SELT: English Language Test For UK Citizenship: A Concise Guide For Undecided Learners!

With ancient castles, gorgeous pebble beaches, dramatic cliffs, and of course, those accents, the UK is one of the most fascinating places in the world. Not only is it naturally beautiful and culturally rich, but it boasts world-class universities and higher life standards than most countries on Earth.

Plus, the UK has one of the most solid economies in the world, and a very powerful passport that will open many doors for you. So, with all there is to love about Old Blighty, most people who have been living here for the required time choose to become citizens.

Though there are many requisites to fulfil to naturalise as a British citizen, the scariest one is the English language test for UK citizenship. However, as our English teacher Ben recently pointed out to us, it is perfectly possible to ace this exam if you prepare in the right way.

Without further ado, let’s see all you have to know to pass your English language test and get your UK citizenship!


→Sign Up Now: Free Trial English Lesson With a Native Speaker Teacher!←


The SELT Exam: Who Is It For?

The Secure English language test (SELT) is the official exam for visa or citizen applications. Passing this test proves that you are ready to live, work, and study in the UK and cope with all the communicative demands of living your life in an English-speaking country.

However, not everyone who aspires to live in England or Wales needs to pass the SELT. Nationals from Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Ireland, St. Trinidad and Tobago and, of course, the USA, are exempt from taking the test. Also, people who hold a university degree from a British institution will only need to provide their degree diploma and an Academic Qualification Proficiency Statement that certifies their course of studies was delivered in English.

If you weren’t born in any of the countries above and you don’t hold a degree from a UK university, don’t worry. This article is actually for you. If you want to evidence your English language skills, all you need to do is sit for the SELT at your nearest official UK Home Office centre, get the great score we know you can get, and fill in that citizenship application!

Let’s delve into the English language test for UK citizenship and what you can do to master it in just a few weeks.

Everything You Need to Know About the SELT Exam

When you learn English as a foreign language, teachers usually talk about the “four language skills” that every student needs to master to gain native-like competence: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

However, it turns out not all applicants to the English language UK citizenship test need to be tested for all sections. Some candidates, including sportspeople and partners of a settled spouse, will only be required to take a 2-skill test (Speaking & Listening). Yet, those who want to apply for a student or a skilled worker visa are usually required to take a 4-skill one.

You’re not sure what the requirements are for you? No problem. You can check the exam type that corresponds to each kind of visa by clicking on this link.

Now that you know what the English language UK citizenship test is and who it is for, let’s delve into the format and content of the exam.


  • It consists of 26 questions divided into 4 parts.
  • The tasks involve multiple choice and gap filling.
  • The overall duration of the listening section is 30 minutes.
  • All recordings are heard twice.


  • It is a short interview of around 14 minutes

You are examined on your own, not in pairs.

  • The test is delivered online, so you will hear your interlocutor through a set of headphones.
  • In part 1, you are asked to give personal information and express opinions and ideas.
  • In part 2, you engage in a roleplay which imitates an everyday situation.
  • In part 3, you exchange factual information and you express a point of view.
  • In part 4, you speak without interruption about one topic chosen by your interlocutor.

Reading & Writing

These two skills are assessed together. The Reading & Writing section is a 2-hour-10-minute uninterrupted session.


  • It consists of 26 questions divided into 4 parts.
  • The tasks involve multiple-choice, gap filling, and multiple matching


  • You have to write two texts, a formal letter/essay and an informal message/report.
  • The informal text should have 100-150 words and the formal one 150-200 words.

Scoring For All Sections

  • For Reading and Listening, candidates get 1 mark per correct answer.
  • For Writing, every applicant’s output is evaluated according to 4 marking criteria per task:
  • Task fulfilment (Is the text communicating what it needs to communicate?)
  • Structure (Is the information well organised?)
  • Grammar (Has the candidate used a variety of tenses and grammatical forms?)
  • Vocabulary (Does the candidate make interesting, varied lexical choices?)
  • For Speaking, each candidate’s overall performance is assessed according to 4 marking criteria:
    • Task fulfilment and coherence
    • Accuracy and range of grammar
    • Accuracy and range of vocabulary
    • Pronunciation, intonation, and fluency

How Do I Get Ready for the SELT English Language Test for UK Citizenship?

1. Get The Right Study Material

LanguageCert, the company that developed the Secure English Language Test for UK citizenship, is a trusted and committed institution that designs and delivers high-quality, international language exams that enhance the professional and academic opportunities of individuals worldwide.

They work with the most renowned publishing companies to ensure candidates have access to the best preparation materials for SELT. On their website, you can find preparation books that have been tailor-made to help candidates learn English from a pragmatic perspective with the objective of not only helping them master the exam, but also facilitating the learning tools that will make them fully functional British citizens.

2. Practise Using Sample Tests

According to our English teacher Ben, If you’ve already decided that you want to sit for the English Language Test for UK citizenship, there is one resource that will help you more than any book you can find on Amazon: mock (practice) tests.

By completing sample exams, you get to familiarise yourself with the format of SELT, and you continue to learn English while getting practice in the very skills and tasks that you will be evaluated on the day of the exam! Isn’t that a great way to reduce anxiety?

3. Get a Native British Teacher to Help You

Of course, no matter how many sample tests you fill on your own, when it comes to the dreaded Speaking and Writing sections of the exam, there is only one path to success: practising with a native English teacher.

By taking an individual course with a British tutor like Ben, you will be able to get familiar with the type of accent that you will hear on the day of the exam AND you will get expert, personalised feedback on your performance (as well as invaluable tips to take it to the next level!)

→Sign Up Now: Free Trial English Lesson With a Native Speaker Teacher!←

“So, where will I find a British teacher”, you might be thinking? Luckily, that’s the part where we can help. All you have to do is contact us, say that you need to get some practice for the English language UK citizenship test, and we’ll pair you up with an experienced British teacher who’ll help you get ready for the exam in no time! Reach out to us now and get ready for a free trial lesson, no strings attached!