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 Assessment English’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.
The following products are available to pretest in sessions at certain times of the year:
Cambridge English: B2 First
Cambridge English: B2 First for Schools
Cambridge English: C1 Advanced
Cambridge English: C2 Proficiency
IELTS General Training
Pre A1 Starters (YLE)
A1 Movers (YLE)
A2 Flyers (YLE)
Please consult the Pretesting calendar for more information.
The following products can usually be taken “on demand” at almost any time, subject to availability and time to despatch the materials (3 weeks notice minimum):
Cambridge English: A2 Key
Cambridge English: A2 Key for Schools
Cambridge English: B1 Preliminary
Cambridge English: B1 Preliminary for Schools
Cambridge English: B1 Business Preliminary
Cambridge English: B2 Business Vantage
Cambridge English: C1 Business Higher
TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test) Modules 1 – 3
TKT: CLIL (Content and Learning Integrated Language)
TKT: Young Learners
To take part in pretesting your school must either be a Cambridge Assessment English 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 Assessment English 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
Are Pretests the same as a live examination?
Live examinations are based on questions used in pretesting and on the information we receive from the pretesting process.
Is it free of charge?
Yes, all Pretests are administered free.
Is there a minimum number of candidates?
No, there is no minimum number of Pretest candidates. However, we would prefer if single candidates are not entered.
Why is the Pretest length different from a live exam?
The length of a Pretest may vary because we include a large number of potential questions, from which the best examples are carried forward.
Do we get reimbursed for invigilator costs?
No, however you should not incur any additional staffing costs as Pretests can be taken as a classroom activity under exam conditions.
When do we get scores?
Scores are returned within 3 weeks of receipt of completed materials, with Writing components returned with feedback from examiner marking within 4 weeks of receipt.
To find out more about Pretesting, please use the following link: