Cambridge English Support Site

Practise with a Pretest


Helpdesk Training Article





Partake in Pretesting

Pretesting is a vital element in the development process of Cambridge English examinations. Pretesting ensures that each individual item in a live examination is pitched at the right level and that the content is appropriate. It also ensures that people from different countries and cultures do not widely differ in the way they perform on a test, or that neither male nor female candidates are disadvantaged. 

We do this by carefully measuring the responses of candidates in pretests using complex benchmarking processes, and by collecting and acting on feedback from both candidates and teachers. 

Benefits for Candidates and Students

Many centres find Pretesting a rewarding process, with the benefits including:

• Pretesting gives learners a chance to practise taking a Cambridge English exam using genuine questions under exam conditions. This experience gives candidates the opportunity to practise their exam technique therefore building their confidence through familiarising themselves with the examination process. This will make candidates feel more relaxed and better prepared when they do their live exams. 

• After taking the Reading, Listening and Use of English papers, the pretesting papers are marked in Cambridge and scores returned to the centres within three weeks. Writing papers are marked by trained Cambridge English examiners and candidates receive feedback about how they performed in the writing test within four weeks. 

• Pretesting helps learners find out which areas they need most practice in and for teachers, it highlights areas where their learners need more help and shows the overall level of students in relation to the exam. This is also an opportunity for teachers to influence the design and content of exams by feeding back to us their thoughts on the tested material. 

• Pretesting is FREE. All test papers and despatch costs are paid for by Cambridge English Language Assessment. 

• Centres and teachers taking part in pretesting can develop their knowledge of assessment issues and show that they are committed to excellence by being an active part of Cambridge English's world renowned programme of research.

We value the feedback and contribution of our centres to the Pretesting process.  

Recent feedback from centres who have participated in Pretesting:

"It is timely and extremely useful for our assessment purposes." Bolivia

"Pretests are easy to administer due to the excellent instructions - all materials were perfectly prepared." Germany

"As always, writing feedback is particularly appreciated by the candidates (and teachers)." Italy 

"We find the entire process excellent for not only the students but the teachers as well, good practice for everyone!" Colombia 

"This is a great opportunity for everyone involved - students benefit, teachers too and our institutions get the best chance to help and practice procedures." Spain 

"It's great for our students to have the opportunity to check their progress in such a way, thank you." Poland 

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