Guide to English Proficiency Exams

Student in an online language lesson

In an increasingly globalised world, English proficiency is a crucial skill for academic, professional, and personal success. If you are learning English for a school entrance exam, new career opportunities or just for your own personal growth, you would probably come across the idea of taking an English proficiency test. With several tests available, each tailored for different purposes, it’s essential to understand the differences. 

Here, we’ll compare some of the most prominent English proficiency exams: TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge English Exams, and the Pearson Test of English (PTE).

Students in a language class

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

IELTS is versatile, serving academic, professional, and immigration needs. It offers both paper-based and computer-based formats and includes a face-to-face speaking test, which some candidates find more engaging. The test is scored on a 0-9 band scale and is widely accepted in the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, with a total duration of 2 hours and 45 minutes.

For more details, you can refer to IDP IELTS.

Cambridge English Exams

Cambridge English Exams are structured to assess various proficiency levels, aligning with the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). These exams, like B2 First and C1 Advanced, are known for their thorough evaluation of reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. They are globally recognised by universities, employers, and governments, although they can be more costly and have longer result processing times.

For more details, you can refer to Cambridge English and Cambridge English Exam Dates.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

TOEFL is a popular choice for students aiming for academic institutions in the USA, Canada, and beyond. It focuses heavily on academic English, including reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills, with scores ranging from 0 to 120. The internet-based test (iBT) format is the most common, taking approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete.

For more details, you can refer to TOEFL Official Site.

PTE (Pearson Test of English)

PTE (Pearson Test of English) is known for its fast results, typically available within 48 hours, and its entirely computer-based format. It evaluates integrated skills through speaking, writing, reading, and listening tasks, with a scoring range of 10 to 90. The PTE is gaining acceptance in academic institutions, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, and the test duration is about 3 hours.

For more details, you can refer to PTE Academic.

Deciding which exam to take

Before deciding, consider the exam format you are most comfortable with, the specific requirements of the institutions or organisations you are applying to, and how the test aligns with your personal strengths. Regardless of the choice, thorough preparation is key to demonstrating your English proficiency effectively.

At inlingua Singapore, we have a team of experienced and highly-trained teachers ready to help you embark on your examination preparation journey. With a long track record of helping students from different backgrounds and of different proficiency levels attain their desired results, your English proficiency success starts here at inlingua. 

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