English Exams

The most important English Exams

IELTS: for Universities, Business or the Government

The IELTS exam, also known as the “International English Language Testing System”, is a globally recognized language exam. Universities, Businesses and the Government require proof that you have undertaken this exam.

The IELTS exam is used as an official admission for English universities and for government registration. The IELTS is a placement test that tests the candidate’s English knowledge and assesses their language level.  It comes in an academic version and in an everyday version.

IELTS was developed by the British Council, IDP Education Australia and the Cambridge ESOL. For more information on the IELTS exam you can visit their website under: http://www.ielts.org/

TOEFL: For the academic world

The “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL) is a standardized exam that evaluates the knowledge of the English language on non-native English speakers. This exam is especially used in the USA or in Universities that use the English language. The exam consists of:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Listening Comprehension
  • Speaking
  • Written Expression

Grammar is an important factor in all of the exams. The validity of the exam lasts up to two years. The TOEFL is used worldwide by the ETS, the “Educational Testing Service”. It was created in 1964 and is used by more than 22 Million people.

The TOEFL, compared to the TOEIC, has a more academic use, since it is used by Universities to test your English comprehension. It is mainly used in the US. The exam focuses on the form of the language, on how to speak at an academic level, how to write and improves your listening skills in English.

The TOEFL and the IELTS are needed for academic purposes as well for immigration purposes. It uses a point system, e.g.: on a score of 100 points on the TOEFL and a score of 6, 5-7, 5 on the IELTS you would be classified as C1 equivalent. The IELTS focuses more between the A1 until the C2 level, whereas the TOEFL focuses from the B1 level until the C1.
In the list above you can find a more detailed description of every language level that corresponds to the TOEFL and the IELTS point system.

TOEIC: for work and everyday uses

The TOEIC, also known as the “Test of English for International Communication” is an internationally known language exam created by the ETS. The results of this exam are mainly used to evaluate the language level of people that do not speak English as their mother tongue. The level is measured in the intermediate and advance level of the international English.

The TOEIC Certificate is valid for two years; afterwards a new exam must be taken.

It is estimated that nearly five million people yearly take the TOEIC exam. The exam is especially taken in the Asian regions, such as Japan and South Korea, and is more popular than the TOEFL or the Cambridge Certificates.

The TOEIC contains questions regarding the understanding of one’s hearing and reading comprehension. In 2007 the exam introduced both the written and spoken parts. The exam results have a maximum of 990 point that counts as proof of one’s language level.

There is a conversion table that uses the given points of different exams (IELTS, TOEFL) to compare to each other. Many American Universities demand at least 765 points in the TOEIC exam in order to study there.

More information regarding the TOEFL and the TOEIC under:


The creators of the exams, the ETS, have a detailed description of the exams on their official websites available for candidates and user under: http://www.ets.org/

Cambridge Certificates: for studies, institutes and businesses – valid worldwide

The University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations offers Certificate exams in English for non native speakers. The ESOL stands for “English for Speakers of Other Languages”. It offers exams for English used in every day scenarios and English for business purposes.

Yearly three million candidates from over 130 countries take this exam. Over 12,000 colleges and universities, institutes and businesses recommend it. The Cambridge ESOL is valid for life with the exception of the placement test of the IELTS and BULATS.

Cambridge ESOL exam:

(more information under: http://www.cambridgeesol.at/)

General English

  • Key English Test (KET) – A2
  • Preliminary English Test (PET) – B1
  • First Certificate in English (FCE) – B2
  • Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) – C1
  • Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) – C2


English for working purposes

BEC: The “Business English Certificate” (BEC) are exams in business English that orientates itself around realistic communication scenarios on a working environment. It comes in three language levels and it can be taken online as well.

ILEC: The “International Legal English Certificate” (ILEC) focuses more on the legal system and the law and for those that study it. The ILEC was developed by ESOL in cooperation with TransLegal, a service provider in English on the legal system.

ICFE: The “International Certificate in Financial English” (ICFE) was developed for working people in the area of finance and accounting as well as for students studying this. The ICFE was created by the Cambridge ESOL in cooperation with the “Association of Chartered Certified Accounting” (ACCA).

BULATS: The “Business Language Testing Service” (BULATS) is an exam that evaluates the knowledge of the one’s language knowledge of potential employees for businesses and places them according to their language level. It evaluates their working knowledge of the language the company needs and is available in English, German, French and Spanish. The exam can be taken online in a company computer, online privately (under warranty of safe exam conditions) or as a hardcopy on paper. The BULAT was developed by the Cambridge ESOL in cooperation with the Goethe-Institute, the Institute Français and the Universidad de Salamanca.


  • Business English Certificate (BEC) Preliminary – B1
  • Business English Certificate (BEC) Vantage – B2
  • Business English Certificate (BEC) Higher – C1
  • International Legal English Certificate (ILEC) – B2/C1
  • International Certificate in Financial English (ICFE) – B2/C1
  • Business Language Testing Service (BULATS) – all language levels

The Cambridge ESOL exams are taken in authorized locations, such as the British Council, at public as well as private schools and at Universities. The examination dates are consistent worldwide. Since the exams are graded in central Cambridge, the results are not released straight away. It is important to schedule a date before taking the exam. Since 2011 the candidates have received a detailed presentation of their exam results, thus they can understand their language level accurately and in detail.