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Bradford Academic Skills and Language Test (BASALT)

The Bradford Academic Skills and Language Test (BASALT) is for students whose first language is not English and who want to start their degree course without attending a preparatory English programme beforehand. If this is you, you need to provide evidence of your ability in English by taking a test which is recognised by the university. BASALT is one of the tests available to you for this purpose.

Apply for the BASALT

The next BASALT test dates will be scheduled from March 2020.

When and where can I take the BASALT?

The BASALT is administered by the University of Bradford throughout the year in different locations both in and outside the UK, including the university campus.

If you have been offered a place at the university, a member of the Outreach and Recruitment team will contact you with information about when and where you can take the test.

What does the BASALT include?

The BASALT includes the following components, each of which is worth 25%:

Part 1 - Reading

Reading 1: Detailed reading

DurationInputQuestion typesPurpose
40  minutes

1 text of 2-3 pages from a textbook or other source aimed at the general academic reader.

Questions types are chosen from:
  • Multiple-choice
  • short answer
  • gap-fill
To test your ability to understand the key ideas and their supporting details in a text of general academic interest.

Reading 2: Skimming

DurationInputQuestion typesPurpose
20 minutes 1 text of 2-3 pages from a textbook or other source aimed at the general academic reader

Matching 8-12 paragraph summaries with paragraphs

To test your ability to read an academic text quickly in order to locate the main topics or sub-topics of the text, and to understand how the topics relate to each other.


  • You are going to read a text about XXXX.
  • Read the text quickly and decide which of the paragraph summaries a-X below matches which paragraph 1-XX.
  • Each paragraph summary matches only one paragraph, and they are not in the same order as the paragraphs in the text.
  • Each answer is worth one point.
  • The first question has been done for you as an example
Paragraph number 
7Example: Paragraph summary
  a) Paragraph summary
  b) Paragraph summary
  c) Paragraph summary
  d) Paragraph summary
  e) Paragraph summary
  f) Paragraph summary
  g) Paragraph summary

Part 2 - Listening

DurationInputQuestion typesPurpose
8-12 minutes A structured undergraduate-style lecture or talk on a topic of general academic interest
  • Completing a set of lecture notes while listening to a lecture.
  • Responding to multiple-choice questions about some of the key ideas in the lecture.
  • You will have 3 minutes before the lecture to read the uncompleted notes and the multiple-choice questions.
  • You will have 10 minutes after the lecture to check your answers.

To identify the main ideas of a lecture.

To identify relevant details from a lecture in the form of statistics or shorter pieces of information

Part 3 - Writing

DurationInputQuestion typesPurpose
65 minutes:
15 minutes compulsory planning time + 50 minutes writing time

Two extended paragraphs of 250-300 words in total.

There is no specific "essay formula" to follow. Instead, the question will require the use of some of the typical language of academic writing: description of problems, solutions, causes, effects, similarities, and differences. You will be asked to develop your ideas fully in two extended paragraphs.

  • To test your ability to construct and develop a coherent idea with a logical progression which is relevant to the question.
  • To test your ability to use language accurately and appropriately

Part 4 - Speaking

DurationQuestion typesPurpose
5-11 minutes depending on the size of the group:
  • 1 person - 5 minutes
  • 2 people - 7 minutes
  • 3 people - 9 minutes
  • 4 people - 11 minutes

There are 3 sections:

  • ─░ntroduce yourself with your name.
  • Give your opinion about a question on a topic of general academic interest.
  • Discuss the question with the other candidates.

A list of ideas related to the question is provided to help you plan what you will say. Their use is optional. You will have 3 minutes to prepare your ideas.

  • To test your ability to express and develop a coherent idea with a logical progression which is relevant to the question.
  • To test your ability to interact with other participants in a seminar situation.

Area representatives

UK (including on-campus tests) Katie Miller
T: 44 (0) 1274 232129
EU Jonny Jenkins
T: +44 1274 236036
Americas Claire Pryke
T: +44 1274 235703
China & East Asia Lei Ding
T: +86 10 5879 7566  
Middle East, North Africa, South East Asia and South Asia Melissa Seraphin-Thomas and Lisa Denham
T: + 971 4 439 3694
Sub-Saharan Africa Sheillah Chimungeni
T: +44 7766 242063