English proficiency tests: Information and Handy tips to pass them!


English proficiency tests: Information and Handy tips to pass them!When you want to work or study in a country where English is the language of  communication,most universities and employers will require you to take an English proficiency test .Like the name suggests,English proficiency tests are designed to measure one’s language ability.

There are a few English proficiency tests that are globally recognized by institutions and employers.Today we are going to compare TOEFL and IELTS . Read this guide to discover which language test is best for you.


International English Testing System (lELTS)

IELTS is one of the most recognised English language tests. It is globally considered as a secure, valid and reliable indicator of true-to-life ability to communicate in English for education, immigration and professional accreditation.It conforms to the highest international standards of language assessment.

IELTS are administered at accredited test centres throughout the world and candidates can apply online, by person or by post.

  • There are two types of training modules in IELTS : Academic Training and General Training.
  • If you are taking IELTS to study abroad then you will take the Academic Training IELTS
  • If you are taking IELTS for other purposes such as working abroad, then you will have to take the General Training IELTS

How is the exam like? 

IELTS test in divided into 4 sections which measure listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills

  • During the listening component, you answer questions while listening to the recorded monologues and conversations.
  • For the reading exam, there are  three long passages with tasks such as fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice questions,
  • Writing exam consists of handwritten essays about a given topic
  • The speaking exam is based on a face to face conversation including a short speech.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL

The TOEFL is an internet based examination  and just like the IELTS, it measures your ability to use and understand English in universities. The TOEFL is for students who want to study at a higher education institution, people applying for a scholarship or visa, and someone who is learning English and wants to track their progress

How is the exam like? 

  • It consists of four sections; reading, listening, speaking, and writing.
  • The exam consists of multiple-choice tests,oral and written exam.
  • Between the listening and speaking section, there will be a 10-minute break.




  • Takes 12 to 14 minutes
  • Takes place with an examiner
  • Brief introductory conversation
  • short questions about familiar topics
  • Takes about 20 minutes
  • consists of six questions
  • You will speak into a microphone in the computer ,a grader will listen to you and will grade you at a later date
  • Short essays of 200-250 words
  • Interpret the information presented from an infograph or a graph
  • Short essay of 100-300 words on a given topic
  • Summarize information from a text
  • 3 reading selections of 20 minutes each from newspapers,magazine,etc
  • Multiple type questions
  • 3-5 reading selections of 20 minutes each
  • Generally reading materials are academics
  • Multiple choice questions
  • 4 listening sections taken within 30 minutes
  • Multiple types of questions
  • 40-60 minutes selection from conversation
  • Multiple choice


General comparison of IELTS AND TOEFL

General comparison of TOEFL and IELTS

Type of test



Take this test if … You wish to study at an English-speaking university, usually at a native-English country. If You wish to study at an English-speaking university, usually at a native-English country.
  • Two years
  • After this time the test validity expires and you must re-sit.
  • Two years
  • After this time the test validity expires and you must re-sit.
Cost IELTS Exam Fees Vary from Test Centre to Test Centre.

Check test centres in country

The test fee depends on the test Location you choose
Schedule IELTS is offered up to four times a month in more than
140 countries.Tests are held on Saturdays and Thursdays.To find out test dates in your area, please contact your
nearest IELTS test centre
September and December, depending on the area
Test Duration 2 Days 4.5 Hours
Score scales
  • Reading (Band 0-9)
  • Writing (Band 0-9)
  • Listening (Band 0-9)
  • Speaking (Band 0-9)

The mean of the sums of the scores from the four parts will be the overall band score

  • Reading (0-30)
  • Listening (0-30)
  • Speaking (0-30)
  • Writing  (0-30)

Total, of 120



IELTS Grading

Band 9: Expert user
Band 8: Very good user
Band 7: Good user
Band 6 : Competent user
Band 5:Modest user
Band 4: Limited user
Band 3:Extremely limited
Band 2:Intermittent user
Band 1: Non-user
Band 0:Did not attempt


Reading : High (22-30) | Intermediate (15-21) | Low (0-14)

Listening : High (22-30) | Intermediate (15-21) | Low (0-14)

Speaking : Good (26-30) | Fair (18-25) | Limited (10-17) | Weak (0-9)

Writing : Good (24-30) | Fair (17-23) | Limited (1-16)

Pro tips 

Before booking your test ,ask yourself whether you have taken the necessary steps to ensure you have the best opportunity to succeed. Preparing for English proficiency tests takes time and requires practice. Follow these tips in the months and weeks before your test and you will feel more confident and ready to take the test.

Tip 1 : Register for the test 

  • Check IELTS test centres in country
  • Check TOEFL Test Locations in your area
  • Check the score required by your chosen university, institution, employer or organisation

Tip 2 : Improve your English

  • Take an English language course. This will help you improve the specific skills involved in speaking, listening, reading and writing English.

Tip 3: Try to building up your communication skills 

  • Speak English with your friends and family
  • Read English newspapers and magazines regularly
  • Listen to English language radio, television and film.

Tip 4:Practise with sample questions

  • Practise the free test samples available online

And now that you’ve decided on the test you’re going to take, why not start browsing scholarships for international students in 2019-2020 now ?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here