UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


IPA Examination Strand


If a sufficient number of applicants pass the entrance test for it, we run an IPA Examination Strand in parallel with the main SCEP course. The strand gives special preparation for the International Phonetic Association’s Certificate Examination in English Phonetics. However, this strand will not be sufficient to prepare you for the exam if you have not previously studied phonetics: previous study of phonetics is necessary. Therefore the written entrance test must be taken and passed before you can be admitted onto the IPA Exam Strand. You take the entrance test at home, in your own time.

PLEASE NOTE: Experience as a teacher of English, and familiarity with the IPA symbols widely used for English, are NOT enough to prepare you for the IPA Certificate Examination, which also requires understanding of general phonetic theory. Those accepted onto the strand have normally taken one or more courses on phonetics at an advanced level, or undertaken a serious programme of independent study.

The examination itself is separately organised, by the IPA, and is open to all. It generally takes place in the week after SCEP. 

Content of the strand

The IPA Exam Strand includes most of the lectures of the main strand, but there are also specialized practical groups and ear-training, so that you have a reasonable expectation of succeeding in the examination after two weeks’ dedicated study. Participants on the strand stay for a further weekend and take the IPA examination the following week.

The entrance test for admission to the strand

The entrance test takes the form of an actual written paper from the IPA examination. Before you attempt the entrance test, we strongly advise you to study and follow the advice provided by the IPA itself. The link below will take you to full details of the examination, with sample questions and answers: https://www.internationalphoneticassociation.org/content/ipa-exam

When you are ready to take this year's entrance test, contact Mr Mikael Tesfaye at scep@pals.ucl.ac.uk who will send the test to you. You then
have a maximum of three weeks to complete and return it.