Cambridge Tests, a Complete Guide
Obtain certification to suit your level and expectations with a Cambridge test
Cambridge English Qualifications are the property of the University of Cambridge in Great Britain, and they consist of a range of certificates whose aim is to help you make good progress in learning English.
From school to work, Cambridge tests provide detailed information about your proficiency in English and learning support based on your progress.
What exactly is a Cambridge test?
The term “Cambridge test” refers in fact to a number of certificates that help you improve your English language skills. There’s a certificate for each of the different levels described in the CEFR.
From Year 6 through to Year 13, for private individuals or professional needs, and from false beginners to proficient linguists, there’s a Cambridge certificate to suit you.
- BEC (Business English Certificate) and Linguaskill – replacing BULATS.
What Cambridge tests consist of
The aim of all Cambridge English tests is to assess your language skills in terms of:
● Ease of expression in spoken and written English
● Understanding of spoken and written English
What’s special about the various certificates offered by the Cambridge tests is that each one helps you improve your skills without getting frustrated, so that you can pass your exam.
Whether you’re at level B1 or C1, and regardless of your education, qualifications, profession or age, there’s a Cambridge English certificate to suit every level of expertise.
Cambridge tests assess your English level in approved examination centres, under similar conditions to those of any school or external exam. This is standard procedure for many foreign language qualifications. You can register at any time to take your test on one of the dates offered by the centre.
How Cambridge tests differ from those offered by the competition
Unlike many of the tests available on the market, Cambridge certificates do not expire. Once you’ve passed the test, you are considered to have achieved the level concerned for good.
Cambridge tests analyse the skills you have acquired and validate the level you have achieved in English. The tests cover all 4 language skills – writing, speaking, reading and listening – and take half a day for levels A1, A2 and B1, or a full day for levels B2, C1 and C2.
Just like any other learning qualification, a detailed language learning programme and thorough preparation are required before taking any Cambridge test.
Telelangue offers a variety of online courses and learning programmes to help you find and prepare the right Cambridge certificate for you.
Choose a Cambridge basic English skills test
All Cambridge Certificates will help you achieve level A1 to C2.
For beginners and false beginners up to level A2, Cambridge English Keys are just right:
KET, or Key English Test, comes in two different versions:
- One for school-age learners from Year 7 on: KET for schools,
- One for adults with basic skills.
For intermediate learners wishing to gain international B1 accreditation aligned to the CEFR, the PET, or Preliminary English Test, also comes in two different versions:
- One for school-age learners – PET for schools,
- One for adults able to communicate in simple situations.
These two tests analyse your basic skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing.
The KET and PET tests each require a half-day session to assess your skills.
Obtain an advanced certificate for personal or professional purposes
Achieve certification for an overall level of skill with a Cambridge Certificate, recognised by the job market, or round off your studies with a qualification (in year 11 – popular with business schools and engineering courses).
The FCE, or First English Certificate, requires learners to demonstrate level B2 language skills, including the ability to express themselves with ease and understand complex situations and texts in a personal or professional context.
Since early 2020, BULATS has been replaced by Linguaskill.
It is often compared to the TOEIC and has the very similar aim of assessing levels A1 to C1. Its convenient digital format offers companies a flexible solution.
Choose a Cambridge advanced skills test
The Cambridge C1 and C2 English tests will take you up a gear. In addition to certifying your proficiency in English, they act as a springboard in any professional career, proving that you are able to interact easily with others in any international context.
The CAE, or Cambridge English: Advanced, demonstrates that you have achieved level C1.
It shows that you can understand long texts comprising specific vocabulary, and speak fluently and without hesitation.
The CPE, or Cambridge English: Proficiency, targets level C2. It is currently the hardest qualification to achieve and one of the only qualifications that is able to certify this level of skill.
To be awarded the CPE, you must be practically bilingual and able to communicate freely, using highly complex sentence structures and without making any mistakes.
These two tests, which require a full day’s session, will enable you to establish your proficiency in English across all 4 language skills. Once you have obtained your Cambridge Certificate, it remains valid for life.
What if I want to validate my skills in Business English with a Cambridge test?
Cambridge Business English Certificates (BEC) are offered in 3 levels – B1 (Preliminary), B2 (Vantage) and C1 (Higher), and certify your language skills in a business context.
These are the perfect tests to take if you plan to work abroad or for an international company.