How Callan English relates to LanguageCert exams


Acquiring a visa (student or work) or UK citizenship normally requires success in an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT), and, in December 2023, the LanguageCert General exam and the newer LanguageCert Academic exam were approved by the UK Visa and Immigration Authority as SELTs for both student and work visas. This means that LanguageCert now joins IELTS, Pearson and Trinity as providers of such tests.

Let’s take a brief look at LanguageCert and think about how it relates to Callan courses and products.

The LanguageCert exams test listening, reading, writing and speaking, and overlap significantly in terms of format with other well-known exams such as IELTS. The Academic exam focuses more on generic academic vocabulary and expressions relevant to study and work. LanguageCert scores test takers according to its own bespoke scale, but this is mapped onto the CEFR (A2-C1 for the General exam, and B1-C2 for the Academic). One major attraction of LanguageCert is that you can often book your test only a few hours before taking it, it’s conducted entirely online, and you get your results within 3 days or so.

I personally wouldn’t advise any student at a lower level to consider LanguageCert. Although the General exam certifies down to A2, and the Academic exam down to B1, these may not be the best choices for learners at these levels. Other ‘level-specific’ tests (e.g. PTE Home B1) are available which would be a more ‘enjoyable’ experience. (Visit this page to see SELTs accepted by the UK government.) The issue with LanguageCert, and IELTS for that matter, is that all test takers, regardless of level, are presented with the same tasks. This means that, while higher-level test takers can engage effectively with the texts, audio etc. and perform, lower-level learners often have a hard time just trying to understand what’s going on, let alone interpret all the information and respond!

That said, with some dedicated preparation before the exam itself, Callan Method students are well positioned for success in LanguageCert. If they aim to achieve a result equating to B2, they should have reached Stage 9 or higher and/or be studying with Callan for Business. Callan for Business is more relevant to the Academic exam, as it contains a lot of academic and professional language, and practises exam-specific skills (e.g. interpreting graphically presented data).

As is true for any exam, general English learning can take a student up to the level they need, and additional training is necessary in order to familiarize the learner with the requirements and ‘tips and tricks’ for that specific exam. So, before doing any exam, students should prepare with practice papers, and ideally attend an exam preparation course. The Callan A2, B1 and B2 Student’s Grammar Workbooks have been designed to be an invaluable part of such a course, and contain extended reading texts, test-format exercises, work with synonyms, exercises in interpreting implied meaning etc.

So, for your students moving up to higher levels, with the grammar workbooks and Callan for Business at their disposal, LanguageCert is a great option, especially if they have plans to study or work in the UK.

If you have any questions about our Callan courses, or LanguageCert, please contact me directly at [email protected] .


Duncan McLeay


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