Warning! Unfortunately your browser has disabled scripting. Please enable it in order to display this page.

Many Blue, Green and White Badge Tourist Guides are qualified to guide in more than one language. Their high-level language proficiency is renowned globally and reflects rigorous language assessment, details of which may be found in this section of the website.

We are pleased to announce that the Institute has now reached agreement with the IoL Educational Trust (IoLET) – the associated charity of the Chartered Institute of Linguists - which will provide specifically-tailored language exams for our members.

The exams will remain in the format introduced in 2015 but will be handled entirely by IoLET.  This arrangement has a number of advantages both to candidates and the Institute as a whole, namely:

  • we are able to call on the recognised expertise of the IoLET, which already runs exams for a number of other prestigious UK clients;
  • the exams will be more robust, with improved consistency across languages;
  • there will be increased flexibility as to exam timings and locations;
  • there will be an increased range of language options; and
  • the exams will be completely independent.

As stated above, the exams will be in the same format as in 2015 and candidates will still have to meet the same standards (C1 for non-English, and C2 for English on the CEFR scale).  As before, the exams will be entirely oral and will reflect the way guides need to use language skills in their day-to-day activities.  These standards are deliberately very high (equivalent to university proficiency levels), reflecting the need for guides to be fluent in their chosen languages.

The IoLET exams will cost £350 per candidate per language.  We recognise that this is a considerable increase on the fees charged for previous Institute in-house exams, but this fee level is entirely consistent with the costs of running these exams and in line with the proposed Institute fees, had the decision to partner with the IoLET not been taken.  In reaching an agreement with the IoLET, the Institute has decided to provide a degree of subsidy for the exams in recognition of our desire to increase the pool of language-speaking guides across the country.

The 2016 language exams will take place in London during the week beginning 28 November, and registration is now open.  All arrangements will be handled by the IoLET, although they will naturally provide us with details of the candidates and their eventual results.  The IoLET will administer the exams, communicate results and handle any queries/appeals in accordance with their own procedures.

Anyone interested in sitting a language exam in November 2016 should visit https://www.ciol.org.uk/index.php?option=com_rsform&formId=34 and register as soon as possible.

Candidates wishing to be examined in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese have until 30 September 2016 to register with the IoLET.  Candidates for all other languages must register before 31 August 2016.  We appreciate that this is quite short notice, but this will allow the IoLET enough time to make the necessary arrangements.

The format of the Language Examinations for both 'English' and 'Non-English' examinations was revised in 2015, and the standards required were clearly defined in terms of the CEFR – the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (for details please see http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Cadre1_en.asp).



English Exam Summary

Assessment Criteria English

Non-English Exam Summary

Assessment Criteria Non-English Languages

Language Exam Topics for Discussion (to be confirmed)