5 Tips for online NAATI (CCL) exams

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

NAATI is the national standards and certifying authority for translators and interpreters in Australia. The Credentialed Community Language Test (CCL) is an assessment of your language abilities at a community level.

The CCL test is generally taken by the applicants who are looking to lodge a point-based visa application. On successfully passing the test, applicants are awarded five points towards the Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189), Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190), or Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 489).

The test comprises two dialogues; each worth 45 marks. In order to pass the test, a candidate requires at least 29 marks in each dialogue and an overall score of 63 out of 90.

NAATI exams are taken online without human supervision. Hence, it is important to understand the process involved. Here are my top 5 tips for online NAATI (CCL) exams.

1. Have a proper internet connection

Since you are giving this exam online from your home, it is crucial to have a proper internet connection. I wouldn’t rely on mobile internet as it can be inconsistent. Moreover, if you are sharing your flat/room with others (and sharing internet as well), then let your flatmates know about your exam. Request them to not use the internet during your exam time so that you will be able to use the full internet bandwidth.

Weak internet connection will result in weak video/audio quality, due to which you might not hear the exam dialogues clearly and vice versa. Hence, a proper internet connection is crucial.

[Note: Everyone will understand about the importance of these exams and a polite request will never get neglected.]

2. Have a proper device

A laptop/desktop computer is a preferred and reliable device as compared to smartphones. Exam takers should make sure they have a functioning microphone and webcam. Furthermore, these days NAATI has started to use ProctorExam for conducting their exams. Hence, install this software for both laptops and mobile phones.

Your laptop will be used as the primary device for the exam and your phone will be used as a second camera to record your environment. For a laptop, you will need to use the Google Chrome web browser and also install the Proctor exam screen sharing extension. For mobile, you’ll need to download the ProctorExam application (34MB) which is compatible with any Android 4.1 or higher and iOS (Apple) 10.0 or higher.

Also, make sure you don’t get any mobile calls during your exam by putting it in “Do not disturb” mode.

3. Get an earphone/headphone

Earphones have been made mandatory for NAATI exams. It helps you hear the dialogues clearly and the built-in microphone provides decent audio for your response. Hence, get ready with an earphone that works properly. Get tested beforehand if necessary.

I do not recommend the use of Bluetooth or wireless headsets during exams due to the potential for connectivity issues during testing.

4. Get your passport handy

In order to take the test, candidates will need to provide proof of their identity (i.e. the photo ID provided with your application –normally your driver’s licence or passport). This should be shown to the camera prior to the start of the test.

People usually forget this step as they are overwhelmed with other things for exams. The same happened with me as well, which helped increase my anxiety and added pressure 😰. Hence, get your identification documents handy before the exam.

5. Setup your exam environment

You’ll need to set up your environment properly as there is a camera pointed toward you from front and back. Make sure you are in a separate room with no people inside. Close the door and windows as it will reduce background noise. Turn off fans or any other types of equipment producing noise or music or alarms. Make sure the room is well lit and tidy (you don’t want to record in a messy room 😉).

If you need to take notes during the exam, make sure you have paper and a pen handy.

6. Stay calm and composed

Exams can be quite overwhelming and stressful. However, you must try to remain calm as verbal exams are affected more by stress than written exams. You might start mumbling due to stress, which is a significant factor that reduces your NAATI exam marks.

Therefore, to reduce stress, first set up your environment properly with the steps mentioned above. Second, avoid coffee before the exam as coffee increases anxiety, which is not preferred if you want to stay calm.

Bonus Tip

NAATI is a language-based verbal test. It examines your ability to translate your native language to English and vice versa, which requires your knowledge of both English and your native language like Nepali. Practice is vital for the success of any language-based exams. You can think of one thing in your head, but while speaking you might start mumbling or say a different word instead. Hence, practice as many dialogues as you can.

While practising dialogues, you must also take notes on the words you missed or did not know so that you can improve on your mistakes. Make a list of those words for your reference and memorise it.

Finally, make practice exciting. Practice word translation with your partner or friends. I used to practice with my wife and I made her ask questions about important words and it turned out to be fun.

Happy learning! 😀