Jump to content

Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE)

Who are the Graded Exams in Spoken English (GESE) for?

The GESE exams are intended for candidates who have learnt English as a foreign, second or additional language.

There are 12 GESE grades. These are grouped into four stages: Initial, Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced. The number of tasks in the exam depends on the stage. At each stage there is a new task, which increases the linguistic and cognitive demands for the candidate.

Candidates must be at least 5 years old at the time of the examination. There is no upper age limit.

The language requirements for each of the 12 grades are shown clearly in the GESE Exam Information booklet. There is a GESE grade to suit every candidate. Please read the GESE specifications carefully to decide which grade is most suitable for your language level and abilities.


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.


GESE grades: information and teaching resources

Grades 1-3 | Grades 4-6 | Grades 7-9 Grades 10-12


 Watch sample exam videos


GESE exams are designed to complement general English language courses, and focus on building confidence and motivation in English language communication. 

The exams take the form of an unscripted conversation with a Trinity examiner, which covers a range of topics and tasks. They are open to anyone aged 5 or older and are designed to be inclusive and relevant to every learner.

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

GESE exams are available in many countries and can be taken throughout the year at Trinity exam centres.


As they move up the grades, candidates undertake tasks that require a more advanced use of language. At higher grades, they are expected to take more responsibility for developing and directing the conversation, rather than simply responding to a series of questions.

Exam fees and dates

For information about exam fees and dates, please contact your local Trinity office.

Become a Trinity exam centre

You must be a Registered Trinity Centre to run our exams. Find out more


GESE is accredited by Ofqual*, the exam regulator.

All GESE grades hold the ALTE Q-mark and have been calibrated to the Common European Framework of Reference (PDF, 401KB).

* except Grade 1 


Recent academic research


Back to top