Official Exams, English
Official Exams



Official English certificates are issued either by the British or the American (United States) educational system and recognised internationally. These tests can be taken on fixed dates in some of our English language partner schools around the world.

The Cambridge Certificates

The Cambridge exams are known all over the world. They have an excellent reputation and are recognised by universities, employers and national education authorities as tangible evidence of a qualification in linguistic competence.

Many universities recognise, among others, the Certificate of Advanced English, the Certificate of Proficiency in English and the IELTS as essential linguistic certificates, giving access to higher studies in the English language.

English Exams

The Cambridge Certificates
FCE (Cambridge First Certificate in English)
Corresponding to the Swiss pre-university level, the FCE is without doubt the best known of the Cambridge exams, in that it is recognised in the majority of countries, where it can open doors both in academic and professional fields. >>> Details

CAE (Certificate of Advanced English)
The level above the FCE, it is required more and more for undertaking university studies in Great Britain. Proof of language level in numerous countries, the CAE is a solid professional asset. >>> Details

CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English)
It requires very good linguistic and cultural knowledge. It constitutes a direct reference for the majority of British universities and, due to its renown, for a large number of businesses and institutions. >>> Details

BEC (Business English Certificate)
This series of three exams (three levels) – BEC Preliminary, BEC Vantage, BEC Higher – was put in place to test English Language Skills in the context of the business world. These exams are aimed at adults who work in the business sector or are preparing to do so. >>> Details

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
It is required for undertaking university studies in certain English-speaking countries, notably Australia and Great Britain. This exam is designed to evaluate general skills in oral and written comprehension, as well as other practical areas such as summaries and written reports. The grading system is based around points (9 points being the maximum and 5-7 points being the average). >>> Details

BULATS (Business Language Testing Service)
BULATS has been developed by the universities of Cambridge to test the language skills of professionals and students attending a business English course. It is flexible (flexible exam dates, several levels) and economical. A growing number of companies in all fields of activity rely on BULATS results to assess the language ability of their employees.>>>Details

ICFE (Cambridge International Certificate in Financial English)
ICFE assesses the level of English of finance professionals and is internationally recognised by many institutions in the financial and accounting industry. It is set at levels B2 and C1 of the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR) and is a great asset for finance professionals wishing to work in an international context. >>>Details

PET (Preliminary English Test)
Elementary level, corresponding to the level acquired on finishing business school.

The American Exams

The two main exams that have been developed in the United States are nowadays recognised by many large international companies.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
The TOEFL represents a precise standard of evaluation of linguistic level that allows you to commence studies in the majority of American and Canadian colleges and universities. Numerous companies also use it as a condition for employment and promotion. Made up of multiple choice questions, it is divided into three parts and evaluates all aspects of the language. Generally speaking, candidates sit the test after having followed a preparation course of at least 4 to 6 weeks and having attained an intermediate level. The TOEFL awards points to reflect the level of knowledge. The score obtained is valid for two years. The exam is offered in two formats, each with a different points scale (paper or computer). >>> Details

TOEIC (Test of English in International Communication)
The TOEIC has become the international standard for evaluating English proficiency in the business and communication worlds. The exam is composed of 200 multiple-choice questions that cover both oral and written comprehension. It lasts about 2 ½ hours. >>> Details


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After spending 3 months of pure happiness, it’s sad that I have to leave this incredible place with the head full of good memories and magical experiences like Niagara Falls, basketball game, visits in downtown, ice skating and celebrations far from our families like Christmas organized by the school. In addition to that I enjoyed participating in the after school clubs allowing me to learn even more and have a great time. Thanks to this experience I met incredible people (Brazilians, Asians, Russians, Mexicans, etc.) from all over the world that I want and will visit. The supervisors are excellent and always listen to my requests. I definitely recommend to everybody to live the same experience as me but all good things have an end and now it’s my time.

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Sirine Tounsi

In October 2017, I decided to go to Toronto for 2 months. I had just finished my studies, and I had always dreamt about going to Canada. I wanted to improve my English, so I decided to take an 8-week intensive course at OHC – a school I highly recommend. I became friend with students from all over the world and with very nice teachers. I was surprised to see how fast I improved; I passed 2 levels in 8 weeks! In order to be in total immersion, I chose to live with a host family. If you don’t like rules, I suggest staying in a student residence – you’ll have more freedom. I loved the style of the city (I’m Parisian, so everything looked very different). Toronto has the advantage of being close to French-speaking Québec and to the US – you should visit New York, as I did! If I could do it all over again, I would! Thank you ESL for making my dream come true in a few days only.

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Sara Mateos Arévalo

My name is Sara and I decided to take a course in Lyon to improve my level of French. I had started to take French classes again in Barcelona and I thought it would be a good idea to give them a boost.

I wasn’t very clear on my destination, but I finally chose Lyon because it’s a city that has everything but it’s not as big as Paris. And, as the language travel advisor that I am, and knowing the academic quality of the Alpadia school, I thought it would be a good option.

After having been there, I can say that Lyon is an ideal destination for linguistic immersion. As a city, it has everything: shops, good public transport, restaurants, bars, tourism, parks, etc. What’s more, you’re constantly surrounded by events, culture and French cuisine, and it’s a city where a lot of French natives live. That’s why you can also learn about its customs and lifestyle in addition to the language.

The first day when I arrived to my host family’s home, it was a little difficult for me to speak even though I understood Sylvie (the woman who was hosting me) very well. In the mornings, she was already working, but I enjoyed waking up and having a leisurely breakfast. In the afternoons after the activities, I went home and she was preparing dinner. I sat in the kitchen with her while she taught me French recipes. Every night we cooked a different dish, and she even taught me how to make French crêpes! I stayed in her daughter’s room who was studying in Toulouse. To this day, we still write to each other.

With regard to the school, the first day they had me arrive half an hour early to show us new students the school, city, etc. and introduce us to each other. We had 4 and a half hours of class, but the time flew by, as the teaching method that they use is very dynamic and you have two different teachers. My morning teacher made the classes very exciting and helped us improve our weaknesses. The afternoon teacher, on the other hand, gave us a topic to debate and she made us talk a lot while she provided us with useful, daily vocabulary.

There were only 6 students in class, perfect for learning more easily. At school there was a great atmosphere with a good group of students open to meeting new people and making plans after class. I felt like a part of the group from day one. The mix of nationalities was very good with few Spanish-speaking students. In the whole school, there were only two Spanish and two Mexican students, although we weren’t in the same class. Almost all of them were Swiss (from different regions), and there were students of all ages (18-22, 25-28 and 40+).

Every afternoon, the school offered an activity for whoever wanted to participate (movie, visits around Lyon, wine tasting, etc.). At the beginning of the week, they posted a schedule of the week’s activities on the bulletin board. You just needed to sign up and show up at the meeting point at the time specified (even though almost all of us went there together directly from school). The activity I liked the most was wine tasting because we went to a really authentic wine cellar where they gave us different wines and cheeses. For me, this was a very French experience!

To sum up, I’d like to say that for me, it was a great decision to take an intensive course and stay with a host family, since I learned a ton and at the end of my stay, I noticed that I really improved my fluency when speaking French. The truth is that I had a great experience and I would have liked to be able to stay for another week.

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