What are English placement tests?
English placement tests standardly consist of an evaluation of your reading, writing, and listening skills. Some tests expand to include grammar, vocabulary and speaking. These evaluations can be combined into one test or separated with each skill having its own score.

What are the levels of language proficiency?
Although each proficiency test’s grading system may vary, the European standard is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Tests using other grading systems often still provide the CEFR equivalency when scoring English placement tests. At iTEP, we align our tests to be compatible with the CEFR.

The levels for the CEFR are as follows:

  1. A1 – beginner
  2. A2 – elementary
  3. B1 – intermediate
  4. B2 – upper intermediate
  5. C1 – advanced
  6. C2 – master

Proof of English Language Competency

Proof of English language competency means you possess enough English language skills to successfully attend an English-speaking school and have evidence beyond merely claiming you can speak the language. English language placement tests assign a score to your performance, allowing for a non-biased and uniform approach to evaluating potential students’ English ability.

How can I prove my English proficiency?
There are a plethora of English proficiency tests to prove your ability. Depending on the school you are applying to, you may be required to take a particular test. Other schools may be more flexible, depending on if you can provide an equivalent examination. To save frustration by taking unnecessary tests and wasting time and money, contact the admissions office of the school you are hoping to attend. They should advise you on the test they require. If you are hoping to use a specific test, be prepared to explain how it compares to the school’s preferred method.

How can I pass the English proficiency test?
Perhaps the best advice with an English proficiency test, or any exam, is to be familiar with the test’s format. Depending on the test, there may be resources to assist your studying. Because all tests are different, be aware the design of the test questions may fluctuate. 

Don’t wait until the last second to study. Take your time to practice and absorb as much English as possible. Listen to books on tape, watch online videos of people speaking in English, and seek out English radio stations. The more you hear the language, the easier it will be to understand come test time.

Read English articles out loud or find a study buddy. Hire a tutor if you need to or record yourself repeating phrases. Take the time to practice.

Some testing sites sell study books or have classes to aid in your preparation. Look up local courses or contact your testing company to inquire about the best way to study. Most organizations want to see you succeed and will have resources for you to use.

Practice writing. Simply creating outlines and turning them into paragraphs deepens your comprehension. You can take this further by submitting a sample essay to a company for feedback. Whatever you do, write regularly. Remember, schools and businesses both often communicate through text messages, emails, and other online sources. It would be best if you felt comfortable writing in many different contexts.

What is the highest level of English proficiency?
For the CEFR, a C2 score would show you have mastered the English language. At iTEP, our highest level is a C1+.

What is the importance of English language proficiency?
English is the official language of 53 countries and is the most widely spoken language across the globe. With 20% of the world speaking English, knowing the language significantly increases your prospects. Struggling with communication may hinder your ability to secure positions or opportunities despite your qualifications. 

By obtaining English language proficiency, you open yourself up to more possibilities for education. English-speaking colleges and universities reach across the globe. An English placement test proves you possess the language skills to keep up with native English speaking students. 

How can iTEP Help?

iTEP evaluates English language proficiency with four levels: Foundation (elementary: A1-A2), Essential (intermediate: A1-B2), Essential-Plus, and Advanced (C1-C1+). Students are evaluated on grammar, listening, vocabulary, and reading at the elementary and intermediate levels. Essential-Plus and Advanced levels incorporate writing and speaking to the skills mentioned above. 

If you need the test scores configured to match CEFR scores, iTEP can provide this service for you. They are in contact with institutions worldwide to obtain feedback to ensure their scoring system stays accurate to the CEFR scores.

If entrance into an educational institution is not your goal, iTEP has other options. iTEP Business focuses on the business world, providing you with a way to show future employers your English language proficiency. iTEP Conversations scores you based on your ability to have casual conversations on topics you already know, utilizing a free-response style versus a multiple-choice test. iTEP Hospitality specializes in placement tests for those looking to go into the tourism and hospitality industries, noting this niche’s fast-paced environment. iTEP au pair focuses on the English language needs of a person working in the childcare industry. iTEP Intern tests individuals hoping to obtain a J1-Visa.

Should I take an English placement test?
By having an official score, one of two paths is created. One: you recognize you have some more studying to do, or two: you obtain a score which opens unforeseen possibilities. Either way, knowing where you stand with your English language proficiency allows you to see your future clearer.

Are you interested in obtaining an English proficiency score through iTEP’s English placement test? Sign up for iTEP’s at-home testing program here.

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