C1 English test (ISE III)

The Trinity C1- ISE III is a 4 skills test covering reading, writing, speaking, and listening, the test is taken over one full day at an approved Trinity SELT centre. The test is used to prove your level of English language proficiency and is required when applying for:

Book your C1 (ISE III)

What is a C1 ISE III English test?

A C1 English language test is a type of Secure English Language Test (SELT) that is needed for a UK student visa application. 

C1 refers to the level of English you have, as defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The CEFR guidelines say that someone at the C1 level in English can:

  • Understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.
  • Express themselves fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
  • Use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic, and professional purposes.
  • Produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects.

With a SELT test, Trinity College London offers two types: GESE (Graded Examinations in Spoken English) and ISE (Integrated Skills in English).

What are C1 ISE III English tests used for?

C1 English tests are used to assess the level of English proficiency a person has. The level of English language ability needed for a visa application can vary depending on the immigration route. English language test results are needed for the application process for a number of visas so to find out which level you need it's best to check the UK Government website.      

You will have to pass a C1 English  language test if you are applying for:

  • Student visa (although UKVI requires a B2 test, some institutions require C1 - please check with your sponsor)

How can I prepare for a C1 English test?

The C1 - ISE III is a 4-skills test covering reading, writing, speaking, and listing.  The speaking and listening test is delivered with Trinity examiners remotely via video conference. The writing and reading exam is taken in a room with other candidates taking an ISE exam. If you choose to take your exam in a Trinity SELT centre, both exams will be set up for you using a Trinity tablet device for the speaking and listening exam, and pens and paper will be provided for the reading and writing exam by your personal steward.

The test is taken over one full day and is split into two parts: 

Reading & Writing

Consists of four tasks and is two hours long. 

  1. Long reading task: the candidate reads a single text and answers 15 questions. Topics usually covered are, public figures past and present,  early memories, and the world of work
  2. Multi-text reading task: the candidate reads four texts and answers 15 questions. Topics customarily covered are education, personal values and ideas and national customs. 
  3. Reading into writing task:  the candidate produces a piece of writing based on the four selected topics in task two. 
  4. Extended writing task: the candidate produces a piece of writing in response to a prompt. Topics that could be covered are society and living standards, pollution and recycling, and village and city life. 

Speaking & listening

Consists of four tasks and is 25 minutes long.

1. Topic (8 minutes long) 

  • You will choose a topic to prepare before the test, for discussion with the examiner. 
  • Remember to prepare a formal presentation handout to take to the exam for discussion with the examiner.
  • You may use brief notes to help you give your presentation, but you may not read from a script.

2. Collaborative (4 minutes long) 

  • The examiner reads the candidate a prompt. The candidate responds to the prompt by starting, leading, and maintaining the interaction with questions. It is essential for the candidate to initiate, interact and collaborate with the examiner and not wait for the examiner to lead the conversation.

3. Conversation (3 minutes long)

  • You will have a short conversation with the examiner about one subject area chosen by the examiner.

4. Independent listening (8 minutes)

  • Candidates will listen to a recording and answer questions related to the recording.
  • The examiner will play the recording twice, the candidates may take notes while listening for the second time. Notes are optional and are not assessed.

To help you prepare for your C1 – ISE III Trinity has a variety of preparation materials for you to choose from.

Prepare for your ISE III (C1)

What do you need to take a SELT test?

If your exam is at a Trinity centre you MUST do the following in order to take your SELT test:

Why choose Trinity for your C1 ISE III exam?

Real-life accredited examiners

Trinity College London uses human examiners to run SELT tests. This allows for more flexibility than computer adapted tests do.

Convenient locations

With over 20 SELT test centres across the UK, Trinity offers tests seven days a week. You can choose from 100's of slots based on the date, time, and location that works best for you

Learn more

Digital Certificate

Within 21 days of taking your exam, you will be emailed your diagnostic report and you will be sent a link to access your digital certificate by email.

Learn more 

What happens after you’ve booked your SELT?

Once you’ve booked a SELT test with Trinity, you will receive an email from us with details about your exam. This will include: 

  • Type of test you’ve booked
  • Time and date of your test
  • The test centre your test will be at

When this email comes through, be sure to check that the details of your exam are correct. If you can’t find the email, please check your junk and spam folders.

On the day of your SELT exam

If you’re taking your SELT exam at a Trinity test centre, then it’s important to make sure you follow these instructions so that there are no issues on the day of your test: 

Arrive at the test centre at the time given on your email - you will be greeted by your personal steward.

*Please note that only the candidate can enter the exam centre. Family members or other people are not allowed to enter the exam centre or wait in the reception area.

For more information about what happens on your SELT exam test day, watch our step-by-step video for Trinity ISE tests.

Ready to book a SELT test?

Book your C1 (ISE III)

Frequently Asked Questions about C1 ISE III

Your C1 English test must be taken at one of the Trinity test centres. Find a centre near you today.

​​All Trinity certificates are valid for life to be used as evidence of your achievement and performance in a Trinity exam. However, where certificates are used for UK visa or immigration purposes, Trinity has recommended to the UK Home Office that, for security reasons, only certificates less than two years old should be accepted.

All Trinity ISE exams cost £180.

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