The Effect of Content Familiarity and Test Format on Iranian EFL Test Takers’ Performance on Test of Reading Comprehension

Omid Rezaei, Hossein Barati, Manijeh Youhanaee


This study investigated the effect of content familiarity and test format on Iranian English learners. The participants of this were advanced students studying at different language institutes in Isfahan, Iran. To sample the subjects of this study, the latest version of Oxford Placement Test was administered to 428 students studying at advanced level in 6 different language institutes. Based on the results of the OPT test and for the sake of homogeneity 70 students were considered as the target participants of the study. Each participant was given a test of reading comprehension with familiar content and unfamiliar content. Each test contained multiple choice, true/false, and fill in the blanks test items. Factorial design results indicated that test takers had a significantly better performance on content familiar tests and sub tests. It also became clear that their performance on multiple choice section either in content familiar and content unfamiliar test was superior to that of true/false and fill in the blanks. It will be of endless help to test makers and language teachers to be aware of the role test format and content of the test can play on test takers’ performance.



reading comprehension, schema theory, content familiarity, test format

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International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

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