APTIS Practice

This is a guide to the British Council Aptis English test. The guide describes the different types of Aptis tests, the components of the test and the grading system used in the tests. There are also interactive simulations of the test to use to prepare. This lesson is part of a series about exam preparation, including the Duolingo English Test, the IELTS and the First Certificate Exam.

Meet your Aptis Expert!

Gavin Hamann, Founder of Onlearn.es

Hi, I’m Gavin, the founder of Onlearn English. I’m really excited about English testing and helping students to get the best result. I have helped hundreds of students prepare for tests like the FCE, CAE, DET and IELTS. Although I’m a native speaker and a grammar expert, I actually took the British Council Aptis test in 2023 to see how it worked and to get insights and tips that I could pass on to my students. My experience of the test was really positive and I’d strongly recommend it. Read on to find out all about what the test is and how to get the best possible result!

What is the APTIS?

Illustration of a man taking the British Council Aptis test on a computer.

The Aptis test is an English language proficiency test developed by the British Council. It is designed to assess the English language skills of candidates in various contexts, including speaking, writing, reading, and listening. The test is suitable for both individuals and organizations, and it is used for purposes such as employment, education, and migration.

Educational institutions, employers, and government organizations all over the world recognise Aptis as a measure of English language proficiency. It is used in various countries around the world to assess the language skills of non-native English speakers.

It’s important to note that information about specific tests and their formats may change, so although it’s a good idea to check the official British Council website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information on the Aptis test.

Advantages of the Aptis

The Aptis is rapidly becoming one of the most popular tests available for various reasons. It is a very credible and convenient test and the British Council has a great reputation.

The British Council have designed the Aptis test to be as convenient as possible for candidates.

Recognition: Enterprises and institutions all over the world recognise the Aptis test.

Convenience: You can take the Aptis test in British Council centres all over the world. The test takes just a couple of hours and candidates receive their results within a few days.

Cost: It is one of the most economical English level tests available. The Aptis test costs as little as 87 Euros for the general test and 99 Euros for the advanced test. Compared with the 235 Euro cost of the IELTS or the approximate 160 Euro cost of the FCE or CAE.

4 Types of Aptis. Which one is right for you?


The general Aptis test is probably the most popular choice. It provides an evaluation of a candidates level between A1 and C1 level.

Overview: Aptis General assesses the English language proficiency of individuals for general purposes, including employment, education, and everyday communication. It includes the core components of speaking, writing, reading, and listening.

Flexibility: Aptis General is a flexible test, allowing test-takers to focus on specific skills or language areas relevant to their needs. This customization makes it suitable for a wide range of contexts.

For Teachers

Overview: The Teachers’ test is specifically for educators and those in the field of teaching English. It assesses the language proficiency needed for teaching and communication in an educational setting.

Components: In addition to the core components of speaking, writing, reading, and listening, Aptis for Teachers may include specific sections that assess language skills essential for effective teaching, such as explaining concepts, giving instructions, and interacting with students.

Relevance: This version of Aptis recognizes the unique language demands placed on teachers and aims to evaluate their ability to communicate effectively in an educational environment.


Overview: Aptis ESOL Advanced is a comprehensive English proficiency examination that evaluates language skills ranging from B1 to C2 on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). The british Council has designed the tasks in Aptis ESOL Advanced to discern differences among candidates at the C1 and C2 proficiency levels.

Components: Aptis Advanced comprises five elements: the core (focusing on grammar and vocabulary), listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Depending on your organization or institution’s specifications, you might opt for a single skill component, like listening, or engage with all four skill components.

For Teens

Overview: The aptis for teens test is ideal for school students and younger learners. It provides results ranging from A1 to B2 of the CEFR. Any candidate who scores above B2 will obtain a C level.

Components: The test comprises distinct sections for each skill—reading, writing, listening, and speaking—along with a fundamental component focused on grammar and vocabulary.


The test has 5 distinct components; Core grammar and vocabulary, reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Aptis Core

  • Time: 25 minutes
  • Questions: 25

This is a fundamental part of the Aptis test. The core randomly selects questions from a bank of thousands of questions that test fundamental grammar and vocabulary. The first part of the test involves 25 multiple-choice grammar questions. The second part contains 25 vocabulary questions where candidates must match words to definitions, pair words with similar meanings, choose the correct word to complete a sentence and to pair words with collocates.

The core test result acts as a modifier to results on other parts of the test. For example, if you scored a perfect result on the core test, but made a few mistakes in the listening section that mean that you are just below the level for a B2, the core result will mean that the test “gives you the benefit of the doubt” and gives you the B2 result for listening. Effectively, the core can compensate for little mistakes in other areas.

Aptis Listening

woman in white shirt using silver macbook
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Parts: 4

The Aptis listening test has 4 parts and tests various aspects of listening to and understanding information.

Part 1 Information recognition

Candidates have to listen to short audio recordings and make a note of specific information, like phone numbers, names or addresses.

Part 2 Information matching

candidates have to listen to audio recordings of 4 monologues and match the recordings to a speaker.

Part 3 Opinion matching

Candidates have to listen to a conversation between a man and a woman and read various statements relating to the conversation. Candidates have to decide whether the man, the woman or both speakers agree with the statements.

Part 4 Monologue comprehension

Candidates listen to a longer monologues and answer questions about the speaker’s opinion.

Aptis Reading

person reading newspaper on table

The Aptis reading test will assess your ability to understand written information.

The time that candidates have for this section of the test depends on the type of test that you are taking. The tests for teens and teachers provide just 30 minutes to do this exercise, but the advanced version of the test gives candidates an hour. This is because the advanced test is more demanding, so more time is given for candidates to consider and check their answers.

The time limit for the reading section in each type of test is as follows.

  • General – 35 minutes
  • Advanced – 60 minutes
  • For Teens – 30 minutes
  • For Teachers – 30 minutes

The Aptis Reading Test comprises four sections, each section is adapted to the specific variant of the test. For example, the advanced test will provide more formal and technical texts than other versions of the test.

Part 1: Sentence Comprehension

In this initial section, test-takers encounter a short text resembling a note or email. The task involves choosing a fitting word to complete five sentences within the text. This phase assesses the ability to understand and interpret simple sentences, demanding a careful evaluation of all possible answers before making a selection.

Part 2: Text Cohesion

Section two introduces two distinct texts, each comprising six sentences. However, only the first sentence is correctly placed. Test-takers must organize the remaining five sentences to construct a coherent text. Precision is paramount, as there is only one correct sequence for each text.

Part 3: Opinion Matching

The third section unfolds with a text containing four distinct paragraphs on a common topic. Each paragraph reflects an individual’s opinions or preferences related to the subject. Test-takers are tasked with matching these viewpoints to seven provided statements, adding a layer of complexity to the assessment.

Part 4: Long Text Comprehension

The final section is a test of endurance and comprehension, featuring a lengthy text of approximately 750 words with eight paragraphs. Test-takers are given eight headings and must match seven of them to the corresponding paragraphs in the text. There is always one heading that is not needed. This part assesses the ability to accurately understand the meaning of a long text and to understand the gist or general idea of each part.

Aptis Writing

The Aptis writing test is your opportunity to show how well you can express yourself in writing. There are usually questions to test your ability to write both formally and informally.

writing assessment
  • General – 50 minutes
  • For Teens – 50 minutes
  • Advanced – 45 minutes
  • For Teachers – 55 minutes

Part 1 Word-level writing

In this part of the test, candidates have to respond to short prompts. Answers in this section are limited to a maximum of 5 words and candidates should only spend a few minutes on this part.

An example question might ask “How are you?”. Ideal answers could include “I’m fine, thanks”, “very well, thank you” or “I’m not feeling great today”.

Part 2 Short text writing

This part of the test asks candidates to provide a short paragraph (20 to 30 words) of text in response to a prompt. The prompt is usually related to joining a group, club or organization and explaining why you are interested in joining. Students should spend no more than 7 minutes on this part.

A sample question might be

“You are applying to join a web forum about hiking and trekking. Please write 20 to 30 words explaining why you are interested in joining this group.”

A model answer might be something like

“I’m interested in joining this group because I’m a keen rambler and want to meet like-minded people to go walking with and maybe even to find new routes to explore.”

Part 3 Three written responses to questions

This section asks candidates to respond to 3 questions related to the club, organization or group that the test referred to in the other questions in the writing section. Each answer should be about 40 words.

Part 4 Formal and informal writing

This section requires candidates to write 2 emails. One will be an informal email and the second will be a more formal email, usually written to someone in authority. The informal correspondence should be between 40 and 50 words and the formal correspondence should be between 120 and 150 words. Typical subjects for this type of exercise might include writing a letter of complaint about a product or service or writing an analysis of some data.

Aptis Reading

eyeglasses with black frames
  • General – 35 minutes
  • Advanced – 60 minutes
  • For Teens – 30 minutes and
  • For Teachers – 30 minutes

The reading test component assesses a candidate’s ability to understand textual information. There are four parts, each is progressively more difficult than the last, with part 1 being the easiest and part 4 the most challenging.

Part 1 Sentence comprehension

In this part of the test, candidates read a short text and have to decide which words from a selection best fit each of the gaps in the text.

Part 2 Text cohesion

In this exercise, candidates have to put 5 sentences in the correct order to make a text that has a logical structure.

Part 3 Opinion matching

In this part of the test, candidates have to attribute each of 4 paragraphs to a person, based on a description of each person’s perspective.

Part 4 Long text comprehension

Candidates need to read a long text (750 words) and match 7 headings to the appropriate sections in the text.


The global result in the British Council Aptis test is calculated by aggregating scores obtained in various sections, including Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Each section assesses specific language skills, such as comprehension, language accuracy, and communication proficiency. The scoring system considers the performance in each module to provide a holistic evaluation of the test-taker’s overall English language proficiency. The final global result reflects the individual’s combined abilities in different aspects of the language, offering a comprehensive measure of their competency in English.

Candidates receive the digital version of their results by email within 48 hours or 2 working days of having taken the test. A physical certificate with the results is sent by post.

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