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GESE Grades 1-3: Initial stage

What’s in the exam?

At Initial stage, GESE exams take the form of an unscripted conversation with a Trinity examiner. The examiner uses visual materials to engage the candidate and create an authentic conversation to test their speaking and listening skills.

  • Unscripted conversation - using visual prompts to engage the candidate




CEFR level



Grade 1


5 minutes


Grade 2


6 minutes


Grade 3


7 minutes


Teaching and learning resources – Grades 1-3


Resource type Resource name and link

Exam guide

GESE Exam Information - this booklet covers all GESE stages and grades.

Each stage section includes candidate profile, exam format, exam procedure, teacher guidance and assessment information. Each grade section specifies the communicative skills and language requirements to be demonstrated by the candidate at that level.

Teacher guide

GESE Initial stage - Guide for teachers, Grades 1-3 - this guide contains classroom activities and explains what students can expect in their GESE exams.


Some publishers offer study books to help prepare for Trinity exams. For a list of these, visit our Publications section:

English language publications

Sample lesson plans and classroom activities

These activities 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.

GESE Grade 1

GESE Grade 2

GESE Grade 3

Topic form

The Topic form is not applicable at this level [GESE Grades 4, 5 and 6 only].

Performance descriptors

Candidate Performance Descriptors are used by Trinity examiners to assess each candidate’s performance against the exam requirements.

Technical specifications

Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) - regulatory information

Sample videos

GESE Speaking & Listening

These sample videos were filmed under exam conditions and show realistic exam situations. They are not model performances.

Use the marks and rationales document to see how the candidates were marked.




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