56 replies to this topic
Posted 2013-01-29 00:38:26
My wife is going to apply for 'family of settled persons' visa for the UK
Does anyone know where my wife would need to go to take the English language test? Also, if anyone has actually done the test, to tell me what it entails. Do they give out examples of the test or anything?
Posted 2013-01-29 21:36:16
Details of where to take the test plus the other requirements, including the all important financial ones, can be found at UK Settlement Visa Basics.
I do not know anyone personally who has taken the test, but the level required is very basic conversation. If she can talk to you in simple English, and understand your replies, she should be able to pass it.
Posted 2013-01-29 22:05:18
Thanks, I couldn't find it anywhere on the UK boarder site either.
Not sure my wife will ever understand my replies (in English or Thai)
Posted 2013-01-29 22:36:41
also, was wondering how long the test is valid for. does it say this information anywhere?
thanks again for your help
Posted 2013-01-30 13:29:26
The A1 English test for residence will be replaced in the summer with the B1 test which will have to include a new part called UK CULTURE, which will be 1000% more difficult to pass at the moment the A1 is listening and speaking only this will change in the summer to reading and writing as well
Posted 2013-01-30 15:08:11
The test is valid for 2 years. Whilst she only needs to pass speaking and listening she wouls also have to take reading and writing as there is NO Tailor Made test for the UK Settelement Visa. I would recommend the BULATS test run by a company called Vantage in Bangkok - MD is an American Kevin Cullen (?) who is very hands on. There are 3 test centres in Bangkok (CPA and Pearsons being the other two) and only one other outside Bangkok (in Chiang Mai)
I started a thread on this topic about 6 months ago and there is a lot of info there about the tests if you can find it. Actually passing it is not quite as easy as people say - for example whilst you dont need to pass reading you have to read some of the questions to pass speaking and listening!!!!!
I'm not sure if the UK Settlement visa test is changing in Summer to include reading and writing. I thought that might be for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) but I may be wrong.
Posted 2013-01-30 19:52:11
As far as I am aware, there is no change scheduled to the A1 speaking and listening requirement for the initial spouse, partner or fiance visa.
There are two changes scheduled for the knowledge of life and language requirement (KOL) for ILR.
The first is a change to the questions in the LitUK test. The new test comes into effect on 25th March 2013. See here.
As far as I am aware, if you passed the test prior to this change then that pass will still be valid.
Secondly, if applying for ILR from October 2013 then an ESOL with citizenship course will no longer satisfy KOL.
From then applicants will need to have passed the LitUK test and achieved level B1, or better, of the CEFR in English speaking and listening.
Although B1 is two levels higher than A1, to say that it is 1000% more difficult is somewhat of an exaggeration!
Edited by 7by7, 2013-01-30 19:53:08.
Posted 2013-01-31 17:01:27
Yes its certainly true that B1 is not 1000 times more difficult than A1. However the basic point made by gleeglee is that it is much more difficult to pass. A lot of people that attain A1 standard (which as I have pointed out is not that easy to pass in itself) will find it very hard to achieve B1. There may be lots of problems in the future when people go for ILR.
Posted 2013-01-31 23:18:15
Do you know exact dates for the change to B1 test/?
I assume that if my wife did the A1 test, and applied before this date, then she would avoid having to take the B1 test?
Posted 2013-01-31 23:32:58
I would also recommend BULATS, Kevin's a really nice guy and put Mrs P at ease when we went for a chat, definitely the best of the ones we saw in Bangkok.
Posted 2013-02-01 11:25:33
Also, I have been searching for examples of the A1 level test but not so easy to find. Has anyone (or their partner) had experience with the test, or is there good examples anywhere? I just meed to understand how much teaching my wife needs..
thanks in advance
Posted 2013-02-01 13:34:11
I found sample tests difficult to find. I think you can download them online but I found it difficult to know exactly what test they were talking about. It's really shambolic how this whole system has been operated. The one good thing about CPA was that they do quite a good leaflet containing a sample test and if you go to their offices in Soi Asok off Sukhumvit in BKK you can pick one up for free. However I would not recommend using them because of so many other bad points about their service. The BULATS test is not the same as CPA so the leaflet only gives you an idea.
Kevin at BULATS will run your wife through their test if she would like. Also they do 4 days intensive training before the test which really helps. If you do the test and training with BULATS it costs B14,950 in total.
Posted 2013-02-01 18:23:24
Not sure if I'm allowed to post a link, Vantage Siam (BULATS) have some demo tests...here goes...
Mrs P sat their demo ones, boosted her confidence a bit so she had an idea of what to expect and she sat the test & passed 1st time without the need to do the training course. Cost was around 7,000 baht I think and results were back in about a week; they can be posted to your wife if you want to save a trip back to BKK.
I remember speaking with Kevin back in October 2011 and he was frustrated that they're not given the A1 test that can be sat in UK, that one apparently is just listening & speaking. Thai ones at the time involved all elements...frustrating & I suspect things haven't improved much. But remember your wife only needs to pass the listening & speaking elements, which is pretty straightforward, and just encourage her to practice at every opportunity..she'll need to anyway for when she's in the UK.
We went to the Asok lot, soi 21 I think....Mrs P was not impressed, they didn't do much to ease her concerns. Kevin @ BULATS was so much better!
I agree with durhamboy it really is shambolic how the system is operated, UKBA don't help the situation and as has been asked elsewhere why doesn't the British Embassy in Bangkok have the list of approved Thai A1 test providers on their website? They list the only place to get the TB test (didn't used to) but not the A1 test....maybe in time but at the moment those are the rules and we have to follow them....memo to self get off the soapbox...555!
Good luck to your wife, she'll be fine
Posted 2013-02-03 12:23:56
hi,my wife took the test,in the uk. a lot of the questions are nonsense,how many irish left ireland for uk during potato famine,when you do the test,it is multi choice,you are given earphones to listen to the question,the problem we found was,the questions were long and drawn out,as if to confuse. you can buy a book with all the questions,from the govnt and a book with all the answers.it seems it is just a money thing. a bit of patience and it will get through to her.at that time,i think you only had to get 18 from 25 questions. but there was a possible 500+ questions.good luck,you can take the test online, a practice test,english people i know who took the online test,failed. try this http://lifeintheuk.n..._your_passport/
Edited by BOBBYTIN, 2013-02-03 12:27:32.
Posted 2013-02-03 13:58:00
So am i to understand that any Thai applicant for an English visa has to do an English language test ?
If this is so, what would happen if the Thai's decide to ask all English applicants for a Thai visa to do a Thai language test ?
Posted 2013-02-03 17:37:31
A lot of posts seem to be confusing the language requirement for ILR with the language requirement for the initial spouse visa.
The language requirement for the initial spouse visa is A1 of the CEFR in English speaking and listening. This is a very basic level and, as said before, if your Thai partner can carry out a basic conversation with you in English then they should have no trouble in passing this.
From the link in my previous post, A1 means
LitUK test and B1 qualification in English speaking and listening, which comes into force from October 2013, is for ILR, and those applying for their initial spouse visa since 9th July 2012 will, once this visa is issued and they are in the UK, have 5 years in which to meet this requirement.
Oldsailor, these language requirements are for those who wish to settle in the UK; obviously visitors do not need to meet them!
As I understand it, there is a, much harder, Thai language requirement for those foreigners who want to apply for permanent residence in Thailand.
Edited by 7by7, 2013-02-03 17:44:21.
Posted 2013-02-03 18:40:08
My wife passed English A1 from an accredited course in Leeds during her fiancee visitor visa. Before the test, we searched the web and found some good on-line role play exercises and practised these together. The actual questions asked during the A1 comprised things like what is your name, where are you from, which part of Thailand are your from, how many brothers and sisters do you have etc. I'd say if you write down the role play exercises as standard questions and practice these it should improve prospects enormously.
After passing this and granting of further leave to remain (FLR), she started an ESOL course at Level 2 and in the two FLR years went to pass Life in UK at the first attempt and pass the ESOL Entry-2 and Entry-3. Personally, I think the initial assessment at the college was over cautious, so for any new applicant you need to be clear on the timescales and cost involved.
Posted 2013-02-04 21:49:01
My girlfreidn took this test in the UK last week!!! I found it exetremely difficult to find anyone that was willing just to do an A1 test, most want to do the more comprehensive B1 or B2, I'm guessing because its more money!! A1 cost me £35, still waiting for results. Agred it is farly basic, my girlfriend was gibvem a picture and had to ask the other person, who had a similar picture questions, ie, is there a dog in your picture, and then the roles reversed. The conversation is taped and sent to an examiner who will provide the results in 3 weks, so fingers crossed. Her freind completecthe B1 test in Bangkok, cost about 7000Bt waiting for results too.
Posted 2013-02-11 13:08:14
7x7 you say that "The language requirement for the initial spouse visa is A1 of the CEFR in English speaking and listening. This is a very basic level and, as said before, if your Thai partner can carry out a basic conversation with you in English then they should have no trouble in passing this."
Whilst this is true for listening where the answers are multiple choice i.e. pick answer a, b, c, or d and even if you dont know any English if you just guess every answer you will probably pass. This is because the pass mark is around 12% and simply by guessing you should, on a chance basis, get around 25%.
However what you say is not true about the speaking test. One reason for this is that in order to answer some of the questions the candidate has to READ the question. This is not easy for Thai people who have their own script and are unfamilar with our roman script. Also the pass mark is twice as high (around 25%) for speaking.
My wife can hold basic English language conversations. She is highly intelligent, worked abroad in 2 different countries where she learnt the language of each country and she has also run 3 businesses in Thailand. She failed the speaking exam first time - one reason was that she wasnt "miked up" properly for the first 10 minutes or so of the exam and didnt realise it partly because she was a bit nervous and also because she was sitting in an open plan room with about 40 other people all jabbering away!
So please stop telling people that A1 English is easy - it really isnt. The whole system is an absolute shambles and before anyone starts saying that people who come to the UK should speak English (ideally yes) did we learn much of the local languages in places like India and Africa in the old days. How many Brits living in Thailand could pass an equivalent Thai exam? Very few.
Posted 2013-02-11 15:26:10
The A1 requirement for the initial visa is speaking and listening only. There is no requirement for reading nor writing at his stage.
It is true, though, that test providers in Thailand do require candidates to take reading and writing as well, but the embassy have confirmed that their score in these is irrelevant.
Durham boy, considering the difficulties and shambles you now say your wife faced when taking her test, one has to wonder why you were so fulsome in your praise of the company you used earlier in this topic!
Posted 2013-02-12 13:16:48
7x7 - you are not understanding what I have said. Let me say it again - in order to pass the speaking test the candidate needs to READ some of the questions that are IN the speaking test e.g. the first question in the speaking test is reading a passage aloud. I am NOT talking about the reading exam here which you rightly say has to be taken but doesn't need to be passed. Now is that clear?
As I understand it 7x7 your wife never had to take the English Test so you have no practical experience of it. Therefore I dont think that you should be posting comments on how easy you think the test is without having gone through it yourself with your wife. In our personal case the English Test was the biggest obstacle that we faced to get the settlement visa. It took about 6 months of pretty hard graft.
Part of that problem was that we made a mistake in choosing CPA over Vantage initially. CPA were a shambles and she failed there. We then switched to Vantage (who run the BULATS test) and they were very good hence my "fulsome praise". I do wish you would get your facts right before questioning why I recommend a company.
Posted 2013-02-13 15:18:23
I can only base my remarks on what you post.
Reading should have no part in the speaking and listening test. It should be as described by Tigger01 above.
If test providers in Thailand make speaking and listening candidates read questions in order to answer them, that is their decision, not that of the UKBA. Maybe you should ask your mate Kevin why his company makes candidates do this.
While you're asking him that, ask him why his company insist on candidates taking, and paying for, the unnecessary reading and writing tests.
My wife did not have to take this test to get her visa, but when she came to the UK she enrolled, voluntarily, on an English course and her initial assessment was A2. Plus we do know people who have had to take it for their visa. So I do have a good, personal idea of the standard required.
The partners of most members here also seem able to pass it without too much difficulty.
Posted 2013-02-14 14:56:35
7x7 - I have described it properly - it is you that misunderstood what I posted by confusing it with the reading test. Tigger01's girlfriend took the test in the UK and it may well be that particular version of the test contains no reading. Part of the problem about this shambles is that there are so many versions of the test. Here in Thailand there are 3 available - TOEIC, BULATS and Pearsons - TOEIC and BULATS Speaking tests contain questions that the candidates have to READ. I dont know about Pearsons.
It is UKBA/HMG that have introduced these tests and it is they that made the decision to "piggy back" on existing tests rather than design a version of the test that solely fits their requirements. Frankly I think this is yet another example of the UK Government treating applicants for settlement with disdain. Companies here in Thailand are not doing these tests solely for UK settlement. They have many candidates doing these tests for other reasons so you cannot expect them to reorganise their own tests just to appease UKBA. By the way 7x7 you dont seem to want to criticise UKBA over this issue so why don't you ask them why they haven't designed their own tests.
I don't know what test your wife took but maybe it was easier and didnt contain any reading. She also had the advantage of being in England for a while which is the best way to pick up a language.
Yes many people pass. Eventually my wife did also (A2 btw) but a lot fail and have to do retakes. I never actually said that the test was difficult I actually said that it isn't easy (especially for Thais because of the script problem) and the system is a shambles. You on the other hand intimated that the test was easy hence my disagreeing with you because you are giving people a misguided assessment.
May I make a suggestion to the moderators of this forum instead of having me and 7x7 arguing over this why not pull the original thread I started about 6 months ago (it contained a lot of very useful contributions from people) and put it in the Basics Section of this forum. This will save members asking the same questions over and over again.
Posted 2013-02-16 08:41:06
UKBA/HMG haven't 'piggy backed' on existing tests, they have used recognized tests which meet an international standard, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
If you look at the full list of test providers you will see that BLATS is just one of the approved tests. Though as far as I can make out, approved companies in Thailand only seem to offer either BULATS or TOEIC.
That these companies insist on candidates taking reading and writing as well has nothing to do with any UKBA requirement. My opinion is that they do so for their own commercial reasons; they can charge more! To find out for sure, ask your mate Kevin.
As has been said many times on this forum, and confirmed by the embassy, a candidate can score zero in reading and writing but as long as they score A1 or better in speaking and listening then this meets the requirement for a visa.
Posted 2013-02-17 16:28:42
Lets get one thing straight 7x7 - this is the second time you have said Kevin Cullen is my mate - he isn't. I've met him once and spoke on the phone to him twice. I also have no connection with his company Vantage so please stop calling him my mate.
Of course the UKBA have "piggy-backed" on existing tests. When you say "....they have used recognized tests which meet an international standard....." then what the hell do you think they are doing?
You dont seem to understand that these test companies are not regulated by the UKBA only approved by UKBA. In making that approval they would have looked at the tests provided and deemed that that are good enough for the need of the UK Government to have English Tests. In doing so they have decided that if candidates aldo have to take reading and writing (and have to read questions to pass speaking) then so what? Therefore they are responsible for this shambles not the companies offering the tests. I repeat - it is a shambles.
I ask you again why hasnt HMG/UKBA designed their own standard, universal test that is fair to all and does not involve the candidates having to read? You cant answer that can you?
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