A unique feature of the ECT test is the integration of the four basic language skills: speaking, writing, reading and listening. Each test consists of two modules and each module contains two speaking tasks, one writing task, two reading tasks and two listening tasks. The tasks within a module maintain a loose storyline that connects the tasks to each other to provide context for the examinee. This context provides a transition for the examinee and elicits authentic speaking and writing responses. Tasks are ordered based on the storyline of the module so they differ from module to module. The table below demonstrates how each context is applied to the ECT test.
In the following example, the ESL learner is placed in a storyline where she and a friend are planning a vacation together. The first activity an ESL learner would do in this example is read an email from the friend, describing the vacation they are planning. The ESL learner then listens to an advertisement that presents some ideas for touring various countries. After listening to the advertisement, the ESL learner calls a travel agency and leaves a message about what type of vacation she and her friend would like to book. The storyline then loops back to the reading skill, where the ESL learner reads a brochure from the travel agency describing what to do in the event of a natural disaster. Finally, the storyline takes the ESL learner to the writing language skill. Some of the events of the trip resulted in she and her friend having a negative experience and she writes the travel agency, explaining the situation and requesting a refund. For a visual of the storyline flow in the example above. Please refer to the graphic below.