English language

 

With 379 million speakers worldwide, English is the third most spoken language in the world. It acts a bridge between people from different corners of the globe, speaking diverse languages in different dialects and facilitates a common medium of communication for all.

English language proficiency tests were developed around a standard framework that assess the test taker’s proficiency in English. It tests specific skills, primarily listening, speaking, reading and writing. So, if you are willing to pursue your higher education in an English-speaking country like the UK, then the demonstration of your English language proficiency is one of the primary requirements.

 

Who Needs to Take English Language Proficiency test?

The admission to your undergraduate, postgraduate, or doctoral degree is based on your score in one of the UKVI approved English language test. International students from non-English speaking nations, who are willing to pursue their higher education in one of the several prestigious universities in the UK, needs to prove their proficiency in English. However, in some cases, even students from native English speaking nations might also have to prove their expertise in English to undertake academic pursuits in the UK.

Why Do International Students Require English Language Proficiency test?

Admission in Colleges / Universities 

English proficiency certification is necessary to obtain a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) from universities. The CAS, in turn, is a primary document to be submitted while applying for your Tier-4 Student Visa. So, it is essential to meet the required scores in relevant components of the test to successfully apply for admission into universities in the UK. 

  • Helps you set clear goals
    Taking an English language proficiency test helps you determine your specific skill level – whether you are at a beginner , intermediate or an expert level. Designed and organized  around a standard framework to assess, these tests also gives you a clear picture of the skills that you need to work upon. 
     
  • Helps build confidence
    Being certified by one of the standard and globally approved English proficiency tests helps you build your confidence to succeed in an academic and work environment where English is the only medium of interaction. 
     
  • Academic Advantages
    Higher education often involves extensive research and rigorous independent study. Also, universities in the UK boasts of hosting expert faculties from across the world. Being proficient in English and demonstrating your language skills helps you to engage and interact effectively in your academic environment. 

    It helps boosts your confidence to present academic papers, actively engage in team activities and reach your utmost potential.
  • Helps to build a home away from home, quicker !
    In a country like the UK which is famous for hosting international students from across the globe, English language acts as a unifier. Qualifying an English language proficiency test not only helps in acquainting you with your abilities but also gives you an opportunity to work on your weakness. This, in turn, helps you develop and build interpersonal relationships with your fellow students, faculty members, and people around you. Being proficient in English helps you assimilate into the new culture quicker and adapt to the new environment faster. 
     
  • Employment Opportunities
    International students with proficient English language skills are found to gain greater and high paying employment opportunities. Whether it is an internship at a multinational, a graduate job at a reputed firm or retail job in the local supermarket – English language expertise is a common requirement to succeed in all your employment pursuits. 

    If you want to gain professional work experience, develop industry specific skills, and also earn while you study, it is important for you to be fluent in English – speaking, listening, reading and writing. 
     

    List of UKVI-Approved English Proficiency Test Providers 

    As a student willing to pursue your higher studies in the UK, you will have to provide evidence of your English proficiency by undertaking a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from one of the following UKVI approved test providers only – 

  • IELTS? 
  • LanguageCert 
  • Pearson or PTE?Academic? 
  • PSI Services 
  • Trinity College London: ‘Secure English Language Tests for?UKVI’ – Integrated Skills in English (ISE) or Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE)  


Points to Remember: Acceptance of English language tests 

For your English language proficiency tests to be accepted for admission by universities in the UK, ensure that  

  • The test is on the UKVI approved English language tests. 
  • The test has been administered at an approved location. 
  • The test has been awarded not more than two years before the date of application. 
IELTS is one the pioneer in English language assessments and is accepted by more than 10,000 organizations globally. It is a standardized test to assess English language proficiency and is taken by over three million people globally every year. Jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English, IELTS is globally recognized by educational institutions, companies, professional bodies and government organizations in more than 140 countries including the UK,USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Europe etc.

 

Why Should You Take IELTS?

  • Why Should You Take IELTS?
    IELTS is globally recognized by individuals and organizations as a reliable assessment for testing the English language skills. 
    Some of the key factors that contribute to the popularity of  IELTS are : 
     
  • Global Acceptance by Universities
    The most reputed universities in the UK and across the world uses IELTS test score to determine the eligibility of international students seeking admissions in their institutions.  
     
  • Fair and Reliable
    IELTS is recognized to be fair to all test takers irrespective of their nationality, cultural background, gender or special needs. It also has high reliability scores compared to other assessments. 
     
  • Valid and Accurate
    It provides a valid and accurate assessment of the four language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. 
     
  • Practical Communication Skills
    Helps in assessing practical communication ability , especially for students who would pursue academics in an environment where English is the only medium of instruction. 
     
  • Secure and Consistent
    The IELTS Test delivery is secure and consistent. 
     
  • Fair Assessment
    Highest quality controls, stringent security procedures and integrity?management practices are applied while assessing the tests. 
     
  • Open to All
    ???????The IELTS test is open to everyone who wishes to study or work in an English speaking country , irrespective of age, gender and nationality. 
     
  • Unlimited retakes
    The test can be taken as many times, till the required score is achieved. 
     

IELTS Grading and Score

IELTS is graded on a scale of 1- 9. With 1.0 being the lowest score implying that the test taker does not have any English language fluency, a score of 9.0 suggests expert English fluency.

Your IELTS score requirements might vary depending upon the university you have applied for. A higher score, however, reflects a better ability to understand and communicate in English.

IELTS Validity

The IELTS certificate validity is for 2 years only, so students must secure admission within 2 years from the date of their IELTS exam result.

Types of IELTS

There are two types of IELTS Test, based on your criteria for visa application. 

  • Academic – IELTS Academic test is specifically designed to assess the English language fluency of students who aspire to pursue their higher education in an English-speaking country like the UK. It measures whether you have the required English language ability to undertake academics imparted in an English speaking environment. 
  • General Training – For job and immigration purpose. 

IELTS Test Format

  • Listening 
  • Reading 
  • Writing, and 
  • Speaking.  

Listening, Reading, and Writing are conducted on the same day. 

Speaking tests can be taken on paper or on a computer.  

On paper, the test dates are given and are usually notified a week in advance. If you are taking your Speaking test on a computer, then you can choose test dates based on your convenience. 

Brief Overview of the Skills

  • Listening 

The Listening section of the IELTS test is designed to determine your expertise in understanding and comprehending English language spoken in a  range of accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand, American and Canadian. 

This section consists of four parts and 40 questions, with each part containing ten questions each. The recordings are heard only once.  

Test time: 40 minutes 

 

Tips for IELTS Listening Test 

  • It is important to undertake sufficient listening practice tests to familiarize yourself with different accents. 
  • Concentration is the key to listening and grasping the information. 

 

  • Reading: 

 The Reading section of the IELTS is designed to test a wide range of reading skills, along with your ability to understand logical arguments, opinions, attitudes, and purposes outlined in the text. 

This section consists of three sections and a total of 40 questions. 

Test time: 60 minutes 

  • Tips for IELTS Reading Test 
  • Ensure to read the paragraphs a few times before attempting to answer the questions. 
  • Try to comprehend the meanings of unfamiliar words by reading them in context of the paragraph. 

 

  • Writing  

This Writing section involves testing the descriptive, analytical, discursive and factual writing skills of the test taker. 

This consists of two tasks. 

Test time: 60 minutes 

  • Tips for IELTS Writing Test 
  • Plan your answer. 
  • Focus on the quality of your writing. 
  • Stick to the word limit. Your band score might be reduced if you write too much or too little. 
  • Appropriate use of tense, punctuations, idioms and phrases. 
  • Carefully study the graph or table structure. 
  • Practice writing essays within the strict time limit: 20 minutes for Task 1 and 40 minutes for Task 2. 
  •  Speaking? 
     
    The Speaking section assess your ability to fluently engage in oral English communication.  

It consists of three parts involving questions around general topics and discussion around abstract ideas. 

It lasts around 11 – 14 mins and consists of three sections, including speaking with the examiner. 

  • Tips for IELTS Speaking Test 
  • Ensure that you speak clearly and confidently. 
  • Use clear and crisp vocabulary to articulate your thoughts and ideas. 
  • Ensure to cover all relevant points within the specific time given for speaking. 

*Some popular books for IELTS preparation include Cambridge Series 1-13Cambridge IELTS trainerOfficial IELTS Practice Materials 

Test Duration

The duration for the three sections - Listening, Reading and Writing is 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

The Speaking section lasts for 11-14 minutes. 

Test Centre

Once the IELTS test is booked, it is conducted in one of the 67 official British Council IELTS test centre. 

Strategy for Scoring High Band in IELTS

Plan Early 

Ensue that you start your preparation early and consistently monitor your progress. 

 

Brush up your Grammar essentials 

It’s time to revisit your grammar lessons again! Ensure you have a strong grammatical foundation.   

 

Practice, practice and practice! 

Speaking in English at home/ college, listening to English radio and TV programs and reading English books/ newspapers regularly can improve your grasp over the language. Fluency is not achieved overnight and requires consistent effort. Ensure to complete your IELTS mock tests within the time limit. 

 

Mock Tests 

It is recommended to undertake as many mock tests as possible before you undertake the IELTS Test. Most of these tests are free, however, and helps you estimate your fluency in English. 

 

Useful Resources 

Books, tutorials, and other resources are freely available online and can help in your preparation. 

Award winning English language skills assessment and certification test, LanguageCert  is recognized by  prestigious Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) – a non-ministerial department that regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England. One of the global leaders in language skills assessment and certification, LanguageCert’s development, delivery and award of qualifications process is of the highest quality. It is also recognized by Qualifications Wales as an awarding organization, offering International ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) qualifications. 

Students willing to pursue their higher education in the UK can also prove their English language proficiency by taking the 4-skills (Listening, Reading, Writing & Speaking) LanguageCert SELT exam.  

 

It is highly advisable for candidates to refer to UK Government guidance and their sponsors or academic institutions to confirm the required CEFR level , before registering for the exam. 

 

LanguageCert Application Types

  • LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B1 (Listening, Reading, Writing & Speaking) – For students  applying for universities below degree level. The minimum CEFR level is B1. 
  • LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B2 (Listening, Reading, Writing & Speaking) – For students  Applying to universities for degree level and above. The minimum CEFR level is B2. 

Test Delivery Types

  • Students can undertake the LanguageCert exam in two ways – 
  • Paper-based – Administered by a rigorously audited exam administration process and in a highly secured environment.  
  • Computer-based – Candidates can opt to give their LanguageCert exams online with remote, live invigilation. 

Why You Should Take LanguageCert Certification

Credited with high-quality, internationally recognized language exams , LanguageCert is widely accepted by individuals, institutions and organizations globally. Some of the key factors contributing to its global popularity are : 

  • On-demand exams 
    It assess all 4-skills (Listening, Reading, Writing & Speaking) at all CEFR levels, on demand. 

  • High reliability and validity 
    The LanguageCert English proficiency tests boasts of high reliability and validity across all populations.  

  • Easy Accessibility 
    From scheduling your LanguageCert exams to results, the process is quick and smooth.  Exams can be booked up to 24 hrs. in advance and results are provided within 3 – 5 working days. You can book a slot at one of the several hundred LanguageCert centres across the world. 

  • Variety of Exam Delivery Methods 
    To suit candidate’s requirements, exams are conducted both online and offline. Online exams with remote, live invigilation can be taken anytime, anywhere, 4 hours after booking. 

  • Internationally Recognized 
    LanguageCert tests are Ofqual regulated English exams and Home Office approved UK visa exams 

  • Higher Accuracy
    The LanguageCert test examines your real-life language skills and its accurate results ensure that the testing is fair. 

  • Vast Support Resource
    LanguageCert team provides test preparation materials including but not limited to , free official practice papers, handbooks and recommended course books. Apart from helping you familiarize yourself with the LanguageCert exams, they also provide practical tips through webinars. 

The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) is the world’s leading computer-based English language test trusted by universities, colleges, and governments around the world. It offers candidates ‘the fastest, fairest and most flexible way’ of proving English language proficiency. It is accepted by 98% of UK universities and approved by the UK Home office. 

 The test assesses the test taker’s ability to engage in effective English language communication, as a part of their academic or professional requirements. 

PTE Academic scores are accepted by thousands of institutions and approved for all UK, Australian and New Zealand visa and immigration categories 

 

Why Choose PTE Academic?

Fair  
Considered as the most unbiased English test, PTE Academic is powered by Artificial Intelligence.  Therefore, it provides a fast and convenient testing solution without human bias. 

 
Fast 
The test is computerized and hence results are announced within 2 business days. 

 
Reliable and Valid 
The PTE tests are computerized and demonstrates high reliability and validity. 

Duration

The PTE Academic lasts for approximately 3 hours

PTE Academic Test Format

The PTE Academic comprises of 20 different item types, and each test taker is expected to answer anywhere between 71 to 83 items. 
Questions can range from multiple choice through to essay writing and interpreting information. 

 

The Test assess four skills namely: 

  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Reading and  
  • Writing.  

Brief Overview of the PTE Academic Skills

Speaking   

  • This section involves providing personal introduction and includes answering short questions, summarizing written texts and essays. 
  • Total duration of the Speaking skills section is 77 – 93 minutes 

 
Reading & Writing 

  • This section comprises of  both single and multiple choice questions , testing the ability to comprehend practical reading and writing skills. 
  • Total duration of the  Reading & Writing skills section is 32 – 40 minutes 

 

Listening 

  • This section comprises of summarizing, dictation and consists of both single and multiple-choice questions. 
  • Total duration of the Listening skills section is 45 – 57 minutes 

 

PTE Academic Scoring Format

The score for PTE Academic is based on the GSE (Global Scale of English). 

  • Overall score  
    The overall score is determined on the basis of performance on all test items. It demonstrates the test taker’s ability to deal in an English-speaking academic environment. Scores are calculated on the correctness or quality of response of few item types.  

    The score range is 10–90 points. 

 

  • Communicative skills scores 
    The communicative skills are measured for listening, reading, speaking and writing skills.  

 

  • Enabling skills scores
    Enabling skills helps the test taker to understand his strengths and areas for improvement in terms of English language proficiency. It provides a summary of the performance on different language aspects.