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Top Abroad Studies English Proficiency Test or Certificate in English

More often than not, international students need to highlight their English proficiency while applying for universities abroad. These tests ensure students’ ability to understand and comprehend the English language enough to communicate and write scholarly articles and essays.

 Alternatively, schools offering English language courses ask for English proficiency certificates to prove your language skills and knowledge. Furthermore, this certificate also vouches for your capability to understand high-level textbooks, perform assignments, and class participation.

English proficiency test

English proficiency certificates are different from general English proficiency tests. Unlike available English tests, these certifications are 6 to 7 months courses offered by various colleges and universities to upskills oneself.

As per a person’s proficiency levels, one needs to invest themselves to ace these courses. Strategizing and commencing your preparation as soon as possible is the first step you can take to increase your chances of acceptance.


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Increasing your understanding of the English language grading system will also help you take the necessary steps in your journey towards English proficiency. CEFR has been accepted as the standard grading system. Additionally, this system also informs learners of the skill they need to upskill their language proficiency.

Read along to get some general information about some popular English language tests and certifications that you can target to learn English language certification.


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                                       Language levels summary (CEFR)

CEFR logo English proficiency test

CEFR or Common European Framework of Reference (for Languages CEFR) is one of the most common English gradings systems worldwide. The test scales a candidate’s English proficiency level, thus enabling institutions and teachers to gauge the candidate’s English comprehension abilities

Following are the benefits of CEFR language proficiency levels.

  • Establishing objectives for both teaching and learning
  • Providing language proficiency levels.
  • Review curriculum
  • Marking levels to design teaching and learning curriculums.

CEFR: Language levels


CEFR assists a person during their language learning quest. To go about it, CEFR consists of various levels. Each level represents a different stage of skills, allowing one to master one skill at a time.

The levels allow one to focus and master a set number of skills at a time. Although this may seem tedious to young learners, this system will enable them to focus their attention on skills, thus, increasing their efficiency.

According to CEFR, English language proficiency can be of 6 different levels: A1, A2, B1 and B2; C1 and C2. Moreover, three other levels, called three-plus levels, have also been introduced. They are A2+, B1+ and B2+.

Each of these levels has its requirements of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Most countries require a candidate to have at least a B level of English proficiency. However, if you intend to apply to an English language program, the university may ask you to have a higher level of CEFR level.

A1 level
A2 level

A1 Level – Basic understanding

Learners at this level are considered beginners to the English language. These learners can comprehend basic English sentences and phrases. They can communicate and recognise general signs and expressions.

These persons can introduce themselves; however, it is difficult for them to express themselves further. 

A2 Level – Elementary level

Candidates at the A2 level are more confident in their English language skills. They can express themselves using more advanced vocabulary and phrases. They are comfortable while communicating in English and can express themselves easily.

These candidates can communicate more effectively about their likes and dislikes. Further, they can easily hold general conversations with other people.

B1 level – Active role

These candidates are independent English language users. They may hold decent conversations with expert English speakers. Furthermore, they can make punctilious sentences, have telephonic conversations, understand business correspondence, produce reports, etc.

Candidates at the B1 level are more likely to command and deploy the English language without any doubt or insecurity. They are even more likely to engage in conversations with native speakers.

B2 level – Active participation

At this level, candidates can freely communicate with others on different topics. They can easily verbalise their outlook on a variety of complex issues. Their conversations are fluent, spontaneous and mindful.

B2 level speaker can use their proficiency to simplify enigmatic concepts into intelligible sentences. They can also explain complex concepts in greater depth and can use their skills to negotiate deals confidently.

Additionally, they can comprehend complex articles, reports and documents with ease.

B1 level
B2 level
C1 level

C1 Level – Communication management

At the C1 level, one can communicate spontaneously, even with native English speakers. They can hold on to valuable conversations at average conversational speed.

These English speakers can write about a range of topics with eloquence and expression. They can even handle professional documentations and manage complex business matters with precision.

C2 Level – Communication mastery

Being at the highest level of English proficiency, such persons can carry forward communications in the same manner as a master conversational communicator. Differentiation between different tones and subtleties of language comes to them like that of a native speaker. Spontaneity and fluency naturally go to them as they have adapted to the language as that of their mother tongue.

One usually needs to practice for about 1000 hours before reaching the CEFR’s highest English proficiency level.

Motivating factor

motivating factor

CEFR’s language levels have been created to inspire people to upskill themselves. Moreover, research has shown that bifurcating CEFR levels have increased test taker’s proficiency.

Most humans are competitive by nature. The excitement of completing tasks, improving themselves and upskilling themselves motivates them. Similarly, the level system acts as a motivator for learners. The exhilaration of fulfilling one level excites them and encourages them to work harder.

English test recognized world wide

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language

TOEFL image

TOEFL is one of the most popular English proficiency tests whose scores are admitted by countries worldwide. Most American universities accept TOEFL’s scores. To prepare for TOEFL, you need to strategize your time and practice as many mocks as you can.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, one can opt to appear for TOEFL’s iBT (internet-based exam) to avoid going to exam centers.

For TOEFL iBT test, one needs to sit down in front of the computer and answer online questions. Whereas, for its reading and listening sections, the candidate is expected to read comprehensions and listen to recordings. Further, based on their hearing, candidates have to answer various questions (multiple-choice).

For iBT’s Speaking test, candidates are to answer specific questions. The candidate’s responses are recorded and sent to the scoring network by the system. The examiners then evaluate the responses. Similarly, answers to the written test are also sent to the examiners via an online scoring network.

Most universities provide the minimum amount of acceptable TOEFL scores on their websites. Some universities offer section-wise minimum scores required.


TOEFL All in one table

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

IELTS image

IELTS is another test well known amongst study abroad aspirants and immigrants alike. Although approved globally, it is mainly accepted by European nations, Australia and New Zealand.

For differentiation, IELTS has been divided into two parts, IELTS general training and IELTS Academics. Scores of IELTS academics are used as English language proficiency proof for students intending to study abroad. In contrast, the other version is used by government bodies for gauging the language proficiency of immigrants and travelers.

Students preparing for studying abroad can prepare for IELTS Academic tests are available in two formats. However, both exams are to be given at a registered IELTS exam center. The candidate must first register themselves for the test as per their preference. Once their registration gets approved, they get an official exam center.

Moreover, IELTS is known for its diverse exam format consisting of matching, multiple-choice questions, short answer type questions, sentence completion etc.

The candidate gives either pen & paper-based test or a computer-based test at the exam center as per their preference. While reading, writing and listening tests are mostly recorded and then verified by the examiners. Even so, the speaking test is given in front of a certified examiner.

IELTS All in one table

PTE Academic: Pearson English Language Test


PTE Academic test is the new fish in the pond. Although new, this test has become relatively popular amongst universities worldwide.

As compared to other popular English proficiency exams, this test comprises only three sections by merging the Writing and speaking test. The test is available only in the computer-based test format.

PTE Academics All in one table

Cambridge English Qualifications

CPE test

Although not as common as TOEFL and IELTS, Cambridge’s English Qualifications gives English language certifications to candidates. The Cambridge English Language Assessment, a non-profit organisation, offers different level’s language certifications.

Although Cambridge English Qualifications offers various tests, some of the most popular ones are;

B2 test CPE

B2 First test is one of the most common CEQ certifications available worldwide. This test’s score is almost equivalent to that of IELTS and TOEFL required scores. B2 First demonstrates a person’s English proficiency at CEFR’s B2 level.

The exam tests a candidate’s all forms of language abilities. The exam has four sections which are further divided into various parts. Speaking test is conducted with two examiners and candidates.

  • Reading test – This test is bifurcated into 7 parts. It primarily looks after English language usage capabilities. Focusing on one’s vocabulary and grammar would enable one to prepare for this test. The test also tests the candidate’s reading comprehension skills by preparing for fictions, magazines and fictions.
  • Listening test – this test is taken into 4 different parts. One needs to listen and understand various spoken materials such as presentations, daily conversations, news programs etc.
  • Writing test – This test is divided into 2 parts and requires candidates to write two different documents: reports, letters, essays, etc.
  • Speaking test – This test judges a candidate’s speaking abilities by conducting face to face conversations. It is divided into 4 different parts.
B2 test All in one table

As the name suggests, C1 Advanced estimates a candidate’s CEFR’s C1 level English proficiency. Comparatively, CEFR’s C1 to C2 levels are equivalent to IELTS 6.5 to 8 score.

Worldwide, 9000+ businesses, government departments and educational institutions accept this score. Candidates acing this test are considered as having high English proficiency.

Preparing for this test is even more challenging. Moreover, candidates qualifying for this test can work, study, and stay in English-speaking nations. Qualifying this exam would vouch for your ability to;

  • Follow and comprehend university-level academic course
  • Effectively communicate at both professional and managerial levels
  • Fluently expressing yourself
  • Confident participation in educational seminars, tutorials, workplace conferences and meetings.

This test is also divided into four parts and consists of;

  • Reading & Use of English – this section is of 8 parts and consists of 56 questions. This test vouches for your ability to read and comprehend various types of literature such as fiction, magazines etc. Additionally, it tests your ability to use English. Further, it highlights your control over vocabulary and grammar.
  • Writing – This section is bifurcated into 2 parts, wherein candidates are expected to draft two different writing pieces such as reports, letters, proposals etc.
  • Listening – The section is divided into 4 different parts and contains 30 questions. Like the B2 First, this section judges the candidate’s listening ability using spoken materials such as radio broadcasts, daily conversations, interviews etc.
  • Speaking – The section comprises 4 parts and accesses the candidate’s ability to communicate with other persons. The candidate must communicate with another candidate in front of examiners.
C1 test
C2 level

The C2 proficiency test is the most advanced proficiency test one can go for. The examination is equivalent to that of IELTS’s 8.5 or more score. This level is also considered to be beyond TOEFL’s maximum scale.

Acing a C2 proficiency test shows that the candidate has mastered English proficiency to an exceptional level. He or she can fluently communicate, study and comprehend the English language. Candidates with C2 proficiency can easily understand senior, business-level English language.

This test highlights your proficiency to

  • Study subjects that require a high level of English comprehension skills.
  • Persuade people by using negotiation skills at professional and senior levels.
  • Understanding complex articles, letters and other written documents.
  • Confidently talk about sensitive and complex issues.

C2 proficiency level consists of 4 similar sections of

  • Reading & Use of English – this portion consists of 7 parts with a total of 53 questions.
  • Writing section – this section contains 2 parts.
  • Listening section – it contains about 4 parts with 30 questions. Here, candidates are required to listen to spoken materials such as speeches, lectures etc.
  • Speaking test – This section has 3 different areas wherein the candidate’s ability to speak fluently. Every candidate is given about 16 minutes to perform their best.
C2 proficiency All in one table

Other English language certificates

BEC test logo
Duolingo English test
TOEIC test
EFSET test

There are several other English language certificates one can get to prove your English proficiency capabilities. Some of these tests are;

  • Business English Certificate (BEC)
  • Duolingo English Certificate
  • Test of English for International communication
  • Integrated Skills in English exams (ISE)

Top Colleges in India for Certificate in English

English certificates can be pursued in place of appearing for an English proficiency test. Usually, these certifications are full-time English courses designed for 6.5 months. The test is taken by students who intend to either upskill themselves.

The course specifically focuses on improving the candidate’s English language skills, and thus, other subjects are not included in this course. Moreover, they can enrol themselves on this program after appearing for the entrance examination.


  1. High school certificate (12th) or Graduation/Diploma in English or any other English language-related course
  2. A minimum of 50% marks from any recognised Board.

The admission process is primarily based on candidates’ scores starting from class 10th to the highest qualification they have obtained.

Top Indian Colleges for certificate n English Language

Course Details

1. Banaras Hindu University

BHU English Department

One of India’s most reputed Central University, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), provides an English proficiency course. The university has been ranked in 3rd position as per NIRF or National Institute Ranking Framework.

BHU English Certification Course Highlights

2. Symbiosis International University (SIU)

SIU English Department

The university was established in 2002 and has become one of the most prestigious private universities in India. The university is famous for providing multiple programs to aspiring students.

SIU English Certification Course Highlights

3. Sharda University

Sharda university English Department

India’s one of the fastest-growing universities, Sharda University, provides several courses to its students, including the English language certification course.

The course focuses on teaching essential English communication and English language proficiency skills. The primary objective of this course is to enable students to effectively communicate using the English language, building their confidence and assisting them with their personality development.

Sharda university English Certification course highlights

4. The Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University

rtmnu nagpur

With its establishment in 1969, the department provides various certification, diploma and dull time courses to both national and international students.

This course’s unique features are that it offers evening classes and has a well-equipped lab for computer language.

RTMNU Nagpur English Certification Course Highlights

5. Chitkara University

Chitkara university

This university collaborates with the popular Inlingua international for providing English language certification programs. The course focuses on enhancing the English speaking and writing skills of Non-Native English speakers.

The program is explicitly based on the CEFR’s language Levels. The certification course is of two types, i.e., 3 months certification course, 6 months certification course. A student who has cleared early levels can take a 3 months course.

Chitkara university English Certification Course Highlights


You must know the importance of English proficiency if you are planning to visit any English-speaking nation. Today, most universities abroad ask for an English language proficiency certificate from international students.

English proficiency certificates prove your ability to communicate and comprehend the subject’s syllabus in the English language. Looking after the needs of students, various universities and organizations have introduced English tests such as TOEFL, PTE Academic etc.

Alternatively, one can also go for pursuing an English certification course from India’s top universities. The benefit of pursuing a certification course is that students get proper guidance from teachers before appearing for exams.

Tip – Always visit the university’s website and check the list of approved English language proficiency tests and certifications before deciding to prepare for any test or exam. 

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