Besides transcripts and standardized test scores, most universities also require freshmen to submit results from tests of English proficiency. This requirement represents your ability to meet the criteria required for academic study.
It even holds greater emphasis if you are planning to study in a country where English is the official language.
However, there are only a few internationally recognized English proficiency tests. Check with your dream college about the approved test provider. Nevertheless, universities generally work closely with these institutions in evaluating your language skills:
7 Common English Proficiency Tests You Should Know About
1. IELTS Exam
IELTS, or the International English Language Testing System, evaluates a person’s level of English proficiency, whether they are applying to work or study in an English-speaking country. The IELTS is available in two versions: Academic and General Training.
For those wishing to enroll in a college or university in an English-speaking nation, the first type of IELTS is required. The latter is for people who are moving to an English-speaking nation and/or applying to jobs or training programs in those countries.
You must take the IELTS Academic to show your proficiency with the English language if you wish to apply to study at an English-speaking college or university. Your ability to finish the coursework in English will be determined by your IELTS results.
There are four distinct parts of the IELTS exam:
2. TOEFL Exam
The Test of English as a Foreign Language, also known as the TOEFL, is standardized test of your mastery of English.
Most people who take the TOEFL aspire to study at a university or graduate program abroad. However, the TOEFL can be taken by anyone who needs to prove their mastery of the language for academic purposes.
Schools and universities use TOEFL scores for admissions since this test focuses on how English is used in an academic environment. Instead of using conversational English, the TOEFL reading passages make use of formal, academic language and high-level vocabulary.
There are three types of the test:
- Paper version (PBT)
- Computer-based (CBT)
- Online version (iBT)
iBTs make up the vast majority of all TOEFLs taken. If you are taking the PBT, double-check your school’s international admission office as many universities only accept iBT TOEFL scores.
The TOEFL iBT test has four sections:
3. TOEIC Exam
A standardized English test geared for professionals and businesses is called the TOEIC, or Test of English for International Communication.
It comprises two different examinations, one measuring receptive English proficiency (reading and listening) and the other measuring productive English proficiency (speaking and writing).
Depending on your requirements, you can decide whether to take the two TOEIC tests of English proficiency or simply one. Each of the two exams has a distinct format, and so does the grading.
The more well-known of the two TOEIC tests is the reading and listening test. The score ranges from 10 to 990 and is administered on paper.
The TOEIC speaking and writing test, however, must be completed on a computer. In this version, you will record your spoken responses to the written or recorded prompts and type your written responses for the written component. Your final score will range from 0 to 400.
The Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic exam is a computer-based English language assessment that is recognized by educational institutions all around the world.
Students who wish to study abroad or immigrate to a major English-speaking nation take this English proficiency test. The exam is required for students to show their proficiency in the English language.
The exam pattern for the PTE is designed based on the following:
- Speaking and Writing
The test evaluates six skills: grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary, and written discourse. These add up to a score between 10 and 90. This test has a two-hour time limit, and you will get the results in 48 hours.
5. BLTR Exam
The Berlitz Test of Listening and Reading Skills (BLTR) is an efficient and cost-effective online tool that measures your language skills.
The test is simply available from any computer with an internet connection and is offered in five languages, including English.
The 90-minute test measures four key areas of communication:
- Listening Comprehension
- Reading Comprehension
- Grammatical Accuracy
- Breadth of Vocabulary
In order to assure test security, Berlitz advises having the test proctored. Computerized scoring is used to produce instant results for tests. The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) serves as the basis for scoring.
The degree of your language understanding and practical skills will be determined by the Berlitz scale, which ranges from 1 (beginner) to 10 (professional).
The company behind the Cambridge English exam series and the IELTS test in cooperation with the British Council is Cambridge English Language Assessment, formerly known as Cambridge ESOL.
Your English competence will be certified by these tests of English proficiency, which are recognized by thousands of colleges and companies throughout the world. The test evaluates a variety of linguistic abilities.
Each certificate has a different number of components that are used to evaluate your skills. But in general, every exam consists of the following parts:
- Use of English
Cambridge English Language Assessment exam is mapped out according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL), which establishes six main levels of linguistic competence:
- Basic Levels (A1 and A2)
- Intermediate Levels (B1 and B2)
- Advanced Levels (C1 and C2)
The Duolingo English Tests are convenient alternatives for international students looking to fulfill English proficiency requirements. They are tests of English proficiency used to evaluate your ability to read, write, speak, and listen to English.
The questions on this computer-adaptive test get harder or easier as you go along depending on how you respond to earlier inquiries. You respond to open-ended questions in addition to multiple-choice ones to gauge your spoken and writing English proficiency.
All of the questions you respond to are graded by the computer. Additionally, you have the choice of recording a video interview and writing sample.
The Duolingo English Test takes about one hour to complete. It’s broken down into three segments:
- Introduction and Setup
- Adaptive Test
- Video Interview
Your results will be delivered to you within 48 hours, and they are good for two years.
If you are not prepared for any tests, you may consider applying to universities that offer studies without IELTS or TOEFL. Next, you can focus on other, more pressing aspects, such as finding scholarships to cut your education costs.