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Berkshire Language Centre - Exam Classes

At the Berkshire Language Centre, we have many years experience of helping students pass a range of formal exams.  Our exam classes are designed not only to cover the main areas of the exam syllabus but also to help you develop effective exam technique.


Unlike many language schools, we will also provide you with practice exam sessions, including a speaking paper with an external assessor.  This means that by the time you come to do your real exam, there will be no surprises: you'll be fully prepared and have the best possible chance of passing first time.


Here is a list of some of the main English Language exams.  Please contact us for more information.

I received teaching services from Garry Newman of Berkshire Language Centre during my IELTS exam preparation classes. It was a very nice experience learning from him. I found Garry the most gentle and professional practising teacher in my whole academic career. I had some classes in groups and some private 1-1 lessons. Students from different countries were treated equally and everyone was given a chance to participate in group classes. Garry has a unique way of teaching which is understandable for any level of English learner. It is the best chance for new students to learn from him and I would recommend Berkshire Language Centre to anyone.


Toqeer Ahmed – Pakistan

IELTS Preparation Course

General English Exams

Preliminary English Test (PET)

PET is an intermediate level exam.  It's a valuable exam if you want to work or study abroad and it provides a good starting point for developing essential study and exam skills.  PET is a good exam to take if you feel confident with everyday written and spoken communications, such as newspapers, signs, magazines, public announcements and everyday conversations.

The PET exam has three papers:

Reading and writing – 1 hours 30 minutes
Listening – approximately 35 minutes
Speaking – 10-12 minutes

The exam is available several times a year and successful candidates will receive a Cambridge ESOL certificate, recognised by employers around the world.  Many universities also recognise PET as an initial qualification in English.

Cambridge First Certificate (FCE)

The Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) is an internationally recognised qualification for speakers of English as a foreign language.  Students who have passed the First Certificate can demonstrate that they have reached a level of English which will enable them to operate effectively in a range of both administrative and managerial jobs.

The FCE exams are held three times a year (March, June and December) and include five papers:

Reading – 1 hour 15 minutes
Writing – 1 hour 30 minutes
Use of English – 1 hour 15 minutes
Listening – approximately 40 minutes
Speaking – 14 minutes

Each of the written papers is marked by Cambridge; the speaking test is carried out by local Cambridge examiners.

Studying at Berkshire Language Centre, I experienced a dramatic improvement in my English on a weekly basis. Also, the lessons are well-structured and relevant to the Cambridge English exams. Most of all, the quality of the teaching makes me feel highly motivated all the time.


Viviana Román, Costa Rica

First Certificate Class

Cambridge Advanced Certificate (CAE)

CAE is the second highest exam that Cambridge offers.  It is suitable for people who can communicate with confidence in most social and business settings. The exams are based on realistic tasks; passing them demonstrates an ability to use English in a wide range of practical situations. If you are successful, you'll be able to participate in meetings and discussions, expressing opinions clearly, and be able to understand and produce texts of various types, including business letters and reports. You'll also be more than capable of following university courses taught in English.


There are five papers in CAE:

Reading – 1 hour 15 minutes
Writing – 2 hours
English in Use – 1 hour 30 minutes
Listening – approximately 45 minutes
Speaking – 15 minutes

The writing paper is marked by Cambridge University and the speaking exam is assessed by two Cambridge examiners.


Like the FCE, the Cambridge Advanced Certificate exams are held three times a year (March, June and December).

Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

This is the highest level exam that Cambridge offers.  Having the CPE means that you are able to function confidently in any English language context and are approaching a level of English equivalent to an educated native speaker.  This exam demonstrates that you not only have an excellent knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar, but that you are confident in using language appropriately in a wide range of settings.


There are five papers:

Reading – 1 hour 30 minutes
Writing – 2 hours
Use of English – 1 hour 30 minutes
Listening – approximately 40 minutes
Speaking – 19 minutes

CPE exams are available in June and December each year but will involve making special arrangements with an exam centre for the speaking and listening papers.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

IELTS is particularly suited to those who want to study in an English speaking university, college or secondary school.  There are two versions of the test:

An Academic Module, for those wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level at a university.
A General Training module, for those who plan to undertake training or secondary school education.

You will need to decide in advance which module you want to take.

The IELTS test has four parts:

Listening – 30 minutes
Reading (Academic or General Training) – 60 minutes
Writing (Academic or General Training) – 60 minutes
Speaking – approximately 14 minutes

The listening, reading and writing papers are all taken in one day.  The speaking paper is often taken on the same day but can be taken up to two days later.

Results are scored in bands from 1-9, 1 being 'non-user' and 9 being 'expert user'.  You'll be given an overall band and individual bands for each of your four papers.


Unlike many other exams, there are no set dates for IELTS and most centres will offer the test once a month.  Although there are no limits to the number of times you can take the IELTS test, you are not allowed to resit it within three months of your previous test.

I was a member of IELTS class at Berkshire Language Centre and it has helped me a lot to develop my skills. Our teacher was very determined to put us in great shape for the exam. We also enjoyed ourselves and had good fun between our lessons.


Deniz Karabag, Turkey


Business English Exams

Business English Certificates (BEC)

The BEC Exams are ideal for anyone who wants to develop a career in business where English Language is an important element.  They are offered in three levels:

BEC Preliminary
BEC Vantage
BEC Higher

All three test your ability to communicate using English in a range of business contexts.  They are internationally recognised and provide clear evidence of your command of the English Language.


All three exams are offered on a range of dates throughout the year.