The English language proficiency test
This Test Information is designed for students, teachers and test administrators who need to familiarise themselves with the design and content of the GETS Higher. The document provides general information about GETS Higher: the test format and parts, test contents, marking, results, the grading system and other related information. The PDF file of this handbook can be downloaded from www.getsworld.com for distribution to the test takers. The Test Information has been created using information available in the public domain and is meant for free distribution, not for sale or resale.
About QAI, UK
About the CEFR
About the Test
Marking and Grades
Test Selection and Delivery
GETS (Global English Testing Services) is a trade name owned by Qualifications and Assessments International (QAI), the UK’s leading private international awarding body. GETS Higher is a test designed to be used by educational institutions and corporations to assess the English language proficiency level of students, prospective students and the general workforce.
QAI develops, validates, assesses and provides quality assurance on professional programmes and courses for international purposes.
QAI works with schools, colleges, universities, industry and governments to provide high quality, relevant and flexible programmes, qualifications, and assessment services that are fit-for-purpose and current in order to meet well-defined values and global standards.
QAI qualifications and assessments are developed in consultation with specialists in various sectors, employers and other user groups. They are reviewed from time to time to reflect changing needs, which keep the qualifications and assessments up-to-date, with the objective of creating professionals for the 21st century.
QAI programmes, courses, qualifications and assessments are available worldwide through a network of ‘QAI Approved Centers’.
QAI has invested in technology based learning solutions, such as its Learning Management System (LMS), ePortfolio system, Center Management System, On-line Marking System, Secure Examination Management System (including biometric, bar code enabled features and exam day photography) etc. and continues to invest in upgrading the platform, with customisation for use on post-laptop, mobile and handheld devices.
QAI is one of the first certifying bodies to certificate learning through MOOCs.
A range of QAI Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas in the areas of Business and Management, Hospitality and Tourism are externally moderated by Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK, with credit transfer on to their Undergraduate and MBA courses.
The GETS Higher test is endorsed by Cardiff Metropolitan University as an English language proficiency test used to assess the language proficiency levels of their students.
Regional Support Global English Testing Services (GETS)
304 (3rd floor) Park Centra, Sector 30, NH-8, Gurgaon, India
Tel: +91.124.468 4800
Tel: +44 2038 687754
Good English language skills are essential in order to succeed in the 21st Century, whether as a student, an employee, an employer or as an entrepreneur. One’s ability to demonstrate relevant language skills for effective communication helps secure an advantageous position in higher education and in the world of work.
The Common European Framework of Reference for languages, abbreviated as CEFR, is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe and, increasingly, in other countries.
It was developed by the Council of Europe as an outcome of the project “Language Learning for European Citizenship” between 1989 and 1996. Its main aim is to provide a method of learning, teaching and assessing which applies to all languages in Europe. Today CEFR is used as a global standard for benchmarking language proficiency, including English language, and has great relevance for language assessment bodies, awarding bodies and exam boards.
The CEFR provides a common standard for understanding and the teaching of language skills, testing and defining activities, assignments and resources. CEFR is particularly useful to educators and assessment boards as it outlines the expectations from a learner of language in a systematic way.
CEFR divides learners into three broad divisions that are further divided into six levels:
A Basic User
A1 Breakthrough or beginner
A2 Waystage or elementary
B Independent User
B1 Threshold or intermediate
B2 Vantage or upper intermediate
C Proficient User
C1 Effective Operational Proficiency or advanced
C2 Mastery or proficiency
An overview of the ‘Can-do’ statements at each CEFR level is given on the next page.
You can find more information about the CEFR at:
About the Test
GETS (Global English Testing Services) Higher is a 21st century English language proficiency test designed to assess the communicative abilities of a test-taker in all four key language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. The test can be taken for all four component modules together or as separate tests for any of the four language skills.
GETS Higher scores help schools, colleges and universities to ascertain the English proficiency levels of their students and prospective students, enabling thorough planning of suitable language development programmes to support their students. The test is equally useful to higher education institutions as part of their student enrolment procedures.
GETS Higher is valuable to corporate organisations in their recruitment process too. It supports the screening of job applicants on the basis of essential English proficiency levels required for specific roles in an organisation.
The test is developed using everyday social, educational and workplace contexts. GETS Higher is developed by highly experienced teams of English language practitioners and experts who have been associated with international English language proficiency tests and diagnostic tools. The scores are mapped to international standards in language using the Common European Framework of Reference of languages (CEFR). The exercises in the test reflect current trends in language learning and teaching. GETS Higher is available as a paper based test and also delivered online at Authorised Test Centers.
Designed to suit individuals in higher education and the work place.
Emphasises communicative competence and use of English language in social, educational and workplace settings.
Covers Reading, Writing, Listening & Speaking skills.
Choose the full test (R / W / L / S) or use the option to take any one module at a time.
Paper based or Internet based test delivery.
On-demand test dates (conditions apply).
Quick result release (immediate to 7 business days).
Writing & Speaking modules marked by certified examiners.
Test questions aligned to the GETS Scale of English.
Results aligned to CEFR, the international standard.
Developed by a highly experienced team of English language experts.
Secure test administration.
Customisation for corporate organisations.
Test Format and Description
4 Parts / 30 questions
Approximately 40 min:
Part 1: 1.5 to 2 min
Part 2: 03 to 3.5 min
Part 3: 3.5 to 04 min
Part 4: 3.5 to 04 min
Each track is played twice.
5 Parts / 40 questions
Approximate text length:
Part 1: 250-300 words
Part 2: 200-250 words
Part 3: 400-450 words
Part 4: 500-550 words
Part 5: 400-450 words
60 min / 3 Tasks
Task 1: 35-40 words
Task 2: 90-120 words
Task 3: 180-200 words
Marking and Grades
All modules: listening, reading, writing, and speaking are equally weighted. Each module carries 25% weightage.
The listening paper carries 30 marks and the reading paper carries 40 marks. These papers go through a key based marking process. There is no negative marking for inaccurate responses.
The division of marks in the writing paper is as follows: Part 1= 20% | Part 2= 40% | Part 3=40%.
The speaking component is marked based on average performance across all parts of the test.
The writing and speaking modules are marked by ‘Certified Examiners’ using GETS Higher assessment scales. These assessment scales are mapped to the CEFR can-do statements.
Scores are awarded out of 100. Raw scores are converted to GETS Levels 1 to 7 and awarded for each skill / module, in addition to an overall average Level.
GETS Levels GETS Scores CEFR*
7 90 – 100 B2
6 75 – 89
5 65 – 74 B1
4 50 – 64
3 40 – 49 A2
2 25 – 39
1 15 – 24 <A2
Unclassified 1-14 Unclassified
A reference to CEFR level against the GETS level achieved is recorded, based on the research carried out by the GETS test development team.
The GETS Higher Test places a high degree of importance on test security and on all aspects of test management. This includes:
Development and production of the test items and test paper construction
Printing and packaging (for paper based test)
Storage and dispatch (for paper based test)
Online delivery through the internet
Test Center approval and management
Test-day administration, including test-day photography and test-taker’s identity check
Application of advance fraud detection mechanisms
Malpractice prevention and follow-up (cheating, collusion, swapping, impersonation etc.)
Test paper marking, including conversion of raw scores to GETS Levels
Test results processing
Results verification (online)
Post-test services, including re-checking and re-marking
Complaints management and investigation
Test Selection and Delivery
The GETS Higher Test is available as a complete test covering all four modules: listening, reading, speaking and writing. However, a candidate can also opt to take any one or a combination of more than one module.
The test is administered by Authorised Test Centers, which are appointed subsequent to a rigorous process of approval and quality assurance. The test can be taken in any one of the two formats: ‘paper-based’ or ‘internet-based’.