English-learning online platform aims to disrupt exam preparation

15 Nov 2011

Students registers for exams at ExamSpeak. The virtual e-learning platform for English-language students aims to prepare them for exams in real time

E-learning company RendezVu has launched ExamSpeak, a next-gen online language learning platform that’s aiming to transform how English-language students prepare for their speaking exams by allowing them to replicate their exams in real time.

According to Paul Groarke, CEO, RendezVu, ExamSpeak is unique to the online e-learning marketplace in that students can introduce themselves to the virtual examiners, answer typical exam questions, talk to other test takers and then receive feedback on their performance.

Via an immersive environment, he said students can develop their language skills by using English to answer and ask exam questions.

Globally, about 2m language students prepare each year to take internationally recognised English speaking exams, such as Cambridge KET (Key English Test), Cambridge PET (Preliminary English Test) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

RendezVu spotted a gap in the marketplace and developed ExamSpeak to allow students to experience the speaking exam before actually sit the exam.

“We are delighted to officially release ExamSpeak after a highly successful beta release during which we helped to prepare hundreds of Cambridge KET Test students for their exams,” said Groarke this morning.

He said ExamSpeak would initially target European markets, such as Italy and Spain, where 300,000 language students annually take English speaking exams.

Paul Groarke CEO, RendezVu, which has just launched a new platform for English language learning - ExamSpeak

Paul Groarke CEO, RendezVu, which has just launched a new platform for English-language learning – ExamSpeak

Virtual test room

Using ExamSpeak’s virtual test room, students can introduce themselves to the virtual examiners. Students then have the opportunity to take part in an English conversation by answering and asking the same questions that they will be asked in the actual speaking exam. And, as in a real exam, the examiner’s questions change depending on the answers given by students.

As students interact, Groarke said the system will show them their mistakes and help them to understand their errors so they can improve their performances.

RendezVu is an Enterprise Ireland-funded high-potential start-up (HPSU). It is based at NovaUCD and Groarke founded the company in 2008. He has more than 20 years of experience working within the technology sector, including at Baltimore Technologies.

RendezVu has already won a number of awards, including the NovaUCD 2008 Start-Up Award and the David Manley 2009 Emerging Entrepreneur Award.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic