Are you comfortable speaking, writing, and reading in English? What about using English in an international business setting, interview, or presentation? Attaining a certificate that validates your proficiency in English can open doors to higher education and lucrative job opportunities.
There are numerous English language qualifications you can use to prove your proficiency or fluency in English. However, you must determine which qualification is best suited to your personal and professional goals.
Taking the right English certificate can open doors for you. Once you have your certificate, you can display your qualifications with pride on your resume.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the English language is the number one language used in business and produces more than 20.6% of the world GDP. Verifying your proficiency in English will help you excel in the international business landscape.
If your primary goal is to teach English, there is also a momentous opportunity in this area. Over a billion people worldwide are learning English online and this figure is expected to double to 2 billion by the end of 2021. You can earn a certificate that allows you to teach English online or in-person and disseminate your knowledge the enthusiastic students.
Choose an English certificate that employers and organizations will recognize. Not every English course is approved. Specific academic pursuits, such as an MBA, require a certain certificate as a prerequisite.
Fortunately, the internet has made it easier than ever for people to search, find, and enroll in relevant English language certificates.
If you’d like to be accredited for your written and spoken English, there are a number of different examinations you can consider, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Learn more about the selection of English language certificates on the market, what each test will entail, and how the certificates encourage higher learning, job mobility, and exciting new opportunities.
The most well-known English language certificate is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
The TOEFL has been offered by the ETS (Educational Testing Service) since 1964 and is designed to measure the English language proficiency of non-native speakers interested in enrolling in predominantly English-language universities.
In Canada, the TOEFL costs approximately $245. It’s a worthy investment if you’re interested in enrolling in a higher education program that will produce a significant return on investment.
The TOEFL test has been around for over 50 years and is internationally recognized. The test itself is available in three formats: paper (PBT), computer (CBT), or online (iBT). The paper and internet versions are currently available for everyone.
The tests are multiple-choice and include four different parts:
- Reading: 60-80 minutes;
- Listening: 60-90 minutes;
- Speaking: 20 minutes;
- Writing: 50 minutes.
The speaking portion of the test can be completed separately as the TOEFL Academic Speaking Test (TAST).
- Paper exam: 677 points;
- Computer exam: 300 points;
- Online exam: 120 points.
Language competency changes over time-based on how regularly a non-native English speaker practices speaking, reading, and writing in their second language. For this reason, the TOEFL is only valid for two years.
If you’re completing the TOEFL to enrol in a university program, most universities use the results of the TOEFL exam to check prospective students’ English level.
Although the TOEFL test offers various benefits, it also presents several disadvantages, including:
- Multiple-choice format: The format is not always indicative of one’s overall comprehension of English and may oversimplify the process of learning a language.
- Cost: The price of the test is not ideal for people who want to learn English on a budget.
- Expiration: The two-year expiration may be inconvenient for students who want to enroll in an additional degree after two years and do not wish to take the exam again.
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The ETS offers another English language exam called the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC). The TOEIC is marketed to individuals who want to prove their advanced understanding of English for business.
The TOEIC was started in 1979 as international countries like Japan and China realized the value of learning English for business applications.
Globalization and the prevalence of international business partnerships fuelled the need for additional English language tests that focussed on English for business applications.
More than 14,000 businesses across 150 countries accept the TOEIC exam and will be happy to see this certificate on your resume.
The TOEIC exam is primarily interested in one’s comprehension of the English language, including how well you can read and understand English. The test is not as focused on writing or conversational English and is ideal for a professional who would prefer to skip written exams or tests based on speaking aloud.
The TOEIC exam consists of a multiple-choice format with the following portions:
- Listening portion: A 45 minutes segment that includes 100 questions and contains photographs, dialogues, and monologues
- Reading portion: A 75 minutes segment that includes 100 fill in the blank questions
The entire exam is graded out of 990 and grades based on scores, segmenting each score group into designated colours, including:
- Orange (10-215)
- Brown (220-465)
- Green (470-725)
- Blue (730-855)
- Gold (860-990)
See the available English-speaking lessons on Superprof.
The TOEIC Speaking and Writing exam completes the TOEIC certificate and includes”
- 20-minute speaking exam
- 60-minute writing exam
- Graded out of 200 points
In 2001, the ETS released the TOEIC Bridge exam in 2001. The bridge exam is not as widely recognized as the traditional TOEIC, but it is designed to validate the English proficiency of intermediate non-native English speakers.
This exam focuses on students enrolled in university completing their Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorate or for business professionals who are new to learning English.
You can leverage existing resources to prepare to pass the TOEIC exam. The ETS offers resources as part of the TOEIC Official Learning and Preparation Course.
Private tutors and language learning centres also offer students the additional direction they need to pass the TOEIC with flying colours.
Want to become an English tutor yourself? Find out what certificates you'll need.
In review, the TOEFL focuses on academic abilities and the TOEIC focuses on business English. The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is specifically designed for individuals who want to acquire a Masters in Business Management (MBA) degree.
The GMAT exam was created in 1953 by the Graduate Management Admission Council in Virginia, USA and is widely recognized by academic institutions and employers everywhere.
This exam is available in 3,000 business or management schools across 96 countries. You are able to take the exam a maximum of five times each year and you must be at least 13 years old to sign up.
In Canada, attaining certification from the GMAT exam will cost approximately $313 Canadian dollars.
The test typically takes four hours to complete and requires skillful time management.
The results of the GMAT test are split across several sections:
- Analytics Writing Assessment (AWA): 30 minutes: 6 points
- Integrated Reasoning (IR): 12 questions, 20 minutes: 8 points
- Quantitative section: 37 questions, 1 hour 15 minutes, 60 points
- Verbal section: 41 questions, 1 hour 15 minutes, 60 points
The final results of the GMAT test are marked on a scale between 200 and 800.
The GMAT results consider every GMAT a given candidate has taken over the last five years, meaning your score could change over time.
The top universities that offer recognized MBA programs require a GMAT score of at least 650.
Why do you want to take an English exam? Write out your main goals and objectives to narrow down which English language certificate will benefit your personal and career growth. Enlisting a private English tutor may help you learn how to grasp the basics of English, practice English conversational skills, and learn helpful tips about how to manage your time during an exam to receive the highest possible score.
Discover English-speaking lessons with private tutors on Superprof.