Feeds Topics Study Abroad All you need to Know about English Proficiency Tests

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    Deborah Etim

    As part of their applications, international students applying to English-taught programs must present evidence of an English proficiency test. This guarantees that they have the required English skills to understand academics, write research papers, and effectively communicate with their supervisor. TOEFL, the IELTS, the CAE, and the CPE are four of the most generally common English proficiency examinations.


    TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is one of the most well-known and widely accepted English proficiency tests. It is one of the two tests typically approved by American institutions, along with the IELTS. The TOEFL was created to assess student’s mastery of English in a college or university setting.


    There are two versions available right now: an internet-based test (iBT) and a new paper-delivered test that replaces the old paper-based test which is no longer used. The full internet-based test, including the speaking section, is completed on a computer. The graders keep track of the answers and evaluate them.


    • Reading comprehension

    • Listening comprehension

    • Speaking expression

    • Writing expression


    Each section is worth 30 points, for a total of 120 points. The results are valid for two years. Many colleges demand scores in the 90-100 range, which corresponds to a proficiency level of B2 in the Common European Framework (CEF). In addition to a minimum overall score, some universities require a minimum score in each area.

    *The cost of the test varies depending on where you are, however it is usually around $200 USD. You can register for the TOEFL at a test center near you.

    Universities and employers all across the world accept the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). There are two versions of the test: one for academic purposes and one for general training. While colleges demand the academic version, certain government agencies use the general training version for work and immigration permits.
    Unlike the TOEFL, the IELTS speaking section is completed in front of an examiner. With a mix of multiple choice, diagram labeling, matching, short answer, and sentence completion questions, the IELTS features a more diverse question style.


    • Listening (40 minutes)

    • Reading (60 minutes)

    • Writing (60 minutes)

    • Speaking (11-14 minutes)


    Half-scores are included in the range of 1 to 9. The results are available 13 days after the test is completed and are valid for two years. Many colleges require scores in the 6-7 range, which corresponds to CEF proficiency levels B2/C1.

    *It generally costs about to USD $240. You can book a test at a center near you.


    Although CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English) are not as well-known around the world as the TOEFL or IELTS, they are frequently required for entrance to UK universities. CAE is suitable for people who are already comfortable communicating in English. It is an advanced test that is regarded as proof of C1 level English, as the name implies (equivalent to a score of 7-8 on the IELTS or 110-120 on the TOEFL).
    The test can be taken either in person or on a computer, though not all testing centers provide both options. Multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blanks, and matching questions make up the questions. The speaking examination is conducted in front of two examiners and another test taker. The test is conducted by one examiner, while the other assesses you and the other test taker.


    • Reading and use of English (90 minutes)

    • Writing (90 minutes)

    • Listening (40 minutes)

    • Speaking (15 minutes)


    Test takers can receive a B2, C, B, or A grade (from lowest to highest). The lowest passing mark is C, while those who receive a B or A receive a C1 Advanced certificate. This certificate and score will be valid indefinitely. Admission to most universities requires a grade of B or higher.

    *The CAE test costs about 150 EUR. You can take the test at a test center near you. The paper-based and computer-based tests can both be taken once a month.

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