An English Language Test (ELT) is an essential requirement if you’re an international student applying for a program taught in English. Here we explain what the most popular tests are and how you can book yours.
What is an English Language Test?
ELTs are designed to measure your English language skills. Many universities and colleges require you to complete an ELT before you apply for a program. IELTS and TOEFL are the most popular but there are also other tests like:
The institution you’re applying to will state which tests they accept and the minimum score you’ll need to achieve - be sure to check these details before you book and take your test.
What will you be tested on?
Each ELT has its own unique format, structure, and scoring system. Although the tests vary, they generally measure skills like reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
The tests also differ in length - the duration can be anything between 45 minutes to three hours depending on which test you take - be sure to check this beforehand.
Book your English Language Test
Once you’ve understood the requirements and feel ready to take your ELT, you can go ahead and book your test. Each ELT provider has its own registration process and the booking method may differ depending on how you’ve chosen to sit your test.
You can register for the IELTS test online or you can complete a paper application form and hand it to a local test center. You’ll be asked how, where, and when you want to sit the test during your application - you’ll receive confirmation once it’s booked.
You can pay your test fee online or in person at a local test center - not all centers offer this option so please check beforehand.
You’ll get your result after 3-5 days if it was done on a computer, or 13 days if it was a paper test. You’ll receive your result by post or you can collect it in person if the center offers this option - be sure to check this before you register.
A TOEFL test can be booked online, by telephone, or through a paper application form. You’ll need to choose a location, time, and the type of test you want to take during the registration process. You’ll receive confirmation and further instructions after you’ve booked your test.
It takes 4-8 days to receive scores for computer tests and 11-13 days for paper ones. You'll receive your results by email or post.
The Duolingo test is purely an online test and can be taken at any time - there’s no need to attend a test center. You can book the test on Duolingo’s website. You’ll receive your result within 48 hours of completing your ELT.
You can book your PTE Academic test on the provider’s website. You can select a date, time, and location that’s convenient for you. Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive confirmation with further instructions. You’ll typically receive your test score within 48 hours by email but it can take 5 working days.
Before you can book your C1 Advanced test you’ll need to find an authorized exam center on the Cambridge English website. You’ll then need to contact the center or visit its website to arrange your test. The test center will provide you with the necessary information and instructions.
How will the English Language Test be done?
Tests like Duolingo can only be done online, whereas IELTS and TOEFL can be taken remotely or in person. Make sure you’re able to travel to your nearest test center if you’re physically attending.
For online tests, you’ll need to have access to a:
- Strong internet connection
- Quiet and well-lit space
Before you book your English Language Test
Before you book your test, it’s important to do some preparation. You can try practice questions on the test provider’s website to help you get a taste of what to expect - the better you’re prepared, the more likely you are to succeed.
Make sure you have the right ID documents as you’ll need to prove your identity before you can take the test. A valid passport or driving license are widely accepted forms of ID but you can check exactly what you need on the test company’s website.
You’ll need to pay a fee when you book the test. The price of each test is different but you can expect to pay between $50 - $325 depending on which test you choose. You can check the accepted payment methods on the provider’s website.
Once you’ve booked your ELT, take note of the date and time of your test. On test day, be on time, stay calm, and do your best.