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What your students are trying to earn by learning with you.

ALTE – Association of Language Testers in Europe

ALTE is the Association of Language Testers in Europe.

It has developed a set of descriptors for language exams which say what a language learner at a particular level is able to achieve (i.e. understand or produce, etc).

ALTE was founded by the Universities of Cambridge and Salamanca for the Cambridge exams; however other exam boards have related their exams to the same system. It now includes over…

Aptis Assessment Test

Aptis is an examination and assessment test developed by the British Council‏‎. It is targeted towards businesses and organizations (and is not available to individual users) in order to test a students ability in the four language skills‏‎. However clients can adapt the test to show bias towards one or more of those skills.

The test is mapped to the CEFR and it can be taken online, as a paper…


BULATS stands for Business Language Testing Service which is a commercial service run by Cambridge Assessment‏‎.

It is essential a method of testing the English ability (as well as French, German & Spanish) of business people. After the test users are given a score which relates to the CEF. The tests are held at a number of locations around the world.



Cambridge Assessment‏‎ – UCLES

Cambridge Assessment is the brand name of UCLES or the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate which is a non-teaching department of Cambridge University.

Cambridge Assessment is responsible for setting and grading a number of international English examinations. UCLES started in 1858 with their Proficiency in English examination introduced in 1913.

Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) is part of Cambridge Assessment and runs…

Cambridge Young Learners English Tests

Cambridge Young Learners English Tests is touted as a series of fun, motivating English language tests, aimed at children in primary and lower-secondary education (age 7 – 12).

They are run by UCLES.

The examination has three different levels: Starters Exam (typically for age 7, or Year 1 to 2 elementary students), Movers Exam (typically for ages 8 to 11, or Year 3 to 4 elementary students) and…

CEFR – Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The Council of Europe divided learners into 6 main bands (A1, A2; B1, B2; C1, C2) as part of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages:

A Basic User
A1 Breakthrough
A2 Waystage
B Independent User
B1 Threshold
B2 Vantage
C Proficient User
C1 Effective Operational Proficiency
C2 Mastery

Note: the CEFR applies to people learning…

First Certificate in English

The First Certificate in English or FCE is an examination in English from Cambridge Assessment which is internationally accepted.

The holder is generally thought of as being able to use English adequately in most everyday situations: exchanging basic information, asking and answering questions and suchlike. It allows the user in general to:

understand texts from a wide variety of sources
use English to make…

IELTS – International English Language Testing System

IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System and it is a test designed to assess how well a learner speaks English‏‎. In 2008 over 1.2 million people took the tests in 120 different countries. It is held regularly throughout the year, several times each month.

The test is jointly managed by Cambridge Assessment‏‎, the British Council‏‎ and IDP‏‎.

There are two versions of the IELTS exam: the…

Qualifications for EFL/ESOL Students‏‎

Qualifications for Students indicate how well a person knows English.

NB For qualifications in order to teach, see Essential Qualifications to Teach English.

There is no single, standardized qualification system showing how well a person can use English, however over the years a number of qualifications have risen in popularity and have become de facto standards in this area. Whilst by no means universal, these are…

Teaching EFL Exam Classes

Exams are big business and a great number of students work towards one of the major English exams; many more work towards local exams.This means that preparing students for exams is also big business and many teachers either take this on with classes approaching and exam or specialize entirely in the subject.

This article looks at the ideas behind Exam Preparation classes and how they differ from…

TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

The TOEFL (pronounce toy-full or toe-full) or Test of English as a Foreign Language is an American test designed to establish how well a person speaks English‏‎. It is often used by students wishing to attend American universities, etc. Since it was introduced in 1964 almost 20 million students have taken the exam.
It is the American equivalent of the IELTS‏‎ exam which are more popular amongst students wanting to go…

TOEIC Suspended in the UK after Scam

The UK government has suspended all TOEIC testing in the UK after a TV investigation showed how the system was riddled with fraud with fake sitters taking the test on behalf of English language students.

The investigation by Panorama (a respected BBC investigative program) uncovered how immigrants to the UK were able to buy a pass in the TOEIC test which they could then use to get a visa to stay in…