English exams

English exams

What English examinations are available?

Many language learners are keen to take English exams to receive an official certification of their English level. A number of international examinations are available to assess English level of proficiency.

To help you choose the best exam, we recommend that you take our English test first.

Advantages of official English exams

1. Exams are accepted internationally
Official English exams give globally-recognised certification of your English level of proficiency. These provide the most accurate type of language assessment and are accepted by employers and education bodies all over the world.

2. Motivates students to study
English Exams provide clear study targets for language learners. This requires students to set clear goals to develop their language skills. Successful outcomes also motivates learners to study and develop further.

3. Improves future opportunities
English is an international language and many students require exams for work or education. An official certification of your English level is great for your resume and can improve future academic and work opportunities.

Which English exam?

Firstly, you need to know your English level. Then, you need to consider why you need to take an English exam. The diagram below gives a comparison of the main English examinations. It shows how they compare with the CEFR English levels and indicates the common purpose of the exam (general, work or study).

Tip: If you want to study or work abroad, it is important to contact the place of study or place of work to check their requirements. If you need any kind of visa, you should also contact the consulate or embassy for the relevant country.

Please click on the links below for a description of each exam and to find our recommended study materials. As all English learners have different requirements, you can ask for advice and practise with a teacher. They will be able to check you level and give their recommendations.

You can also look at General English or English for Work.

Click to compare exams

Most popular English exams

Other English exams

  • BULATS (Online)
  • TOEFL (iBT)
  • TOEIC
  • Trinity GESE (Graded Examinations in Spoken English)

IELTS (General & Academic)

IELTS (International English language test system) is one of the most internationally-recognised English proficiency tests. It is available at over 1,100 locations worldwide and has 48 test dates per year. IELTS offers two choices, General Training and Academic. General Training is commonly accepted for work and migration. IELTS Academic provides assessment of English language skills especially for entry into universities and colleges.

For IELTS, our recommended study materials are:

To prepare for the IELTS exam, you can start studying in your own time. We also recommend practising with an English teacher. You can also visit the IELTS website for additional information.

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Cambridge English: Key (KEY)

The Cambridge English: Key (KEY) focuses primarily on English level A2. It is the first level of assessment of the Cambridge General English exams. Successful candidates receive a certificate that confirms their ability to communicate in English in simple situations.

For Cambridge English Key (KEY), our recommended study materials are:

To prepare for the Cambridge English Key (KEY) exam, you can start studying in your own time. We also recommend practising with an English teacher. You can also visit the Cambridge English Key: KEY website for additional information.

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Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET)

The Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET) focuses primarily on English level B1. It is the second level of assessment of the Cambridge General English exams. Successful candidates receive a certificate which confirms that they have mastered the basic English skills and have the ability to communicate in English in everyday situations.

For Cambridge English Preliminary (PET), our recommended study materials are:

To prepare for the Cambridge English Preliminary (PET) exam, you can start studying in your own time. We also recommend practising with an English teacher. You can also visit the Cambridge English Preliminary: PET website for additional information.

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Cambridge English: First (FCE)

The Cambridge English: First (FCE) focuses primarily on English level B2. It is the third level of assessment of the Cambridge General English exams. Successful candidates receive a certificate which identifies that they would be able to live and work in a location where English is the main language of communication. It is also accepted for entry into certain courses that are taught in English.

For Cambridge English First (FCE), our recommended study materials are:

To prepare for the Cambridge English First (FCE) exam, you can start studying in your own time. We also recommend practising with an English teacher. You can also visit the Cambridge English First: FCE website for additional information.

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Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)

The Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) focuses primarily on English level C1. It is the fourth level of assessment of the Cambridge General English exams. Successful candidates receive a certificate which confirms that they have a high level of ability in English skills. It is widely-accepted by a large number of employers and education institutions.

For Cambridge English Advanced (CAE), our recommended study materials are:

To prepare for the Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) exam, you can start studying in your own time. We also recommend practising with an English teacher. You can also visit the Cambridge English Advanced: CAE website for additional information.

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Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)

The Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) focuses primarily on English level C2. It is the fifth level of assessment of the Cambridge General English exams. It is also one few exams that specifically assesses such a high level of ability in English. Successful candidates receive a certificate which confirms that they have an exceptional ability and fluency in the English language.

For Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE), our recommended study materials are:

To prepare for the Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE) exam, you can start studying in your own time. We also recommend practising with an English teacher. You can also visit the Cambridge English Proficiency: CPE website for additional information.

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Other exams

For other exams we recommend that you ask your teacher for advice.