do not know during the listening.  Do not let this demoralize you.  The words you do not know may not be necessary for you to answer the questions or you may be able to guess the meaning of the words from their context.
  • Use the time efficiently.  Calculate how much time you can spend on each question and if a particular question is too challenging for you, do not spend a lot of time on it.  You will have time to return to this question after you have answered the other questions.
  • If you have some time left at the end of the exam, do not forget to check your answers.
  • Give clear answers.  In order for your reply to be accepted as correct, do not write irrelevant, incorrect, or extra information.
  • The types of questions you may encounter in this portion are: Wh- questions that are open ended in nature and can be about main ideas or important details, such as; the connection between two ideas/events, comparison, cause/effect, advantages/disadvantages, providing examples from the text, listing the sub categories or types.
  • When answering the questions the student may quote directly from their notes or answer by using their own words and sentences.
  • Information not contained in the listening text cannot be used to answer a question.

Writing Component

The weight of the writing part of the exam constitutes 40% of the whole exam.

  • You are expected to write a 400 word essay in this part of the exam.
  • Read the given topic well and make sure you understand what is exactly expected of you. Your ideas on the cause or effect, advantages or disadvantages, pros or cons of an issue may be asked. If you are asked to give the causes of a topic and you write the effects of it instead, your essay will not be marked as it does not answer the question.
  • Spare some time to think and plan on what you would like to write about before you start writing. It is important to plan what you are going to write. If you start writing without planning, you may likely digress or may find it hard to support your ideas. You may end up wasting more time if you start without planning or outlining your essay.
  • You will be given 3-4 prompts that you may wish to use while you are writing your essay. Read these prompts very well and think about how you can relate these to the topic and how you could support them with examples and explanations.
  • You do not have to use the given prompts. You may write by using your own ideas about the given topic.
  • You do not have to follow a certain pattern while writing your essay; however, you are expected to express your ideas in an organized manner which would allow the reader to follow your ideas. For that reason, as in any composition, there should be an introduction, development of ideas and a conclusion
  • A 400 word essay would take 2-2.5 pages when it is in a standard hand-written format. Do not waste your time by counting the words. Unless your essay is much shorter or longer than the indicated number, not having exact word count will not create a problem.
  • Try to use legible hand writing.
  • Check the language and vocabulary usage in your essay when you are finished writing.
  • Your essay will be marked by taking the following into consideration:
    • Content
    • Organization
    • Accuracy in language and vocabulary usage
    • Range and variety in language and vocabulary usage