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A Guide To English Language Certificates: Their Levels And Types

english language certificates

The worldwide usage of the English language in almost every sphere is exponentially widened. Be it professional or educational places or even the cafe next door, English as a second language is prevalent. Those who speak English as a second language and intend to enrol in an English-speaking institution overseas will find English language certificates advantageous. It is sometimes required for specific internships or positions that need proficiency in the English language. 

What Are English Language Certificates?

To affirm the English language proficiency of an individual, the English language certificate exam needs to be conducted. Many foreign institutions require a non-native English speaker to pass this exam, where they are tested on reading, writing, listening, and speaking abilities. The examinees must ensure they pass the criteria the specific institutions require. 

Why Get An English Language Certificate?

There are several reasons why getting the certificate can be beneficial. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Improved communication skills: With English language certificates, you can improve your proficiency in the language and develop better communication skills. 
  • Increased employability: Many employers require an English language proficiency certificate as a prerequisite for specific roles. Certification can make you a more attractive candidate and increase your chances of getting hired.
  • Expanded career opportunities: Knowing English can open up new career opportunities, particularly in industries that require international communication, such as business, technology, and education.
  • Improved travel experiences: English-speaking countries require an English proficiency certificate from university to apply for work or residence visas. It can also help you navigate your surroundings and communicate more effectively with locals.

Language Levels Summary

According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), three certification levels exist.

  1. Basic Speaker

The first one is a basic speaker. It can be further divided into two more levels, that is, A1, Breakthrough or Beginner, and A2, Waystage or Elementary. 

  1. Independent Speaker

An independent language speaker does not require assistance communicating in that language. There are two levels under this, namely B1, Threshold or intermediate speaker, and B2, Vantage or upper intermediate speaker. 

  1. Proficient Speaker

Finally, a proficient speaker is someone who has or is on the way to achieving mastery of the language being learned. The two levels under this are C1, Effective Operational Proficiency or advanced, and C2, Mastery or proficiency.

The desired qualifying level for most study programmes is B, Independent Speaker. On the other hand, some specific programmes may require higher proficiency levels, such as English Literature.

What Are The English Language Certifications?


In international education, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is one of the most widely accepted English language certificates, especially for those who intend to study at a foreign university. Both the online and in-person versions of this test are available. Two to three hours are required to complete the test, and scores from the TOEFL are valid for two years after passing.

TOEFL Highlights Table: 

TOEFL full formTest of English as a Foreign Language
Official Websitehttps://www.ets.org/toefl
Conducting BodyETS (Educational Testing Service)
Widely popular asEnglish language proficiency test
Generally accepted byUniversities in the USA and Canada
Mode of examTOEFL iBT: Internet-based test,  TOEFL Test on Paper and TOEFL at Home test
TOEFL Exam FeesUS$195
Score RangeReading: 0–30Listening: 0–30Speaking: 0–30Writing: 0–30

2. IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Another popular certificate option is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). There are two versions of the exam available to test takers, and IELTS Academic is designed specifically for students who wish to gain admission to colleges and universities. IELTS General Training is the second option, which may prepare students for internships and jobs. When a student passes the IELTS, his or her scores are valid for two years.

IELTS Highlights Table: 

IELTS full formInternational English Language Testing System
Official Websitehttps://www.ielts.org/
Most popular forStudying, working, and migrating to English-speaking countries like Australia, New Zealand, and the UK
Also accepted byCanada and USA
Conducted byIDP Education Ltd.
Mode of ExamComputer and Paper – delivered test
IELTS FeeRs. 16,250 for registration
Score RangeOn a scale of 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest)


The Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) is a good option for those hoping to work abroad. . There is a two-year validity period for scores. One-third of the test is made up of a combined listening and reading section, and writing and speaking make up the remaining two sections. 

TOEIC Highlights Table: 

TOEIC full formTest of English for International Communication 
Official Websiteets.org
Most popular forWorldwide
Conducted byETS
Mode of Exam3 (Listening and Reading, Speaking and Writing, Bridge Test)t
Score Range10 to 990


Test takers who take the Business Language Testing Service (BULATS) certificate option are assessed on their English proficiency.This exam has a maximum score range of 1 to 100 points, and results are valid for two years.

There are three sections in the online BULATS certificate: reading and listening, speaking, and writing. In addition, there is a paper version of the test, which includes only the reading, listening, and writing sections. Taking this test costs an average of $85.

5. PTE Academic

Those seeking to study abroad can also take the academic version of the Pearson English Language Test (PTE). The test is only available on the computer and lasts for three hours. Following participation, scores remain valid for two years. It includes both listening and reading sections, followed by independent listening and independent reading sections, similar to the TOEIC. 

PTE Highlights Table:

PTE full formPearson Test of English
Official Websitehttps://www.pearsonpte.com/pte-academic
Conducting BodyPearson PLC Group
Widely popular asEnglish language proficiency test
Generally accepted byUniversities in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand
Types of examPTE Academic and PTE Academic UKVI
Mode of examOnline
PTE Exam FeesINR 15,900
Skills TestedEnglish Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading

6. Cambridge English Qualifications

A non-profit organisation offering English language certificates for different proficiency levels is Cambridge English Language Assessment (formerly the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations). They offer many types of exams, but these are the most popular:

B2 First

Originally known as First Certificate in English, B2 First is roughly equivalent to TOEFL® B1–B2 and IELTS 5.5–6.5. Approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes are required.

C1 Advanced

The C1 Advanced program, formerly known as CAE: Certificate in Advanced English, focuses on high C1–C2 levels (equivalent to IELTS 6.5-8.0) and is accepted by several British universities and over 9,000 educational and business institutions worldwide. About 4 hours are required to complete this exam.

C2 Proficiency

Previously known as CPE: Certificate of Proficiency in English, C2 Proficiency is the most advanced exam to test English competence. It ranks at the C2 level, equivalent to an 8.5 on the TOEFL® test. Completing it takes around 4 hours.

There are four parts to each of the three English exams (B2 First, C1 Advanced, and C2 Proficiency):

  • Reading and use of English
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking

Many universities and colleges worldwide accept Cambridge certificates, mainly used in the United Kingdom. Despite their popularity, they are not as popular as TOEFL® or IELTS.

A Cambridge qualification does not expire, unlike other certificates. However, a university or other organisation may decide whether to accept results older than two to three years.

It might be safe to show that you have been practising or using English since you passed the Cambridge exams. You should only expect an institution to accept your certificate if you passed an examination five years ago and have used English occasionally since then.


Preparation is essential to perform effectively when working in a foreign language. An English proficiency certificate shows you where you are in terms of competency and highlights any areas that may require work. It is always a good idea to check if the university or organisation you intend to apply to accepts the English language test before booking it.

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1 thought on “Top PGDM Courses In Canada: Universities, Specialisations & Eligibility”

  1. I have done Bachelor’s in Culinary Arts from India and completed my graduation in the year 2022 .I am 22 years old. After graduation, I have done 1 year paid internship from USA .Now, I would like to take occupational experience and learn culinary skills and also do masters in Culinary arts.How can I find the college n best course / country where I can persue studying further

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A Guide To English Language Certificates: Their Levels And Types

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