English Proficiency Tests are international or national exams which test how proficient or skilled someone is in English Language. It is an evaluation of how well a person can use English language to communicate in real life. It involves the ability of an individual to fluently speak and proficiently understand English language in different situations.

Common English Proficiency Tests

There are several English Proficiency Tests both on national and international levels. Here, we will focus on common International ones as follows:

  1. TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language
  2. IELTS - The International English Language Testing System
  3. TOEIC - The Test of English for International Communication
  4. iTEP - The International Test of English Proficiency


Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers wishing to enroll in universities and colleges. The test is accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions.

TOEFL is designed and administered by ETS (Educational Testing Service). The scores are valid for two years; then they are no longer reported.

TOEFL Test consists of four different sections; reading, listening, speaking and writing. Following is the summary of content and the purpose of each section:


The Reading section consists of questions on 4–6 passages, each approximately 700 words in length. The passages are on academic topics; they are the kind of material that might be found in an undergraduate university textbook. Passages require understanding of rhetorical functions such as cause-effect, compare-contrast and argumentation. Students answer questions about main ideas, details, inferences, essential information, sentence insertion, vocabulary, rhetorical purpose and overall ideas. New types of questions in the TOEFL iBT test require filling out tables or completing summaries. Prior knowledge of the subject under discussion is not necessary to come to the correct answer.


The Writing section measures a test taker's ability to write in an academic setting and consists of two tasks: one integrated and one independent. In the integrated task, test-takers read a passage on an academic topic and then listen to a speaker discuss it.

The test-taker then writes a summary about the important points in the listening passage and explains how these relate to the key points of the reading passage. In the independent task, the test-taker must write an essay that states their opinion or choice, and then explain it, rather than simply listing personal preferences or choices. Responses are sent to the ETS OSN and evaluated by at least 3 different raters.


The Listening section consists of questions on six passages, each 3–5 minutes in length. These passages include two student conversations and four academic lectures or discussions. The conversations involve a student and either a professor or a campus service provider. The lectures are a self-contained portion of an academic lecture, which may involve student participation and does not assume specialized background knowledge in the subject area.

Each conversation and lecture passage is heard only once. Test-takers may take notes while they listen and they may refer to their notes when they answer the questions. Each conversation is associated with five questions and each lecture with six. The questions are meant to measure the ability to understand main ideas, important details, implications, relationships between ideas, organization of information, speaker purpose and speaker attitude.


The Speaking section consists of six tasks: two independent and four integrated. In the two independent tasks, test-takers answer opinion questions on familiar topics. They are evaluated on their ability to speak spontaneously and convey their ideas clearly and coherently.

In two of the integrated tasks, test-takers read a short passage, listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and answer a question by combining appropriate information from the text and the talk. In the two remaining integrated tasks, test-takers listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and then respond to a question about what they heard. In the integrated tasks, test-takers are evaluated on their ability to appropriately synthesize and effectively convey information from the reading and listening material.

Test-takers may take notes as they read and listen and may use their notes to help prepare their responses. Test-takers are given a short preparation time before they have to begin speaking. The responses are digitally recorded, sent to ETS’s Online Scoring Network (OSN), and evaluated by three to six raters.

TOEFL Preparation Resources


Kaplan TOEFL iBT with CD-ROM 2008-2009 by Kaplan Publishing Staff

Call Number: PE 1128 .A2 T4675 2007

ISBN: 1419552791

Publication Date: 2007

The Complete Guide to the TOEFL® Test by Bruce Rogers; Charlotte M. Sturdy; Sherrise Roehr; Laura Needham

Call Number: PE 1128 .R6344 2007

ISBN: 1413023029

Publication Date: 2007

The Official Guide to the New TOEFL IBT by McGraw-Hill Staff (Created by)

Call Number: PE 1128 .O445 2006

ISBN: 007146297X

Publication Date: 2006

How to Prepare for the TOEFL by Pamela J. Sharpe

Call Number: PE 1128 .S5 2004

ISBN: 0764175785

Publication Date: 2004

Course for the TOEFL Test by Deborah Phillips

Call Number: PE 1128 .P44 2004

ISBN: 0131847198

Publication Date: 2004

Preparation Course for the TOEFL Test by Deborah Phillips

Call Number: PE 1128 .P4618 2003

ISBN: 0131408860

Publication Date: 2003

TOEFL Test Preparation Kit by Educational Testing Service Staff (Editor)

Call Number: PE 1128 KIT.1 2003

ISBN: 088685203X

Publication Date: 2003


Writing Question 1

Writing Question 2

Reading Lesson

Listening Lesson

Speaking Questions 1

Speaking Questions 2

Speaking Questions 3 & 4


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is jointly managed by Cambridge English Language Assessment, the British Council and IDP Education Pvt Ltd, and was established in 1989. IELTS is one of the two major English-language tests in the world, the other being the TOEFL.

IELTS assesses the English language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. IELTS tests are held in over 900 locations across the world with tests up to four times a month.

Duration The total test duration is around 2 hours and 45 minutes for Listening, Reading and Writing modules.

  • Listening: 40 minutes, 30 minutes for which a recording is played centrally and additional 10 minutes for transferring answers onto the OMR answer sheet.
  • Reading: 60 minutes.
  • Writing: 60 minutes.
  • Speaking: 11–15 minutes. (Note: No additional time is given for transfer of answers in Reading and Writing modules).

The first three modules - Listening, Reading and Writing (always in that order) - are completed in one day, and in fact are taken with no break in between. The Speaking Module may be taken, at the discretion of the test centre, in the period seven days before or after the other Modules. The tests are designed to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert user.

Candidates for IELTS must complete four Modules to pass the test; listening, reading, writing and speaking. Following is the summary of the content and the purpose of each section:


The reading test comprises three sections, with 3 texts normally followed by 13 or 14 questions for a total of 40 questions overall. The General test also has 3 sections. However the texts are shorter, so there can be up to 5 texts to read.


There are two tasks in this module: in Task 1, candidates describe a diagram, graph, process or chart, and in Task 2, they respond to an argument. In the General Training module, there are also two tasks: in Task 1, candidates write a letter or explain a situation, and in Task 2, they write an essay.


The Listening module comprises four sections of increasing difficulty. It takes 40 minutes: 30 - for testing, plus 10 for transferring the answers to an answer sheet. Each section, which can be either a monologue or dialogue, begins with a short introduction telling the candidates about the situation and the speakers. Then they have some time to look through the questions. The first three sections have a break in the middle allowing candidates to look at the remaining questions. Each section is heard only once. At the end of this section students are given 10 minutes to transfer their answers to an answer sheet.


The speaking test contains three sections. The first section takes the form of an interview during which candidates may be asked about their hobbies, interests, reasons for taking IELTS exam as well as other general topics such as clothing, free time, computers and the Internet or family. In the second section candidates are given a topic card and then have one minute to prepare after which they must speak about the given topic. The third section involves a discussion between the examiner and the candidate, generally on questions relating to the theme which they have already spoken about in part. This last section is more abstract, and is usually considered the most difficult.

IELTS Preparation Resources


Ielts Express by Martin Lisboa; Mark Unwin; Richard Howells

Call Number: PE 1128 .H248 2013

ISBN: 113331306X

Publication Date: 2013

Bridge to IELTS by Susan Hutchinson; Louis Harrison

Call Number: PE 1128 .H362 2013

ISBN: 1133318940

Publication Date: 2013

Bridge to IELTS is designed for students who want to start an IELTS preparatory course.

Focus on Academic Skills for IELTS by Sue O'Connell; Morgan Terry; Judith Wilson; Pearson Education Staff

Call Number: PE 1128 .O363 2010

ISBN: 140825901X

Publication Date: 2010

Focus on skills for IELTS foundation by Margaret Matthews, Katy Salisbury.

Call Number: PE 1128 .O36 2007

ISBN: 1405815272

Publication Date: 2007

Practice Tests - IELTS by Charles Osborne; Mark Harrison; Russell Whitehead

Call Number: PE 1128 .H38 2006

ISBN: 1413009751

Publication Date: 2006

Step up to IELTS by Vanessa Jakeman; Clare McDowell

Call Number: PE 1128 .J35 2004

ISBN: 0521532973

Publication Date: 2004


Listening Tips

IELTS Writing - Using Linking Words and Phrases to Improve Your Score

IELTS Speaking Exam - How to Do Part One of the IELTS Speaking Exam

Scoring High in IELTS Writing

Scoring High in IELTS Speaking

IELTS Writing - Improve Your Grammar Score


The Test of English for International Communication is "an English language test designed specifically to measure the everyday English skills of people working in an international environment."

There are different forms of the exam: The TOEIC Listening & Reading Test consists of two equally graded tests of comprehension assessment activities totaling a possible 990 score; the newer TOEIC Speaking & Writing Test comprises tests of pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, fluency, overall coherence, and structure (organization of sentences) totaling a possible 400 score.

TOEIC generally consists of two main test; listening & reading test and speaking & writing test.

TOEIC Listening & Reading Test

The TOEIC Listening & Reading Test is a two-hour multiple-choice test consisting of 200 questions evenly divided into listening comprehension and reading comprehension. Each candidate receives independent scores for listening and reading comprehension on a scale from 5 to 495 points. The total score adds up to a scale from 10 to 990 points. The TOEIC certificate exists in five colors, corresponding to achieved results:

  • orange (10–215)
  • brown (220–465)
  • green (470–725)
  • blue (730–850)
  • gold (855–990)

TOEIC Speaking & Writing Test

The TOEIC Speaking & Writing Test was introduced in 2006. Test takers receive separate scores for each of the two tests, or can take the Speaking test without taking the Writing test. The Speaking test assesses pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and fluency, while the Writing test examines vocabulary, grammar, and overall coherence and organization. The tests are designed to reflect actual English usage in the workplace, though they do not require any knowledge of specialized business terms. The TOEIC Speaking Test takes approximately 20 minutes to complete; the TOEIC writing test lasts approximately 60 minutes. Each test has a score range between 0-200, with test takers grouped into eight proficiency levels.

TOEIC Preparation Resources


Complete Guide to the TOEIC Test by Bruce Rogers

Call Number: PE 1128 .R6344 2006

ISBN: 1424002966

Publication Date: 2006

Check Your English Vocabulary for TOEIC by Rawdon Wyatt

ISBN: 1408153912

Publication Date: 2012-07-03




The International Test of English Proficiency (iTEP) is a language assessment tool that measures the English skills of non-native English speakers. The test is supported by more than 600 institutions. The test is available in more than 40 countries, and is also used by businesses, and governments for large-scale initiatives.

iTEP Core is an Internet-based exam that lasts 50 minutes and tests reading, grammar and listening. The iTEP Plus series lasts 90 minutes and also tests writing and speaking, requiring the test taker to submit writing and speaking samples. iTEP results are available instantly and iTEP Plus results are graded in 5 business days. The test costs $99USD and can be scheduled within 3 days, making it one of the most flexible and least expensive options among its competitors, which include TOEFL and IELTS.

There are three versions of iTEP:

iTEP Academic

iTEP Academic is used by colleges, universities, and intensive English programs. it a way to evaluate the English proficiency of enrolled students or prospective students. Institutions around the world use iTEP Academic for:

  • Admissions
  • Placement
  • Progress evaluation
  • Teacher assessment
  • Guiding course instruction and curriculum development
  • Determining eligibility for scholarships

iTEP Business

iTEP Business measures the English skills needed for a work environment. It is used by companies to screen new hires, make decisions about promotions and assignments, and evaluate English training programs. Businesses and government agencies around the world use iTEP Business for:

  • Screening new hires
  • Qualifying employees for assignments requiring English proficiency
  • Employee evaluations
  • Measuring return on investment of English training programs


iTEP SLATE evaluates high school, secondary school, and middle school students. It is used by boarding schools and academies for the following purposes:

  • Admission to English speaking high schools or academies
  • Placement of students in the appropriate levels
  • Guidance for course and curriculum development
  • Pre- and post-language course evaluation
  • Eligibility determination for exchange programs

iTEP scores individuals on a scale of 1-6 (at 0.5 intervals) for each section of the test as well as an overall score. Each level translates to an equivalent range of scores on other language proficiency exams.

iTEP exams must be scheduled and taken at a Certified iTEP Test Center. CLICK HERE to find the closest one to you.

iTEP Preparation Resources

iTEP English Proficiency Tests

iTEP Exam