Are you planning to study abroad? Then first you have to certify your proficiency in English language. There are different tests such as IELTS, TOEFEL and SAT. Although these testing services are carries out by international bodies, different countries accept different tests. For example UK and most European countries accept IELTS whereas US accept TOEFEL and SAT. For each English test there’s a unique grading system. Candidates are required to score above a particular point. This point mark is defined by educational institutes. Following are some popular international English tests.
‘International English Language Testing System’ or commonly known as IELTS is an international standardized test of English language proficiency. It is jointly managed by University of Cambridge- ESOL Examinations, the British Council and IDP Education Pvt Ltd. This testing service was established in 1989. IELTS is accepted by most Australian, British, Canadian, Irish, New Zealand and South African academic institutions. It is also a requirement for immigration to Australia and Canada.
There are two versions of the IELTS such as:
• The Academic Version
• The General Training Version
The Academic version is specially intended for students who want to enroll in universities and other institutions of higher education. It also required for professionals such as medical doctors and engineers who want to study or practice in an English-speaking country. The General Training Version is designed for those planning migrate or to gain work experience. An IELTS result is valid for two years.
All candidates must complete four Modules – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking to obtain a band score, which is the IELTS result. IELTS result is based on a nine-band scale, with each band corresponding to a specified competence in English. Eg: 9=Expert User, 6=Competent User, 5=Modest User, 1= Non User. Most universities require a IELTS band of 5.5 to 7.0.
IELTS is taken every year in 500 locations across 121 countries, and is one of the fastest growing English language tests in the world. The number of candidates has grown from about 80,000 in 1999 to over 1,200,000 in 2009. There are up to 48 test dates available per year. There is no time limitation for applicants to re-sit for the test.
‘Test of English as a Foreign Language’ or commonly known as TOEFEL is an international exam evaluates the ability of an individual to use and understand English in an academic setting. If you are planning to study in United States or Canada its mandatory to take TOEFEL exam. It is an admission requirement for non-native English speakers at many English-speaking colleges and universities in States.
There are two formats of the test such as:
• Internet-Based test
• Paper-Based test
The Internet-based test was introduced in 2005, which has progressively replaced both the computer-based (CBT) and paper-based (PBT) tests. Candidates can take the test within one to four weeks after booking. The four-hour test consists of four sections, each measuring one of the basic language skills and all tasks focus on language used in an academic, higher-education environment. The four sections are reading, writing, listening and speaking. The Internet-Based version of the TOEFL test is scored on a scale of 0 to 120 points. Each of the four sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing) receives a scaled score from 0 to 30. The scaled scores from the four sections are added together to determine the total score.
Paper based test is conducted in the areas where the internet-based test is not available. Tests are administered on fixed dates 6 times each year. The test is 3 hours long and all test sections can be taken on the same day. The final PBT score ranges between 310 and 677 and is based on three sub scores: Listening (31–68), Structure (31–68), and Reading (31–67).
‘Scholastic Aptitude Test’ or commonly known as SAT is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. It’s one of the oldest aptitude tests in the world. The current SAT Reasoning Test, introduced in 2005, takes three hours and forty-five minutes, and costs $45 in US and $71 internationally.
SAT consists of three major sections: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. Test scores range from 600 to 2400, combining test results from three 800-point sections (math, critical reading, and writing). Most of the questions on the SAT, except for the essay and the grid-in math responses, are multiple choices. The SAT is offered seven times a year in the United States and other countries.
‘Graduate Record Examination’ or commonly known as GRE is a commercially-run standardized test that is an admission requirement for many graduate schools in the United States and in other English speaking countries. The exam measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills that are not related to any specific field of study. In the United States, Canada, and many other countries, the GRE General Test is offered as a computer-based exam
The exam consists of four sections. The first section is a writing section, while the other three are multiple-choice style. They are
• Verbal section
• Quantitative section
• Analytical writing section
Test takers do not know which of the three multiple-choice sections the experimental section is. The entire test procedure takes about 4 hours. candidate can miss one or more questions on a multiple-choice section and still receive a perfect score of 800. Likewise, even if no question is answered correctly, 200 is the lowest score possible.