Test Administration Conditions of the General English Section of the Iranian National PhD Entrance Exam: Are the PhD Exam Candidates Satisfied?

Document Type : Original Research Article


1 English Department, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran.

2 English Department, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.


Test administration conditions, namely, the timing of the test, the testing venues and the exam proctors/inspectors are influential factors that may introduce construct-irrelevant variance to a test, if ignored, and therefore render a test invalid, especially in the case of high-stakes tests. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the satisfaction of the PhD exam candidates with the administration conditions of the General English section of the National Iranian PhD Entrance exam, focusing on the three above mentioned factors. The timing factor was investigated from the perspectives of suitability of the time, that is, morning administration, evening administration and time delay in administration. The testing venue included the location of testing venues, commuting, finding seats, ventilation and lighting of the venues and finally, the proctor/inspector factor looked into the presence of the inspectors, satisfaction with the behavior of the proctors, peacefulness of the session, refreshments and finally the possibility of cheating.The data were collected by a sixteen item questionnaire which was distributed among 173 PhD exam candidates, both males and females, in 30 different testing venues all over Iran. The results indicated that they were satisfied with all three factors and the entire exam administration process; however, they made some comments to improve the exam administration process.