TOEIC, TOEFL, IELTS and other English certificates: which one to choose?

TOEIC, TOEFL, IELTS, Linguaskill or Cambridge certification, there are many diplomas and certifications to choose when studying English! How do you know which one is the best for you? Here is an overview of the different English certificates and their characteristics!

How to choose your English test?

Before registering for an exam, it is important to know your goals and your English level. Some diplomas have different objectives and assess different skills. Others are directly required by the company or university to which you wish to apply. For example, if you want to study abroad, then the TOEFL or IELTS would be the best choice, while the TOEIC is mainly for people who want to work abroad.

TOEIC for Business

Created in 1979, the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) is mainly used in the professional world, although some schools may require a TOEIC diploma for their admissions process, notably engineering or business schools. It is a general English test that evaluates language skills in a professional context, without being too technical.

The TOEIC is valid for two years.

TOEFL: for higher education

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is an English test administered by ETS GLOBAL, just like the TOEIC. The purpose of the TOEFL is to test language skills in a university or academic setting. Many foreign educational institutions require it to recruit applicants. And in Switzerland, the TOEFL may also be required to validate a level of study or a diploma. This test evaluates the main skills of written and oral comprehension and expression.

The TOEFL is valid for two years.

IELTS: for studies in the Commonwealth

Created in 1989, the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is recognized as one of the main English exams. It is particularly recommended for those who wish to enter a school in the United Kingdom and in most countries belonging to the Commonwealth. It also makes it easier to get a job in countries such as Australia and Canada. It is recognized in both the academic and professional worlds.

Like TOEFL and TOEIC, the IELTS is valid for two years. It is also a very complete test that evaluates written and oral skills. This exam is based on a score from 1 to 9 (1 being the "Non-User" level and 9 the "Expert User" level).

Linguaskill: to discover your level

Formerly called BULATS, Linguaskill is a test created by the University of Cambridge. It is a completely computerized certification. This exam has the advantage of having an adaptive difficulty. At the end of the test, you will receive a certificate indicating your current level.

Many universities and recruiters accept the Linguaskill as proof of your English level. Like most other tests, it is valid for 2 years.

Cambridge English exams

The University of Cambridge also organizes many language assessment tests. There are several depending on the age, the speciality but also the level of the candidate. The Cambridge exams deliver diplomas on the six levels of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), graded from A1 to C2. Finally, these tests evaluate both written and oral skills through computerized or paper-based tests, except for oral expression which is evaluated during a face-to-face meeting with a teacher.

Unlike other certificates, Cambridge certifications do not have an official expiration date. However, you may be asked for evidence of your English proficiency if your certification was obtained several years ago.

Now you know the main diplomas and certificates and their characteristics! To help you prepare for your exams, don't hesitate to take an English course!

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