How to Test My Level in English

Written by georgiana r. frayer-luna
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Two primary types of evaluation are available for nonnative English speakers. One is used specifically for measuring English proficiency for academic pursuits. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is often required by colleges and universities where a non-native English speaker must achieve an established minimum TOEFL score enrolling in academic programs. The second type of evaluation is the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC). This test is used by organisations to qualify employees for tasks where communication in English is required for meetings, conferences or other business-related interchange.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Reflect on the reason you want to evaluate your English level. Are you planning to enrol in an academic institution where English is the native language? Then you will want to take the TOEFL since, according to Educational Testing Service (ETS), the TOEFL is required by over 7,000 colleges and universities in more than 130 countries. Are you reaching out for greater professional opportunities that involve regular communication on an international scale? Then you will want to take the TOEIC. According to ETS, TOEIC scores are used in 120 countries by 10,000 major corporations and organisations.

  2. 2

    Review the different parts of the paper-based TOEFL (PBT). This is the test that is taken with traditional paper and pencil, and has three parts: listening comprehension, grammar and reading comprehension. The listening comprehension portion is 35 minutes, the grammar is 24 minutes and the reading portion is 55 minutes. In addition, everyone who takes the paper-based TOEFL is required to take the Test for Written English (TWE). The TWE requires you to spend 30 minutes writing an essay.

  3. 3

    Consider that the Internet-based TOEFL (IBT) is now the preferred method of administering the TOEFL test and differs from the PBT. The IBT test takes about 4 ½ hours to complete and has four parts: reading, listening, writing and speaking. There is no separate writing test required with the IBT. The intent of the TOEFL, whether taken as a PBT or IBT, is to determine the probability of success in an academic environment.

  4. 4

    Review the two different parts of the TOEIC. The Listening and Reading portion is a traditional paper-based test that takes about 2 ½ hours to complete. The Speaking and Writing portion takes about 1 ½ hours. This test concentrates on general English used in the workplace. The scores on this test help employers to see your probability of communicating effectively in English in the workplace.

  5. 5

    Find a convenient testing centre; all three tests are taken at testing centres. The TOEFL PBT is taken in testing centres where Internet service is not available. The TOEFL IBT is the most often administered test. The testing centres are listed at the Educational Testing Service website.

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