English Language Tests Overview

English Language Tests Overview


Students who are applying for courses taught in English may be required to prove their English language capabilities through taking an English Language Proficiency Test. The need for these English language tests generally applies to international students attending an English-speaking university. 

English Language Proficiency Tests are designed to ensure that students are well-equipped with the language skills necessary to make the most out of their educational endeavours. This includes both written and spoken capability.

There are five main types of English Language Proficiency Test: the IELTS, the TOEFL, the CAE, the CPE and the ELLT.

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overview

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a widely recognised test. It is split into 6 categories: listening, academic reading, general training reading, academic writing, general training writing, and speaking. The test takes roughly 5 hours to complete.

Accessibility

The IELTS can be taken on paper at specialised testing facilities. There are no entry requirements for taking the IELTS.

Price

The IELTS costs £170-£195.

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language

Overview

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is one of the most well-known English Language Proficiency Tests and is widely recognised as a valid certification of language proficiency. The test measures 4 key areas: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. These areas are assessed both individually and in combined tasks. The entire test is estimated to take 3 hours to complete, though it is recommended that you set aside 3.5 hours. 

Accessibility

The TOEFL can be taken either at a dedicated testing site or entirely at home. There are no entry requirements for taking the TOEFL. 

Price

The TOEFL’s price varies depending on the circumstances surrounding your test. The average cost for taking the TOEFL with no scheduling difficulties is $240. 

CAE: Certificate of Advanced English

Overview

The Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) also has a number of pseudonyms such as the C1, and the Cambridge English: Advanced test. This test is split into the 4 broad categories of writing, reading and use of English, listening, and speaking. Within these categories, there is a large range of assessment formats such as multiple-choice, gapped text, and multiple matching. The test is estimated to take roughly 4 hours to complete. 

Accessibility

The CAE only takes place on a preset schedule of assessment days, meaning there isn’t a large degree of flexibility in choosing your test day. That being said, there is an expansive selection of test days to choose from. The test can only be taken in pre-approved testing facilities. The test can be taken either on paper or on a computer, however not all testing facilities will be able to accommodate both options. If you’re interested in taking the CAE on a computer, check with your testing centre regarding their resources.

Price

The CAE costs an average of €150.

CPE: Certificate of Proficiency in English

Overview 

The Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) is also known as the C2 Proficiency. The CPE is a widely-known and highly valued English Language Proficiency Test due to its difficulty. The CPE is one of the most complex proficiency tests available. Whilst not mandatory for entry to most higher education facilities, it could be a good option if you’re seeking a career in high-level academics or thinking of pursuing a PhD. The test’s format is identical to the CAE, as both are run by Cambridge Assessment. It is expected that the test takes 4 hours to complete fully. 

Accessibility

Like the CAE, the CPE can only be taken at approved testing centres on certain days of the year. These days are plentiful to choose from, however, this still removes a degree of flexibility. The CPE can either be taken on paper or on a computer, however not every testing facility will have access to computers. If taking the CPE on a computer is something you think is the right choice for you, it would be best to check with your testing centre if this is an option available to you.

Price

The CPE is priced similarly to the CAE, despite the differences in qualification that each one provides respectively. The CPE costs roughly €150.

ELLT: English Language Level Test

Overview

The English Language Level Test (ELLT) is an English Language Proficiency Test that is widely recognised amongst higher educational institutions, so can be a useful way to prove your ability. The test consists of 4 sections: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. In total, the test is estimated to take roughly 2.5 hours to complete and can be completed within a timeframe determined by the student.

Accessibility

There are no set entry requirements for taking the ELLT, making it a good choice for students with all different educational histories, or those seeking to get a valuation of their skills. In addition to this, the ELLT can be done entirely online. 

Price

The ELLT costs £80, making it an affordable alternative to some of the other English Language Proficiency Tests available.

To discover more about online testing and courses to help you prepare for your language tests visit our courses page.

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