Understanding the Different Types of English Proficiency Tests

juliet d'cruz

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Understanding the Different Types of English Proficiency Tests

English proficiency tests are crucial in assessing one’s language skills, whether for academic, professional, or immigration purposes. These tests assess an individual’s proficiency in comprehending, speaking, reading, and writing the English language. However, with numerous English proficiency tests available, including PTE, IELTS and OET online, it can be challenging to understand their differences and choose the most suitable one. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various types of English proficiency tests, their formats, purposes, and popular examples, empowering you to decide which test to take.


IELTS is one of the most widely recognised English proficiency tests worldwide. The test is administered by the IDP Education, British Council and Cambridge Assessment English. The IELTS test evaluates the candidate’s proficiency in four skills: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. It follows a band scoring system, with scores ranging from 0 to 9. The test is commonly required for academic admission, professional certifications, and immigration purposes, depending on the institution’s or organisation’s requirements.


PTE Academic is a computer-based English proficiency test designed for non-native English speakers. It evaluates the candidate’s listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills through various tasks. The test is widely accepted by universities, colleges, and governments globally and provides results within five business days. PTE Academic employs an automated scoring system, ensuring objectivity and accuracy. PTE exam fee in Australia may vary depending on the test centre and location, so it’s advisable to check the official PTE website for the most up-to-date information on registration fees.


The TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is primarily used for academic admission, particularly in North America. The test assesses the candidate’s ability to understand and use English in a university setting. It comprises four parts: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. The scoring system of TOEFL ranges from 0 to 120. TOEFL is known for its computer-based format, although paper-based tests are available in areas with limited internet access.

Cambridge English Exams 

Cambridge Assessment English offers a range of English proficiency exams, such as Cambridge English: First (FCE), Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE), and Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE). These exams assess English skills for academic and professional purposes. They focus on the four language skills and provide a detailed evaluation of the candidate’s performance through multiple-choice, essay writing, and oral examination components.


OET online is specifically designed for healthcare professionals wishing to work or study in English-speaking healthcare. It evaluates the candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in a medical context. The test has four sub-tests: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The grading system ranges from A (highest) to E (lowest) and is globally recognised by healthcare regulators, employers, and universities.

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CELPIP is an English language proficiency test approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent resident applications and Canadian citizenship. It evaluates the test taker’s listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. CELPIP offers two versions: CELPIP-General for general purposes and CELPIP-General LS, which excludes the writing section and is intended for Canadian citizenship applicants. Scores are reported on a scale from 1 to 12, with higher scores indicating higher proficiency levels.

OET Nursing 

The OET online Nursing test is a variant of the Occupational English Test designed specifically for nurses and healthcare professionals. It assesses their English language skills in a medical context. The test focuses on the four language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The content and scenarios in this variant are tailored to nursing and healthcare professions. The grading system follows the same A (highest) to E (lowest) scale as the standard OET online, providing recognition for healthcare regulators, employers, and universities worldwide.


NAATI is an Australian organisation that provides accreditation for translators and interpreters. While not specifically an English proficiency test, NAATI offers language-specific tests that evaluate the proficiency of individuals in their ability to translate or interpret between English and another language. These tests assess language skills, cultural understanding, and the ability to convey accurate and effective translations or interpretations. 


MELAB is an English proficiency test administered by the University of Michigan. It assesses the language skills of non-native English speakers and is often used for academic admission or employment purposes. The test consists of four sections: Listening Comprehension, Grammar, Cloze (fill in the blanks), and Composition. Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 80, with higher scores indicating greater proficiency in English.


The LSAT, a standardised test accepted by law schools in multiple countries such as the United States, Canada, and Australia, is a crucial requirement for admission to these institutions. While the LSAT primarily evaluates analytical reasoning, logical reasoning, and reading comprehension skills, a strong command of the English language is essential to excel on the test. The LSAT’s reading comprehension section assesses the candidate’s ability to read and understand complex texts, while the logical reasoning sections evaluate the candidate’s ability to analyse arguments. 

Final Words

Understanding the different types of English proficiency tests is essential for selecting the most suitable one based on your goals and requirements. Whether you aim for academic admission, professional certification, or immigration purposes, the professional tutors at EnglishWise can help you pass your test with flying colours.

By familiarising yourself with tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic, Cambridge English Exams, and OET online, you can make an informed decision and prepare effectively. Remember to research the specific requirements of your target institutions or organisations to ensure you choose the test that aligns with their expectations. Get in touch with their team today!