Brunei’s upper secondary school sector relies heavily on igh stakes, end-of-year examinations in order to assess and reward students’ competence in English. ‘High stakes’ testing is defined by Davis (2006: 1) as “testing with serious consequences for students, their teachers and their educational institutions”. The GCSE O-Level English examination, administered by the University of Cambridge, can be considered particularly ‘high stakes’ because there is a direct relationship between students’ one-off exam performance and their work and further education opportunities in Brunei. For instance, receiving a ‘credit’ (50% or more) in the O-Level English exam is a prerequisite for entrance into Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s bridging program (UBD, 2010), and may form part of the ‘credit’ requirements to enter a 6th form college. Receiving a ‘credit’ is also a prerequisite for many of the much-sought-after jobs within Brunei’s 45,000-strong public service (Mohidin, 2008).