Chartered Institute
of Linguists

Certified English speaking test - FAQs


Who and what is it for?

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 able speakers of English as a second or additional language.  
  • Is not designed for or valid as an immigration test or an English for Academic Purposes test for University entry, it is an assessment of professional and working level English speaking skills. 

Do I need to speak UK English?

No, English is a world language and the CIOL Certified English speaking test assesses and supports the excellent use of English as a second or additional language. The standard and purpose of the CIOL test is to promote intercultural communicative competence, not particular accents or styles.  

What is the format of the test?

The test is conducted online with an expert CIOL appointed interviewer.

It consists of an introduction section, then you are given a choice of randomly selected topics on which to give a spoken presentation, after your presentation there is a discussion with the interviewer on the topic and finally you are asked to summarise the discussion. Each test is recorded and marked by expert CIOL appointed Assessors.

The test will assess you against international standards for English for the purposes of interpersonal and intercultural communication. We do not prefer or promote a particular accent or the UK's form of English; English is an international "Lingua Franca" and the test is to establish your communicative skills. 

Do I need to prepare?

The is no specific preparation required for the test, although you may want to brush up on your spoken language skills. You will need to bring photo ID to show at the beginning of the test. You will find it useful to bring a pen and paper to jot down some notes for your presentation.

What are the technical requirements?

The test is conducted on Microsoft Teams platform. You do not need to have Microsoft Teams installed on your device you can also log on online via a link. The platform has been tested successfully with candidates around the world. Please ensure that you take the test in a quiet undisturbed location, the use of blurred or custom Teams backgrounds is not permitted. 

You need a stable internet connection and camera, as well as good audio (speaking and listening) in order to take the test successfully. We recommend using headphones or a headset and/or dedicated microphone.

When can I book a test?

You can book your test with 3 working days' notice at any point in UK office hours at a time to suit you between 9:00am and 6:00pm UK time Monday through Friday (excluding public holidays). Check the time in London.

How long do I wait for the results?

You can expect the results within 10 working days to allow time for assessor marking, standardisation, moderation and cross-checks.

How much does the test cost?

The CIOL Certified English speaking test is available for £105. You can estimate the equivalent cost in your local currency by using the following third party estimate (link to external exchange rate site). 

Do I get a certificate?

Yes, if you successfully meet the CIOL Working English Speaker (B2 CEFR) level or the "gold standard" CIOL Professional English Speaker (C1 CEFR) level you will receive a Certificate from the Chartered Institute of Linguists along with your spoken language skills score according to CEFR. 

What if I don't meet the Certified English standard? 

If you demonstrate a good enough level (B1 according to CEFR) you will receive a Limited Working English Speaker grade and skills score.

What should I add to LinkedIn profile? 

You can add your certification to Linkedin via your own profile and choosing Licences & Certifications, for "Issuing Organization" list Chartered Institute of Linguists: Manage Licenses & Certifications | LinkedIn Help. If you meet the CIOL Professional English Speaker standard and designation you can also add English under Skills in Linked in as "Full professional proficiency": Add and remove skills on your profile | LinkedIn Help. If you meet the Working English Speaker and B2 grade you can also add English under Skills in Linked in as "Professional working proficiency". If you meet the Limited Working English Speaker standard and B1 grade you can also add English under Skills in LinkedIn as "Limited working proficiency".

Can I take the test more than once? 

Yes, you can take the test up to 4 times every 12 months. 

Can I use Certified English to test my employees or for recruiting?

If you employ or would like to recruit and test for excellent English speakers and you would like to discuss whether the CIOL Certified English speaking test could be of value to your organisation, please contact Dom Hebblethwaite at

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