TOLES Foundation

The TOLES Foundation Exam is:

• a level-1 legal English exam;
• suitable for beginner level;
• focused on basic grammar and vocabulary; and
• structured to encourage commercial awareness.

As developed and updated by TOLES, the course information is as follows:

About the Course
The Foundation Exam is the 1st step in successful professional development with TOLES.

Start here
The Foundation Exam is the recommended starting point in legal-English training for international law students. More experienced lawyers will find this a useful refresher course.

The exam has one paper: legal reading and writing. The exam tests the linguistic accuracy required of lawyers in a modern international office. This means accuracy in two main areas: technical legal vocabulary and grammar. The exam tests vocabulary from, inter alia, commercial deals, company documents, commercial contracts, intellectual property agreements, and financial documents.

A bridge between university and work
The Foundation Exam has been described by employers as ‘an excellent bridge for international law students between the world of university and the world of work’. As well as testing legal English, the Foundation Exam develops an awareness of the real tasks a lawyer carries out in an international legal office and focuses on real and recent legal developments and cases. For this reason, even learners with advanced general English can benefit from the Foundation Exam.

Level of general English
The priority at this stage is to make sure that a genuinely strong foundation of legal English is in place in order to allow learners to progress successfully to the next level. This strong foundation includes consolidating basic grammar before moving on to more complicated language structures. The exam tests accuracy in written English, not fluency.

• Time allowed: 90 minutes
• Skills tested: Legal reading and writing (90 minutes)
• Focus: Practical legal vocabulary in authentic situations; consolidation of basic grammar
• Training materials: The Lawyer’s English Language Coursebook and other legal English books and materials
• Score: The maximum score possible at Foundation level is 100
• Certificate: TOLES Foundation with grade explanation.

The TOLES Foundation Exam requires little or no knowledge of British or American law. It requires knowledge of useful international legal terminology; a strong, active use of basic grammar; and a sensitivity to use of register in the following general areas:
• basic legal negotiations
• pre-contractual documents
• commercial contracts
• banking
• companies
• other forms of business
• bankruptcy and insolvency
• employment law and contracts
• the litigation process
• essential contract law
• the law of tort
• intellectual property
• real estate
• oral contracts
• an introduction to the common law

Download the course material list.

To register for TOLES Foundation, click here.

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