Trinity ISE TfL Private Hire Licence Test – Everything you need to know

Trinity English Test For Taxi Drivers In London

There is a lot of confusion and even some fear in the London driving community right now.

It’s all about the English test that Private Hire Drivers in London need to renew their licence.

This is a new piece of legislation from Transport for London and some of the information that has been given out by TfL is slightly vague and sometimes not in plain and simple English.

So, here is everything you need to know about the ‘English test for London cab drivers’ in 100% clear English.

Below you can find out all the answers to the following questions.

  1. What English test do I need to pass to renew my TfL Private Hire Licence?
  2. I can speak English! Do I really have to take the ISE 1 Test?
  3. What does SELT stand for?
  4. What does ISE mean?
  5. Is there a difference between SELT and ISE English tests?
  6. What is B1 Level of English?
  7. How do I find out my current level of English?
  8. HOW MUCH does it cost to take the Trinity ISE1 Test?
  9. HOW LONG is the ISE Test for Private Hire Drivers?
  10. HOW CAN I IMPROVE my English level to take this test and pass?
  11. WHEN can I take the Trinity ISE1 Test?
  12. WHERE can I take the ISE 1 (B1) Tfl Private Hire Licence test in London?
  13. WHAT HAPPENS on the day of the exam?

But first, here are some essential facts…


  • Private Hire Drivers in London need to prove to TfL that they have a good level of English
  • Proof of English level must be given to TfL before 31st March 2017
  • Without proof of English level you can not renew your Private Hire Drivers Licence
  • You need to pass the Trinity ISE1 test – but there are some exceptions (see below)
  • The ISE1 exam has questions that will test your Writing, Reading, Listening & Speaking
  • The test costs £180​

^ top

What English test do I need to pass to renew my TfL Private Hire Licence?

All Licensed Private Hire Drivers in London (and anyone who wants to have a new licence in the future) have to prove that they have a good level of English.

If you have documents proving you have GCSE qualifications from a UK school you can submit those to TfL… or you will have to pass the Trinity College London B1 SELT – ISE 1 test (see other exceptions below)

If you are a driver you must prove that you have a B1 level of English or you have passed this test BEFORE 31st March 2017 if you want to renew your licence.

^ top

I can speak English! Do I really have to take the ISE 1 Test?

There are some exceptions that mean you might not have to take the ISE 1 Test for TfL Licence Renewal.

You can submit proof of the following qualifications to TfL:

  • a GCSE (or higher, such as A level) qualification in any subject taught in a UK school
  • a high school qualification from other countries, where the subject was 100% taught and examined in English
  • an English as a Second Language exam qualification at B1 level, like the FCE, CAE, IELTS or TOEFL exams

For all of the above, you must submit the original documents to TfL to prove that you already have the relevant qualification. 

^ top

What does SELT stand for?

SELT means Secure English Language Test.

This basically means that the test is accepted by the UK Government because the testing body/group (Trinity College London) is approved by the government. The test will be exactly the same standard in all test centres so that it is 100% fair and the same for all people sitting the test.

^ top

What does ISE mean?

ISE ​stands for Integrated Skills in English.

This means that the test will cover ALL parts of English language. In other words, the test will have questions on Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing.

With a test like this, you must pass ALL parts. For example, it is not possible to fail the writing part, just because you are good at speaking.

^ top

Is there a difference between SELT and ISE English tests?

SELT is the type of exam and ISE describes what you have to do in the test. They are NOT different tests. If you are a London driver, the English test you need to pass is Trinity College London B1 SELT – ISE 1 (this is the full official title)

Some people might call this test by different names:

  • Trinity SELT exam
  • Trinity’s ISE1 qualification
  • ISE test for taxi drivers
  • English test for TfL Private Hire Driver Licence renewal
  • B1 SELT
  • ISE 1

They are all the same thing.

This kind of exam is relatively new for Immigration purposes and it is 100% new for the London Licensed Driver community, so there is a lot of confusion about the name, but all of the above names refer to the same English test.

^ top

What is B1 Level of English?

This refers to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) which states the different levels of your overall ability with any European language. A1 is the lowest level (beginner) and C2 is the highest level (native-speaker like fluency). So, B1 is somewhere in the middle which is called Intermediate level

B1 level is like the overall standard of English (writing, speaking, reading and listening) that teenagers have when they are halfway through their time at a UK secondary school.

How do I find out my level of English?

Take the SGI Online Grammar test – 40 multiple-choice questions and then you get your results immediately. The result will give you a good idea of your current level of English grammar knowledge based on the CEFR scale.

If you want to find out if your writing or reading or listening is good enough for B1 level of English, then please come to our school to speak to our staff who will give you a 100% honest assessment of your English skills. Email us now HERE.

^ top

HOW MUCH does it cost to take the Trinity ISE1 Test?

The test (only available at an official Trinity College London Test centre – see details below) costs £180.

This is the fee for the test only.

This does not include any training or English classes that you might need to prepare for the exam.

SGI is the main official training centre for Trinity College London – you can prepare for the exam on our special English course only for Private Hire Drivers

^ top

HOW LONG is the ISE Test for Private Hire Drivers?

There are two parts to the test which will take about 2.5 hours in total.

Part 1: Reading & Writing = 2 hour exam with 4 separate tasks

Part 2: Speaking & Listening = 18 minute exam with 4 separate tasks

HOW CAN I IMPROVE my English level to take this test and pass?

At SGI we have several English courses at our school in Central London ONLY for private hire drivers who specifically need to pass the ISE1 test at B1 level.

We have weekday evening classes and also Saturday daytime classes.

You can choose when to study at the best time for you. We have different ISE test preparation classes for different levels of English.


By the way, SGI is the main Trinity College London exam preparation centre in the city. We are a small family-run English school with an excellent reputation and very professional and highly experienced English teachers. The UK government officially rates our school and teachers as ‘outstanding’.

^ top

WHEN can I take the Trinity ISE1 Test?

You can take the test on any Wednesday at the 3 London test centres. The test is available to take now.

​There are also some Mondays in November when the test is also available.

It will take up to 15 days after you have taken your test for you to receive your results from Trinity College London.

To see the full list of available test dates at the Trinity London centres please CLICK HERE.

^ top

WHERE can I take the ISE 1 (B1) Tfl Private Hire Licence test in London?

There are only 3 official Trinity College London centers in London where you can take the Trinity SELT – ISE 1 (B1) Tfl Private Hire Licence test.

Trinity College London Test Centres In London For ISE B1 TfL Private Hire Driver Test

1. Hammersmith Trinity College London Test Centre

Address: 2 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9DX

To book a test at Hammersmith CLICK HERE

2. Holborn Trinity College London Test Centre

Address: 88 Kingsway, Holborn, London, WC2B 6AA

To book a test at Holborn CLICK HERE

3. Croydon Trinity College London Test Centre

Address: AMP House, 7th floor, Dingwall Road, Croydon

To book a test at Croyon CLICK HERE


Any phone enquiries about Trinity College London Test Centres, call: 0333 358 3183

^ top

WHAT HAPPENS on the day of the exam?

On the day of the exam, you MUST take official proof of photo identification with you to the Trinity Exam Centre.

At the exam centre, they will take a photo of you before your exam. That photo must closely resemble/be clearly identifiable as the same person from your own photo ID.

Official ID accepted by Trinity College London is one of the following (Copies of ID are not allowed):

  • Valid EU Passport
  • Valid European Union ID card
  • Valid Biometric UK Residence permit
  • Travel Document issued by the United Nations or The Red Cross
  • Valid Vignette attached to an Immigration Status Document or G3 Document

^ top

Related Posts

About St George International
big ben and

A leading ‘English as a foreign language’​ school in London helping you meet your learning objectives in the shortest time.

Popular Post