About TOLES

English language and law for international lawyers since 2000.

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What is TOLES?

TOLES means ‘Test of Legal English Skills’.

The TOLES exams allow international lawyers and law students to prove their level of specialised legal English. This is different language from the English needed to pass a general English language exam, and it is also significantly different from the English needed to do an LLB or an LLM.

The TOLES exams test the specific vocabulary and grammar necessary to understand and draft cross-border contracts in English and the English needed to feel confident when dealing with international commercial liabilities and financial matters.

The TOLES exams were established in 2000 and are jointly owned by Cambridge Law Studio Limited and Global Legal English Limited.

The TOLES exam certificates do not expire; they are valid for life.

How can the TOLES exams help me in my legal career?

Studying for the TOLES exams will help you in your legal career from the moment that you begin.

If you are already working as a lawyer, studying for the TOLES exams will give you a lot of the English vocabulary you need to do your job with more accuracy, efficiency, and confidence.

If you are a law student, you will know that many countries around the world produce many more law graduates than there are jobs. A great way to improve your CV and to add value to what you can offer to an employer is to have strong commercial legal English skills.

From the moment you read your first TOLES practice exam paper or start one of our online preparation courses, you are learning the English needed to succeed in international commercial law.

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The three levels of TOLES exam

The TOLES exams have three levels, which are:

The TOLES Foundation Exam

  • First level TOLES exam
  • Elementary/lower intermediate legal English exam
  • 90-minute online exam
  • Tests English legal vocabulary
  • Tests essential elementary/lower intermediate English grammar

The TOLES Higher Exam

  • Second level TOLES exam
  • Intermediate legal English exam
  • 90-minute online exam
  • Tests English legal vocabulary
  • Tests essential intermediate/upper intermediate English grammar

The TOLES Advanced Exam

  • Third level TOLES exam
  • Upper intermediate/advanced legal English exam
  • 120-minute online exam
  • Tests English legal vocabulary
  • Tests high intermediate/advanced English grammar

The three levels of the TOLES exams mean that every international lawyer and law student can begin to study for a legal English certificate, whatever their current level of ordinary and/or legal English.

To find the TOLES exam that is the right starting level for you, please look at the examples of TOLES online exams.

The TOLES exams are online

TOLES online is open to everyone who wishes to take an exam.

The exams are hosted on a secure platform, and are carefully ‘proctored’, which means that candidates are observed during the exam via their laptop camera and are also recorded. These recordings are checked after each exam session to ensure that our strict exam conditions have been met.

This means that exam candidates can take an exam on any of the available dates throughout the year without needing to attend a specific venue.

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Who recognises the TOLES certificate?

Many employers around the world recognise the TOLES exams as being a practical and valuable measure of a lawyer’s specific legal English skills. The exams are now over two decades old, and many commercial law firms, companies, and banks are aware of the additional English skills that TOLES candidates have.

TOLES is not a replacement for a general English language exam. We recommend that you add TOLES to your other English language qualifications rather than see TOLES as a substitute.

We know that TOLES exam candidates are better prepared for typical interview questions than job candidates who rely on knowledge taken only from their law degree. This is a major benefit of studying for TOLES.

Why should I take a TOLES exam?

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