My Experience in the Centro Cultural Británico and the ELAE Exam

Process before the exam

You can get an appointment by calling to 4030-4829 or 2221-2992 , once you have your appointment , You have to show up in the Centro Cultural Británico  at least twenty minutes before on the scheduled day , you have to  bring a photocopy of  your ID  and you can pay with a debit, credit card or in cash  , the cost of the exam is 20000 colones (cheaper than the TOEIC)  and if you pay an extra 2000 colones , the result and the certificates  will be given to you within 45 minutes.

Process during the exam

The time to  finish the five parts of the exam is around two hours , the examinator  asks you to leave your belongings in a different room and  then takes  you to the examination room. each one of the five sections is 20% of the overall score.

The five parts of the ELAE in the Centro Cultural Británico are the  following:

Listening  Comprehension (20%)

This section of the exam consists of two parts:

  • Part 1: Listening  a short  conversation and answering  around  five  multiple choice questions.
  • Part 2: Listening a short conversation  and  completing  around ten sentences.

In my opinion, this  was the toughest part of the test due to the accent used in the dialogue and the difficulty of the questions.

Knowledge of the grammar and vocabulary (20%)

This section of the exam consists of two parts:

  • Part 1:  Around 15 multiple choice questions about grammar and vocabulary ( Samples:  Grammar and Vocabulary)
  • Part 2:  Around 10  sentences to complete  with  word formation (Sample:  Vocabulary)

Reading Comprehension (20%)

This section of the exam consists of two parts (If I remember right) :

  • Part 1:  Locate main ideas in a text ( Sample : Multiple Matching)
  • Part 2:  Reading comprehension – multiple choice questions

Writing (20%)

This section consist of one part:

  • Part 1:  This task is a about writing  a  250 -word essay of  a basic topic such as “The importance of  learning a second language” or a variation of that.

Speaking (20%)

  • Part 1:  This task is about answering a few questions  about basic  topics such as  a description of the place you live and your opinion on topics such as diet. The interview is short  and performed with each participant individually, no more than five minutes, the interviewer was an English native speaker (Mark Budworth)

Process after the exam

Once the test is over  if you paid the extra 2000 colones, you’ll have to wait around 45 minutes to get your result and the two certificates  (Spanish/English). They certificate indicate the score that you get in each one of the sections, the overall score is in a scale  from  1 to 100 and also  a result based on  the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages which can be A1,A2,B1,B2 orC1  .


Both TOEIC and ELAE evaluate your proficiency  and not your teaching skills, neither one of those tests have made that claim, one thing is learning English and a completely different thing is teaching it.

If you have already  passed the TOEIC or ELAE  before, there is a pretty good chance that you’ll pass it again so there is nothing to be afraid of.  First timers must give  it a try , I can’t recommend one test  above the other, both are tough in their own ways, both exams placed me  in the same level so one or the other can tell you exactly where you at.

If you have any question regarding the exam or the process, please leave your comments below using your WordPress , Twitter or facebook account.