This course is done to help candidates to be tested by the APTIS examination to obtain the CENNI 12 certificate.

LESSON 1 Introduction to APTIS

What is APTIS

What is Aptis?

Aptis is a modern and flexible English language test designed to meet the diverse needs of organisations and individuals around the world

Each test includes a grammar and vocabulary core module and four optional modules - speaking, listening, reading, writing. You can choose which of the modules you want to use


The test has four variants: Aptis, Aptis for Teachers, Aptis for Teens and Aptis Advanced. 

The test includes questions at different levels, so a wide range of candidates can demonstrate their language ability. 

Aptis can measure English ability within government, education and corporate sectors.

Watch this video about the test

Relation and advantages in Education

Aptis in Education

By accurately measuring English ability, Aptis can enhance education quality by:

  •  identifying student and teacher needs 
  • assessing student suitability/eligibility for particular training and/or recruitment 
  • systematically and consistently evaluating student performance on any particular English language course
  • displaying results for each module as a CEFR level and numerical score. 

Teacher Needs

There are some versions in this case teachers can take the General version (CENNI) or the Teacher's version .

Students' Needs

There is a special test for teens (13-17 years old) 

Aptis grading system

Aptis and the CEFR

It does not matter where you are, this test was done using the CEFR. This way it can be used anywhere as you can see in the video.

Aptis grading system

Aptis grading system

This exam was done based on the CEFR and it is used everywhere as you can see here. 

How is it marked?

It is important for you to know how you will be graded in this test. Please observe the picture here where you see the levels and what is called as the borderline areas. 

What is the criteria when someone gets between levels? 

Well, If a candidate receives a mark in the borderline areas, their score in the core test (grammar and vocabulary) is used to decide their final grade.

Test modules


You can test each ability, a combination of two or three at will or the integrated one which is the General, Teen or CENNI version.

It does not matter what combination or version you prefer, Aptis has one compulsory grammar and vocabulary module.

This way it has five sections or exams. 

For Example

Based on presentation skills

Marketing or custumer service professionals may only require speaking and listening modules

Based on academic skills

Students or educative institutions academic writing course may only require the writing, or reading and writing modules.

Core grammar and vocabulary module

Core grammar and vocabulary module

It is divided in two parts; Grammar and Vocabulary

This is the general schema 

As you can see the grammar part has only one type of exercises. On the other hand the Vocabulary one has 4 different option.


There are two question types. The first focuses on written English grammar and the second focuses on the use of Englishgrammar when speaking.

Written grammar

Spoken Grammar

Aspects to consider

Before going into it there are 3 issues you must take into acount: Register, Format and number


A small number of questions may focus on register.


All questions are in a three-option, multiple choice format.


Consists of 25 questions, each focusing on a specific aspect of English grammar.


In the following exercises you will see some options and then you will have some real prectice. 

Core Sample 1

Read the sample for a modality question and select the correct option to complete it .

My boss says that I ______ to finish the report by Friday.

  • must
  • have
  • should

Core Sample 2

Read the sample for an adverbs of degree question and select the correct option to complete it .

My new computer works _____ faster than my old one.

  • many
  • more
  • much

Core Sample 3

Read the sample for an adverbs of time (present perfect tense) question and select the correct option to complete it .

I have worked for this company _____ I left university.

  • since
  • after
  • from

Core Sample 4

Read the sample for a discourse markers question and select the correct option to complete it .

John: She's French, isn't she?

Ahmed: No, _______ she's from Belgium.

  • exactly
  • actually
  • anyway

Core Sample 5

Read the sample for a conjunctives question and select the correct option to complete it .

Zeynep: I really don't feel like going to see that movie tonight.

Peter: Ok. __________ we can go next week instead.

  • Maybe
  • However
  • Nevertheless




Along with the grammar section there is a separated one focused on Vocabulary. It is important to get familiar with it in order to face it easier.

Vocabulary Characteristics

There are some aspects to bear in mind while answering the vocabulary section


This is one of the greatest strengths of the test. It means that the tasks become harder as the test progresses. This way if you answer two or a series of right answers the program sets the following in a higher level. Or the contrary it gets it lower and so on.


There is only one correct option targeted words are presented out of several possible selections.

Different types of questions.

Four main types of questions are included:

  • Word matching: synonyms (words with similar meanings)
  • Word definition: match a definition to a word
  • Word usage: complete a sentence with the correct word
  • Word pairs: natural collocations.

Vocabulary – Sample questions; Word matching

Word matching

The first question type tests your ability to match words with similar meanings from a list of options. You need to click on the arrows and choose the similar word.

Vocabulary – Sample questions; Word definition

Word definition

For the next question type, you need to match a definition to a word. Click on the arrow and choose the word that matches the definition.

Vocabulary – Sample questions; Word usage

Word usage

The next question type asks you to identify a word from a list that is commonly used with the given word.

Vocabulary – Sample questions; Word pairs or word combinations

Word pairs or word combinations

There is a final question type that asks you to complete a sentence using a word from a list.

This is it


Go next for the following module


Test structure – Reading


Test structure


The whole section lasts 30 minutes and is divided into 4 parts. It is important to get familiar with the test format before you work with the samples. 


Complete a sentence.


Five three-option multiple-choice questions focusing on sentence-level understanding to answer correctly.


Put sentences into the correct order.


Re-order a series of sentences to form a story using different levels of cohesive understanding and devices.


Text completion focusing on text-level understanding


Select words from a list to form a short text.


Match  headings to paragraphs (with distracter


Matching, focusing on global text-level understanding and integrating heading to main text

Part 1 Reading –

Sentence comprehension

In this part, you must select the appropriate word from a drop-down list.

You should complete this part in about three minutes.

To remember:

1.Sentences stand alone so no need to understand complete text to answer individual questions.

2.Aimed at lowest level (A1).


Read all sentences carefully. 

Revise adverbs of time, conjunctives and article use.

Observe the following samples

In this part, you must select the appropriate word from a drop-down list.

Remember that you should complete this part in about three minutes.


Part 2 Reading –

Text cohesion

In the second part, you must sort the sentences into the correct order to make a story. Do this by clicking on a sentence and dragging it to its correct position.

This task tests your knowledge of the cohesion of a text.

It normally tests adverbs of time, conjunctives, articles (first/second instances), referencing, substitution (cohesive devices).


Read all sentences carefully. 

Revise adverbs of time, conjunctives and article use.


Check the sample


Part 3 Reading –

Short text comprehension

In the third part, you must select the word from the group at the bottom of the screen and drag a word into each of the seven empty boxes. There are ten word options and only seven spaces.

If you change your mind, that's not a problem as you can move the words around until you make your final decision.


This is a harder task, more complex vocabulary, need to understand more than just one sentence.

Grammar can be used to guess (word formation/relative clauses).


Read the whole text before attempting the questions. 

Use grammar rules to identify possible options.

Check the sample


Accuracy at writing is checked here. 

Part 4 Reading –

Long text comprehension

For the final part, it is necessary to scroll the reading text to see all of it. Do this by clicking on the side bar (as shown) and move the bar up and down.

Select the appropriate heading from the drop-down list on the right-hand side.

In this part bear in mind that

There is one extra distraction heading. 

It tests the ability to read and understand a long text. 

It tests the ability to understand synonyms, or alternate expression. 


Read the whole text carefully, but as quickly as you can. Then carefully read the headings.

Look for clues to connect the headings to the paragraphs such as synonyms, similar ideas or topics.

Observe the following sample.




Watch this full test done in real prectice with explanations.




Test structure


You have 30-55 minutes to answer the test


There are three parts in this section

Watch the following video to give you a quick review of the test

Test Design

There are 3 parts in this test

Word and number recognition

In this part you have to listen to a short monologue (answer phone message) to identify specific information.

Identifying detail

Here you listen to short conversations between two speakers or to monologues to identify purpose, general topic or specific information.


This part is focused in listening to short conversations between two speakers or to monologues to identify speaker attitude, intention, etc. through inferring meaning from the whole listening passage.

Important issues

  • Tasks become more difficult as test progresses.

  • Four-option multiple choice for each item (can be listened twice).

  • 1 listening sample per question.

  • Minimum time to complete it (listening only once each audio) is 25 minutes.

  • Types of format do not appear in order, although inference questions tend to come later.

Question samples

Remember that if you'd like to hear a question for a second time, just click on the ‘Play’ button. The system will not allow you to listen more than twice.

Check the following samples of these questions

Word and number recognition

Identify specific information

Identifying detail

Short conversations between two speakers or to monologues to identify purpose, general topic or specific information.


The objective is to identify speaker attitude, intention, etc. through inferring meaning from the whole listening passage.

Tips & Preparation

  • Read the question and the four options carefully, noting key terms.

  • Listen to the whole passage before choosing an answer.

  • Listen for synonyms and alternative phrases. 

  • Listen for a second time to check or confirm answer.

If you like you may practice listening skills using the following resources:

LINK 1              LINK 2


1. Key terms in questions can give indications about the type of answer expected (the term “particularly” implies that more than one answer will be valid, and focuses the listener on finding the most appropriate answer. Question tenses can be important in eliminating similar but incorrect answers). 

2. Passage length and the number of answers mentioned increases with difficulty, so it is crucial to listen to the entire recording. 

3. Learning to draw inferences in listening involves paying specific attention to intonation and stress to understand what mood speakers are in. Listening to authentic speeches such as television soap operas or films can help.




Test structure


Writing test in the APTIS follows the same pattern as the other tests. In this case you have 50 minutes to complete it. It is the longest section in the exam. 

Part 1 Word-level writing

Here you have to respond to five questions

You need to complete it with 1-5 words for each question.

Part 2 Short text writing

It is about personal information questions. You must write 20–30 words average.

Part 3 Responding to written text stimuli

Here you respond to written input on a social network-type website. There are three questions, 40 words for each.

Part 4 Formal and informal text writing

You are asked to write an informal email to a friend (A) and a more formal email (B). Both emails are in reaction to information about a change (for teens there is an essay to be done).

A = 50 words.

B = 120–150 words.

It is important to remember that:

  • All parts are thematically linked. 

  • Tasks get increasingly more demanding.

Watch the following video to have a general view of this part.

Now let's see each part in more detail. 


Part 1 Writing – Word-level writing

You need to write five pieces of information. See the following sample

Part 1

Example of a low-level answer (1/5) for Part 1:

Example of a high-level answer (5/5) for Part 1:

TIP: This part is not worth many marks, so don't spend too much time on it.


Part 2 Writing – Short text writing

This part is about form filling – but this time you need to write in sentences. 

About this part remember that:

Level A1-A2+ maximum score available 5.

Write between 20 and 30 words and spend no more than seven minutes

Sample for part 2

Example of a high-level (5/5) response for Part 2:

Note that 5/5 can be achieved as long as errors are minor and do not impede communication.

TIPS for this part

  • Keeps to the word count (20-30 words). 

  • Clear sentences. 

  • Answers are relevant to the topic. Replies are fully according to the input.

Common candidates mistakes.

1.Writing more than 30 words. 

2.Making too many mistakes. 

3.Writing off-topic responses. 

4.Capitalising all letters throughout.

Take a look of how this part is scored.

Part 2 scoring

Part 3

Part 3 Writing – Responding to written questions on a social network-type website

Here you have to:

1.Write 30 – 40 words for each question 

2.Focus on coherence and cohesion, relevance and accuracy. 

3.Spend ten minutes on this (maximum of seven marks available).

See the following sample


Example of a high-level (5/5) response for Part 3:

TIPS for this part

  • Emphasise the need to respond to all three prompts.

  • First task where coherence (ease with which the message and ideas can be followed), and cohesion (the way in which ideas are linked together using devices such as discourse markers [actually], conjunctives [therefore], and substitution and referencing) is important. 

  • The writing should naturally respond to the prompts, and ideas should be coherently linked. Relevance and accuracy are also important.

Now see how this part is marked

Part 3 greading

Part 4

Part 4 Writing – Formal and informal text writing

This part requires that you write an informal email to a friend and a more formal email to an unknown person. Both emails are in reaction to information about a change.

You should spend no more than 20 minutes on this part.

Sample part 4

Example of a high-level (5/5) response for Part 4:

Current problems in this part

Formal:Candidates often focus on the topic, but forget the specific requirements. In order to satisfy the requirements of the task, there are three items that should be mentioned: 

1. feelings, 

2. alternative suggestion (1), 

3. alternative suggestion (2).

Credit will be given for consistently using an appropriate informal tone.

Informal:The tone of this email should be significantly more formal throughout, compared to the previous email. 

Higher level candidates have the chance to demonstrate precise vocabulary and a wide range of grammatical structures.

Examiner comments

  • Understands the difference in writing to a friend as opposed to writing to an authority. The first text is casual and the second text is formal. 

  • Answers the input in a coherent manner. The text makes sense. 

  • Writing is clear, assured and precise using a range of cohesive devices to make the writing flow. Grammar and vocabulary is broad and accurate.

Marks awarded 5/5 (Likely higher than B2)

Check the scoring criteria for this part.

Score part 4


Watch the following explained video of a full test to give you an idea of it.


Writing Section is done. Congratulations keep up this way up¡


Test Structure


This is the shortest of the tests. It takes from 10 to 12 minutes to complet it.

There are 4 parts here.  


Personal information

You have to respond to three personal information questions.

It takes 30 seconds per response.


Picture description and personal comparison

Here you describe a picture and answer two related questions.

You have 45 seconds for each response. 


Describe, compare and speculate

Answer three questions relating to two contrasting pictures (increasing difficulty).

The average time is 45 seconds for each response.

PART 4  Discuss personal experience or opinion in relation to abstract topic

Answer three questions related to a single topic. Picture prompt, though not central to the task.

It takes one minute preparation time, two minutes response time.

General comments about this section. 

  • As it goes on it becomes more complex speaking functions tested throughout the module.
  • The speaking exam is recorded and then marked by an examiner.

Watch this general information about this test

Part 1 Speaking – Personal information

Personal information

In this part, you will answer some questions about yourself. Listen to the instructions and speak clearly into your microphone when you hear the signal.

Each part of the test will appear automatically.

When the time to record comes, the timer begins. This tells you the amount of time you have been recording for (in this case, 14 seconds).

Check this Sample

Personal information

As each new question appears, the same procedure is followed.

Personal information

Another sample

While finishing

When you finish you will have this picture

Make sure to have this image. 

Check the scoring system for this part

Task 1

Part 2 Speaking – Picture description and personal comparison


Picture description and personal comparison

In this part, you will see a photo and answer three questions. You have 45 seconds to respond to each question.




Check the scoring system for this part

task 2 -3

Part 3 Speaking – Describe, compare and speculate

Describe, compare and speculate

In this part, you will see two photos and again answer three questions.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Check the scoring system for this part

task 2 -3

Part 4 Speaking – Describe, compare and speculate

Describe, compare and speculate

Here the candidate is asked three questions related to a single topic and is given one minute to prepare an answer and take notes. Then the candidate will then speak for two minutes.

Sample 1



After this you have 2 minutes to answer.

Check the scoring system for this part

task 4

Speaking test tips and real sample

In order to face this test remember the following.

  • Explain that the failure to do the above is the most common reason marks are lost. 
  • Preparation time could be used to make brief notes and decide how to develop and link ideas. Common errors could be written down (don’t forget past tense etc.). 
  • The test moves very quickly, and cannot be paused. 
  • Practice with the demo will familiarise candidates with the pace and procedures.

Watch the following samples without audio so you can get familiar with the format and timing. 

Watch the next video as it is in real practice


Now it is time for you to go back and check any topic you want.

Try to get the videos and watch them to get more familiar with the test

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