English is the most widely spoken language worldwide and, as such, makes it vital to learn the language thoroughly and become proficient in it. There are many ways to learn and master the English language for conversational and understanding purposes.
Often an English proficiency test is recommended or required to ensure that you are fluent enough to get your ideas across precisely and professionally. And also, these proficiency tests are commonly used and highly accepted by universities and colleges worldwide for admissions, immigration requirements, and job applications.
English Proficiency Tests or English Language Exams are usually used to gauge a person’s ability to use the language for various purposes. Because language usage is hard to quantify, these proficiency tests were created to have an objective and standard way to fairly judge a person’s English skills.
- What are English Proficiency Tests?
- What Are English Language Exams Used For?
- English Language Proficiency Tests — A Comprehensive List of 15 English Exams
- Summary — Comparison Table for English Proficiency Tests
- Additional FAQs on English Proficiency Tests
What are English Proficiency Tests?
English proficiency tests are standardized exams that people take to assess their ability to understand, speak and construct comprehensive and understandable thoughts through the English language. These language tests usually include various facets of the English language like grammar, speech, comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, and more.
Much like any exam, a required score is needed to pass the test. In addition, passing these tests certifies that you are proficient in the language. Certification in these tests is often used by various institutions worldwide in screening people for their designated applications.
There are many types of English language proficiency tests to take. Choosing which one is right for you will vary, depending on your level of proficiency, your level of preparedness, your budget, the required test of the institution you’re applying for, and the intended use of your English proficiency test.
What Are English Language Exams Used For?
There are three primary uses for English language proficiency tests: study, work, and immigration.
Suppose you plan to enroll in a prestigious university or college abroad, or you wish to become an international student in an English-speaking country. In that case, you should consider taking these language proficiency tests. Some universities require their students to take standardized, internationally accepted language proficiency tests for this purpose.
Another use for the English proficiency test is in the workplace. Most international employers and famous companies use this English proficiency test to assess whether you have the appropriate English language proficiency levels for the job you are applying for.
English proficiency tests are also used for immigration purposes. But, again, it is to make sure that you can communicate, understand and integrate the English language well in the country you will be migrating to.
Some countries requiring English proficiency tests for migrating include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
English Language Proficiency Tests — A Comprehensive List of 15 English Exams
Many English language proficiency tests are available with different structures, costs, purposes, and passing grades. All of these English language proficiency tests aim to measure one’s English language proficiency levels.
Here are some of the most popular English proficiency language tests:
The IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It is a standardized and widely recognized English language proficiency assessment test for non-native English speakers.
The IELTS also provides an accurate language proficiency level for an individual’s English comprehension. Also, it is especially relevant for people who wish to work or study in English-speaking countries worldwide.
This language proficiency exam is considered to provide a structured certification for the English language. The IELTS exam is commonly used for education. As a result, most academic institutions around the world accept the language proficiency certification from the IELTS.
The IELTS is also trusted and accepted in over 3,400 institutions in the United States alone. And it is also accepted by thousands of institutions, especially in English-speaking countries over the world.
In addition, several international companies, private, professional institutions, and government organizations prefer the IELTS compared to other language proficiency exams available in the market.
And also, it is one of the requirements for global migration. People usually take this test because it is required to get a working or student visa in English-speaking countries.
Moreover, the IELTS is designed to assess the primary English skills, including writing, speaking, listening, and reading. It assesses one’s effectiveness in using the English language in different settings or environments.
The IELTS can be taken by anyone regardless of age, gender, race, nationality, and such. However, the test is not recommended for those under 16 years old.
IELTS Exam Format
The IELTS syllabus is separated into four distinct sections, each measuring a different competency.
The four IELTS exam sections are as follows:
Three test sections of the IELTS, including reading, listening, and writing, are all taken on the same test day schedule. And while the IELTS speaking test section is taken on a different day or test schedule.
The IELTS test has four exam sections which include listening, writing, reading, and speaking. And, also the IELTS offers two versions of the reading and writing test, the IELTS Academic and the IELTS General Test versions.
The IELTS Academic and IELTS General reading test section uses academic topic subjects and are factual, analytical, or opinion-based contexts.
And while on the IELTS General reading test section, all the passages presented are shorter and based on the day-to-day situations and working environment. The contexts presented here are all original articles based on newspapers, magazines, and other reading materials.
As for the writing section in the IELTS Academic, it is more inclined in the formal type of writing, and while in the IELTS General writing test, it is an informal type of writing test.
However, there are no differences in the speaking and listening sections for the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Test. Both have the same test formats, duration, and test question types.
IELTS Test Types:
Both of these IELTS exam formats measures an individual basic English language skills.
The IELTS Academic Test is intended for individuals who want to pursue higher education or those who wish to study in international universities and colleges where the English language is the medium of instruction. In addition, the IELTS Academic is primarily used in an academic setting and for professional registration.
The IELTS General Test is ideal for individuals applying to study below a degree level in any international university or college. And also, the IELTS General Test can be taken to assess one’s English language proficiency for work-related requirements and other employment training.
The IELTS General Test is also one of the requirements for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. This test also features conversational English language skills usage-based in day-to-day situations, social gatherings, and workplace settings.
IELTS Exam Length:
The total test time for the IELTS exam is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. And also, there are four sections in this test: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.
The Reading and Writing section of the IELTS exam each takes 60 minutes, while the Listening section takes 30 minutes. And for the IELTS speaking test section goes for around 11 to 14 minutes.
IELTS Passing Grade
The IELTS uses a band scoring between 9 and 1, wherein 9 indicate an expert English language user while the 1 below score indicates low ability in using the language.
The passing grade for the test is also relative to its purpose. For example, the typical minimum requirement for undergraduate programs in the US is 7.5. And for those postgraduate level requires a minimum of 6.5 band score.
However, you should also consider that universities, organizations, and specific courses need different IELTS band scores for their programs and admissions.
IELTS Exam Fee
The cost for the IELTS exam depends on where the exam taker is located. Note that the IELTS exam fee differs per location. This is so that the need for foreign currency exchange is eliminated. For example, in the US, the cost of the test is USD 250 on average.
The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a standardized and globally accepted English language test for non-native speakers of the language. And also, the TOEFL exam assesses the primary English language skills, which include reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills.
The TOEFL exam uses formal, academic language, and high-level vocabulary in its test components rather than casual or conversational English. That is why most test-takers, educational institutions, and private organizations prefer the TOEFL exam among the other English language proficiency tests.
The TOEFL is one of the most commonly used English language proficiency tests by universities, colleges and is highly accepted by immigration offices.
It is accepted in more than 11,000 universities and institutions worldwide, and the TOEFL exam is also used to examine one’s English proficiency which is regularly needed for academic purposes.
The TOEFL exam is also highly accepted and recognized in prestigious universities in the United States. It has a 100% acceptance rate to the UK universities, including the well-known Russell Group schools. Some countries that take this language proficiency test include Australia, the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Europe, and Asia.
And also, TOEFL is one of the English proficiency tests available in the market that is accredited and highly in-demand for all those who wish to pursue a working or a student visa in English-speaking countries.
However, you should also note that the TOEFL exam requires test-takers a minimum of 17 years of age or those 11th graders. The TOEFL has this requirement for its test-takers e to take the test since it is a complicated type and uses a high level of English vocabulary and complex passages.
TOEFL Exam Format
The TOEFL test is also divided into four primary English competencies:
There are contexts for the TOEFL Reading Test section for you to read, and it is also followed by questions connected to the passages. This test section aims to assess your reading comprehension, word recognition, vocabulary, sentence cohesion, and more.
As for the listening section, there are different audio clips about lectures and conversations that are presented. Note that the audio clip is only played once in this section, and question skipping is not allowed. And, you also need to answer the questions that follow after each audio.
The speaking section is divided into two parts, and the first part is independent speaking, wherein you are to talk about two common topics for a limited time. The second part is an integrated speaking in which there is an audio clip that you need to listen to and then answer the questions that follow orally.
The TOEFL Writing section requires you to write two essays, one integrated essay and one independent essay, for a limited time.
TOEFL Test Types
There are two test types for the TOEFL exam:
- TOEFL Paper-based test (PBT)
- TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT)
These TOEFL test types have the same components in test format, duration, and it still measures the primary English language skills.
The highest percentage of the TOEFL tests (97%) taken are Internet-based tests (iBT), and the lowest rate of 3% of all TOEFL tests are paper-based tests (PBT).
For the TOEFL Paper-based test (PBT), there are three test sections intended to test English language skills: Listening, reading, and writing. The PBT does not test the English speaking skills. However, it is replaced by structure and written expressions test section.
The TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) is the computer-delivered test type of TOEFL exam. And it measures the four English language skills, including listening, writing, speaking, and reading.
TOEFL Exam Length
The total test time of the TOEFL exam is approximately 3 hours to 4 hours, and a 30-minute preparation time is. The TOEFL PBT listening section lasts about 30 to 40 minutes, and the written expression section lasts for about 25 minutes.
As for the TOEFL iBT, the reading section is 60 to 80 minutes long, and the listening test section lasts for about 40 to 60 minutes. The TOEFL iBT speaking test section lasts for up to 17 to 20 minutes, and the writing section lasts approximately an hour.
TOEFL Exam Passing Grade
The TOEFL exam uses a centralized scoring network which means that the computer scores the reading and listening test sections. On the other hand, highly-trained professionals score the TOEFL writing and speaking test sections and automated AI scoring.
Each section of the TOEFL iBT exam has a grade from 0 to 30, with all four areas amounting to a perfect score of 120. As for the TOEFL PBT exam overall score ranges from 310 to 667 points.
The TOEFL iBT proficiency level for each section ranges from low to high proficiency levels. The lowest proficiency level is Below Intermediate, with scores ranging from 0 to 3. And for the Low Intermediate proficiency level, the score ranges from 4 to 17.
And the High Intermediate level of proficiency has a score of 18 to 23, and advanced proficiency level with a score of 24 to 30. The other sections also have slightly similar proficiency levels.
The TOEFL does not have a passing or failing score; however, some universities, colleges, and other organizations require a particular TOEFL score. That is why it is best to contact your desired institution for their score requirement.
TOEFL Exam Fee
The TOEFL iBT costs USD 185 and while the TOEFL PBT costs around USD 180. Note that the registration for the TOEFL exam also varies from country to country.
For example, in New York, the average cost of the test is USD 235. The TOEFL exam also has additional fees for late registration, rescheduling, and other services.
3. Duolingo English Test
The Duolingo English Test is among the most convenient and inexpensive English Standardized Tests you can take and is accepted in various institutions worldwide. It is a modern, comprehensive, and on-demand English language proficiency examination tool to assess English language skills for both native and non-native English speakers.
This language proficiency exam includes test sections to measure the primary English skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The Duolingo English test is a convenient and accessible online English examination that you can take on your computer at home.
That is one of the advantages of the Duolingo English test over the other English language proficiency tests available in the market. Other English language proficiency tests require you to go to test centers or admission offices to take the test.
It is administered and managed by Duolingo, a well-known language learning app with more than 500 million active users. The majority are non-English speakers who are learning English.
Duolingo Exam Format
The Duolingo English Test exam pattern is reminiscent of the usual test format of English standardized tests, four different sections:
However, this language proficiency exam uses only short-type questions. It is also a computer-adaptive test wherein the difficulty level depends on the test-takers performance during the exam.
The Duolingo English Test also includes an interview test section where you can discuss a given topic for a limited time. There are seven tasks for the Duolingo English Test that you need to accomplish. In addition, it includes a C-test in which you need to complete the missing words in the sentences given.
The Duolingo English Test also has the Yes/No Vocabulary Task both in written and audio format. The other tasks are Dictation test type, Elicited Imitation, or the read-aloud test type. It also has the Extended Speaking task, the Extended Writing task.
And the Duolingo English Test also has the Oral Interview with a writing sample task. However, these tasks are not graded.
Duolingo English Test Exam Length
The test duration for the Duolingo English Test takes around 1 hour to complete. And as for the adaptive test section’s duration is approximately 25 minutes, and the oral interview and writing sample test only take about three to five minutes.
Duolingo English Test Passing Grade
Duolingo English Test uses a scoring scale of 10 to 160 to assess your English competency, which can be converted using the CEFR Levels (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), including C2 to A1 proficiency levels.
The Duolingo English Test scores range from 120 to 160, are equivalent to C1 to C2 CEFR Levels. And for those scores between 55 to 10 are comparable to A1 to A2 CEFR Levels.
This language proficiency test scores are also comparable to anther widely known standardized exams such as the IELTS. A score of 105 – 110, for example, is equivalent to a score of 6.5 on the IELTS. Universities and colleges in the United Kingdom mostly require a score of 115 in the Duolingo English Test and while other programs and educational institutions require higher overall scores.
Duolingo English Test Fee
The Duolingo English Test boasts affordable rates relative to other standardized English language proficiency tests available in the market. For only USD 49, you can receive your score and an interview, unlike other well-known tests, which cost, on average, at least USD 200.
The OET (Occupational English Test) is an English language proficiency test more commonly catered for healthcare professionals. Moreover, the OET is highly recommended and in-demand for all healthcare professionals as it assesses their capabilities in using the English language in the healthcare environment.
Also, the OET is based on regular communications and actual situations in the healthcare workplace field. Moreover, this English language proficiency test is preferred by healthcare institutions and the health regulatory boards across the globe.
This English language proficiency test (OET)is created to cover over 12 healthcare careers:
- Veterinary Science
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech Pathology
OET is short for Occupational English Test, initially made and highly accepted in countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, and other countries worldwide. And also, the OET is one of the most trusted English professional assessment exams focusing on healthcare practitioners who want to pursue a career in another English-speaking country.
OET Exam Format
Like other English proficiency tests, the OET assessment structure covers all four language skills: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking, emphasizing communication within a healthcare setting.
The OET listening section is subdivided into two parts wherein the audio clip presented is based on the day-to-day conversation of a healthcare professional and patients. As for the writing test section, you are tasked to write referral letters, letters of discharge, and the likes.
And while the OET reading section is subdivided into three parts. And all the topics presented here are generic healthcare topics. The OET speaking test section is all about role-playing wherein a situation is given in a healthcare workplace setting.
OET Test Types
There are three OET delivery modes or test types:
- OET Paper – Based
- OET Computer-Based at a Venue
However, all these OET types contain the same level of difficulty, set of questions, format, and exam fee. And also, the OET test taker can choose what OET to take depending on their convenience.
For the OET Paper-Based, it needs to be taken in their official testing centers. This test also measures English language skills, including listening, reading, writing, and speaking. However, the speaking test section of the OET Paper-Based is done face-to-face with an examiner at the testing center.
The OET Computer-Based at a Venue was launched last 2020. For this OET test type, it needs to be also taken at the designated testing centers. Note that in the OET Computer-based at a Venue, all your answers for the test need to be typed on the computer.
It is the computerized version of the OET Paper-Based. However, you need to use the computer available at the official testing centers. For this one, it is only applicable for OET Medicine and OET Nursing, and all the other OET for other healthcare careers needs to take the OET Paper-based exam.
This OET@Home test is only applicable in those locations or countries where the OET testing centers are unavailable. This test is convenient and very accessible using your computer at home. However, it still contains the same test format, questions, and test duration. And also, the OET@Home is specially designed for OET Medicine.
OET Exam Length
The OET overall test takes around a total of 3 hours. The OET listening section lasts approximately 50 minutes, while the writing test section can take about 45 minutes. And for the OET reading test section lasts for 60 minutes, and 20 minutes is allotted for the speaking test section.
OET Passing Grade
The OET uses a letter grade A to E for the numeric score of 0 to 500. The letter grade A is the highest OET proficiency level, while the letter grade E is the lowest.
You need to score at least 350 in each section or a minimum grade of B for most boards and councils to pass the test. Note that there is no passing or failing grade for the OET; however, certain universities and healthcare facilities require a minimum score for the OET.
OET Exam Fee
On average, the OET costs around USD 455. However, note that the OET exam fee differs in every location. For example, in the United Kingdom, it costs around EUR 360 or GBP 315.
5. CPE (C2 Proficiency)
The Cambridge English Proficiency, now known as C2 Proficiency, is one of several Cambridge English Qualifications. It is also the highest level qualification, proof that a person who passes this test is a highly competent English speaker.
Unlike the previous examinations on this list, this one measures a higher level of competency which means it is more complicated. And it is most usually a requirement for demanding programs which include postgraduate and Ph.D. programs.
It measures one’s capabilities and qualifications in mastering the English language four skills. And also, the C2 Proficiency Test is a standardized English language assessment test recognized and highly accepted by most countries worldwide.
The certification from the C2 Proficiency Test is a highly coveted requirement for academic and professional purposes since over 130 countries accept this language proficiency test. It is also accepted by over a thousand more universities and colleges located all over the world.
C2 Proficiency Exam Format
The C2 Proficiency Test is divided into four major parts:
- Reading and Use of English
The reading and use of English C2 paper use the cloze test format and have seven test parts with 53 test questions.
The listening paper is subdivided into four parts and consists of 30 questions, while the writing paper is divided into two parts. For this paper, you are tasked to write comprehensive essays. The C2 speaking paper is subdivided into three test parts, and you need to accomplish this paper with a partner.
C2 Proficiency Test Types
There are two types of the C2 Proficiency Exam where the test-takers can choose what they want to take depending on their needs. It includes the:
- C2 Proficiency Paper-Based Test
- C2 Proficiency Computer-Based Test
These two types of the C2 Proficiency Test are all similar in terms of contents and duration in all four papers. As for the paper-based test, the test-taker uses a pencil and paper while taking it. The computer-based test is the computerized type of the C2 Proficiency Test, and it is taken only at the official testing centers.
However, the speaking test section of the C2 Proficiency Test is needed to be done in pairs and face-to-face whether you have chosen the paper-based or the computer-based C2 Proficiency Test. It is also scheduled for another day, and it is not taken on the same test schedule for the written and listening paper.
C2 Proficiency Exam Length
The C2 Proficiency test contains four exam papers. The Reading and Use of English exam paper lasts for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, and as for the listening exam paper, it lasts for about 40 minutes.
The duration for the writing paper is approximately an hour and 30 minutes, and for the speaking paper, you are given 16 minutes to do the test with your pair.
C2 Proficiency Exam Passing Grade
The English language proficiency results required vary depending on the university. There are three passing levels for the C2 Proficiency Test: grades A to C, with the lowest being Level C1.
Moreover, the C2 Proficiency grade scale is comparable to the CEFR scale for grades A, B, and C. Therefore, it is all equivalent to the C2 CEFR scale proficiency level.
The C2 Proficiency test overall scores range from 180 to 330, and those below the scores of 180 are considered failing grades because the scores did not reach the C2 level proficiency of the CEFR scale.
C2 Proficiency Exam Fee
The C2 Proficiency Test cost depends on the testing center and the location of the country you are in. For example, if you are in the US, the exam fee for the C2 Proficiency exam is about USD 150 to USD 250, depending on which type you will take.
And for those located in the United Kingdom, the C2 Proficiency costs approximately GBP 172. The paper-based for the C2 exam costs around EUR 318, and the computer-based test is around EUR 346.
6. CAE (C1 Advanced)
The CAE C1 Advanced Test is a well-known English language proficiency assessment test. It was commonly known before as the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE). And it belongs to the Cambridge English language exams suite.
Like the C2, the CAE C1 Advanced is also an English proficiency test, albeit slower and more general in nature. It is also one of the world’s leading English language proficiency exams used by prestigious universities, colleges, government offices, and private sectors worldwide.
Over 9,000 educational institutions accept this language proficiency test. It is also highly recognized by the most prestigious employers worldwide, such as Coca-Cola, Siemens, KPMG, Adidas, and more.
The CAE C1 Advanced Test is used to measure the four primary English languages skills, including reading and use of English, speaking, listening, and writing. It is an in-depth and high-level qualification in assessing your English language proficiency.
This test is very flexible, and there is a score progression. For example, scoring more than 200 in a C1 examination means your certificate can reflect an assessment of C2. It’s as if you took a CPE instead of a CAE!
CAE C1 Advanced Exam Format
The CAE C1 Advanced Exam shares a test format with the CPE, where there are four main sections to the test. These four sections are: reading and use of English, writing, listening, and lastly, speaking.
The reading and use of English test paper is subdivided into eight parts, and this paper of the CAE C1 Advanced Test measures your knowledge of reading skills, vocabulary, and grammar.
As the writing paper contains two parts, it assesses your writing skills in writing various documents, including essays, articles, proposals, letters, reports, reviews, and more. The listening paper contains four parts. This paper assesses your capabilities, skills in following and understanding audio clips, including lectures, speeches, interviews, and day-to-day conversations.
The CAE C1 Advanced speaking test paper is subdivided into four parts, and this test paper assesses your ability to communicate effectively in face-to-face situations. First, the speaking paper has an interview test, a long turn type wherein you are asked to discuss the pictures presented.
It also has a collaborative talk with a pair. Finally, the last part of the CAE C1 Advanced Test speaking paper is the discussion talk; it concerns how you express your opinions, interact, and point out your agreement or disagreement for a particular topic.
CAE C1 Advanced Test Types
There are two test types for the CAE C1 Advanced Test, including the:
- CAE C1 Paper-based Test
- CAE C1 Advanced Computer-based Test
There are no differences between these two types of CAE C1 Advanced Test. It both contains the same test format, test duration, and contents.
However, the CAE C1 Paper-based test is accomplished using a pencil and paper. In contrast, the computer-based test is a computerized type of CAE C1 Advanced test, and you need to take it using the computer available at the official testing centers.
CAE C1 Advanced Exam Length
Same as the C2 Proficiency exam, the CAE C1 Advanced Test is divided into four paper tests with the same time allocation. The listening paper lasts approximately 40 minutes, and for the duration of the speaking paper, you are given 15 minutes to finish all four parts.
Also, the reading and use of English papers last around one hour and 30 minutes. In addition, the writing paper test duration lasts for one hour and 30 minutes.
CAE C1 Advanced Exam Passing Grade
The scoring system employs the Cambridge English Scale with a grade scale of A to grade B2. As a result, the CAE C1 Advanced Test scores 0 to 100 for every test paper, and the overall score ranges from 160 to 200.
The Cambridge English Scale is also comparable to the CEFR Level; it is equivalent to CEFR Level C2 proficiency for grade A.
And for the lowest grade of the Cambridge English scale, which is B2, is equivalent to no certificate in the CEFR level. A score of 180 or higher is, in most cases, the passing grade.
CAE C1 Advanced Exam Fee
Prices of the C1 advanced vary depending on the testing center worldwide, although on average, it costs around USD165 to USD 195. For example, in the United Kingdom, the CAE C1 Advanced Test costs somewhere between EUR 150 to EUR 170.
And those located in India, the latest fee for the CAE C1 Advanced Test is around RS 6,000. In Poland, the language proficiency test costs around PLN 1,800.
The PTE is more commonly known as the Pearson PTE or Pearson English Language Tests. They are not much different than other English proficiency tests; the PTE, however, prides itself in a more straightforward and less stressful application process, in addition to rapid release of results, as quickly as 48 hours from the testing period.
The Pearson Test of English Academic is a computer-based English language proficiency test that assesses and measures an individual’s language ability and proficiency in all four English language skills: listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
This test is more inclined to assess one’s communication skills using the English language compared to the test-taking abilities of an individual. PTE Test is widely used and accepted for work, study, and visa applications in various countries internationally.
It is highly recognized worldwide by many academic institutions, government agencies, and other private organizations. And the PTE is also accepted in more than 70 countries.
If you need an English Proficiency test for either a working or a student visa in an English-speaking country, then this test is the one for you. They also boast a hassle-free application and testing process.
PTE Exam Format
The PTE test is divided into three main sections: Speaking and writing, reading, and listening. Each PTE test type measures all four English language skills. For the PTE Academic, the speaking and writing test has 7 test questions types.
The PTE Academic reading test section contains 6 test question types, and the Listening includes 8 test question types. In addition, the PTE General Test has five test levels, and the PTE Young Learner Test has four test levels that vary test duration and contain different question types.
PTE Test Types
There are three test types for the PTE, namely the
- PTE Academic
- PTE General
- PTE Young Learner Test
As for the PTE Academic: speaking and writing test, reading and listening test.
On the other hand, the PTE General Test is a theme-based exam. It measures the individual’s ability to use the English language in a more realistic setup or environment.
The PTE General test has five levels in the exam, and it also tests the four basic English language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Also, the PTE Young Learner Test is an English proficiency test intended for young children from ages 7 to 12. The test measures those children that use English as a foreign language and evaluates the four English skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
This type of PTE exam also uses real-life scenarios as examples in the test rather than giving out grammatical exercises and questions. There are four levels for the PTE Young Learner Test.
PTE Exam Length
There are three sections for the PTE Academic, on average, 3 hours spread out among three sections. The first section of the PTE exam is the speaking and writing test, and the duration for this section is approximately 77 to 93 minutes.
The following section is the reading test, and it lasts around 32 to 41 minutes. Then, finally, and the last section of the PTE exam is the listening test, and the duration for this part is around 45 to 57 minutes.
And for the PTE General Test is subdivided into five levels and the Level A1 test section. The Level 5 test duration is around 2 hours and 55 minutes; for Level 4, it also lasts for 2 hours and 30 minutes, and for Level 3, the test section lasts for 2 hours.
In addition, Level 2 of the PTE General Test lasts for 1 hour and 35 minutes, and for Level 1, it also lasts for an hour and 30 minutes, and for Level A1 it lasts around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The PTE Young Learner Test has four Levels, and the duration for the four Levels is as follows: for the first Level (Firstwords), it lasts for about an hour, and for the second Level (Springboard), it also lasts for an hour.
The third Level (Quickmarch) of the PTE Young Learner Test also lasts for one hour, and for the last Level (Breakthrough), the test duration is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
PTE Exam Passing Grade
The two types of PTE tests are scored separately. For example, in the PTE Academic test, the overall scoring is between 90 to 10 points, in which the highest score is 90, and the lowest score is 10 points.
And for the scoring of the PTE General, it is in line with the CEFR Level Scale. It is for this reason to ensure accurate and standardized test results. The PTE General scorings have levels 5 to Level A1. The PTE General score level 5 is equivalent to the CEFR C2 Level of proficiency, and while the PTE General score level, A1, is equal to the CEFR A1 beginner level.
The PTE gives you grades on a scale of 10 to 90, and these scores are also comparable to the IELTS score scale. For example, a score of 85 to 90 means an IELTS equivalent of Band 9, which indicates you are an expert English language user.
And a PTE score of 76 to 84 is equivalent to IELTS Band 7 to 8. A passing grade depends on what you will use the PTE for.
PTE Exam Cost
The cost of the test varies depending on where you are taking your exams. For example, the PTE costs AUD 375.00 in Australia, and while in China, it costs around USD 275.00. And if you are from the Philippines, the fee is equivalent to USD 210.
ISE is an English language proficiency test from Trinity College London. ISE is short for Trinity’s Integrated Skills in English. In addition, the ISE is a contemporary test qualification for English language skills. And it is also highly accepted and recognized by government offices and institutions to certify an individual English language proficiency.
ISE Exam Format
Unlike other English proficiency tests, the ISE split their tests into two modules that you can take separately. There is a module for Reading and Writing and another for Speaking and Listening.
The ISE test, unlike the others, offers you some flexibility since you can opt to take the two modules separately. However, the reading and writing modules are needed to be taken at their official testing centers.
The ISE speaking and listening modules are done face-to-face, either in person or through online video conferences at the testing centers.
ISE Exam Length
The reading and writing module takes 2 hours across all levels, while the speaking and listening exam takes around 13 – 25 minutes, depending on the level you’ve taken.
ISE Exam Passing Grade
The for this exam varies depending on the section. A passing score for reading is at least 15. For writing, the passing mark is 14 out of 28. For speaking, it’s 8 out of 16. And for listening, it is 3 out of 8.
ISE Exam Fee
The cost varies depending on the level of the test that you take. There are two separate fees for each of the modules and a joint promotional price for both.
For example, in Spain, the speaking and listening module costs EUR 97.00 for an ISE I Level, and the reading and writing module costs EUR 30. In addition, a joint promotional fee costs EUR 100.
TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) is another English language proficiency test over 40 years since it was established. It is a standardized language proficiency exam that assesses one’s ability to communicate, comprehend and use English in a workplace environment.
Moreover, the TOEIC exam is designed to evaluate the person’s ability to use the English language in the workplace setting and establish effective communication with multicultural colleagues.
Aside from English proficiency tests, The TOIEC Test is derived primarily from the TOEFL Test. Still, they differ in format and test focus. In addition, the TOEIC also provides a program that focuses on preparation and testing resources to aid test-takers in passing the examination.
And also, it is a very effective assessment tool to determine whether or not the individual has met the qualifications and standards of the organization.
You can take this test depending on the convenience or if you don’t want to seek out a review center since they also offer resources to help you pass their proficiency test.
TOEIC Exam Format
The test is divided into three distinct sections. Section I focuses on listening, section II focuses on reading, while the last focuses on biographical questions.
The TOEIC Listening and Reading test contain two subtests: the first subtest is the listening section with four parts with 100 questions. The audio clips in the listening test section use various accents such as American, Canadian, British and Australian. The second is the reading section, which contains four parts with 100 test questions.
The TOEIC Speaking test section has 11 questions, and the writing test contains eight questions. It aims to measure an individual’s knowledge and how well-versed in using the speaking and writing skills.
TOEIC Test Types
The TOEIC Test has three primary programs offered to its test-takers:
- TOEIC Listening and Reading Test
- TOEIC Speaking and Writing Test
- TOEIC Bridge Exam
The TOEIC Listening and Reading program measures the individual’s abilities of the test-taker on how well they understand written and spoken English. The TOEIC Speaking and Writing Test assess one’s ability to use English in the workplace and in everyday communication. And it also uses test questions that are familiar with English vocabulary, phrases, and other communication in the workplace setting.
The TOEIC Bridge Exam is intended for those individuals with lower English language skills, and they maybe belong in the beginner to lower-intermediate language proficiency level. In addition, it also helps in verifying one’s English language proficiency.
TOEIC Exam Length
The TOEIC listening and reading test section lasts for about 2 hours and 30 minutes. In addition, the TOEIC Speaking test lasts for 20 minutes, while the writing test with eight questions lasts for around 60 minutes.
TOEIC Exam Passing Grade
The TOEIC Reading and Listening gives an overall score between 10 and 990. The highest for this test section is the score of 905 to 990, which indicates an international language proficiency level. And for the lowest score ranges from 10 to 180, which demonstrates no functional language proficiency.
And for the TOEIC writing and speaking, the overall scores range from 0 to 200, which is different from the reading and listening test scores. The highest score for this section is around 190 to 200, which indicates excellent English language skills.
The lowest score ranges from 30 to 0, which shows a very low level of proficiency. A good TOEIC score is around 700. Scoring around the 800 mark is considered a good grade.
TOEIC Exam Fee
Much like the other tests, the TOEIC exam fee varies depending on the testing center location. The TOEIC test costs around USD 140 for each of the TOEIC Programs, such as the TOEIC Listening and Reading test and the TOEIC Speaking and Writing test. However, the TOEIC is a bit cheaper compared to other English proficiency tests like the CPE.
10. EF SET
The EF SET is also known as the EF Standard English Test. It is the first free online English standardized language assessment test that caters to all levels. The EF SET is also a low-cost English assessment test that can be used as an alternative English proficiency test for those other expensive language assessment tests available in the market.
The test was created by EF Education First, a language training company, launched to the public in 2014. Moreover, the EF SET is a fully designed standardized language test, especially for individuals to support their English language learning
If you want to only take a language proficiency test for listening and reading, then the EF SET is the perfect exam for you.
EF SET Exam Format
Unlike other English Language Proficiency Tests, the EF SET only assesses receptive skills such as listening and reading. Speaking or writing are not evaluated through their examination.
The EF SET listening skills contain a set of audio clips that you need to listen to and then answer the follow-up questions. And also, the reading test section uses different question types such as multiple-choice, completing the paragraph, reading passages, and emails.
EF SET Test Types
There are two types for the EF SEt test:
- EF SET Quick English Check
- EF SET English Certificate
If you want a shorter version, you may take the EF SET Quick English Check, which lasts for fifteen minutes containing 20 test questions. And if you opt for the EF SET with a certificate in which it is the full version of the EF SET exam, you can take the 50-minute EF SET English Certificate.
The EF SET English Certificate has two test sections for reading and listening. The writing section tests your abilities in grammar, word formation, and reading comprehension.
EF SET Exam Length
The EF SET offers two different kinds of tests, the EF SET English Certificate tests, which last for 50 minutes, and the EFSET Quick English Check, which lasts just 15 minutes.
EFSET Exam Passing Grade
Like other tests, the EFSET uses an overall scoring system that ranges from a scale of 0 to 100. And also, the average scoring of the EFSET is equivalent to other standardized tests such as the IELTS, TOEFL, and C2.
The highest EF SET score is between 71 to 100, and this score range indicates an excellent proficiency level for the language. Conversely, the lowest score for the EFSET ranges from 30 to 0 and demonstrates beginner-level proficiency.
EF SET Exam Fee
The EFSET is the first-ever free standardized English proficiency test, but they only assess receptive skills such as listening and reading. Despite this, the test is internationally recognized, making it a popular option for short funds. So you can still get an accurate assessment of your English language proficiency without spending any money.
The iTEP, also known as the International Test of English Proficiency, is among the most well-known standardized English tests accepted by thousands of universities across the planet. In addition, it is the most on-demand internet-based English proficiency test available in the market.
Moreover, the iTEP is highly recognized by Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI). The Accrediting Council also accepts it for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) as one of the international English proficiency exams for non-native English speakers.
Resources to prepare you for their examination are widely available online, and courses are also offered in various universities in the US.
iTEP Exam Format
All the iTEP Tests are intended to assess the English skills and provide an efficient and reliable English proficiency level certificate.
There iTEP offers two kinds of exams which are the iTEP Academic-Core and the iTEP Academic Plus. The iTEP academic plus tests your grammar, listening, reading, writing, and speaking. On the other hand, the iTEP academic core tests your grammar, listening, and reading.
iTEP Test Types
The three iTEP test types include:
- iTEP Academic
- iTEP SLATE
- iTEP Placement
All of these iTEP test types assess the primary English language skills.
There are two versions of the iTEP Academic exam:
- iTEP Academic – Core
- iTEP Academic – Plus
The iTEP Academic – Core version focuses on assessing the three English language skills: listening, reading, and grammar.
And for the iTEP Academic – Plus, this version of the iTEP exam focuses on the three major iTEP Academic – Core skills: listening, reading, and grammar. It also includes writing and speaking skills.
The iTEP Slate, which stands for iTEP Secondary Level Assessment Test of English, is generally intended for high schools, middle schools, and academies. The iTEP Slate is a multifaceted, user-friendly, and comprehensive English proficiency test that measures primary English skills. It also has two forms: The iTEP SLATE – PLUS and the iTEP Core.
The third iTEP test type is the iTEP Placement test, and it is suited for the Intensive English Program (IEP) and Incoming Student Placement Assessment. It also evaluates these English skills, including grammar, listening, writing, and reading.
iTEP Exam Length
The iTEP test generally lasts 90 minutes or 1 hour and 30 minutes. For the iTEP Academic – Core, this test lasts for about 50 minutes, with a 10-minute preparation time.
On the other hand, iTEP Academic – Plus duration is approximately 80 minutes, with a 10-minute preparation time. The duration of the iTEP Slate is about 90 minutes, with a 10 minute time to prepare for the test.
iTEP Exam Passing Grade
Like any English standardized assessment test, the iTEP also has varying benchmark scores depending on what you use their certification for. Although they recommend, on average, an overall score of 3.8
iTEP Exam Fee
The iTEP test fees vary per iTEP test version. Here are some of the iTEP exam fees: for the iTEP Academic Plus, it costs around USD 129, the iTEP Academic Core costs USD 66, and for the iTEP SLATE Plus, the exam fee is around USD 129.
And also, the iTEP Business Core exam costs USD 66, iTEP Conversation costs around USD 66, and for the iTEP Au Pair, it costs approximately USD 56. So there are 11 iTEP Test intended for different careers, and the costs for each exam is approximately USD 66 to USD 129.
The CELPIP Test is Canada’s leading English Standardized test for immigration, citizenship, and professional designation. CELPIP is short for the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program.
CELPIP Exam Format
The CELPIP general test comprises four major categories: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking, which you need to accomplish in under 1 hour. The CELPIP – General LS, reserved exclusively for Canadian Nationals, evaluates only English Listening and speaking skills.
CELIP Test Types
The two versions of the CELPIP exam are the:
- CELPIP General Test
- CELPIP General LS Test
These two versions of the CELPIP are computer-based, and they both differ in duration and purpose.
The CELPIP General Test is only accessible in Canada, and it also measures only two English language skills, including listening and speaking skills. In contrast, the CELPIP General LS Test is intended for Canadian citizenship applications and other professional designations.
CELPIP Exam Length
The CELIP testing duration or time allotment is approximately 55 minutes to 1 hour.
CELPIP Passing Grade
As usual with these tests, the passing score varies depending on the purpose; scores for a working visa and immigration are different. The CELPIP uses a scale of
For example, scoring at least 7 points in every section would be a passing score for express entry.
CELPIP Exam Fee
The costs CELPIP exam differs per test type. Here are the CELPIP exam fees, the CELPIP General Test costs around USD 280 with an additional tax fee. And as for the CELPIP General – LS Test costs around USD 195 plus taxes. And while the CELIP test costs approximately CAD 280.00 in Canada.
Similar to CELPIP, the CAEL is also a Canadian standardized test. CAEL is short for the Canadian Academic English Language Test and is commonly used by students planning to study in Canadian Universities.
If you need a standardized English test certificate for your application to a Canadian University, then this is the test that would suit your needs the most.
CAEL Exam Format
The CAEL test is divided into five main sections
- Integrated Reading
- Integrated Listening
- Academic Unit A
- Academic Unit B
CAEL Exam Length
The time allotment for the physical examination is approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes, the same as the online test.
CAEL Passing Grade
Unlike other standardized English Tests where a minimum score should be maintained per section, the CAEL only requires a total score of 70.
CAEL Exam Fee
The CAEL costs CAD 268.00 with an additional tax fee, only slightly cheaper compared to the CELPIP.
The MTELP series, or Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency, was produced by CaMLA, a non-profit collaboration between the University of Michigan and the University of Cambridge. It offers three different levels of proficiency assessments: For beginners, intermediate, and advanced.
It is also intended to assess the non-native speaker’s English language skills, including listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and grammar and vocabulary. In addition, it determines one’s English proficiency level, either a beginner or advanced proficiency level. Finally, one can opt to either take the test online or in designated testing centers.
Most educational institutions use the MTELP exam as a progress test and an exit assessment exam. Therefore, this test is most suitable for young adult learners, and they even offer testing flexibility.
MTELP Exam Format
The test structure varies depending on the difficulty level. For example, the level 2 test is divided into four sections: Listening comprehension, Grammar, Vocabulary, and, finally, Reading Comprehension.
There are three MTELP test levels:
- Level 1 Beginner
- Level 2 Intermediate
- Level 3 Advanced
And also, each section of the MTELP exam across the three test levels has unique content and questions, meaning there are no shared or the same questions for each test type.
MTELP Test Types
The MTELP has a paper-based test and a computer-based version. These MTELP test types still contain the same test format and duration and still measure the English language skills.
MTELP Exam Length
The 60 question examination must be completed in just under 50 minutes. And also, the duration of the MTELP test is approximately six hours. In addition, the MTELP test can be taken on either paper or computer-based format, and both still have the same content and duration.
MTELP Exam Passing Grade
The MTELP uses a score scale of 0 to 100 for the three MTELP test levels. A test score of 0 indicates that the test level is difficult for the individual taking the test. And for scores ranging from 2 to 100, it suggests that the test level is appropriate or too easy for the test taker.
For instance, a grade of 76 in the MTELP exam is equivalent to 61 iBT TOEFL, is required for undergraduate admission at certain universities.
MTELP Exam Fee
The scores are valid for two years, and Michigan Test English Langauge Proficiency or MTELP costs around USD 35. And also, you can take the MTELP test in their official testing centers or any designated admissions.
The OPI assesses the English language speaking skills, and this language proficiency test is usually done via a telephone interview. OPI stands for Oral Proficiency Interview, and it measures one’s ability to speak the English language with accuracy.
This language proficiency test focuses on the individual’s ability to use a language effectively, precisely, and accurately in everyday situations. The OPI test is a one-on-one and interactive interview between the candidate and the official OPI tester.
OPI Exam Format
There are four OPI mandatory phases which include the introduction phase, warm-up, interview, and cool-down. And also for the interview phase consists of two sections, the level checks and probes.
Another part of the OPI exam is the role-playing section integrated into the level check or probe interview phase. The role-playing section is a significant factor in measuring one’s speaking skills, especially in social interactions, transactions, and other daily situations.
OPI Exam Length
The OPI exam duration lasts for about 20 to 30 minutes of a one-on-one telephone interview.
OPI Exam Passing Grade
The OPI scoring is done by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language or the ACTFL. It uses assessment factors to grade the OPI test, and it includes the elements in function, accuracy, content, contexts, and the text type used during the interview test.
There are also OPI levels that describe the test results. The highest level in the OPI scale is the level for which indicates advanced proficiency, and the lowest is Level 1, which means low language proficiency.
OPI Exam Fee
The OPI Test exam fee is around USD 139 to USD 145. However, there are also additional fees that you need to pay for the rescheduling and cancellation process for the OPI test. You can process these payments directly to the testing centers that are proctoring for the OPI Test. Note that it is still best to contact your nearest OPI test centers to know about these additional fees.
Summary — Comparison Table for English Proficiency Tests
|English Language Proficiency Test||Exam Format||Test Types/ Test Versions||Exam Length/ Duration||Exam Scoring Scale||Exam Fee||Where is this test Accepted?|
|IELTS||Four test sections:||2 hours and 45 minutes||Band Scoring System between 1 to 9.||USD 250 (Varies per location/country)||International |
|TOEFL||Four test sections:||3 hours to 4 hours||International |
|Duolingo English Test||Four test sections:||Single Format||1 hour||USD 49||International |
|OET||Four test sections:||3 hours.||Letter Grading Scale of A to E||USD 455||International |
|C2 Proficiency Test||Four test sections:||1 hour and 30 minutes||Letter Grading Scale of A to C1||USD 150 to USD 250 (Varies per location)||International |
|CAE C1 Advanced Test||Four test sections:||1 hour and 30 minutes.||Letter Grading Scale of A to C1||USD 165 to USD195 (Varies per location)||International |
|PTE||Three test sections:||3 hours||PTE General Scoring ranges from Level 5 to Level A1.||International |
|ISE||Two Test Modules:||Single Format||2 hours||The passing grade of 15, however, varies per section.||EUR 30 to EUR 100 (Varies per location)||International |
|TOEIC||Four Test Sections:||2 hours and 30 minutes||USD 140 (Varies per location)||International |
|EF SET||EF SET English Certificate – 50 minutes|
EF SET Quick English Check – 15 minutes
|The Overall scoring ranges from 0 to 100.||Free||International |
|iTEP||Five Test Sections:||1 hour and 30 minutes||The Overall score of 3.8 average scores needed (Varies per test versions_||USD 66 to USD 129||International |
|CELPIP Test||Four Test Sections:||55 minutes to 1 hour||CELPIP Scale Score differs per test section||USD 280 with an additional tax fee||International |
|CAEL||Five Main Test Sections:||Single Format||3 hours and 30 minutes||The overall passing score is 70.||USD 268.00 plus tax fee||International |
|MTELP||Four Test Sections:||6 hours||Score Scale of 0 to 100.||USD 35||International |
|OPI||Four Phase:||Single Format||20 to 30 minutes||Uses assessment factors, no numerical scoring.||USD 139 to USD 145||International |
Additional FAQs on English Proficiency Tests
What is included in an English Proficiency Test?
An English proficiency test is consists of different test sections that measure the primary language skills such as reading, writing, listening, grammar, vocabulary and speaking.
It also uses different test questions such as cloze test questions, multiple-choice question types, reading passages, writing essays, collaborative speaking tests, and the likes.
The English proficiency test also uses situationally based writing tasks, listening to speeches, and other conversational materials.
Are English Proficiency Tests Hard?
An English proficiency test is an assessment tool that measures or determines an individual’s language skills and abilities. The English Proficiency test is not considered a difficult test. It is because it only measures your existing English language abilities and skills, and it will provide you with an overview of your proficiency level.
It also assesses one’s knowledge when it comes to using the English language in certain situations. Moreover, the English proficiency tests have different purposes, and it also highlights how you performed on each English skill and shows what skills need improvement.
What is a Proficiency Test in English Language Teaching?
One of the most commonly used proficiency tests for teachers is the CAL English Proficiency Test for Teachers (CAL EPT Teachers).
It assesses the current level of English language proficiency of Teachers in using the English language.
In addition, the proficiency test helps determine the level of one’s English language skills and whether they fit the criteria for educational admission or professional application.
Is there Any Free English Proficiency Test?
Yes, there is a free English proficiency test available in the market that you can access easily.
It also gives you accurate and reliable test results for your proficiency level comparable to those expensive English language proficiency exams. The free English proficiency test available is the EF SET.
How Can I Test my English Proficiency?
You can test your English proficiency by taking any English language proficiency tests. There are so many available in the market that you can choose from.
Some of these English proficiency tests are the IELTS, TOEFL, EF SET, Duolingo English Test, OPI, and so many more. Most of the available English proficiency tests require an examination fee which ranges from USD 49 up to USD 200 or more. And these exam fees also vary per location.
There are also English proficiency tests that you can take for free such as the EF SET, which is a free standardized online English proficiency test.