English exams

English exams

What English exams are available?

English exams that are internationally-recognised are the best way to to assess your English level of proficiency. Examination bodies give an official certification of your English level, which can be valuable for work, studying abroad and applying for residence visas in other countries.

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 to help you choose the best exam. Some authorities may only accept specific examinations and not recognise others.

You can also take our free online English test to find out your English level today.

Which English exam?

You can find a wide variety of English exams which give a certification of your English level. Depending on your own personal situation, some English exams may be better than others. Here are our recommendations to help you choose the best English proficiency examination for your needs.

Recommendations for choosing English exams

 Take our free online English test to find out your English level.
 Consider why you need to take an official English exam.
 Check which exams are recognised for your own requirements.
 Look at our diagram to see a comparison of the main exams.
 Book an English exam course to increase your success rate.

The most common English proficiency examinations are IELTS, Cambridge Key (KET), Preliminary (PET), First (FCE), Advanced (CAE) and Proficiency (CPE). We have provided a description of each and give some recommended study materials. Our diagram shows how they compare with the CEFR English levels from Beginner (A1) to Proficiency (C2) and indicates the common purpose of the exam (general, work or study).

We also have more information about 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)

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.


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 and visit the IELTS website for additional information.

We also offer successful English exam courses with qualified English teachers. We specialise in developing your English skills and focus on preparation techniques for the IELTS examination.

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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 and visit the Cambridge English: KEY website for additional information.

We also offer successful English exam courses with qualified English teachers. We specialise in developing your English skills and focus on preparation techniques for the Cambridge English Key (KEY) examination.

View other English exams


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 and visit the Cambridge English: PET website for additional information.

We also offer successful English exam courses with qualified English teachers. We specialise in developing your English skills and focus on preparation techniques for the Cambridge English Preliminary (PET) examination.

View other English exams


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 and visit the Cambridge English: FCE website for additional information.

We also offer successful English exam courses with qualified English teachers. We specialise in developing your English skills and focus on preparation techniques for the Cambridge English First (FCE) examination.

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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 and visit the Cambridge English: CAE website for additional information.

We also offer successful English exam courses with qualified English teachers. We specialise in developing your English skills and focus on preparation techniques for the Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) examination.

View other English exams


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 and visit the Cambridge English: CPE website for additional information.

We also offer successful English exam courses with qualified English teachers. We specialise in developing your English skills and focus on preparation techniques for the Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE) examination.

View other English exams


Other exams

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