University of Cambridge ESOL examination

University of Cambridge ESOL examination

The University of Cambridge ESOL examinations are examinations in English language ability for non-native speakers of English. ESOL stands for "English for Speakers of Other Languages", see English language learning and teaching. Cambridge ESOL is part of Cambridge Assessment, formerly known as the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES), which celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2008.

Cambridge ESOL examinations are taken by over two million learners in more than 130 countries each year. The exams cover general English, business English, academic English and English for young learners. Cambridge ESOL also offers teaching qualifications such as CELTA and DELTA and is renowned for its major research and validation operation.

Individual exams

General English

These five exams are also known as the "Main Suite":

* KET (Key English Test): elementary
* PET (Preliminary English Test): intermediate
* FCE (First Certificate in English): upper intermediate
* CAE (Certificate in Advanced English): advanced
* CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English): very advanced

Business English

* BEC (Business English Certificates): This exam in Business English can be taken at three levels (Preliminary, Vantage and Higher).
* BULATS (Business Language Testing Service): This is an assessment service for companies, for showing language skills in English, French, German and Spanish.

Legal English

* ILEC (International Legal English Certificate): A high-level language qualification for lawyers set at levels B2 and C1 of the CEFR. ILEC is equivalent in level to the FCE and CAE, and assesses language skills in a legal context. Examinations at the C1 level may be used as proof of the level of language necessary to work in an international legal context or to follow a course of legal study at university level.

Academic English

* IELTS (International English Language Testing System): IELTS is managed by an international partnership of not-for-profit organisations - the British Council, Cambridge ESOL and IDP Australia, and is administered through more than 400 test centres in 150 countries worldwide. More than half a million candidates sit the test each year, which is used by more than 1,000 universities and colleges in the Anglosphere, including more than 700 institutions in the USA, as a standard entrance requirement. Its main competitor is the US-based TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Both exams test not just general English but also English for academic purposes.

Young Learners' English

* YLE (Cambridge Young Learners' English Tests): English exams for children aged 7 to 12.

Skills for life

Most Cambridge exams are available around the world and suit anyone who wants to use English in their studies or work, in other words, English as a foreign language. These exams, uniquely, are tailored to the needs of those who have moved to Britain, i.e. immigrants needing English as a second language.

* Certificates in ESOL Skills for Life: These certificates also give separate marks for each type of ability. The exam is for ESOL learners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. (Scotland has its own education system.)

Discontinued exam

* CELS (Certificates in English Language Skills): These exams (now discontinued) allowed students to prove what they could do in each skill (reading, writing, speaking, and listening); a separate mark was given for each section.


* TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test): This exam is aimed at teachers of English to speakers of foreign languages. It is given in three modules, each consisting of eighty questions, that can be taken together or separately in any order. It tests candidates on their knowledge of concepts related to language, language use, and the background and practice of language teaching and learning.

Link to Common European Framework

The Cambridge ESOL exams are related to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF). This framework sets standards in foreign language teaching across Europe. It divides learners into six levels of ability, with descriptions of what a learner is able to do at each stage. The Cambridge ESOL exams fit into this framework as shown in the table:

Global Partnership

University of Cambridge ESOL examinations and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the renowned and the largest professional accountancy body that offers "Chartered Certified Accountant" qualification worldwide, have signed the global partnership agreement to result in the launch of the International Certificate in Financial English (ICFE), a new financial English exam.

See also

* Teaching English as a Foreign Language

External links

* [ FCE - free practice tests]
* [ University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations]

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