What exams / certificates to study for / what are the benefits?

It is always hard to find out which is the English exam students should take. There are 2 different types of English language exams in the United Kingdom: IELTS and Cambridge exams.


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is suitable for people who want to study or work in English. It tests four language skills: listening, writing, reading and speaking. There are no levels here but you can choose Academic or General training. You should take an Academic test if you need it for an academic, higher education environment. The General English IELTS is used mostly for visa applications.

Test takers receive a score: band 1 is ‘non user’ and band 9 is ‘expert user’. It is secure, benchmarked and understood worldwide. IELTS is accepted by more than 9,000 organisations in over 145 countries including universities, schools, government departments and multinational companies.

Cambridge Exams

The Cambridge English certificates are accepted globally. You can register for the exams through local exam centres and it is good to test your level first online which is free.

Young Learners Test (YLE)

This exam is for learners in primary and lower secondary education. There are 3 parts of the exam: Starters (45 min), Movers (65 min) and Flyers (75 min). Most of the students take these exam in their school.

ESOL Skills for Life

You can take ESOL exam if you are over the age of 16 and you live, work or study in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. These certificates reflects the use of the English language in everyday life in the UK.

KET Pre-Intermediate (A2)

The Key English Test shows that you can use English at a basic level. The test has 3 parts: Reading and Writing (70 min), Listening (30 min) and Speaking (10 min). Reading and Writing is worth 50 % of the total marks.

KET for Schools

This exam is designed to motivate school-aged learners. It’s basically the same exam then above and focuses on the level A2 of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

PET Intermediate (B1)

The Preliminary English Test shows that you know English for everyday work, study and leisure. The 1 hour and 30 minutes long Reading and Writing part is worth 50 % of the total marks, while Listening (30 min) and Speaking (12 min) take the other half.

PET for Schools

If you see this exam it means that a student can understand and communicate using everyday written and spoken English and has a level of B1.

FCE Upper-Intermediate (B2)

The First Certificate in English level is ideal for work and study purposes. You can use this certification for university and student visa applications as well. The exam has 4 parts: Reading and Use of English (75 min), Writing (80 min), Listening (40 min) and Speaking (14 min).

FCE for Schools

Students can take this exam on paper or on computer and it shows real everyday language skills.

CAE Advanced (C1)

With the Cambridge English Advanced level you can use English professionally and socially. It provides high-level English skills for academic and professional success. The Reading and Use of English (90 min) paper is worth 40 % of the total marks, while each of the others (90 min Writing, 40 min Listening and 15 min Speaking) 20 %.

CPE Proficiency (C2)

The Certificate of Proficiency in English demonstrates all-round excellence in English. It focuses on the highest level of the CEFR (C2). The structure of the exam is very similar to the CAE ones with 16 minutes long Speaking.