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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.

The IoL Educational Trust (IoLET) – the associated charity of the Chartered Institute of Linguists – currently provides specifically-tailored language exams for our members.

The exams 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 2017 language exams will take place in London on Monday the 13th and Tuesday the 14th of November, additional days may be added to accomodate application numbers exceeding expectation.  The precise schedule and location are still being finalised and will depend on the number of candidates.  All arrangements are handled by the IoLET, although they naturally provide us with details of the candidates and their eventual results.  The IoLET administer the exams, communicate results and handle any queries/appeals in accordance with their own procedures.

Candidates wishing to sit a language exam in 2017 will need to register by 18 September 2017.

Registration is now CLOSED.


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).


ITG Language Examinations - Handbook for Candidates 2017

English Exam Summary

Assessment Criteria English

Non-English Exam Summary

Assessment Criteria Non-English Languages

Language Exam Topics for Discussion