International Phonetic Association

Examination for the
Certificate of Proficiency
in the Phonetics of English


An examination in the Phonetics of English is conducted by examiners appointed by the Association. The Examinations Secretary of the Association is Dr Patricia Ashby. The examination consists of the following parts:

  1. Written (total of 80 marks): 2 hours 30 minutes
    • (a) Phonetic transcription of a passage of English (20 marks)
    • (b) Three theoretical questions concerned with the phonetic description of English (60 marks)
    --View sample paper and sample answer
  2. Dictation (total of 60 marks): approximately 45 minutes
    • (a) Dictation of colloquial English to be transcribed phonetically (30 marks)
      --View sample passage (If phonetic symbols are displayed as squares in your browser, download and save the file, then open with Adobe Reader, free download here )
    • (b) Dictation of nonsense words or of a language unknown to the candidate(s), to be transcribed phonetically (30 marks)
      --View sample set
  3. Oral (total of 60 marks): 10-15 minutes per candidate
    • (a) Articulation of sounds and performance of intonation patterns; description of vowel and consonant articulations and intonation patterns presented by the examiner (40 marks)
      --View sample tasks
    • (b) Reading from a phonetic transcription of English (20 marks):
      • for native English speakers: to test their ability to reproduce such a text exactly and to serve as a basis for brief discussion of phonetic features exemplified in the text;
      • for foreign candidates: to test their proficiency in pronouncing English and to serve as a basis for brief discussion of the correction of mistakes.
      --View sample passage
Only the alphabet of the International Phonetic Association is to be used.

The phonetic theory required in Part 1(b) includes the analysis and classification of speech sounds generally and of the sounds of English in particular; sound grouping, accentual features, quantity, junction, assimilation, intonation; questions may also be asked on the teaching of English pronunciation.

In the transcription of English [Part 1(a)], English-speaking candidates may represent RP or their own pronunciation. If a pronunciation other than RP is used, the type transcribed should be specified on the answer paper. Foreign candidates should normally transcribe the RP form.

In the dictation of nonsense words or an unknown language [Part 2(b)], candidates should be prepared to recognise any sounds occurring in the IPA chart.

Marks: The total number of marks for all sections is 200. Certificates will be awarded as follows:

Candidates failing to obtain a Certificate may present themselves again for examination after an interval of not less than three months.

Past written papers

Copies of the written examination papers set in recent years are available here as PDFs:

Entry to the examination

An examination is generally held twice a year at University College London, usually in May and August. Intending candidates should apply not less than one month before the date on which they wish to present themselves. The entry fee is £60.00 (sixty pounds), which should be sent with the completed entry form. Refunds will not normally be given for withdrawals or cancellations made less than one month before the examination date. Any refund is subject to a £10.00 deduction for administrative costs.

Next examinations*:
May 2014: no examination will be held
Monday 26 August 2014, in London

The deadline for applications to take an examination in May 2014 has passed.

From 11 to 22 August 2014 there will be an intensive two-week training course at UCL to help candidates prepare for the examination.

*Subject to confirmation. Examinations will be held only if there is a sufficient number of entrants.

Entry forms and further information may be obtained from:

     IPA EXAMINATION
     Ms M Bennett
     UCL PSYCHOLOGY & LANGUAGE SCIENCES
     Room 102d
     CHANDLER HOUSE
     2 WAKEFIELD STREET
     LONDON WC1N 1PF


Tel:  020 7679 4020 Fax: 020 7679 4010
Email:  m.bennett@ucl.ac.uk

INTERNATIONAL PHONETIC ASSOCIATION

EXAMINATION FOR THE CERTIFICATE IN ENGLISH PHONETICS

APPLICATION FORM


Fee: £60.00
Please complete this form in BLOCK CAPITALS.


SURNAME: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms

FIRST NAMES: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

NATIONALITY: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OCCUPATION:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ADDRESS: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

                 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

                 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
(Please notify the Association in writing if the Certificate - if gained - is to be sent to a different address)

SIGNATURE OF CANDIDATE:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

                                DATE:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
This form should be returned with the entry fee of £60.00, at least one month before the examination, to:
IPA EXAMINATION
Ms M Bennett
UCL PSYCHOLOGY & LANGUAGE SCIENCES
Room 102d
CHANDLER HOUSE
2 WAKEFIELD STREET
LONDON WC1N 1PF
Page maintained by Michael Ashby Last modified 29 March 2014