How to prepare for the TOLES exam (20.09.2023)

All you need to know about TOLES exams

a guide for candidates

1. Technical issues

Learn all the technicalities of the online TOLES exams, how to register, how much to pay and the place of the exams (your home :)).

For more info, please visit:

2. The exam areas

Make sure you know the areas of law you are tested on.

The TOLES Exams test knowledge of legal vocabulary from among the following areas. The same areas are for the Foundation, Higher and Advanced exam.

•The details of real court cases
•Banks accounts and loans
•Contracts in common law systems
•Oral and written contracts
•Sole trader businesses
•Traditional partnerships and LLPs
•Limited companies
•Bankruptcy and insolvency
•Disputes and litigation
•Landlord and tenant
•The law of tort
•The liability of businesses for negligence
•The liability of businesses for nuisance
•Copyright, patents and trademarks
•Alternatives to litigation
•How the common law works

The above compilation is based on the materials sent by Global Legal English to the Authorised Exam Centres such as Legal English Centre (Poznań, Poland).

The higher the level, the more phrases and collocations you are expected to know.

(after 18 years of teaching experience and conducting over 100 exam sessions)

During my courses I usually add some vocabulary from other areas because the examiners just fancy putting such multiple choice questions.

It may be helpful to know a bit about consumers and the law, phrases such as “perishable goods”, “unfair terms” or “a latent defect”.

It is not uncommon in contracts to find clauses on insurance-related matters. Make sure you cover this topic briefly, e.g. “excess”, “indemnity” or “a premium”.

There may be further surprises in multiple choice questions coming from tax vocabulary: “avoidance”, “evasion” or “an annual self-assessment tax return”.

At the higher levels do not be surprised to come across “to bequeath”, “the deceased’s estate” or “next of kin” from family law and inheritance.


Please remember that your knowledge of the above areas is definitely needed but for the first part of the test:

the TOLES Higher Sections 1-6
the TOLES Advanced Sections 1-6

For the remaining Sections at both levels what you need is the language of contracts:

– typical boilerplate clauses
– typical fixed phrases
– their grammar accuracy and choice of words
– being able to spot a mistake.

3. Exercise types

Please make sure that you really know what the online TOLES exams look like:

– the types of exercises and what you are supposed to do in each
– how much time you have.

There is only ONE (1) free SAMPLE test available for each level on the Global Legal English website.

These are complete tests that you do online and immediately check the correct answer.


If you want to practise more, there are THREE more paid PRACTICE PAPERS available for each level from Global Legal English. The price is £10 each.

Foundation / Higher / Advanced

4. How to prepare for TOLES?

That is a very good question indeed.

If you want to do it on your own:

There are NO books currently available on the market that would prepare you completely, from A to Z, for the new online versions of the exams.

As for the Foundation level, since the exam has not changed so drastically, when considering the exercises, so the title available still offers quite a decent preparation.

Just note that half of the book is supposedly suitable for the Higher level.

As for the TOLES Advanced, the same reservations hold true. If you know how to look for fixed phrases and collocations in texts, you may work with:

At least you can find examples of contractual clauses and the typical phrases used in them.

But you will not find the exercises for the new online exams.

If you are lucky enough to attend a group course, make sure that you cover all the required vocabulary areas (with the exceptional phrases, an experience legal English teacher should know)


you devote a lot of time to studying and analysing the language of contracts.

There is one more option available online, both for self-study and in addition to any other learning path you choose.

Please excuse me for a short commercial break but this overview would not be complete without it.

All the vocabulary required from each area of law has been collected on the Legal English Boost platform:

At the Higher and Advanced levels you are given:

– one word gaps,
– multiple choice questions,
– prepositions completion and
– boilerplate clauses for study.

Additionally, I have prepared the Course NOTES, shorter and longer texts devoted to each area of law with the vocabulary needed to survive in each, and the exams :)

The TOLES Foundation is still under preparation.

If you wish to know about any other book / website / material / course available on the market, please contact me  ( for a totally personal and subjective assessment of these. One email may save you time and money.

Hoping the above will prove helpful to potential TOLES candidates.

Fingers crossed

Agnieszka Chojecka (Ms)
Legal English tutor

PS All the facts, prices, procedures and website links are as of 20 September 2023.

If you notice any inaccurate information in this overview, please let me know.