Study in Australia

Explore Different English Language Proficiency Tests and Certifications

Discover various English proficiency tests to study in Australia. Learn about English proficiency tests, including IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, and Cambridge exams

Published on: Jun 16, 2024


Are you planning to start your academic journey abroad? It is a great opportunity to study abroad as it opens a wide path for students for their further academics and professional careers. Especially if you study in Australia, you will get to study in one of the most prestigious universities. However, do you know before you start your journey here, you will be required to have an English language proficiency certificate?


In this blog, we will discuss different types of English Proficiency tests that can help you start your academic journey in Australia. So, let's delve into this ASAP!



Understanding English Language Proficiency Certificates


If you are planning to study in Australia, you will need to have an English proficiency certificate. It represents that you have enough knowledge to participate in classes, understand textbooks, and complete your assignments. Not only this but with this certificate, you can enrol on top most prestigious universities in Australia.


In fact, it is important for every student who comes to study in Australia to have this certificate. To get this certificate, you have to acquire specific scores. There are many tests available for students to get these certificates, including IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, and more. Participating in any of these exams can get you the English Proficiency test Certificate. Further, that will help you start your academic journey at one of Australia's prestigious universities.



What are English Proficiency Levels?


The English Proficiency level shows how proficient you are in the English Language. In general, the  international English language testing system measures your English proficiency in 3 major levels. However, the Common European Framework of Reference for Language Learning (CEFR) was developed by the Council of Europe. It divides language proficiency into six levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2) and gives a detailed description of each level. The CEFR levels are:


1. Basic Speaker

• A1 = Beginner to Elementary

• A2 = Elementary to Pre-Intermediate


2. Independent Speaker

• B1 = Intermediate

• B2 = Upper-Intermediate


3. Proficient Speaker

• C1 = Advanced

• C2 = Proficient


English Proficiency Tests


Various types of English Language learning tests give certificates to students and show that they are eligible to study abroad and can handle the coursework, assignments, and lectures. Let's discuss these tests in brief:


1. TOEFL: Also called Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). It is one of the most popular certificates around the world. In most places, this exam is conducted digitally, but it also has a paper-based test offered only in locations without an internet connection. In fact, it also provides you with an online test (TOEFL® iBT Home Edition), which you can take in the comfort of your home. Many institutions in Australia accept this certification and allow international students to study in Australia.


• Format & Scoring: In particular, there are this test consists of 4 sections, including listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Also, in total, it takes up to 3 hours to complete this test. Further, this test gives scores for each section and a total score. It ranges from 0-30 for each section, which means 0-120 total scores. Moreover, to get this certificate, you will need to achieve a minimum score of 70-80, which equates to level B2.



2. IELTS: IELTS, the International English Language Testing System. It is also one of the most popular English Language tests in the world. In particular, this test has two formats: the Academic test and the General Training test. The academic test is for students who want to start their academic journey in Australia, and the General Training test is for students, who seek for professional career here.


• Format and Scoring: These tests also include 4 sections:


(i) Listening


(ii) Academic Reading


(iii) Academic Writing


(iv) Speaking


Further, it takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete the test. If we talk about the scoring, just like TOEFL it also gives a score for each section and a total score. However, these scores range from 0-9, with 0.5 intervals. In particular, universities here usually require applicants to have a minimum IELTS score of 5.5 to 6.5, which equates to CEFR level B2.



3. PTE Academics: The PTE Academic test has grown popular in the last few years. In fact, many universities accept it as relevant proof of English Language learning. This test is administered by the testing agency Edexcel which is a subsidiary of the Pearson group. Further, you can give this test digitally, it is entirely computer-based. The main feature of this test is that it is evaluated by AI rather than human examiners, which eliminates human error or bias in evaluation.


• Formate and Scoring: Unlike other tests, it includes 3 sections: speaking and writing, reading, and listening. To complete this test, you will be given 3 hours. This test is scored on 10-90 based on an assessment. In particular, the score of 58 in PTE is roughly equivalent to a 6.5 in IELTS and 87-88 in TOEFL. Therefore, the very minimum scores are considered by most universities for eligibility.



4. Cambridge English Qualification Certificate: Cambridge English Language Assessment, which used to be called the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, is a non-profit organization. Also, they are one of the co-owners of the IELTS test. They also conduct other English proficiency tests for various purposes including for schools, general and higher education purposes, and business English. These certifications are both for studying abroad as well as general language certification purposes.


• Format and Scoring: There are many types of tests under Cambridge English Qualification Certificate, but the most popular ones are:


(i) B2 First: B2 First, previously called FCE (First Certificate in English), corresponds to TOEFL® scores in the B1-B2 range and IELTS scores of 5.5-6.5. It takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes to finish the exam.


(ii) C1 Advanced: C1 Advanced, formerly known as CAE (Certificate in Advanced English), targets high C1-C2 levels, similar to IELTS scores of 6.5-8.0. This exam is widely accepted by many Australian Universities and over 9,000 educational institutions and businesses worldwide. It takes approximately 4 hours to complete.


(iii) C2 Proficiency: C2 Proficiency, previously called CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English). It is the highest level exam, rated at C2. This level is above the highest TOEFL® scores and comparable to an IELTS score of 8.5 and above. The exam duration is around 4 hours.


In particular, all these exams come with 4 sections:

• Reading and Use of English

• Writing

• Listening

• Speaking



Preparation Tips for International Students


Preparing to study abroad can be exciting but also challenging. Here are some tips for you that can help you with your preparation for your English Language Proficiency Test:


1. Understand Exams Formats: It is crucial to understand the exam formats. Understanding the exam format helps you prepare for the exam. Know the number of sections, types of questions, and timing for each part. Also, review previous exam papers.


2. Improve Your English Language: Focus on improving your English skills. Make sure you use English in your daily practice. Focus on each section of your English test such as speaking, writing, listening, and reading.


3. Use Study Materials: You can use study materials to improve your English skills. It includes textbooks, articles, videos, podcasts, and more. In fact, you can get study materials on the official websites of these exam organisers.


4. Prepare a Study Schedule: Developing a study schedule will help you effectively prepare for these exams. You can allocate time each day for different skills and stick to your schedule. Ensure you spend adequate time on all four sections of the exam.


5. Take Mock Tests: You can take mock tests to evaluate your current level. Also, it will help you analyse and find your weak points. So, that you can focus on those weak points and improve them. Many websites provide mock tests for English proficiency including the IELTS, TOEFL, and more.





Choosing the right English proficiency test depends on your goals and the requirements of the institutions you want to study in Australia. Each test has its unique format and scoring system. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the format of the exam you opt for. By understanding the different tests and following effective preparation strategies, you can achieve the English proficiency level needed to succeed in your academic or professional careers.


Read More

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