English Language Proficiency Tests
International students must be able to listen, read, write and speak English well, or they will not be successful at a U.S. A, Indian ,African or UK college or university. Most U.S.A, African and Indian colleges and universities require international students to demonstrate their English language skills, usually by taking an English language proficiency test.
Unless you're going to Germany ,you don't need the English proficiency test but the Germany Language Proficiency Test like many other study destinations have different language requirement Eg Russia and China requires that you have Russian language and Chinese Language Proficiency.
English language testing requirements may be waived in certain circumstances:
English Language Tests
The most popular English language tests are the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The TOEFL is the most popular test for studying in the U.S. The IELTS is used to test English language skills for studying, migration and work. The TOEFL tests American English while the IELTS tests British English. The TOEFL is available in Internet-based (iBT) and paper-based (pBT) versions.
A fast-growing competitor is DuoLingo, which is a shorter computer-adaptive test combined with a video interview. Not only does this integrate testing and identity verification, it also provides insights into how well the student performs on open-ended questions in a conversational English setting. The computer-adaptive nature of the test also helps prevent fraud, since each administration of the test is different. The test is much less expensive than the TOEFL and IELTS tests and has a quicker turnaround time for test scores. There is a strong correlation between DuoLingo test scores and TOEFL/IELTS test scores. DuoLingo offers iPhone, Android and web-based versions.
Other common English language proficiency tests besides the TOEFL, IELTS and DuoLingo include the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE-A), Cambridge English Language Assessment, Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) and the Michigan English Test (MET).
Minimum Test Score Requirements
Each college sets its own standards for each test. Generally, the most prestigious U.S. colleges require at least a seven on the IELTS, an 80 on the iBT or a 550 on the pBT. Other colleges typically require at least a six and a half on the IELTS, 75 on the iBT or a 510 on the pBT.
A six on the IELTS is labeled as competent, a seven as good, an eight as very good and a nine as expert. On the TOEFL iBT, a 60 is competent, 94 is good, 110 is very good and 118 is expert.
Students who do not score at least in the competent range might be offered conditional admission, which requires them to take additional English classes.
Students also can qualify by taking a standard college admissions test, such as the ACT or SAT and perform well on the English sections of the tests. Generally, international students must score at least an 18 on the English and Reading sections of the ACT and at least a 510 on the evidence-based reading and writing sections of the new SAT.
One also can satisfy English language proficiency requirements by receiving at least a four in an Advanced Placement (AP) English test, such as the AP English Language & Composition or AP Literature & Composition tests. Scores are valid for two years after taking a test.
There are two types of IELTS: Academic and General Training. IELTS Academic can be taken in a test centre on paper or on computer, and can now also be taken online from home or another private location that has a stable internet connection. IELTS General Training can only be taken in a test centre on paper or on computer.
For Academic and General Training you take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests. Make sure you prepare for the correct test type.
The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them.
The Speaking test, however, may be scheduled up to a week before or after the other tests. If you booked IELTS Online, your Speaking test will usually take place before your other tests. The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Know where you stand before you take your test with an official IELTS practice test. IELTS Progress Check is an official online-marked practice test. The test will give you an indication of your overall band score and individual band scores for each section. It will provide feedback on areas to improve. Book your official practice test today.
You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions.
Assessors will be looking for evidence of your ability to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and attitudes of speakers, the purpose of an utterance and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas.
Paper format: There are four parts with ten questions each. The questions are designed so that the answers appear in the order they are heard in the audio.
The first two parts deal with situations set in everyday social contexts. In Part 1, there is a conversation between two speakers (for example, a conversation about travel arrangements), and in Part 2, there is a monologue in (for example, a speech about local facilities). The final two parts deal with situations set in educational and training contexts. In Part 3, there is a conversation between two main speakers (for example, two university students in discussion, perhaps guided by a tutor), and in Part 4, there is a monologue on an academic subject.
The recordings are heard only once. They include a range of accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand, American and Canadian.
Timing: Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes transfer time).
No. of questions: 40
Task types: A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following: multiple choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labelling, form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion, sentence completion.
Answering: Test takers write their answers on the question paper as they listen and at the end of the test are given 10 minutes to transfer their answers to an answer sheet. Care should be taken when writing answers on the answer sheet as poor spelling and grammar are penalised.
Marks: Each question is worth 1 mark.
A detailed look at the paper with links to related resources.
Task type and format: In multiple choice tasks, there is a question followed by three possible answers, or the beginning of a sentence followed by three possible ways to complete the sentence. Test takers are required to choose the one correct answer - A, B or C.
Sometimes, test takers are given a longer list of possible answers and told that they have to choose more than one. In this case, they should read the question carefully to check how many answers are required.
Task focus: Multiple choice questions are used to test a wide range of skills. The test taker may be required to have a detailed understanding of specific points or an overall understanding of the main points of the listening text.
No. of questions: Variable
Task type and format: Test takers are required to match a numbered list of items from the listening text to a set of options on the question paper. The set of options may be criteria of some kind.
Task focus: Matching assesses the skill of listening for detail and whether a test taker can understand information given in a conversation on an everyday topic, such as the different types of hotel or guest house accommodation. It also assesses the ability to follow a conversation between two people. It may also be used to assess test takers’ ability to recognise relationships and connections between facts in the listening text.
Task type and format: Test takers are required to complete labels on a plan (eg of a building), map (eg of part of a town) or diagram (e.g. of a piece of equipment). The answers are usually selected from a list on the question paper.
Task focus: This type of task assesses the ability to understand, for example, a description of a place, and to relate this to a visual representation. This may include being able to follow language expressing spatial relationships and directions (e.g. straight on/through the far door).
Task type and format: Test takers are required to fill in the gaps in an outline of part or of all of the listening text. The outline will focus on the main ideas/facts in the text. It may be:
1. a form: often used to record factual details such as names
2. a set of notes: used to summarise any type of information using the layout to show how different items relate to one another
3. a table: used as a way of summarising information which relates to clear categories – e.g. place/time/price,
4. a flow-chart: used to summarise a process which has clear stages, with the direction of the process shown by arrows.
Test takers may have to select their answers from a list on the question paper or identify the missing words from the recording, keeping to the word limit stated in the instructions. Test takers do not have to change the words from the recording in any way.
Test takers should read the instructions very carefully as the number of words or numbers they should use to fill the gaps will vary. A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’. Test takers are penalised for writing more than the stated number of words, and test takers should check this word limit carefully for each task. Contracted words will not be tested. Hyphenated words count as single words.
Task focus: This focuses on the main points which a listener would naturally record in this type of situation.
Task type and format: Test takers are required to read a set of sentences summarising key information from all the listening text or from one part of it. They then fill a gap in each sentence using information from the listening text. A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER’.
Test takers are penalised for writing more than the stated number of words. (Test takers should check this word limit carefully for each task: the limit is either ONE, TWO or THREE words). Contracted words will not be tested. Hyphenated words count as single words.
Task focus: Sentence completion focuses on the ability to identify the key information in a listening text. Test takers have to understand functional relationships such as cause and effect.
Task type and format: Test takers are required to read a question and then write a short answer using information from the listening text. A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’. Test takers are penalised for writing more than the stated number of words. (Test takers should check this word limit carefully for each task.) Contracted words will not be tested. Hyphenated words count as single words. Sometimes test takers are given a question which asks them to list two or three points.
Task focus: Sentence completion focuses on the ability to listen for concrete facts, such as places, prices or times, within the listening text.
The Listening test is marked by certificated markers, who are regularly monitored to ensure their reliability. All answer sheets, after being marked, are further analysed by Cambridge English.
Band score conversion
A Band Score conversion table is produced for each version of the Listening test which translates scores out of 40 into the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole bands and half bands.
One mark is awarded for each correct answer in the 40-item test. Care should be taken when writing answers on the answer sheet as poor spelling and grammar are penalised.
Over 5.3 million students study abroad every year. Many students study in English-speaking countries, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.
Studying in an English-speaking country offers lots of opportunities. It can also allow you to specialise in a particular field or gain employment once you have finished your education.
IELTS is recognised by more than 11,000 organisations, including educational institutes and professional bodies. Some universities in non-English-speaking countries also require an IELTS score for courses taught in English.
IELTS Academic is suitable for those wanting to study at an English-speaking university. You can also take IELTS Academic for professional registration purposes.
IELTS Academic can be taken in a test centre (on paper or on computer) or remotely online. Before booking your test, please check which formats of the test your organisation accepts.
If you take IELTS at a test centre, you can request to send your IELTS results to a maximum of five organisations free of charge – there is a fee for sending results to additional organisations. You can request for your test centre to send your results to your chosen organisations.
If you take IELTS Online, you can send your IELTS results to as many organisations as you wish, with no additional fee. IELTS Online results are provided in an electronic format.
Test format details
IELTS General Training is required for applications to work in and migrate to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test features everyday English language skills that you will need in social and workplace environments.
The IELTS General Training test is also suitable for those applying to study at an English-speaking school or college below degree level. Test format details
If you want to move to an English-speaking country to study, then you should take the IELTS Academic test.
For work or immigration, the IELTS General Training test is recommended.
Please check the entry requirements before choosing your test.
IELTS for work
Many professional registration bodies and employers rely on IELTS as proof of English language ability.
IELTS for migration
IELTS is accepted for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
A test of four skills
IELTS is a task-based test covering the four language skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking).