• Competition date: Tuesday, July 8th 2014
  • Entries close: Tuesday, May 27th 2014
  • Entry fee: RM30.00 + RM3.00*

* Rises in costs have necessitated an additional postage fee for each ICAS paper in Malaysia from 2014

If you have difficulties with these dates, please contact us immediately.

Aims of the Assessment

The aims of the ICAS (English) are to:

  • Provide an opportunity for all students to gain a measure of their own achievement in an external assessment situation
  • Monitor individual progress in a range of subject-related skills
  • Recognise and reward achievement at all levels
  • Provide students, parents and teachers with a comprehensive analysis of student performance

How many years are assessed?

There are eight papers:

  • Std 3: 45 minutes/45 items
  • Std 4: 45 minutes/45 items
  • Std 5: 50 minutes/50 items
  • Std 6: 50 minutes/50 items
  • Form 1: 55 minutes/55 items
  • Form 2: 55 minutes/55 items
  • Forms 3/4: 1 hour/60 items
  • Form 5/Lower 6/Upper 6: 1 hour/60 items

All students should sit the paper for the year in which they are currently enrolled.

If you are unsure about the appropriate paper for your students, please contact us.

Each year level is marked as a separate group. The competition is comprised of a variety of multiple-choice items.

Each question is worth one mark. The total score is the number of correct answers. No marks are deducted for wrong answers.

How are the assessments structured?

Each assessment covers a wide range of skills in reading, language and spelling across both literary and factual genres and text types. The skills are clearly specified to enable schools to relate student results to curriculum outcomes.

The following is a sample range of ICAS (English) test specifications which indicates the range of skills in the various assessment strands.

Reading: Factual texts


  • Temporal sequencing
  • Broad textual form (literary/factual)
  • Generic textual purpose<
  • Textual conventions (author, title, etc)
  • Classification
  • Aspects of description
  • Image sequencing
  • Single pieces of information


Spells accurately:

  • High frequency words with simple/common spelling patterns
  • Commonly used homonyms
  • All digraphs
  • Three-letter consonant blends
  • Compound words
  • Basic sight and function words
  • Alphabetical order

Reading: Literary texts


  • Main characters
  • Setting
  • Simple theme
  • Point of view
  • Audience
  • Related information
  • Figurative language
  • Main idea
  • Events

Language: Syntactical


  • Tense
  • Main clause
  • Pronoun
  • Functions of clauses
  • Correct modality
  • Grammatical usage
  • Grammatical function
  • Punctuation

Language: Textual


  • Figures of speech
  • Point of view
  • Literary devices
  • Technical language
  • Stylistic elements
  • Meaning of words in context
  • Varied use of tense

Can the assessments be compared between years?

There are common items in each assessment that enable each year to be compared with the years above and below it. This means that schools can compare the relative performance of students both in and between years.

Can the assessments cater to a wide range of student ability?

The assessments have been developed so that all students will be able to participate successfully in each paper. Papers are ordered from the easiest items to the most difficult items. This means that all students will complete enough of the paper so that diagnostic data can be provided on their performance. However, there will be a sufficient range of more difficult items to discriminate the performances of the very best students.

Will the assessments still be able to rank and identify high levels of student performance?

Yes, as always the ICAS (English) will identify all levels of student performance and provide certificates of relative achievement and medals for the highest performing students.