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GESE Grades 1-3: Initial

GESE Grade CEFR Level
Grade 1 Pre-A1
Grade 2 A1
Grade 3 A2.1

GESE Initial stage exams are for people with basic English language ability, and focus on building confidence and motivation in English language communication.

GESE Grade 2, Grade 3 and Grade 5 exams are approved for UK visa or settlement purposes when taken at a UK SELT centre. Information and resources to prepare for these exams are available in the UK visa section on this website.


Exam structure

At all three grades, the exam takes the form of an unscripted conversation with a Trinity examiner, and lasts between 5 and 7 minutes, depending on the grade. The examiner uses visual materials to engage the candidate and create an authentic conversation to test their speaking and listening skills.

The GESE Exam information booklet (PDF, 799KB) contains the content and format of the exams, plus guidance notes for teachers and the exam rules and regulations.

Sample videos

These were filmed under exam conditions with genuine candidates – they’re not model performances. Use the marks and rationales document (PDF, 423KB) to see how they were marked. 



Trinity examiners use the Candidate Performance Descriptors (PDF, 24KB) to assess each candidate’s performance against the exam requirements.

Guide for teachers

The Guide for teachers. Grades 1-3 contains classroom activities and explains what students can expect in their GESE exam.

Sample lesson plans

These lesson plans complement communicative teaching practices. They don’t cover all exam requirements – use the GESE Exam information booklet to ensure that you cover all the exam content.

Grade 1

1: Colours, parts of the body, clothing (PDF, 257KB) 

2: Animals (PDF, 356KB) 

3: Classroom objects and numbers (PDF, 243KB) 


Grade 2

1: Household objects and rooms (PDF, 294KB) 

2: People, possessions and questions (PDF, 64KB) 

3: Numbers and pets (PDF, 102KB) 


Grade 3

1: Actions and abilities (PDF, 215KB) 

2: Directions, the local area, jobs (PDF, 271KB)

3: Weather, daily routines, ordinal numbers (PDF, 399KB) 



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