Which English Exam Should I Take?

19 September 2016

Time to take a test!

So, you feel like you might be ready to take an English proficiency test? There are dozens of English exams out there and the choice really depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

Here are 5 of the most popular ones:

1. IELTS is a test that can be accepted as proof of your English proficiency if you want to study, live or work in an English-speaking country. It is most popular in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. There are 2 main versions of the test:  Academic is usually used for entrance into universities  and General Training – for other purposes.

There are 4 sections to the IELTS which are Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The IELTS will take around 3 hours.

2. TOEFL is more popular in the USA. It was originally created for academic testing but is now used for other purposes as well. Like the IELTS, it also covers Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing and takes between 2.5 and 4.5 hours depending on what version you’re taking.Most test centers offer the Internet-based version; however, some places still do the paper-based one as well.

3. TOEIC was created to assess the proficiency of people who want to work in an English-speaking environment. It is most popular in Japan and South Korea but is accepted in around 150 countries. There are actually 2 separate tests: the Listening and Reading one and the Speaking and Writing one. It is about 2.5 hours long.

4. OPI is an Oral Proficiency Interview (and OPIC is a computer version of this exam). It focuses specifically on speaking ability and takes around 30 minutes.

5. Cambridge English exams are an array of tests for different purposes and proficiencies. It is accepted by educational institutions and employers in about 130 countries.

Posted by: Ksenia

Ksenia is our linguist, specializing in accentedness. She is interested in how accents change and how people can hear accents differently.