Global English Level Exams

Explore the world of globally recognized English exams

Created by Oya Gücer Kay / February, 2024

In the dynamic landscape of today's globalized world, English proficiency has become a paramount asset. Global English exams serve as standardized assessments, offering individuals the opportunity to demonstrate their language skills on an international scale. These exams play a crucial role in academic pursuits, professional endeavors, and even migration processes. Recognized by universities, employers, and institutions worldwide, they serve as a common yardstick to measure and compare language proficiency levels.

IELTS - International English Language Testing System

IELTS, established in 1989, is a globally recognized standardized test of English proficiency for non-native speakers. Co-managed by the British Council, IDP, and Cambridge English, it is a pivotal assessment for individuals aiming at academic pursuits, professional registration, work, or migration to English-speaking countries.

Key Features

  • Modules: IELTS offers two modules: Academic and General Training, catering to academic and practical needs.
    • Scoring: Results range from "band 1" (non-user) to "band 9" (expert user), with no minimum score required to pass.
      • Validity: Institutions generally consider reports valid for up to two years.
        ModulesAcademic and General Training
        ScoringResults range from "band 1" (non-user) to "band 9" (expert user), with no minimum score required to pass.
        ValidityInstitutions generally consider reports valid for up to two years.

        Test Structure

        • Duration: 2 hours and 45 minutes, covering Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
          • Listening, Reading, Writing: Completed in a single sitting.
            • Speaking: Can be taken on the same day or up to seven days before/after the other tests


              • Test Dates: Up to 48 dates per year, with each center offering tests up to four times a month based on demand.
                • Availability: Academic version offered on all 48 dates, while General Training version on 24 dates.

                  IELTS stands as a comprehensive measure of language skills, adapting to diverse purposes and enabling individuals to showcase their proficiency on a global scale.

                  TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language

                  TOEFL, designed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), is a standardized test assessing the English language proficiency of non-native speakers. Acknowledged globally, TOEFL offers two modules catering to diverse needs.

                  Test Modules

                  TOEFL iBT®Academic English test, trusted worldwide. 100% academic English, completed in under 2 hours.
                  TOEFL® Essentials™English test with a friendly, engaging format. Covers both academic and general English, lasting 1.5 hours.

                  Test Structure

                  • Sections: Four sections measuring essential language skills in an academic context.
                    • Frequency: The test cannot be taken more than once every 3 days.

                      Key Features

                      • Validity: Official score reports, valid for two years, are sent directly to institutions.

                        TOEFL iBT®:

                        Reading3–4 passages, each with 10 questions, lasting 54–72 minutes.
                        Listening5–7 passages, each with 5–6 questions, spanning 41–57 minutes.
                        BreakA mandatory 10-minute break.
                        Speaking4 tasks within a 17-minute timeframe.
                        Writing2 tasks completed in 50 minutes.
                        ScoringTOEFL iBT test is scored on a scale of 0 to 120 points, with each section (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing) receiving a scaled score from 0 to 30. The combined scores determine the total score.

                        TOEFL stands as a reliable benchmark for academic English proficiency, offering varied modules to accommodate different language needs.

                        Cambridge English Exams

                        Cambridge Assessment English, the entity behind Cambridge English Qualifications and the renowned International English Language Testing System (IELTS), stands as a pillar in the field of language assessment and development.

                        Comprehensive Offerings

                        Cambridge English Exams extend beyond a one-size-fits-all approach, catering to diverse age groups and specific professional needs. Apart from assessments tailored for children and adults, Cambridge Business Exams, a specialized branch, offers targeted evaluations for individuals immersed in the business sphere.

                        Cambridge Business Exams

                        Within the realm of Cambridge business exams, three distinctive modules delineate varying proficiency levels:

                        • B1 Business Preliminary
                          • B2 Business Vantage
                            • C1 Business Higher

                              Grading Formats

                              Each module boasts its own grading format, finely tuned to discern proficiency accurately. These exams assess four fundamental aspects of the English language, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation of language skills.

                              Test Duration

                              These exams, taking about 2 hours and 45 minutes on average

                              Cambridge English Exams, known for their precision and adaptability, stand as a global standard in language proficiency assessment.

                              TOEIC - Test of English for International Communication

                              The TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) is a globally recognized standardized test designed for non-native speakers, specifically those operating in international settings, to assess their everyday English skills.

                              Test Structure

                              • TOEIC Listening & Reading Test: Two equally graded sections with comprehension activities, totaling a possible 990 score.
                                • Duration: 2 hours (45 minutes for Listening, 75 minutes for Reading).
                                  • Format: 200 multiple-choice items evenly split between listening and reading comprehension.

                                    TOEIC Speaking & Writing Tests

                                    Test takers receive separate scores for each test. It's also possible to take only the Speaking or Writing test.

                                    • Speaking Test: Approximately 20 minutes
                                      • Writing Test: Approximately 60 minutes.
                                        • Scoring: Each test has a score range between 0–200, with eight proficiency levels for Speaking and nine proficiency levels for Writing.

                                          The TOEIC stands as a practical measure of English proficiency, offering a nuanced evaluation of both spoken and written language skills in diverse professional contexts.

                                          Trinity College London English Language Exams

                                          Trinity's English language exams emphasize communicative and integrated language skills necessary for individuals of all ages in today's interconnected world. These qualifications, covering every learning stage from beginner to advanced, include two oral assessments, four skills assessments (reading, writing, speaking, and listening), and young learner awards.

                                          Certificates Offered

                                          • ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) for learners.
                                            • TESOL (Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages) for teachers.

                                              SELT Tests

                                              Trinity offers Secure English Language Tests (SELT) for visas, including Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) and Integrated Skills in English (ISE) exams. GESE exams are one-to-one assessments, ranging from Grades 1-12, while ISE exams cover four skills and are calibrated to CEFR levels.

                                              Exam Formats

                                              • GESE: 5-25 minute face-to-face assessments with prompts and dialogue.
                                                • ISE: Reading & Writing taken in registered centres; Speaking & Listening in-person or via live video conference.

                                                  These exams, crucial for visa applications, cover various visa categories, including Further Leave to Remain, Settlement, British Citizenship, and others.

                                                  OET - Occupational English Test

                                                  The Occupational English Test (OET) evaluates the English language proficiency of healthcare professionals trained overseas who aim to register and practice in English-speaking environments.

                                                  Modes of Delivery

                                                  • OET on Paper at a Test Venue
                                                    • OET on Computer at a Test Venue
                                                      • OET@Home®

                                                        Regardless of the mode, OET maintains consistent test tasks, format, and difficulty level.

                                                        Test Structure

                                                        The OET comprises four parts:

                                                        • Listening (approx. 45 minutes)
                                                          • Reading (60 minutes)
                                                            • Writing (45 minutes)
                                                              • Speaking (approx. 20 minutes)

                                                                Scoring System

                                                                Candidates receive a score from 0-500 for each of the four sub-tests. Instead of an overall grade, individual grades are assigned for each sub-test.

                                                                Validity and Recognition

                                                                Scores are typically considered valid for up to two years. Recognizing organizations often require candidates to achieve a B grade or higher in all four sub-tests for acceptance.

                                                                iTEP - International Test of English Proficiency

                                                                iTEP is a language assessment tool for non-native English speakers, measuring skills across education and business applications.

                                                                Education Applications

                                                                iTEP AcademicUsed on-site by Intensive English Programs (IEPs) for placement, progress, and exit evaluation, employed by colleges and universities for admissions.
                                                                iTEP SLATEAssesses high school, secondary school, and middle school students. 
                                                                iTEP PlacementDesigned for prompt placement testing in English programs. Assesses grammar, listening, vocabulary, and reading, along with writing prompts graded by the administering institution.

                                                                Business Applications

                                                                iTEP BusinessScreens new hires, aids decisions about promotions and assignments, and evaluates English training programs. 
                                                                iTEP ConversationAssesses speaking and understanding within 30 minutes, fostering a conversational, friendly context. Also used in academic settings.
                                                                iTEP HospitalityEvaluates English skills for roles in restaurants, hotels, resorts, and cruise lines. Administered onsite by employers for hiring and promotional decisions.
                                                                iTEP Au PairAssesses English abilities for foreign applicants to au pair programs in the US, focusing on industry-specific content.
                                                                iTEP InternUsed for J-1 visa applicants working as interns in the US, assessing listening and speaking skills in workplace contexts.

                                                                Scoring System

                                                                • Individuals scored on a scale of 0-6 for each section and overall.
                                                                  • Levels translate to CEFR levels and equivalent scores on other language proficiency exams.

                                                                    Pearson English Exams

                                                                    Pearson PLC offers a suite of internationally recognized English proficiency tests for non-native speakers, including the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) and the PTE General. Accredited by the QCA and Ofqual, these scenario-based exams are administered in collaboration with Edexcel.

                                                                    PTE Academic

                                                                    • Assesses the readiness of non-native speakers for university-level English language instruction.
                                                                      • A computer-based exam focusing on real-life English used in academic settings.
                                                                        • Includes an unmarked voice recording for advanced biometric data.
                                                                          • Maximum duration of 2 hours and 15 minutes, with results delivered online within 5 working days.
                                                                            • Scores reported on the Global Scale of English, providing a precise measurement of proficiency aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

                                                                              PTE General

                                                                              • Developed and administered by Pearson Language Tests, accredited by QCA.
                                                                                • Offers proficiency levels from Foundation (A1) to Proficient (C2), each with varying exam times.
                                                                                  • Exam durations vary, ranging from 1 hour to 3 hours depending on the proficiency level.

                                                                                    Pearson's PTE exams contribute to the diverse landscape of English proficiency assessments, catering to various needs and proficiency levels.

                                                                                    Conclusion: A Brief Comparison

                                                                                    In the dynamic landscape of English proficiency testing, our assessment tool emerges as a candidate-friendly and modern alternative. While traditional tests like IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge, TOEIC, OET, and iTEP offer comprehensive evaluations, our approach introduces unique advantages.

                                                                                    Flexibility and Convenience

                                                                                    Unlike tests with fixed dates and locations, our test provides the flexibility of choosing both time and location, without compromising security and integrity. This flexibility caters to the needs of candidates, allowing them to showcase their language skills at their best convenience.

                                                                                    Validity and Timeliness

                                                                                    Our test stands out with its timeliness. Traditional tests, valid for up to two years, might not accurately reflect a candidate's current proficiency. Our approach, offering a new English test before each hiring decision, ensures that the assessment is more relevant and updated.

                                                                                    Business Relevance

                                                                                    In business contexts, where effective communication is paramount, our tests might be considered more comprehensive. While some of the existing tests have their strengths in academic or visa application domains, our focus on business-related subjects aligns with the specific language needs of professional settings.

                                                                                    Efficiency in Hiring

                                                                                    Administering our test right before hiring decisions ensures that the candidate's language proficiency is measured at the most crucial moment. This approach provides employers with a real-time assessment of a candidate's abilities, contributing to more informed and accurate hiring decisions.

                                                                                    In summary, our English proficiency test combines candidate-friendly features, timeliness, business relevance, and efficiency in hiring, making it a contemporary and valuable option in the evolving landscape of language assessment.

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