An Investigation into Non-English Major Students’ Problems in Taking Aptis Listening and Reading


  • Tran Quang Hai Hoa Sen University


non-English major students, problems, Aptis listening, Aptis reading


In order to standardize non-English major students' English skills, Hoa Sen University develops English-language graduation criteria at the B1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). The university adopted Aptis as a standardized examination since it was created by British Council specialists in language testing and is based on the most recent assessment research. Therefore, the students have a continual struggle to obtain suitable Aptis test scores. Within the boundaries of the study paper, the objective of the piece was to identify the challenges that students commonly experience when doing two Aptis components: listening and reading. The participants are 67 non-English major students enrolling in Aptis preparation courses for the summer semester of 2021. After the pre-test, the first online questionnaire was sent out, and the second was delivered immediately following the post-test. After that, the data's average value, percentage, and standard deviation were calculated. Despite the fact that the Aptis pre-test caused substantial problems in every category, there were substantial changes in students' views after the post-test. Furthermore, students believed that the classes assisted them in improving their vocabulary, grammar, and confidence.

Author Biography

  • Tran Quang Hai, Hoa Sen University

    Tran Quang Hai is currently an English lecturer at Hoa Sen University, Vietnam. His accumulated experience from working at various educational institutions has equipped him with ample confidence and skills in language teaching. His interests are Linguistics, Virtual Communities, and Teaching Learning Practices.


Anderson, J. R. (1995). Cognitive psychology and its implications (4th ed.). New York: Freeman.

Atikah, I. (2009) Analysis on the students' linguistic problems in reading comprehension (Master's thesis). UIN Syarif Hidayatullah.

British Council. (2014). Annual report 2013-14. London: British Council.

British Council. (2018). Aptis–VSTEP comparability study: investigating the usage of two EFL tests in the context of higher education in Vietnam. London: British Council.

Brown, A. (1993). The role of test-taker feedback in the test development process: test-takers’ reactions to a tape-mediated test of proficiency. Language Testing.

Bui, T. T. N., & Nguyen, H. T. M. (2016). Standardizing English for educational and socio-economic betterment-a critical analysis of English language policy reforms in Vietnam. In English language education policy in Asia (pp. 363–388). Cham: Springer.

Bui, T.N. (2021). Students' attitudes to online reading in the era of technology at theUniversity of Transport and Communications. AsiaCALL Online Journal, 12(3), 1-8. Retrieved from

Chapelle, C. A., & Voss, E. (2016). 20 years of technology and language assessment in language learning & technology. Language Learning & Technology. Language Learning & Technology, 20(2), 116-128.

Check, J., & Schutt, R. K. (2012). Research methods in education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Chonprakai, S. (2009). A Study of Undergraduate Listening Problems. Bangkok: King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok.

Cohen, D. (2006). The Coming of Age of Research on Test-taking Strategies. Language Assessment Quarterly, 3(4), 112 – 125.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods.

Dornyei, Z. (2007). Research Methods in Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Erling, J. E., & Seargeant, P. (2013). English and development: Policy, pedagogy, and globalization. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Garcia, Y. P., Ramayan, A. J. R., Sepe, A. P., & Silor, A. C. (2014). Difficulties in reading comprehension and metacognitive strategies for technology livelihood education students. Proceeding of The Global Summit on Education GSE.

Gilakjani, A., & Ahmadi, A. (2011). A study of factors affecting EFL learners' English listening comprehension and the strategies for improvement. Journal of Language Teaching and Research.

Goh, C. (2000). A cognitive perspective on language learners’ listening comprehension problems. System, 28, 55-75.

Hall, L. A. (2012). The role of reading identities and reading abilities in students’ discussions about texts and comprehension strategies. Journal of Literacy Research.

Hayes, B., & Read, J. (2004). IELTS test preparation in New Zealand: Preparing students for the IELTS academic module. In L. W. Cheng, Y. J. Watanabe & A. Curtis (Eds.), Washback in language testing: Research contexts and methods (pp. 97– 111). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Jin, Y. & Cheng, L. (2013). Affective factors that impact on the validity of high-stakes tests. Modern Foreign Languages, 62–69.

Kantarin, R., Metas, P., & Neil,C. (2013), An Investigation into Student Problems and Solutions in taking TOEIC.

Khamprated, N. (2012). The Problems with the English Listening and Speaking of Students

Le, V. C. (2017). English language education in Vietnamese universities: National benchmarking in practice. In E. S. Park & B. Spolsky (Eds.), English education at the tertiary level in Asia: From theory to practice (pp. 283–292). New York: Routledge.

Nguyen, H. T. (2018). English-medium-instruction management: The missing piece in the internationalisation puzzle of Vietnamese higher education. In Internationalisation in Vietnamese Higher Education (pp. 119–137). Cham: Springer.

Nguyen, T. H. N. (2021). Developing Bottom-up Listening Skills in a Google Classroom-based EFL module. AsiaCALL Online Journal, 12(3), 47-57. Retrieved from

Nguyen, T. N. H. (2007, May). Effects of test preparation on test performance – the case of the IELTS and TOEFL iBT listening tests. Paper presented at Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language (TESOL) in the Internationalization of Higher Education in Vietnam, Hanoi, Vietnam.

O’Sullivan, B. (2012). Aptis test development approach. Aptis Technical Report (ATR-1). British Council.

Phuong, H. Y. (2017). Improving English language teaching in Vietnam: Voices from university teachers and students. Current Politics and Economics of South, Southeastern, and Central Asia, 26(3), 285–310.

Rowley, J. (2014), Designing and using research questionnaires, Management Research Review, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 308-330. Studying at a Private Vocational School. Nakhon Si Thammarat: Walailak University.

Suradej Anandapong. (2011). A Study of English Listening Problem and Listening Proficiency of Business Students at Bangkok University. Bangkok: Thammasat University.

Sewell, HD. (2005). The TOEIC: Reliability and Validity within the Korean Context.

Tartila, Yasin, A., & Rozimela, Y. (2013). The implementation of genre based approach in English teaching at Islamic Senior High School Model. Universitas Negeri Padang.

Tokunaga, M. (2008). Students’ assumptions for TOEIC classes. JALT 2007 Conference Proceedings. Tokyo: JALT, The Educational Testing.

Underwood M. (1989) Teaching listening. New York: Longman

Zuhra. (2015). Senior high school students’ difficulties in reading comprehension. English Education Journal.

Tokunaga, M. (2008). Students’ assumptions for TOEIC classes. JALT 2007 Conference Proceedings. Tokyo: JALT, The Educational Testing

Ward, A. M., & Xu, L. (1994). The relationship between summarization skills and TOEFL scores. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Baltimore, MD.




How to Cite

Tran, Q. H. (2021). An Investigation into Non-English Major Students’ Problems in Taking Aptis Listening and Reading. International Journal of TESOL & Education, 1(3), 176-191.

Similar Articles

1-10 of 136

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.