ISLPR Language Services Blog

“What can I expect in the Vocational Test?”

Posted by on Apr 19, 2021 at 10:26 AM

Previously on our blog we had posted guidelines for each part of the ISLPR test (i.e. speaking, listening, reading and writing). We continue to receive questions from candidates about what they can expect in each part of the test. We are re-sharing this information below with the focus on the Vocational Test.


You will write two texts, totaling about 400 words, in 60 minutes.

  • At least one of the texts will be directly related to your vocational practice.
  • The audience could include members of the general public, an employer, a supervisor, a union or government official, or someone else you might communicate with in your vocational role(s).
  • The other task will be a memo, report, article, submission or open letter (e.g. a letter to the editor of a newspaper) in which you might be expected to express opinions or ideas relevant to your vocation.
  • Dictionary use is not allowed.


Listening skills are judged throughout the interview. In one part of the interview, however, recordings will also be used. You will listen to authentic texts that will include one or more texts related to your vocation; other texts may be of a general nature.

After you have listened to a text, you will demonstrate your comprehension by talking to the tester about it. With longer texts, you may choose to take notes as an aid to memory. The tester may check your comprehension of a section of a text and then resume playing the recording.Generally any text is heard only once; occasionally a short segment may be repeated so that the tester can check your comprehension of particular key details.

The texts may be:

  • news stories
  • news commentaries
  • interviews
  • talk-back
  • documentary material
  • community announcements
  • advertisements.

The voices will be mainly those of speakers of standard Australian English but there may be segments with other varieties of English.


In one part of the interview, you will read a variety of texts. You will demonstrate your understanding of a text by talking to the tester about it. Texts may be selected from such materials as the following:

  • vocational training materials (e.g. text-books)
  • research reports
  • material from the mass media or professional journals (e.g. news stories, feature stories, editorials, ‘letters to the editor’, columnists’ opinions, articles, reviews)
  • community information (e.g. brochures)
  • advertisements
  • material related to conditions of employment (e.g. newsletters from an employer or union).

The time allowed for the reading will depend on the type and length of the text, with flexibility to account for individual differences in speed. You may take notes as you read. You may refer back to the text while you talk to the tester. Dictionary use is not allowed.

In some vocations, you may also be asked to read aloud a short text typical of material read aloud in your vocation.


Speaking skills are judged throughout the interview. The first part of the interview (about 15 minutes) is a conversation including vocation-related topics. The tester is likely to ask you to talk about some aspect of your personal experience and to discuss issues related to your vocation.

Did you find this helpful? If you have any questions leave a comment below and we’ll endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

Unsure which test you need to take? Read this blog to learn the difference between the academic, vocational and teacher registration test.