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About IELTS, TOEFL and other tests of English language for foreigners
About IELTS, TOEFL and other tests of English language for foreigners
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About IELTS, TOEFL and other tests of English language for foreigners

In order to eliminate linguistic difficulties in learning process, all those for whom English is not a native, you need to provide a General language test. In most cases, the exam consists of 4 or 5 sections, assessing key language skills practice and possibility of their joint use in a University classroom. There are several options to prove proficiency in the English language:

  • certificate at an accredited centre in the country;
  • certificate in University abroad;
  • test preparation in foreign language school and a certificate at an accredited centre abroad.

Certificate at an accredited centre in the country

Hosted by all British universities and most common in Russia exams – IELTS and TOEFL. The third popular and accepted by a large number of UK universities "student" language certificate - Cambridge ESOL.


IELTS (International English Language Testing System) - developed in the UK, administrerende organizations: British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL). This test is usually chosen by those who have studied British English. When sitting the IELTS candidate, depending on their future goals, must choose one of two modules - General (living and working abroad) or academic (for students).

The content and duration of the exam:

Total time 3 hours
Reading (reading) 60 min.
Writing (writing) 60 min.
Listening (listening) 30-40 min.
An interview with the examiner (speaking) 11-14 min.

The first three sections follow one another without interruption. In the academic module, are offered texts and topics for the essays on educational and scientific issues. For example, in one of the written assignments required to write a description of the chart or graph drawing, and reading are offered excerpts of texts from specialized journals.

As it seems to?
Most of the jobs on letterhead (paper); job speech perception by hearing – audio carriers, the answers on the forms; interview, by word of mouth. The first three sections shall be in one day, and the interview can be scheduled on a separate day.

Results and certification
Results scores for each section and total, from 1 to 9. The original certificate is handed out in about 2 weeks. Certification center may send up to 5 copies of a certificate in the host organizations (universities, embassies, etc.). After 28 days of the test, the results will be available online, but you cannot use them officially for General information only.

The validity of the certificate
2 years.

The approximate cost
13-25 thousand rubles. depending on region.

Entry requirements of universities
IELTS 5.5 and above, depending on the University and program. Sometimes in addition, you specify the minimum score for any section of the test.


TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) - developed in the United States, administrerende company Educational Testing Service (ETS). This exam usually prefer candidates who have studied American English. There are two versions of the exam. First - TOEFL ITP, often called the Computer-based Test, or TOEFL CBT. In most cases, universities are required to Supplement this exam with the results of the TWE (Test Of Written English). The second Internet-based Test or TOEFL iBT. Registration of candidates on the official website of the exam, passing the test in an accredited centre.

The content and duration of the exam:
CBT TOEFL - listening comprehension (listening), structure and written expression (composition and writing), reading (reading).
TOEFL iBT - reading (reading), writing (letter), listening (listening comprehension) and speaking (spoken section). In each section a number of jobs the ability to combine multiple language skills. For example, one text read, the other listen, then, summarizing the information to draw conclusions and to Express orally or in writing their own opinion.

Total time 2 hours 4-4,5 hours
Reading 55 min. 60-80 min.
Listening 35 min 60-90 min.
Break - 10 min.
It - 20 min.
Letter 25 min. 50 min.

As it seems to?
On the computer, including and speaking section of the iBT (with a headset and microphone), permitted notes on the paper. The program randomly provides questions, the complexity of which varies depending on the correctness of the previous answer.

Results and certification
The results of the TOEFL CBT/ iBT (min. - max.) 0 - 280/ 0 -120 points; be available online within 15 days from the date of passing the test, then the student mail is sent 1 certificate. 4 copies sent to the address of the receiving organisation.

The validity of the certificate
2 years.

The approximate cost
TOEFL iBT of $255.

Entry requirements of universities
TOEFL CBT minimum 213, TWE of 5.0; TOEFL iBT 79+.

Cambridge ESOL

Cambridge ESOL (English For Speakers of Other Languages) - developed in the UK, administrerende experts at the University of Cambridge. Exams five difficulty levels – from Pre-Intermediate up to the level of an educated native speaker.

The content and duration of the exam



Total time 4 hours 4 hours and 40 min.
Reading (reading) 60 min. 75 min.
Writing (writing) 80 min. 90 min.
Use of English (use of English) 45 min. 60 min.
Listening (listening) 40 min. 40 min.
Interview (speaking) 14 min. 15 min.

Tests the ability to understand and convey the meanings of texts with different themes – read and heard, create letters, reports, reviews, articles, and to communicate verbally. The section evaluates the Use of English grammar, the ability to competently and appropriately use language structures.

As it seems to?
Most of the jobs on letterhead (paper); job speech perception by hearing – audio carriers, the answers on the forms; interview, by word of mouth. The first three sections shall be in one day, interview, usually ordered separately.

Grades A,b,C – pass, D, E – not delivered.

After 1.5-2 months after the exam.

The validity of the certificate

The approximate cost
FCE / CAE - $215 / $ 225.

Entry requirements of universities
Certificates FCE (First Certificate in English) and CAE (Certificate in Advanced English).

There are other certificates that are accepted by Universities in the UK. Many certificates are little known in Russia, and there are no accredited centers of their admission. However, the holders of any language certificates of international level should be clarified, will not be accepted if they are chosen by the University.

A certificate in the selected University

Certificate in the University is possible upon completion of the preparatory programs by language or by successful completion developed by the University linguistic centres of the tests. Such tests do not propose all Universities and learn about their presence on University sites, under entrance requirements. As they surrender in the time interval close to passing the other entrance tests, it may be most convenient to the applicant.

Obtaining a certificate through a language school abroad

Many students find learning in English schools abroad is the most effective way to prepare for the tests. In most cases, this preparation takes at least a month. At the end of study students pass a language test in one of the official centres abroad and have the results return home.

Which exam to choose?

The question of whether the results of any General language test to provide to the University, in most cases, at the discretion of the student. The choice can have a significant impact in the following circumstances:

  • the requirements of the universities;
  • the timing of the exam (the closer the time of completion of reception of documents of the universities, the more likely the occurrence of queues for examination at the reception centres), the timing of the receipt of results and their provision to the UNIVERSITY;
  • convenience and closeness to accredited centres;
  • the cost of the exam and possible additional costs;
  • the level of proficiency (this principle, for example, when choosing a Cambridge examination) the study of American or British English;
  • the content of the exam, to see which enable more samples of the examination papers on the official websites;
  • personal preference on the procedure of the exam.

Your level of English and time of preparation

What you need to know the student prior to beginning test preparation