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When applying to universities abroad, you will almost always be required to produce evidence of English proficiency by having to pass an English proficiency exam. Here is a list of English proficiency tests you might want to take. This contains both the IELTS & TOEFL exam (which you're probably familiar with) and the less well-known tests too!

So let’s begin.

1.  IELTS ( International English Language Testing System )

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System and is a worldwide recognized standardized English proficiency test for non-native English speakers. The British Council provides this service. To be considered for admission as an international student, you must have a strong command of the English language. Taking the IELTS Exam is one of many ways to demonstrate your command of the English language. 

IELTS Eligibility

The only eligibility is that of age. A candidate appearing for the IELTS exam must at least be 16 years old. However, there is no upper age limit!

IELTS exam pattern

The test lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes in total. Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking are the four sections of the test.

  • Listening - The segment lasts 30 minutes, and the applicants must answer a total of 40 questions.

  • Reading - This portion will take 30 minutes to complete and will have 40 questions.

  • Writing - This is a 60-minute test with two questions. Aspirants are required to prepare brief 250-word essays in this stage (minimum). They must explain a diagram, a table, or data.

  • Speaking - The entire sectional time is between 11 and 14 minutes, and applicants are required to attend face-to-face interviews. This component also assesses if aspirants can communicate effectively in the country where they have applied to study.

IELTS Exam Fees

The IELTS test costs INR 14500.

Guides Related to IELTS Exam Preparation:

2. TOEFL ( Test of English as a Foreign Language )

Another common standardized English proficiency test is the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). ETS, the same company that created the GRE, designed and administers it. TOEFL is widely accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions, just as IELTS is.

TOEFL Eligibility

Unlike IELTS, ETS has not yet imposed any age restriction on aspirants who wish to appear for the TOEFL exam. There's no other eligibility demanded.

TOEFL exam pattern

  • Reading - The section lasts for 60 to 80 minutes where you will be required to answer questions of three to four reading passages.
  • Listening - This segment lasts for 60 to 90 minutes and will include audio clips containing 4-6 short lectures and 2-3 lengthy conversations.
  • Speaking - This particular section lasts for 20 minutes where you will be required to speak on familiar topics or on any academic-related issues.
  • Writing - The writing section lasts for 50 minutes

TOEFL Exam fees:

The TOEFL test costs around INR 14,200

3. PTE (Pearson Test of English)

The Pearson Test of English or PTE is a newer English proficiency test. It is offered by Pearson, a publishing and assessment company (you might have had some of their books in your school curriculum).

PTE Eligibility:

The only eligibility is that of age. A candidate appearing for the IELTS exam must at least be 16 years old. However, there is no upper age limit!

PTE exam pattern:

PTE Speaking with PTE writing (together) - The time duration provided is 77 – 93 minutes and has 8 sub-sections.

  • PTE Reading: This segment lasts for 32 – 40 minutes. It has 5 sub-sections
  • PTE Listening: The listening section lasts for around 45 – 57 minutes

PTE Exam fees:

The PTE costs around INR 13,300.

4. Duolingo English Test (DET)

Like the PTE, the Duolingo English Test is a new, but very promising proficiency test. It’s offered by Duolingo, an American language learning platform.

Duolingo Eligibility:

There is no specific age limit for taking the Duolingo exam. Anyone who needs to prove his/her English language proficiency can take the test. Candidates below 13 years of age need parental consent to appear for the test.

Duolingo exam pattern:

  • Adaptive test - This section is a graded section that evaluates your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills and lasts for around 45 minutes
  • Video interview - This is an ungraded section that records your answers to open-ended questions & lasts for 10 minutes.

Duolingo Exam fees:

The Duolingo English Test is much cheaper to take than its competitors, i.e around INR 4,000.

Whether it's the IELTS exam or the Duolingo English Test, key communication skills and advanced language competence are essential for success in a program of study. The English proficiency tests in this article assess a wide range of language skills. Furthermore, they all have varying degrees of acceptance among universities. Check to see which test is ideal for you and which is accepted by your program for admission!

Good luck!