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What is Pretesting?


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What is Pretesting?

Testing materials before they are used in live examinations allows us to make certain our exams are accurate, fair and reliable. As part of Cambridge English Language Assessment's commitment to quality, we submit all the material in our exams to a number of procedures, including pretesting, to ensure there are no questions likely to test anything but a candidate's language ability. The data produced by pretesting is then analysed in detail so that exam papers are constructed with the assurance they are equivalent in difficulty and content to their predecessors.

Before any questions are considered for inclusion in a Cambridge English examination, they are first pretested on groups of students. Usually these students are enrolled for the exam in which they are being pretested. A sample of a variety of first languages and backgrounds take each pretest and approximately 250,000 pretests are despatched worldwide each year.

Cambridge English: Key, Cambridge English: Preliminary and Cambridge English: First, (including Cambridge English: Key for Schools and Cambridge English: Preliminary for Schools), Cambridge English: Business Certificates and IELTS are available in sessions at certain times of the year, please consult the Pretesting calendar for more information.

BULATS, TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test) Modules 1 - 3, TKT: CLIL (Content and Learning Integrated Language), TKT: Young Learners are available on demand.

Cambridge English: Proficiency and Cambridge English: Business Higher can usually be taken ‘on demand’ at almost any time, subject to availability and time to process and despatch the materials. (20 working days minimum).

To take part in pretesting, your school must either be a Cambridge English Language Assessment test centre or be a ‘Pretest Approved Institution’.

If your school is not yet approved you will need to complete an online Pretesting Institution Approval Form. Once the form is returned to Cambridge English Language Assessment and has been checked, a referee will be approached for your application to be endorsed. Once approved, your school may then be invited to participate in pretesting one or more of the Cambridge English exams that your students sit.

We hope that you will find it beneficial for your students and that through your feedback you will take the opportunity to influence the design and content of the examinations we produce.

If you have any problems entering the pretesting website or any other general queries about Cambridge English pretesting, please click here and let us know.

Frequently Asked Questions


To find out more about Pretesting, please use the following link:

Practice with a Pretest


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