The activities and excursions were really interesting. The guide knows so much about history. It's amazing! I loved the opportunity to see different places here in England.

- Dina Weiersmuller, Switzerland
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Lake School of English: Home > Student life > Exam guidance

Exam guidance

Many students are interested in taking an English language exam to achieve a formal qualification which is recognised by colleges, universities and employers all over the world.

Exam preparation is available for students who are studying for 4 weeks and who have an Intermediate (CEFR B1) level of English or above.

We will give you detailed information about suitable exams for you and advise you on the best preparation for your needs. We will help you register for one of the Cambridge exams or for the IELTS exam.

Key facts

The Cambridge exams are recognized by universities and employers in many countries. The exams test all skills - reading, writing, speaking and listening. In Oxford, you can take the exams in March, June and December.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is used to test your ability to follow a course of study in an English-speaking college or university and is recognised all over the world, including the UK, Australia, New Zealand and North America. It tests your ability to read, write, speak and listen in academic contexts. You can take the exam in Oxford almost every month.

There is an internationally recognised framework, Common European Framework of Reference for Languages which describes language ability in a scale of levels from A1 for beginners to C2 for those who have mastered a language.

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
General English General and Academic English General English (US)
Certificate of Proficiency in English
International English Language Testing System
Test of English as a Foreign Language
Effective Operational Proficiency
Certificate in Advanced English
First Certificate in English
Preliminary English Test
Key English Test

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign language) is an American exam and is recognised by American colleges and universities. However, you can take the TOEFL internet based test (iBT) in Oxford and London if you wish. There are exam dates almost every month of the year. Lake School can provide preparation for TOEFL on a 1-1 basis. You will have to register to take the exam yourself.

How many hours do I have to study to take an exam?

Students often ask Lake School about the number of study hours needed to reach a certain examination level. It's not possible to give a definite answer to this as it depends on many things, for example

  • the student's language learning background
  • how often the student has lessons
  • the interests and motivations of the student
  • the amount of study/practice outside of lesson times.

Cambridge English, however, give these as an approximate guideline:

Common European FrameworkGuided Learning Hours
A2 approximately 180-200
B1 approximately 350-400
B2 approximately 500-600
C1 approximately 700-800
C2 approximately 1,000-1,200