Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE)
Trinity’s Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) are one-to-one, face-to-face assessments of speaking and listening skills with a Trinity examiner.
Preparation for these exams and achievement of GESE qualifications supports people wishing to develop their proficiency in English language speaking - for personal goals, study, travel, employment, settlement or for visa application purposes.
GESE exams are available at 12 levels, from Grade 1 to Grade 12 (pre-A1 to C2 CEFR* proficiency levels). Grouped by development stage, GESE grade qualifications offer a progressive framework for the development of English language skills.
Overview and resources
Trinity’s GESE exams are designed to complement general English language courses, and exam preparation focuses on the development of communicative skills and building confidence among candidates.
Though there is no requirement to have passed lower levels, or other qualifications, guidance is offered about the knowledge and skills required at each proficiency level. For full information about the skills covered by this qualification see the GESE Specifications contained in the GESE Exam information booklet
Click on a link below to find English language teaching and learning resources for each development stage:
GESE exams take the form of an unscripted conversation with a Trinity examiner and tests take between 5 and 25 minutes depending on the grade. At each stage, candidates carry out a number of speaking and listening tasks that show their fluency, accuracy and ability to communicate in English. Task components include:
- The Conversation: An opportunity to demonstrate a realistic exchange of information, ideas and opinions at an appropriate level for the grade.
- The Topic: Before the exam, the candidate prepares a topic of their choice – this is used as the basis for discussion and as the basis of a presentation at Advanced stage.
- The Interactive task: A prompt from the examiner initiates candidate-led speaking and listening interactions – requiring an authentic exchange of information and opinions.
- The Listening task: Short, spoken passages prompt the candidate to demonstrate prediction, deduction and inference skills (only at Advanced stage).
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 availability
GESE Grade 2, Grade 3 and Grade 5 exams are approved by UKVI for 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.
Results and certficates
GESE certificates are usually despatched within 4 weeks of the exam, after results have been approved.
Trinity certificates have no expiry date. Our qualifications are valid for life as robust evidence of achievement at the time of assessment. Note however that some immigration, employer and education institutions demand recent qualifications as an indication of current proficiency irrespective of exam board.
Trinity College London’s Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) - regulatory information.
*GESE Grades 1-12 have been calibrated to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). See how GESE qualifications align to the Ofqual Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).
This qualification is regulated by Ofqual and its respective partners in Wales and Northern Ireland.