If you are planning to live, work or study in the UK, you may be asked to prove your level of English with an English language test. Here we answer some questions about SELT and look at how to improve your English for the exam:

What is SELT?

SELT is the "Secure English Language Test", a test which assesses your knowledge of English. The UK Government might need you to show that you have a sufficient level of English by passing the test. A number of different English language tests can be taken to show your English level, these include tests provided by:

  • LanguageCert
  • IELTS SELT Consortium
  • Trinity College London
  • Pearson Education

Do I need to take a SELT?

You might need to pass the SELT exam if you are applying to live or work in the UK. This will depend on the type of visa you are applying for.

The type of visas that require SELT may change, so it is best to check the advice on the Government website.

What level of English do I need?

Your English level is assessed according to CEFR - the Common European Framework for languages.

The level of English you require will depend on the visa you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a General student visa (Tier 4) and plan to study a subject below degree level then you will need to take a SELT to show you have skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking at CEFR level B1.

Always check the GOV.UK website for the latest language level requirements for the visa you are applying for.

Where can I take the SELT exam?

The test must be taken at an Approved Test Centre. There are approved centres both in the UK and outside the UK. The UK government publishes a list on approved centres on their website.

What is the pass mark for SELT exams?

Some exams will give you a mark, e.g. 70/100, and some will result in a pass or fail. This will depend on which test you decide to take.

For example, to show that you have CEFR level B1 you would need a mark of 60/100 if you take LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B1 (Speaking & Listening). If you take IELTS Life Skills– B1 Speaking & Listening you will need a Pass.

How much does the SELT cost?

Please contact us to confirm the current SELT exam fees. Exams currently cost £150.

Can I take a SELT online?

No, the test must be taken in an approved testing centre. However, we can provide online English classes to improve your English for SELT.

How can I improve my English before taking the Secure English Language Test?

It is important to remember that you need English skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

There are many free resources to improve your English skills and improve your understanding of British culture:

  • Watch British TV programmes, there are plenty of dramas programmes where you will here English as it is normally spoken, and news programmes where you will here discussion and debating of topics.
  • Listen to British radio. Stations that discuss current affairs, e.g. BBC Radio 4, are good.
  • Read as much in English as you can - newspapers, novels, magazines. Find a magazine on a topic that interests you. If you are planning to study in the UK, read journals and articles on the subject you will be studying.

These will help you improve your listening and reading skills. Depending on the level of English you need to achieve, you may need to attend a course.

Before you start a course you should tell the school what CEFR level you need to achieve. At Languages United, we always ask you to take an online placement test so that we know what level you are before they start. Your teacher will then know what you need to improve before they start teaching you.

Languages United prepares students for the IELTS SELT, Trinity College SELT, and LanguageCert SELT.

We provide group courses, such as our GE30 intensive course, which improve your General English skills in the morning and develop your academic skills in the afternoon. If you have limited time, or need a flexible timetable, you may prefer to study 1:1 with your teacher. We provide individual English lessons for SELT preparation either at our school in Bath, and online SELT preparation courses.

All of our teachers live in the UK. Our courses include authentic material so that you will learn about British culture as well as improve your English.


We hope this article has answered some of your questions about the Secure English Language Test. Please contact if you have any questions or would like details of English courses for SELT preparation.

Slavenka.