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Why Skills for English?

Skills for English is a qualification that enables you to demonstrate your knowledge of English language for a range of purposes, including work, study or settlement. With Skills for English you get:

  • A qualification that is assured by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), an international leader in education and qualifications development

  • A clear path for rapid progress towards your goal, with practical support, study aids and practice tests

  • A variety of test levels to match your needs precisely, with the outcome based on a simple pass-mark

  • Simple on-demand booking and a choice of delivery channels and locations

  • A one-session test that is entirely computer-based with no examiner/assessor present

  • Auto-marked reading and listening skills, with speaking and writing skills marked by expert assessors who do not see any of your personal details

  • A quick turn-around on marking with results being available in as little as 14 days

Levels tailored to your needs

Skills for English provides an accurate measure of language proficiency through practical and realistic tasks which you would expect to undertake in an English-speaking environment.

You get to choose the test level you require, from beginner to proficiency, for either two skills, speaking and listening, or four skills, speaking, listening, reading and writing. That way you know you are preparing for and taking, precisely the level of test you need for your chosen purpose – no more, no less.





You can see how the tests map to other common language frameworks and tests here.


Computer-based testing for all skills

All Skills for English tests use computer-based delivery for all skills. Reading and listening are automatically marked during the test session itself; speaking and writing are recorded digitally during the test session and marked by trained assessors (who have no visibility of your personal details) after you’ve finished. That means you can move through each of the skills sections in turn in a single test session and receive your results in as little as 14 days.


When you receive your results, you will be given details of the individual outcome (pass/fail) for each skill taken, plus you overall test outcome (also pass/fail), you need to pass each of the skills taken in order to pass the test overall.

Simple to take, simple to book

Skills for English language tests can be taken at one of our worldwide networks of PSI Authorised Test Centres, you can book on-demand all year round and take the test at a time and place that’s convenient to you.


Assured by SQA, powered by PSI

Skills for English is the creation of two of the leading names in qualification and certification.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is an international leader in education and qualifications development. PSI Services is a global workforce solutions provider with over 70 years of experience providing worldwide high-stakes testing.

SQA would like to thank the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe for providing expertise for standard-setting activities during the development of Skills for English tests. You can learn more about the Council for Europe here.


Skills for English: Global Tests


The Skills for English: Global tests are for test-takers for whom English is not their first language. They assess the 4 skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. They measure English language proficiency through practical and authentic tasks that test-takers could expect to undertake in their everyday lives in an English-speaking environment. These include (but are not limited to):

  • writing notes, e-mails and text messages

  • reading and understanding a variety of written material, such as newspaper articles, messages and other informational texts

  • listening and responding to recorded material, such as public announcements, presentations and talks

  • communicating to describe an experience, give information, or put forward a case

PSI Services has produced and developed these tests in conjunction with the Scottish Qualifications Authority, Scotland’s national accreditation and awarding body.

Skills for English: Global tests are delivered online. Test-takers can take the tests in multiple test centres worldwide, in a variety of settings.

Alternatively, the Skills for English: Global tests can be taken online, including at home, using online proctoring.  Online Proctors will provide live invigilation: they will check test-taker IDs and ensure that tests are taken securely. They will also observe the test takers working through and completing each test.  

Test-takers can book online and sit the test within a matter of days or even hours of making a booking. Test results are available within 3 to 5 days of the test sitting.


Who is the test for?

The Skills for English: Global tests are for test-takers aged 14 or over whose first language is not English. The tests do not require any previous work experience, specialised knowledge or vocabulary beyond what test-takers may need in their everyday social, academic or professional lives. However, test-takers must have already developed English language skills to the relevant Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) levels (Council of Europe, 2001). Test-takers may be individuals wishing to use English in a variety of contexts including study, work or travel.

Preparing for the Skills for English: Global tests helps test-takers develop skills that are essential for learning, life and work. Having an established level of English language helps to increase confidence, and successful test-takers should be able to communicate ideas, opinions and feelings effectively and respond to those of other people. The Skills for English tests assess test-takers on their personal, social and transactional English in a variety of authentic contexts.

Aim of the tests

The tests provide evidence of English language proficiency for a variety of purposes including work, study and travel.

At levels A1, A2 and B1 (2 components: Speaking and Listening), test-takers demonstrate their ability to communicate verbally, to respond to questions about themselves, and to show their understanding of spoken English. The skills assessed include (but are not limited to):

  • responding to questions about themselves and their everyday context

  • engaging in functional and situational spoken activities, such as giving an invitation

  • listening to a series of short texts and answering questions on what they hear

At levels B1, B2, C1 and C2 (4 components: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing), test-takers demonstrate their ability to deal with more challenging contexts across all 4 skills. The skills assessed include (but are not limited to):

  • proficiency at relevant CEFR levels in reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in English

  • understanding written and spoken texts in English in the contexts of everyday life

  • producing written English in the contexts of everyday life

  • applying knowledge and understanding of language in spoken and written English

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