Chartered Institute
of Linguists

Certified English speaking test from CIOL

Become a CIOL Certified English Speaker

The Certified English speaking test from the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) offers advanced speakers of English as a second or additional language the opportunity to prove their English skills according to international standards: the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR) and CIOL's own Language Level Frameworks.

Successful candidates with outstanding English speaking skills can attain C1 or above according to the CEFR framework and CIOL's "gold standard" designation of CIOL Professional English Speaker, qualifying them for immediate entry to CIOL's first professional grade, Associate (ACIL)

CIOL's Certified English is for adults who want to prove to themselves or to employers their high standard of English speaking skills.  This can unlock greater confidence and career opportunities for the successful candidate.  Employers and other interested parties will understand that, if you are successful, you can be entrusted with important liaison, representation, presentation and negotiation roles which depend on excellent English communication skills. 

If you are interested in language level assessments in a language other than English, visit the CIOL Language Level Assessment pages here

    What is the Certified English speaking test?

    It is a test of your English speaking capabilities with a focus on the speaking interaction skills that are so important for interpersonal communication.

    The test provides those with proficient spoken English a formal opportunity to achieve recognition, certification and validation of their skills through CIOL, the UK’s international Chartered body for linguists.

    If you demonstrate outstanding spoken English at the C1 or above level of the CEFR, you will be awarded the 'gold standard' CIOL Professional English Speaker designation along with a certificate confirming your skills.

    If you demonstrate a high level of spoken English competence at the B2 level of the CEFR, you will be granted the CIOL Working English Speaker designation along with a certificate confirming your skills.

    Upon receiving either designation, you will have the opportunity to join CIOL: at the Associate (ACIL) member grade for Professional English Speakers with a 30% discount on your first year's membership, or at the Career Affiliate member grade for Working English Speakers.

    Based on CIOL's extensive language testing activities, we believe the surest way to assess high-level English speaking interaction skills is with an expert human assessor, who can evaluate how you speak, listen, engage and react - as you would in a real professional or working situation.

    CIOL Certified English tests your speaking and communicative skills in a real world context with a real world assessor, so you can be confident of a realistic confirmation of your level of spoken English. There are no multiple choice questions based on a recording or video, and your speaking skills will not be assessed through AI or recorded messages. This is a test of human-to-human interaction, so success demonstrates your speaking skills to any employer, client, partner or stakeholder leading to enhanced career prospects in any international setting.

    Who is it for?

    The test is for over 18 year olds who have a high level of spoken English and want to prove their high standard of English speaking skills to themselves or to others, particularly employers and clients.

    To attain the 'gold standard' CIOL Professional English Speaker designation you must demonstrate a level of spoken English language use which evidences the ability to: 

    • Communicate with ease in professional, business or academic settings

    • Confidently participate in workplace meetings and discussions

    • Articulate complex ideas clearly when speaking or presenting

    CIOL Professional English Speaker is the highest standard: the equivalent of C1 or above according to the CEFR and meets the following CIOL standard descriptors:

    CIOL Professional English Speaker, C1 CEFR, Certified EnglishYou can attain the Working English Speaker designation by demonstrating the ability to: 

    • Express opinions and present arguments effectively in one-to-one communication

    • Respond effectively to most requests for explanation and questions from others
    • Participate actively and effectively in meetings, conveying your intended message

    CIOL Working English Speaker is the equivalent of B2 according to the CEFR and meets the following CIOL standard descriptors:CIOL Working English Speaker standard and B2 CEFR, Certified English

    If you do not meet either the Professional or Working English Speaker standard, you may still obtain a Limited Working English grade if you score B1 in spoken English language use according to the CEFR and meet the standards for the CIOL Limited Working English Speaker grade:

    CIOL Limited Working English, B1 CEFR

    We do not recommend you take the CIOL Certified English speaking test unless you feel reasonably confident of meeting the descriptors for at least the CIOL Limited Working English grade (B1 according to the CEFR). If you are not likely to be at this level you may struggle to follow the test format. 

    CIOL is the UK's Royal Charter professional body for linguists and those who work with their languages. As such, the English speaking test:

    • Is only available for those who are 18 years or over.
    • Is not available for speakers of English as their first language, it is for bilingual, multilingual and good speakers of English as a second or additional language.  

    CIOL Certified English is not designed for, or valid as, an immigration test or an English for Academic Purposes test for University entry, it is a certified assessment of professional and working level English speaking skills.