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Cambridge esol exams1
Cambridge ESOL Exams

  • University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations is a non-profit assessment organization that provides examinations in English language ability for non-native speakers of English and English teaching qualifications. ESOL stands for "English for Speakers of Other Languages“

  • Cambridge ESOL is part of Cambridge Assessment, formerly known as the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, which celebrated 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.


  • 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/proficient


  • 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 organizations -, and is administered through more than 400 test centres the British Council, Cambridge ESOL and IDP Australia 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.)



TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test): This exam is aimed at teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). 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.

Cambridge esol exams

Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT)

What is TKT?

  • The Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT) is a test from Cambridge ESOL about teaching English to speakers of other languages. It aims to increase teachers' confidence and enhance job prospects by focusing on the core teaching knowledge needed by teachers of primary, secondary or adult learners, anywhere in the world. This flexible and accessible award will help you to understand:

  • different methodologies for teaching

  • the 'language of teaching'

  • the ways in which resources can be used

  • the key aspects of lesson planning

  • classroom management methods for different needs.

  • After taking TKT, teachers who want to develop their knowledge further can progress to Cambridge ESOL's well-established Teaching Award, such as CELTA.

Cambridge esol exams

  • Who is TKT for?

    TKT gives teachers a strong foundation in the core areas of teaching knowledge needed in the English language teaching classroom. It is ideal for all teachers, whatever their background and teaching experience, and is also suitable for people who would like to teach English but do not yet have a teaching position.

    There are no formal entry requirements. However, anyone wishing to take TKT is strongly advised to have at least an intermediate level of English — Level B1 of the Council of Europe's Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Cambridge esol exams

What does TKT involve?

Most teachers are likely to follow a preparation course before taking the test but you can also prepare yourself through your own reading and study, if you prefer.

  • TKT has three core modules. These can be taken together in one exam session or separately, in any order, over three sessions. Each module consists of a test of 80 objective questions, lasting 80 minutes, which require you to select the correct answer and mark this on a computerized answer sheet.

    Module 1 — Language and background to language learning and teaching:

  • describing language and language skills

  • background to language learning

  • background to language teaching

    Module 2 — Planning lessons and use of resources for language teaching:

  • planning and preparing a lesson or sequence of lessons

  • selection and use of resources and materials.

    Module 3 — Managing the teaching and learning process:

  • teachers' and learners' language in the classroom

  • classroom management.

Cambridge esol exams

TKT uses an indicative glossary of English language teaching terminology that is regularly reviewed and revised to ensure that all modules reflect continuing developments in core area of teaching knowledge.

Cambridge esol exams


Results for TKT are described as being in

one of four band scores, 1-4.

There is no Pass/Fail. Every candidate receives a certificate for each module taken.

TKT results are issued through centres approximately two weeks after receipt of answer sheets by Cambridge ESOL.

Cambridge esol exams

Three optional modules of TKT are available - these can be added to the three core modules above, or can each be taken completely independently

  • TKT: Practical - NEWThis award offers teachers the opportunity to gain certification for their practical teaching abilities, and can be taken at any stage in their career.

  • TKT: Content and Language Integrated Learning tests a candidate’s knowledge of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and the practice of planning, teaching and assessing curriculum subjects taught in English.

    CLIL describes an evolving approach to teaching and learning where subjects are taught and studied through the medium of a non-native language. In CLIL, learning a curricular subject in a second, third or sometimes fourth language involves best practice from a range of different educational contexts.

  • TKT: Knowledge About LanguageEnglish teachers need to be both linguistically aware and able to understand the difficulties students may encounter in the language learning process. To help meet this need, TKT: Knowledge About Language tests a candidate’s knowledge of the language systems needed by teachers for planning and teaching their lessons.


  • The Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults,

    or CELTA, is a professional credential held by many teachers of English as a foreign language.


  • The CELTA is a common requirement for those entering the field of English language teaching. Since it is recognized internationally, it is a particularly popular credential among people who wish to travel and teach English around the world. However, it is also held by people who intend to teach only in the country where they trained, and do not intend to travel.

  • The full-time CELTA course runs for four to five weeks; it can also be taken part-time over several weeks or months. CELTA courses are run by many different institutions, whereas the courses are validated and certificates are issued by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, a part of the University of Cambridge.


  • The CELTA is awarded upon passing the course, which includes six hours of assessed teaching practice to real EFL classes. The course grade is determined primarily by the performance of the candidates in this teaching practice; there are also four written assignments due throughout the course, which are graded on a pass/fail basis only. The grades awarded are Pass, Pass B and Pass A. As of 2000, worldwide five percent of trainees withdrew before completing the course, three percent failed, 63% received a pass, 25% received a grade of B, and four percent received a grade of A.

    The full-time four-week course is very intensive and candidates taking it must be prepared to dedicate all their waking hours to it. Even the part-time version of the course can take up more time than a full-time job for many candidates, especially those with no teaching background.

    Each year around 900 CELTA courses are run by around 280 centres, primarily language schools, in 54 countries, producing over 10,000 graduates.Each course is audited by an external assessor.


Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults

If you have substantial experience of teaching English to speakers of other languages, and are ready to progress your career, you need the DELTA.

This internationally recognized qualification helps you to: deepen your understanding of the principles and practice of teaching the English language to adults examine your current practices and beliefs, apply the results of your learning and reflection to your current teaching position and more senior roles.

How does DELTA relate to TEFL/TESOL?

'TEFL' or 'TESOL' are terms often used to describe qualifications for English Language teachers. DELTA, the advanced TESOL/TEFL qualification for practicing English Language teachers.


Who is DELTA for?

You may be a graduate, or already hold an initial teaching qualification, and are considering DELTA as a route to further career progression. The qualification is ideal if you wish to extend your professional experience and accept new responsibilities as it not only demonstrates a commitment to the profession, but is also proof of your ability.

You may be looking for an opportunity to increase your understanding of the principles and practice of English Language teaching to help improve your overall performance in the classroom. As part of this process, DELTA courses encourage you to analyze your existing practices and beliefs. They also help you to apply the results of your learning and reflection both to your current professional life and to contexts beyond your present and previous teaching experience.