Real Lives 2019


Own School


19th July 2019

Additional information:

Chartered Institute of Linguists Real Lives Examination
19 June – 19 July 2019.

The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) is pleased to let you know that registration is now open for the Real Lives 2019 exam. This is a one sheet synopsis of the exam: Real Lives-teachers info May 2019.

Year 10 MFL – 250 free places for state school pupils to sit the Chartered Institute of Linguists Real Lives Examination this summer.

The aim of Real Lives is to make an exciting exam to act as a stepping stone to get pupils to take GCSE in Year 11. It’s a listening comprehension multiple choice exam and it exists in 2 versions – one is designed to apply to the sort of candidates who like the Duke of Edinburgh Award/Scouts/Guides, and the other to those who are cadets.

To give some idea of what to expect from last year’s papers, the first situation was a distress call from a sinking ship and one of the military questions was about five masked gunmen attacking a convoy carrying food for refugees. The exam will take approximately 45 minutes in total.

Pupils find it exciting – not least because they have to mesh more than one piece of information to get the correct answer. The attraction for teachers is that if a Year 10 pupil can pass this exam then they should be confident of a GCSE grade 4 or better (this is the basis on which the linguistic level is determined).  This exciting, brand new language exam is set at A2 level (approximately foundation GCSE) and is intended for Year 10 students, stronger Year 9 students and also ESOL students. It is designed to challenge candidates to apply their language knowledge to work in real life scenarios and to sit the exam without extra teaching or revision. It is unique.

In 2018 the exam was taken by over 500 students in French, German and Spanish. A pass rate of 99.5% was achieved. Student feedback showed that they loved both the freedom and the challenge of an exam, which required them to apply their language skills in real-life scenarios and communications.

This year we are adding Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Welsh and ESOL (English) to the offer.

Due to feedback received from Centres the exam window has been extended and will now be open for a month meaning the exam can be sat at any point starting on the 19th June and running through until the 19th July.

The exam consists of a listening comprehension with three listening tasks, followed by multiple choice questions in English.

Sample papers in all of this year’s languages plus last summers’ papers and audios in French, German and Spanish are now available for you to look at on our website;

You can register for this year’s exam by clicking on the following link. The registration form will then automatically download to your computer;

Please complete the form and return this to us at

Alternatively go to the Real Lives page of the CIOL website and register there:

We will direct all future communications to your school/centre through the nominated exams officer. We will contact you with further information, once we receive your registration form.

The standard exam fee is £18,  PPG/Free School Meal candidates is £9.  We have raised £2,000 to allow pupils from disadvantaged schools to take the exam either free or at a subsidised rate on a first come first served basis.

There is also a sliding fee scale for those with more than 100 entries.

 We are also hoping it will be offered as either an audio or video exam next year – the following link is a sample clip:  

If you have any further queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us at