Aptis FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Aptis FAQs

Aptis 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.

Are the Aptis 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 a candidate with a learning or physical difficulty take an Aptis 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.

Do candidates have to take every language skill at the same time? 

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

Can I use my Aptis 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 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 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. 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.

So what does it all 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, but these are the average prices. Cambridge FCE costs around 245€, Trinity ISE II around 200€, while Aptis General costs 79€ and Cambridge Linguaskill is about the same price. 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 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 exam?

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: https://www.britishcouncil.org/exam/aptis/why-choose-aptis/results-scoring. 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: https://www.fgua.es/archivos/aptis-19feb16.pdf.

Which institutions recognise Aptis?

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 qualification valid for?

There is no expiry date on the Aptis 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 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


So 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 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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