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2019-06-20 15:20:07

Levels of English - tests to determine the level of English proficiency

Levels of English - tests to determine the level of English proficiency

For international students it's really important to determine the level of English proficiency. In order to apply for a job or enter schools and universities abroad, it's essential to get excellent command of English. 

Tests to determine the level of English proficiency

Language testing can be an excellent tool in the learning process. Sometimes it is even enough to just take a test - and it becomes clear what you need to work on. In addition, a language test has an important practical value as it allows to confirm results of fruitful work and preparation, which is so important when entering a foreign university

Types of language tests:

  • Online testing

This is a good option to assess your linguistic progress, especially for beginners.




Cannot accurately reflect the language level

Ability to quickly determine the level of language proficiency

For students with a high level of language, they are not suitable

  • Combined Tests

Such tests determine level of listening, reading, grammar and vocabulary.




Impossible to determine the level of oral speech



  • Grammar Testing

Grammar is a very important area: it is the basis of everything, because many employers and educational institutions prefer to determine how well you are good at grammar. Such tests identify weak points.




Very narrow, no complex orientation


Prestigious English language tests: features and benefits

Let's consider a test for determining the language level - IELTS . This international system is recognized worldwide and is one of the most qualitative means to determine the level of language proficiency.

There are 3 main versions:

  • Academic - will be required for studying abroad
  • General - for those who intend to immigrate to New Zealand, Canada or Australia
  • Life Skills - necessary for work and study in English-speaking countries.

Duration of testing is around 3-5 hours. The exam consists of 4 modules that determine the level of reading and writing, the ability to perceive speech by ear and speaking skills. 40 years of scientific linguistic research experience contributes to the exam's development. Today, new technologies and innovative methods are actively used. Testing is paid, and the test result is valid for 2 years.

Levels of English proficiency

  • A0

This level determines the person’s base, and it doesn’t matter that this is a read phrasebook or two weeks of classes with a tutor. In this case, it is recommended to study the language in your native country by registering for language courses.

  • A1

A student can't participate in a coherent conversation, but if necessary, can be understood. Entry-level students can study abroad. Students should pay attention to: the rules of reading, pronunciation, grammar. 

  • A2 level

A student can participate in a conversation on everyday topics, understands familiar issues, can read and understand elementary sentences, fill out a questionnaire in English. Recommendations: studying grammar, writing small essays, learning irregular verbs, developing communicative skills, learning 500 new words, watching movies in English with subtitles.

  • Average level

It involves skills of speaking and reading adapted texts, making an essay and a partial understanding of a complex speech or lecture. Recommendations: master advanced vocabulary and grammar, practice written English, work with a tutor or on independent English learning sites, communicate with native speakers, read English news sources regularly, watch movies with English subtitles, learn at least 1000 words.

  • Secondary level

It's considered to be a good command of the language, but it is worth noting that it is often not enough for professional activity. If at a previous level a student could study a language independently, then at the upper-intermediate level it is already difficult to improve skills alone - but this level is already enough for studying at a foreign university. Recommendations: studying advanced grammar, writing texts in various styles (formal, academic, professional), reading news only in English, studying phrasal verbs, watching educational films in English, learning 600+ new words.

  • Advanced level

The main indicator is “sense of language”, when sentences are constructed as the speaker would say, and the most suitable words are selected from a great variety of options. An advanced student is faced with the problems of competent use of the language, which indicates a sufficiently high command of English as a foreign language. A student with this level of preparation perfectly perceives speech by ear and can easily express his thoughts on paper. Recommendations: continue to work with complex texts, read the original literature, listen to professional lectures and study idioms.

  • Professional level

It confirms an excellent knowledge of basic language skills. It would seem, what else can you dream? However, this does not mean absolute mastery of the language. Recommendations: spend a few years in an English speaking country and read original sources.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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