Trinity English Exams

Trinity English Exam Preparation

5 English Language awards from Trinity

Whereas Aptis exams focus on a modern approach to assessment, Trinity English exams aim to promote the skills we need in the 21st century. Therefore the five language qualifications from Trinity focus on developing communicative and interactive language skills.  Because there are 5 types of examination, there is an option for people of all ages who are learning English at all levels. More than 60 countries have facilities to offer the Trinity English exams to individuals, schools and colleges.

The five different exams available from Trinity are:  

Trinity English

Read on to find out about the Trinity English exams, discover if one of the options suits your needs and of course budget. Don’t forget that here at Break into English, we have specialist teachers ready to train you in Exam techniques and skills you need for success in any English exam! 


1 – Trinity’s Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE)

These Trinity exams are Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) and they assess speaking and listening skills. The exams are one to one, face to face with a real person, for this reason, there is no computer-based test available. The Trinity English GESE tests come in 12 levels, ranging from pre-A1 (Grade 1) to C2 (Grade 12. Preparing and obtaining the GESE is a great way to develop proficiency in English language speaking and listening for a variety of situations – study, travel, employment etc. You can check your  country representative about availability in your area

Trinity English GESE

GESE exam format

Trinity GESE exams all consist of an unscripted conversation with an official Trinity examiner. However, the extent to which test takers lead the conversation depends on the grade. In fact, at higher grades, examiners expect you to lead much of the conversation rather than depend on questions for the conversation to flow. Depending on the grade or level, the exams take from 5 – 25 minutes. There are specific speaking and listening tasks which are assigned according to the level and stage. The tasks let candidates show their fluency, accuracy and ability to communicate in English.


Test-takers have the participate in a realistic exchange of information, ideas and opinions.


Candidates prepare a topic before they take the test, although the candidates may not read from a script, you may follow a bullet-point guide. The topic will be the basis for conversation and discussion at Advanced stage.

Interactive task:

The test-taker has to interact with the examiners, leading the conversation with the examiner based on his or her prompts.

Listening task:

At Advanced stage, grades 10-11, candidates listen to short, spoken passages. Next, the candidate must demonstrate skills such as prediction, deduction and inference as they talk about the spoken passage.

Trinity English Exam levels and tasks

GESE cost

The Trinity English exams are cheaper at lower levels, starting at around 35€ for grade 1 and 140€ for grade 12. We think this is good value for money at Break into English, compared to the Cambridge PET or Cambridge Advanced for example. However, we must bear in mind that the GESE qualification only represents the speaking and listening components of the English language.

Trinity GESE Certificates

Trinity aims to dispatch the certificates four weeks after the exam. Unlike Cambridge certificates, the Trinity English exam certificates do not expire. GESE certificates are valid from the day you receive them, however, employers may not accept very old qualifications.


2- Trinity’s Integrated Skills in English (ISE)

Trinity ISETrinity says that the ISE exam as an English language qualification for the 21st century due to its contemporary multi-skills language exam design. Whereas Trinity GESE evaluates only speaking and listening skills, the ISE Trinity English test focuses on the four areas of the English language: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The test is aimed at people who need English language skills for study. Consequently, there is a strong focus on true language performance and promoting transferable skills for academic study and employability.  Due to this academic focus, ISE is suitable for young people and adults, typically at school, college or university, who are learning and using English in their studies. Additionally, the ISE is recommendable for adults who require a recognised English language qualification.

Trinity ISE exam format

ISE come in five levels from CEFR A2 to C2. There is ISE foundation (CEFR level A2), ISE I (CEFR level B1), ISE II (CEFR level B2) ISE III (CEFR level C1) and finally ISE IV (CEFR level C2). One of the great advantages of the ISE qualification is that it has got two separate and independent exam modules which you can sit together or at different times, as you are ready. The two modules are Reading & Writing and Speaking & Listening, however ISE IV (CEFR level C2) has a different format – you have to take both modules at this level. Although you can sit the exams separately, in order to obtain the Trinity English Exam
ISE qualification you must pass both modules.

In order to prepare, you can find resources via the following links:

ISE Foundation (A2) | ISE I (B1) | ISE II (B2) | ISE III (C1) | ISE IV(C2)

Trinity ISE Speaking and Listening tasks

Trinity ISE speaking and listening tasksThis first module integrates speaking and listening skills in one exam. Test takers prepare material beforehand and work with listening materials in the examination room to hold a conversation with the examiner. The length of the speaking and listening exam depends on the level you are taking. The lower level exams are shorter, they are also cheaper. You have to complete different speaking and listening tasks to demonstrate your listening comprehension and oral communication skills. There are some good books available, at reasonable prices to help you prepare the Speaking and listening tasks. We recommend: Succeed in Trinity ISE level 1, level 2 and level 3.

Trinity ISE Reading and Writing tasks

Trinity ISE Reading and Writing tasksSecondly, this module integrates reading and writing skills in one exam. For example ‘reading to writing’ tasks provide test-takers with written passages, and the aim of the final question in that section is for the candidate to write about the information contained in the texts in his or her own words. The length of the exam is 2 hours, whatever the level you are taking. There are three types of task that you have to undertake, reading, reading into writing and writing.

You will need to study an appropriate amount of vocabulary and grammar in order to succeed in these exams, there are books that can help you, we recommend Succeed in Trinity ISE level 1, level 2 and level 3 for Reading and Writing, there is no level four book available, so if you are interested in sitting the ISE IV exam, it is an especially good idea to prepare with a specialised English teacher.

Trinity ISE costs

The good thing about being able to take the two modules separately is that you can spread the costs over time, as you also prepare for each sitting independently. However, Trinity does not issue certificates until both modules have been passed. So you will have to pay for both exams to get one certificate. On the other hand, the system is particularly cost-effective if you happen to fail one module but pass the other. If this happens, you only have to pay to re-sit the module that you do not pass. It is actually cheaper to take the two Trinity English exam modules on the same day, the prices range from 102€ for ISE foundation to 205€ for ISE IV. Remember that ISE IV is always in one setting, the modules are not independent in this case.

Trinity ISE Certificates

Trinity ISE results and certificates are different, in a very positive way. Firstly after the Speaking and Listening exam, you receive feedback in a 30-minute teacher support session. Furthermore, the certificates themselves are very detailed; the module certificates show separate results for each of the four skills. Additionally, candidates get a detailed diagnostic report for each skill section of the exam which highlights strengths and areas for improvement. As with GESE, trinity ISE certificates have no expiry date. Trinity English exam qualifications are valid indefinitely as powerful proof of achievement.  

3 – Trinity Stars: Young Performers in English

Trinity StarsChildren between the ages of 3 and 12 who are just starting to learn English can prepare for this award. This Trinity English exam encourages the learning of the English language through drama, music and performance.  It is a group award, so children are not assessed individually, but with their classmates. Consequently participating in a preparation program helps to build confidence and communication skills whilst motivating children to learn.

4- ESOL Skills for Life (UK)

Trinity ESOLThis Trinity English exam is for learners over the age of 16 who live in the UK but don’t speak English as their first language. The qualification tasks cover language skills for settling in the UK such as spoken interactions, work-related tasks and academic situations. Tests are available only in block bookings – so you must find a training centre in order to sit the exam with other classmates.

5- Secure English Language Tests (SELTs)

Trinity SELTsThere are 10 secure test centres across the UK where you can take the GESE and ISE exams. Due to the high level of security, The qualifications are approved by UKVI for visa & immigration purposes, and by TFL for private hire drivers. The exam format is the same, however, in the Trinity ISE you must take both modules in the same sitting. GESE SELTs are available for CEFR levels  A1, A2, B1 and cost £150. ISE SELTs for levels B1, B2, C1 cost £180.


How to prepare for the Trinity English exams

Trinity English ExamsThe best way to prepare for any test with a native English teacher. At break into English, we have a team of specialist teachers who have proven experience working to prepare candidates. If you would like to try a free class to see our unique method and how we can help you achieve your goals, do not hesitate to get in touch. Just click the picture to the right.