'A true professional does not build his house on sand'

About the Exam

The Foundation Exam is the FIRST step in successful professional development with Toles. 

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The Foundation Exam is the recommended starting point in legal English training for international law students.

For more experienced lawyers, this may be the correct starting point for those who wish to begin training in professional legal English while continuing to develop English skills in general.


The exam is one paper: legal reading and writing. The focus of the exam is on testing the absolute linguistic accuracy required of lawyers in a modern international office. This means accuracy in two main areas: technical legal vocabulary and grammar. Vocabulary from commercial deals, company documents, commercial contracts, intellectual property agreements, financial documents and forms of business are tested, as well as legal terminology from other areas.

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 level of English needed for this exam is Elementary. 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 is based on absolute accuracy in written English, not fluency. This means that when learners answer questions we expect their use of English to be very good and they will lose points for imperfect grammar as well as for vocabulary mistakes. 


Time Allowed

Skills Tested

Appropriate level of general English




90 minutes

Legal Reading and writing (90 Minutes)


Practical Legal Vocabulary in authentic situations: Consolidation of basic grammar

The maximum score possible at the Foundation level is100

Toles Foundation with grade explanation 

Program for the Foundation Level 

  1. The Legal Profession
  2. The Language of Banking
  3. The Language of Contract Law
  4. The Language of Employment Law
  5. The Language of the Law of Tort
  6. Understanding Contracts (Part 1) 
  7. The Language of Business Law
  8. Modern Letter Writing
  9. The Language of Company Law
  10. Understanding Contracts (Part 2)

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