Master English Proficiency: Your Ultimate Guide to Tests

Exploring the Different Types of English Proficiency Tests

PI - Prepare IELTS


Exploring the Different Types of English Proficiency Tests


Are you applying to study overseas? Do you want to expand your academic and career prospects by applying to study abroad? Well, to do any of this, you need to take up a relevant English language proficiency test and prepare documentation accordingly, as they are amongst the most essential documents.

A multitude of questions will naturally arise as soon as you immerse yourself in the different types of English proficiency tests. Is there a test that is thought to be easier than the others? Which tests provide the ease of computer-based testing? Are there any that produce quick results?

Worry not! We are here to help you. Firstly, you must understand that there are some crucial aspects of each test—recognition, reliability, format, evaluation, and administration. On top of that, every test serves distinct purposes; for instance, IELTS Academic is on par with the TOEFL exam for US study.

Such well-recognised English proficiency tests are beneficial for measuring practical skills when you are going to discover an abroad education system. Let's get started.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

Here comes the first section of our blog; let’s have a look at what exactly International English Language Testing System is. The IELTS exam is like a global language compass guiding those who wish to study or work in English-speaking countries.

The IELTS exam is divided into four parts: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Each section crafts an individual score that blends into an overall master band score. The final results come in bands, from 1 to 9. Your IELTS score stays valid for 2 years, echoing your language proficiency.

You have two choices awaiting - IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The selection hinges upon your aspirations. IELTS Academic tests your academic language skills, perfect for academic pursuits. Or else, IELTS General Training evaluates everyday English, useful for work and social situations. However, the IELTS exam is perfect for you, whether for university purpose or for general purpose.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

Now, let’s take a look at the next part, which is TOEFL, short for Test of English as a Foreign Language. The exam is a widely recognized American English test, and universities accept it worldwide. This language proficiency test mainly mirrors normal academic English and it is developed by the Center for Applied Linguistics. In addition to its purpose, the TOEFL exam dives into listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills, just like IELTS. 

Now, the TOEFL iBT test is flexible and can be taken in three ways: at a test centre, at your comfy home, and on paper. The TOEFL iBT Home Edition brings the test centre to your doorstep, while the Paper Edition follows with 2 variations. The home computer hosts the speaking, while the other three parts join hands with paper at a test centre.

Each TOEFL section ranges from 0 to 30, and combining all the scores needs to paint a picture with a maximum score of 120. These TOEFL scores are valid for 2 years.

TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication):

Head on to the third English proficiency test! TOEIC exam, short for the Test of English for International Communication, stepping onto the stage to evaluate your workplace communication skills. Your TOEIC scorecard can get to reach up to 990 (akin to CEFR's C1 level), blending your listening and reading pieces. Yet, the speaking and writing tests follow a different scoring pattern. Just like its peers, TOEIC scores remain in the limelight for 2 years, which showcases your language proficiency.

Furthermore, the TOEIC exam is more than just a way to show your language skills; it is also a passport to global communication. TOEIC, which is recognized by corporations, multinational conglomerates, and global governmental bodies, displays your ability to connect with coworkers and clients across borders. Companies in the aviation industry, for example, frequently use it to assess their employees' English proficiency. Hence, the TOEIC exam is the leader in English evaluation for workplace language navigation.

Cambridge English Exams

Coming into our fourth language proficiency test! Cambridge English offers tests like KET, PET, FCE, CAE, and CPE. These tests are recognized globally by employers, universities, and governments to prove your English ability. A unique part of these test results is that they  don't expire; they're valid for life.

Let's look at each test:

  • KET (Key English Test): A basic level exam assessing English communication in simple scenarios.

  • PET (Preliminary English Test): When you are using English as an everyday language skill, it is ideal to sit at the intermediate level. 

  • FCE (First Certificate of English): This level shows your language prowess for independent living, working in English-speaking nations, or studying English-based courses.

  • CAE (Certificate in Advanced English): A high-level qualification highlighting sought-after language skills by employers and universities.

  • CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English): The highest possible qualification proving fluency and sophistication comparable to that of a proficient English speaker.


Thus, it will be best if you embrace these qualifications to open doors, enhance opportunities, and embody the versatility of English proficiency throughout your life's journey.

Duolingo English Test

Next is the Duolingo English Test, which offers a modern approach to assessing English proficiency, conducted entirely online. It stands out as one of the few tests that can be taken on the internet.

Taking about an hour, this test encompasses four parts:

  • Literacy: Involves reading and writing.

  • Comprehension: Covers reading and listening.

  • Conversation: Focuses on listening and speaking.

  • Production: Engages writing and speaking skills.


While listening and reading sections use multiple-choice questions, the writing and speaking parts require typing and speaking into a microphone, with the speaking segment involving interaction with a real person.

Furthermore, the test culminates in an overall score derived from an average of the scores in each section. The certificate of Duolingo English Test is gaining recognition from universities and employers as proof of English proficiency, though confirming its acceptance with your university or workplace is advised.

Additionally, each part is rated out of 160, and the average contributes to your final score. The minimum score starts from 10, though acceptable Duolingo band scores vary across universities and companies, so it's wise to check with them beforehand.

OET (Occupational English Test)

Now, the sixth most famous proficiency exam is the OET test or the Occupational English Test, which is tailor-made for healthcare professionals, serving as a testament to their English language competence in medical settings. This OET test holds the key to proving your language prowess for healthcare roles and is accepted for registration and licensing in many English-speaking nations.

Although the test spans 3 hours for written assessments and 20 minutes for speaking, being available for the full day is advised, as the speaking test can be scheduled between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Moreover, the format of the OET English test includes multiple-choice questions in listening, reading, writing, and speaking sections. Each of these areas receives a score from 0 to 500, translating into letter grades from E (lowest) to A (highest). Importantly, there's no single overall score; your scores can vary across sections.

To succeed, most employers recognise OET test requires at least 350 in each section. However, it's wise to verify specific requirements with relevant institutions before taking the test.

However, OET English is the bridge that lets professionals communicate with confidence in a healthcare world of words

CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program)

Well, now the seventh is the CELPIP exam, short for the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program. This test is a well-recognized English language proficiency exam accepted by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Although it takes about 3 hours to complete and has two versions, CELPIP General test and CELPIP General LS (Listening and Speaking), both versions are used for immigration, education, and professional purposes. The General version has four sections – reading, writing, listening, and speaking, while the LS version focuses only on speaking and listening.

Despite its format, the scoring in the CELPIP exam is done through points. The range goes from M (minimal proficiency) to 12 (highest). Your score in listening and reading improves as you answer more questions correctly. For speaking and writing, the CELPIP exam raters evaluate your performance through tasks and assign a score between M and 12 for each section.

There's no average score; you receive individual scores for each section. The minimum passing score for the CELPIP test is 3.

The cost of the test is around 280 Canadian Dollars (approximately 213 USD), but prices might vary in different countries. The CELPIP test offers a pathway to showcase your English skills for immigration and other purposes in Canada.

PTE (Pearson Test of English)

Lastly, PTE, short for Pearson English Test, comes in two flavours - PTE Academic and SELT. Now, the PTE Academic is mainly for entering educational institutions, but it's also handy for work and immigration purposes. SELT, handled by Pearson, is exclusively for UK visa and immigration needs.

PTE Academic takes about 2 hours and has four parts: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, all done on a computer. SELT tests differ, but they typically emphasize speaking and listening.

For PTE Academic, scores range from 10 to 90, corresponding to CEFR levels. For instance, 10-29 is A1, and 85-90 is C2. SELT scores vary depending on the specific test.

Hence, you must need a minimum score of 10 to pass PTE Academic, although universities have their acceptance criteria. Apart from that, SELT test requirements depend on the test and its purpose. It's wise to check the specifics before taking the plunge.


In brief, English proficiency tests play a vital role in evaluating and authenticating your language skills for diverse objectives, which include academic pursuits, professional opportunities, immigration, and international communication.

An array of diverse forms of English proficiency tests caters to multiple requirements and flavours, allowing you to pick the test that best meets your needs and preferences. Whether you're a student seeking to study abroad, a professional looking for global possibilities, or an organisation evaluating possible applicants, these exams give a standardised and trustworthy gauge of your English language competency.

We hope we have provided helpful insight into the English proficiency tests. If you need further guidance, please contact Prepare IELTS (PI) expert counsellors. Our team of education experts is dedicated to providing you with the best guidance in the English proficiency tests.

You can get a one-on-one counselling session online via our platform. Contact us at or call us at +91 9773398388.


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