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Top English Proficiency Tests: A Detailed Guide

Nov 14, 2023

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English proficiency tests have become an integral part of the educational and professional journey for countless individuals around the world. Whether you're an international student aspiring to study abroad, an immigrant seeking employment in an English-speaking country, or simply someone wanting to validate your English language skills, taking an English proficiency test is often a necessity. These tests are designed to assess your abilities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, providing institutions and employers with a standardized measure of your English language proficiency.

However, with several English proficiency tests available, choosing the right one can be a task. The suitability of a test largely depends on your individual goals and the institutions or organizations you wish to apply to. 
 

Why do we have to give English Proficiency Tests?

English proficiency tests serve as a benchmark to ensure that non-native English speakers possess the necessary language skills to thrive in English-speaking environments. The results of these tests help universities and employers evaluate your language capabilities as it is an important aspect of admissions and hiring processes.
 

Types of English Proficiency Tests Available

There are several English proficiency tests to choose from, but we'll focus on four of the most widely recognized: IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, and Duolingo. Each test has its own unique features, making them suitable for different purposes and preferences.

In this detailed guide, we will explore the features of these four widely recognized English proficiency tests and help you make an informed decision.
 

IELTS Test Guide for International Students

  • An Overview of the Test
    The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the most recognized English proficiency tests globally. It assesses your English skills in four key areas. It offers two types of tests: Academic for students planning to study at an English-speaking university and General Training for those seeking employment or immigration.
     
  • Test Format
    IELTS exam consists of four separate sections, they include Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Each section has a different format. Listening and Speaking are the same for both Academic and General Training while Reading and Writing differ based on the test type.
     
  • Test Duration
    The IELTS test duration is almost 2 hours and 45 minutes.
     
  • Test Availability
    IELTS tests are available in numerous countries and cities worldwide. You can easily find a test centre near you. However, the test availability of IELTS is limited.
     
  • Score Scale
    IELTS scores range from 0 to 9, with half-point increments. These scores reflect your level of proficiency in each skill area.
     
  • Fees
    The IELTS test fee varies depending on the location and the organization conducting the test. At present the test fee is INR 16,250.
     
  • Result
    You can access your IELTS results online or receive a physical copy approximately 13 days after taking the test.


TOEFL Test Guide for International Students

  • An Overview of the Test
    The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is widely accepted by American, Canadian and UK universities. It assesses the test taker’s skills in Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Recently, a significant change in the test has been announced, the test duration is now reduced to less than 2 hours. This has now made TOEFL the shortest of the three most popular English-language tests.
     
  • Test Format
    TOEFL is an internet-based test (iBT) and features four sections Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. The test takers will answer questions on a computer and speak into a microphone for the Speaking section. So, you have to do your test preparation for TOEFL accordingly. 
     
  • Test Duration
    The TOEFL iBT test takes about 2 hours to complete.
     
  • Test Availability
    TOEFL test centres are available in many countries around the world, making them accessible to international students. This test is conducted 60+ times a year. 
     
  • Score Scale
    TOEFL scores range from 0 to 120, among these each section scored on a scale of 0 to 30.
     
  • Fees
    TOEFL exam fees vary but at present it is $195.
     
  • Result
    You can view your TOEFL scores online about 7 days after taking the test.
     

PTE Test Guide for International Students

  • An Overview of the Test
    The Pearson Test of English (PTE) is a computer-based English proficiency test. It assesses the test taker’s skills in all four sections of Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing. The test score of PTE is widely accepted by 3,000+ universities and colleges globally.
     
  • Test Format
    PTE Academic is entirely computer-based, providing a modern and efficient testing experience. The PTE test format consists of 3 parts with 20 different question types. Each part of the test has different types of questions. 
     
  • Test Duration
    The PTE Academic test takes approximately 2 hours.
     
  • Test Availability
    PTE test centres are available in various countries around the world. Moreover, the best of this test is that it can be taken all year as the test is available 365 days.
     
  • Score Scale
    PTE scores are on a scale of 10 to 90.
     
  • Fees
    PTE Academic fees can vary but currently, it is INR 15,900. 
     
  • Result
    You can access your PTE scores online within 2 days.
     

Duolingo Test Guide for International Students

  • An Overview of the Test
    The Duolingo English Test is an adaptive online exam that evaluates your language skills in Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Many top universities around the world are accepting the Duolingo test scores for demonstrating English proficiency level.
     
  • Test Format
    Duolingo online test has two parts, one is the adaptive test and the other one is the writing test. The test format includes a variety of questions, from multiple choice to speaking prompts.
     
  • Test Duration
    The test typically takes about 60 minutes.
     
  • Test Availability
    One of the most convenient aspects of the Duolingo test is that you can take it from the comfort of your own home, and you will not have to visit a test centre. All you have to do is book your test slots as per the availability.  
     
  • Score Scale
    Duolingo test scores range from 10 to 160.
     
  • Fees
    The Duolingo test is relatively affordable, with a fee of around $49.
     
  • Result
    You'll receive your Duolingo test results within 48 hours.

Among these English proficiency tests, selecting the right one is essential for your success and to get the required scores. Your test choice should align with your shortlisted university’s requirements, your goals, your preferred test format, and your budget. Once you've chosen your test, effective preparation is the key to achieving your required score.

This is where KC Overseas Education comes in. Our experienced faculty and comprehensive study materials can help you prepare for any of these English proficiency tests. With personalized coaching, practice tests, and valuable insights, we're dedicated to helping you excel and achieve your dreams of studying abroad. 

Don't just take the test, ace it with KC’s expert guidance!

Need guidance? Let us help you.

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