An official English certificate makes your CV stand out, showing employers and universities that you have a certain standard of English. If you would like to study a higher-education course taught in English (and not just in the English-speaking world), you will usually need a recognised English language qualification.
The good news is, attaining one doesn’t necessarily mean chaining yourself to your desk at home while your friends are out having fun. We offer a range of preparation courses for the world’s most respected language exams, in thrilling destinations. Combine a stay abroad with an official qualification and you have an enticing prospect!
- Types of certificate
- Length of course
- BY THE BEACH: St. Julian’s (Malta); San Diego (USA); Noosa (Australia)
- CLOSE TO NATURE: Vancouver (Canada); Queenstown (New Zealand); Galway (Ireland)
- BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY: London (UK); New York (USA); Sydney (Australia)
- ON CAMPUS: Boston (USA); Brisbane (Australia); Cape Town (South Africa)
The Cambridge ESOL exams, including the Cambridge English: First (FCE), Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) and Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) are probably the most popular certificates internationally. The names don’t exactly match their abbreviations because the qualifications were known as the First Certificate of English, Cambridge Advanced English and Certificate of Proficiency in English until a recent rebranding. In a field with far too many abbreviations already, the old ones stuck.
Alongside Cambridge ESOL preparation courses, we offer the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication), TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System), which are almost universally known by their abbreviations. All these certificates are standard language qualifications for admission to an American, a British or any international university.
Some exams are paper-based, some are now taken via computer. You can find out more about the various exams here.
One month or three?
A standard exam preparation course lasts from 8 to 12 weeks, giving you plenty of time to improve your English and prepare for the specificities of the exam. These courses are available regularly through the calendar and give you the chance to really get to know your destination, while learning the qualification inside out. Each exam has its own specificities, and a good preparation course ensures you will have no surprises on the day.
In recent years, 4-week intensive summer courses for the Cambridge exams have become a popular alternative. Naturally, you will make more progress on a full 12-week program, and have a more in-depth cultural experience, but the shortened alternative is a great option if you are pressed for time or budget. Prep courses for the IELTS exam are often four weeks long and available throughout the year.
And then comes the fun part: choosing a destination!
Read on for some of our favourite locations for an English exam preparation course, whether by the beach, surrounded by nature, in the city or on campus.
English exam preparation courses by the beach
Perfect if: you want to develop a suntan while developing your English skills; you think language immersion is best accompanied by immersion in the cool sea after a day of study.
St. Julian’s, Malta: FCE/CAE/CPE/IELTS/TOEFL
How does a four-week stay in Malta this summer sound? At our EC partner school in St Julian’s, you can enjoy prime location on the island, with the beach at St George’s Bay and Paceville, the hub of Malta’s superb nightlife, just a short walk away.
We offer exam prep courses (from 4 weeks to 12) throughout the year in St Julian’s and the Cambridge ESOL exams are available in March, June, August and November/December. A hundred kilometres south of Sicily, the weather is excellent all year round.
IELTS and TOEFL preparation courses are also on offer, with options for 4 or 8 weeks.
San Diego, USA: FCE/CAE/CPE/TOEFL
San Diego may not have the instant name recognition of Los Angeles or San Francisco, but this is pure California. Our partner school is in the best part of town too: home to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), La Jolla lines the Pacific coastline, perched on the Southern California cliffs.
Our partner school specialises in Cambridge ESOL exam preps, which are available throughout the year, but also runs TOEFL crash-courses of either 4 or 8 weeks.
Noosa, Australia: FCE/CAE/CPE
Long, white, sandy beaches, crystal-clear water and a glorious summer during the European winter. What more could you ask for? Well, how about a fully accredited Cambridge ESOL examination centre!
Ok, it may not have quite the same lure as the sea, sand and surf, but there are major advantages to studying at an exam centre. Not only are exam centres and their teachers in close communication with Cambridge ESOL but learners can take the exam at the school, surrounded by familiar faces, as opposed to schlepping across town to an unfamiliar building. Feeling comfortable is a big advantage when it comes to taking exams.
Our partner school in Noosa offers the full range of Cambridge ESOL qualifications from FCE to CPE. Preparation course lengths vary between 8 and 12 weeks.
English exam preparation courses close to nature
Perfect if: you enjoy sports, busy, active weekends and fresh air (without giving up the benefits of urban life).
Vancouver, Canada: FCE/CAE/CPE/TOEFL/IELTS/TOEIC
No other city on Earth offers quite the same balance of mountain, water and big-city buzz. But, as well as the natural enticements of British Columbia (Whistler, where we also offer courses, is less than two hours away), Vancouver is a major international centre for English language tuition and exams. Our local partner schools offer the full range of exam preparation courses throughout the year.
Queenstown, New Zealand: FCE/CAE/CPE/TOEIC
Looking out across Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is famous for extreme sports: this is the home of bungee jumping. But you don’t have to leap from a crane, cliff or bridge to make the most of your time here. Excellent skiing in the winter and access to the lake and hills in the summer make Queenstown an alluring destination. It’s super-friendly and great value too.
We offer Cambridge and TOEIC exam prep courses in Queenstown at an authorised exam centre. IELTS courses are also available throughout the year.
Galway, Ireland: FCE/CAE/IELTS
On Ireland’s lush West Coast, Galway is a gloriously laid-back city which is perfect for a summer exam prep course. As well as longer courses that run at specific points throughout the year, we offer 4-week preparation courses for the CAE and FCE, starting in June and July respectively.
Summer is a great time to visit Ireland and enjoy the countryside at its most beautiful.
English exam preparation courses in the city
Perfect if: you thrive in the big city with its live music, films, bookshops, cafés and stylish residents.
London, Great Britain: FCE/CAE/CPE/TOEFL/IELTS/TOEIC
We offer a huge range of exam prep courses in the home of the English language. Springtime in London, when the parks blossom and the locals bask in the first sunshine for months, is particularly enthralling.
Or how about a four-week crash course in the summer, when the parks fill with people, the cafes and pubs spill out onto the streets and major events like Wimbledon and the Notting Hill Carnival take place?
London’s calling whether you want a short summer course or a semester-long prep course at any time of year! Our course centres are in London’s best locations, including Covent Garden, Bloomsbury, Wimbledon, Highgate or Hampstead.
New York, USA: FCE/CAE/CPE/TOEFL/TOEIC
New York, New York, so good they named it twice. There’s no bad time to be in the city but we believe that primetime for an exam prep course is from September, when the students arrive back at college, the leaves start to turn crimson and the run up to Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas begins. Exam prep courses are available throughout the year.
Sydney, Australia: FCE/CAE/CPE/TOEFL/IELTS/TOEIC
How does this sound for December… leave the European winter behind and, after a stop off in Asia, arrive in Sydney to a blast of warm air as you step off the plane. After a chance to acclimatise and meet your roomies and classmates, it’s time for the legendary New Year’s fireworks in Sydney Harbour. Once you have recovered from New Year’s Eve and become settled in the city, the celebrations start all over again for Australia Day on 26th January!
We offer exam prep courses at half a dozen of specialised schools in Sydney, whether in the City Centre, Bondi or Manly. All the advantages of the city with a healthy splash of sun, sea and surf too.
English exam preparation courses on a campus
Perfect if: you work best in a dedicated study community environment, with great learning facilities onsite; you enjoy the energy of studying in a team with friends who share the same goal.
Boston, USA: FCE/CAE/TOEFL
KINGS is located just 20 minutes from downtown Boston, on the grounds of Pine Manor College, one of the most attractive university campuses in the United States. Lectures, movies, drama workshops, computer and video workshops, seminars, debates, music, concerts and plays, plus a host of sports are available on campus, while the bright lights of the city are within easy reach for when you need a change of scenery.
Brisbane, Australia: FCE/CAE/CPE/TOEIC/IELTS
Shafston International College is an official Cambridge ESOL exam centre, so you can enjoy an exceptional quality of teaching and the convenience of sitting the exams on-site, while enjoying all of the benefits of campus life. Located in the very heart of Brisbane, the modern campus centres on Shafston House, a 19th century architectural masterpiece which has been completely refurbished.
Cape Town, South Africa: FCE/CAE
Sea Point is one of Cape Town’s most fashionable districts, only a few minutes by taxi from the city centre. Cape Town’s famous beaches, Clifton and Camps Bay, are just 10 minutes away by public transport. Sea Point is where our partner school offers a vibrant campus experience, mixing the best of the city with the unique atmosphere of a campus. Cambridge prep courses last 10 weeks and are available regularly through the year.
From sandy beaches to megacities … via megacities with sandy beaches! But these are just some of our popular destinations for an English exam preparation course. You can use the site search feature on our website to find the perfect destination and course for you.Image credits: Spinola Bay, St Julian’s, Malta, from the pool deck of the Juliani Hotel, David Sim via CC; Noosa, eGuide Travel via CC; Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, Robert Nyman via CC; Galway, zenithe via CC; London Eye, Alex Hammond; New York Skyline, Chris Isherwood via CC; Sydney Opera House at Night, Andrew Fysh via CC; EC; King’s College Boston