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Aptis ESOL FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Aptis FAQs

Aptis ESOL FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

These are some of the questions that our students often ask us. We’ve answered them to the best of our ability.  The information we give is up to date at the time of writing, and we update this website whenever there are any major changes. Even so, we strongly recommend that you check the British Council website for the most up-to-date information. We’ve covered the three main Aptis tests: Aptis ESOL General, Aptis ESOL for Teachers and Aptis ESOL Advanced.

Which Aptis ESOL exam should I take?

This will depend on what you need the qualification for, there are 4 variants of the exam. 

Aptis General = this is often used as a basic tool for assessing the level English. Aptis for Teens = this is an exam specifically designed for teenagers in mind. Aptis for Teachers = the content of the exam relates specifically to teachers. Aptis Advanced = this is a higher level exam designed to test if candidates have a level of up to C2 on The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (the CEFR)

Is Aptis ESOL the same as Aptis?

Yes, there have been no changes to the exam at all – it’s exactly the same as before. The name changed in April 2022, as the exams are now regulated by Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) in England.

I took my exam before April 2022, when it was called Aptis. Is it still valid?

Yes, it is.

How long will it take me to prepare for Aptis ESOL?

This will depend on how much time you’ve got to dedicate to studying, and how effective your study skills are. Check out our top tips for Speaking, Reading, Writing, which Vocabulary to study and how to learn it more effectively.

In what order do I take the Aptis ESOL exam?

Generally the speaking is first, then the listening. Then you can choose what order to take the rest of the exam.

If I don’t get the result I wanted, how long do I have to wait before I can take the exam again?

As you get your results a few days after the exam, and as you can sign up for another a few days before the exam, the waiting-time is very short. A lot of centres offer exam dates every two weeks (it depends on where you live).

How long does it take to do an Aptis ESOL Test?

That depends on which test you’re taking. Here are the durations of the tests, both for the whole exam and per exam phase:

Aptis ESOL General: 2hrs 42 mins

(Core [Grammar & Vocabulary]: 25 mins, Reading: 35 mins, Listening: 40 mins, Writing: 50 mins, Speaking: 12 mins)

Aptis ESOL for Teachers: 2hrs 57 mins

(Core [Grammar & Vocabulary]: 25 mins, Reading: 35 mins, Listening: 55 mins, Writing: 50 mins, Speaking: 12 mins)

Aptis ESOL Advanced: 2hrs 50 mins

(Core [Grammar & Vocabulary]: 25 mins, Reading: 60 mins, Listening: 30 mins, Writing: 45 mins, Speaking: 10 mins)

Do candidates have to take every language skill on the same day? 

Yes, the exam tests all the skills, one after the other, on the same day.

What can I use Aptis ESOL for?

This also depends on where you live. For example, in Spain it’s a valid language qualification for public exams, to validate  your degree, and also to apply for ‘Erasmus +’ grants. And in Uzbekistan, Aptis for Teachers is an officially recognised and acknowledged qualification by the State Testing Centre under the Cabinet of the Ministries of the Republic of Uzbekistan (STC).

The British Council states that Aptis is used by a variety of organisations like universities, schools and governments in more than 85 countries. It is also recognised as a valid proof of English proficiency by ministries, educational institutions and regional governments across the world.

Are the Aptis ESOL exams suitable for candidates of any age and culture?

From age 13-17 candidates can take Aptis for Teens. This exam is especially designed for teenagers. From age 17+ candidates can take the Aptis General exam. Both these exams have the same level of recognition.

The other exams in the suite are Aptis for Teachers and Aptis Advanced.

The exams are designed only to test English comprehension, and candidates from any background should feel comfortable taking any of the suite of Aptis exams. It’s used by schools, universities and governments in more than 85 countries.

Can I use my Aptis ESOL exam to ‘finish’ my degree?

Yes, but check the British Council website to see which institutions recognise it.

What’s the CEFR?

This is the abbreviation for the Common European Framework of Reference, which indicates the level language learners have reached. We explain it all more here: Aptis and the CEFR Levels.

Is the Aptis ESOL test difficult?

Well, there isn’t a pass or fail as such. Everybody takes the same exam and it isn’t marked at one single level. So your grade depends on how well you do on the day. The final score you get is an average of the four skills. For example, if you get an A2 result in listening, reading and writing and a B1 in speaking, your CEFR result will be A2. If you get A2 for listening and speaking and B1 for writing and speaking, your final result will be B1. IFor those who’d like to know more details and look at the methodology behind the scoring system, here’s a detailed pdf from the British Council.

Which exam should I take: Aptis, Trinity, Cambridge, IELTS or Cambridge LinguaSkill?

There are so many English exams these days, and it can be difficult to choose between them. As we mentioned above, you can’t fail Aptis ESOL. So however you do, you’ll come out with a grade somewhere between A1 and C2. This is a big incentive for many people – especially if, like me, you get nervous taking (and possibly failing) exams. Now let’s compare that with Cambridge and Trinity exams. On the plus side, they’re more internationally recognised, but on the downside, they’re much more expensive.

How much does the Aptis ESOL cost?

To give you a better idea, let’s look at what it costs to do a B2-level English exam in Spain. The prices can vary depending on the centre, and the country, but these are the average prices. Cambridge FCE costs around 245€, Trinity ISE II around 200€, while Aptis General/Aptis for Teachers costs 87€.  (Though if you pay via a school or an agent expect to pay a bit more) Cambridge Linguaskill is about the same price.  Aptis ESOL Advanced costs 99€. We recommend you to check the examining boards’ respective websites to get the prices in other countries.

How long does it take to get the results?

This is the other thing to keep in mind. How quickly do you want to take the exam, and how soon do you need the results? Generally for Trinity ISE and the main Cambridge exams you have to sign up at least two months before the exam date. Then once you’ve done the exam you have to wait another six to eight weeks for the results. (Except for Trinity GESE exams; you get the results as soon as the centre’s session is over.) For Aptis ESOL and Cambridge Linguaskill you can matriculate three days before the exam date. You get the results very quickly too. LinguaSkill wins on speed, as it aims to get the results to you in 48 hours, while Aptis takes 72 hours.

Where can I take the Aptis ESOL exam ?

The number of countries you can take the Aptis ESOL exams is increasing all the time. There are currently 85 countries around the world offering Aptis exams. These are some of the countries where the exam is popular. The UK, Austria, Chile, China, India, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, México, Perú, Poland, Venezuela, Vietnam, Spain and Portugal.

Here’s a list of centres where you can take the exam in Spain. They’re in all the major cities.

How many points do I need to get in order to get a C grade?

The scoring system is quite complicated – you can check it out here: According to their example, a score of 169 (out of 200) for the 4 skills, combined with 35 out of 50 for the Core Test produced a C grade (they don’t specify what the Speaking mark was in this case). So you can’t go just by the mark out of 200 …

You can download this pdf, which might be an easier document to understand. It gives a summary and some idea of what score you need in each part to get an overall C:

Which institutions recognise Aptis ESOL?

In Spain many universities and autonomous regions recognise Aptis, and the list is growing. Here’s the most up-to-date list.

How long is the Aptis ESOL qualification valid for?

There is no expiry date on the Aptis ESOL Certificate. However, some universities might not accept Aptis two years after you’ve taken the exam. This is also the case with other international exams such as IELTS and TOEFL. However, it depends on the organisation.

Can I take Aptis ESOL in the UK?

Yes you can. It’s delivered in centres throughout the country. Click on this link to find your nearest Aptis ESOL test centre in the UK.

Can I take Aptis at home?

Yes, it is possible. You’ll have to download special software called ‘Proctortrack’ onto your computer before taking the test. Here are the full details about Aptis remote

Can a candidate with a learning or physical difficulty take an Aptis ESOL exam?

Yes. If you have a disability or special needs you will need to contact the British Council at least two months before the test date. You will also need to provide a medical certificate when you register for the exam. It should have been issued at least two years prior to registering.


At the end of the day, the answer depends on three main things:

  • how much you’re willing to pay
  • how quickly you need to take your exam
  • how quickly you need the results

If you decide Aptis ESOL is the exam for you after reading these FAQ, make sure to check out all our free exam practice materials in the Guide to the Posts.

We hope we’ve dealt with most of the FAQ on this subject.  Feel free to ask us any questions by using the form below.

Good luck with the English exam you choose to do!

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