English Testing Advice for Studying in the USA

In many cases, the starting point in your pursuit of U.S. academics is a widely recognized exam that measures your English proficiency in a variety of ways. Please contact your local EducationUSA Advising Center for further information on what exams are available in your area; it is important that you verify the credentials of the examination center. Some exams are Internet-based or computer-based, while others are taken with pencil and paper. U.S. campuses may specify different English proficiency requirements, so please select a campus from our exclusive list, and begin corresponding directly with international admissions counselors.

To do well on English proficiency exams, test-takers must be able to understand and communicate academic concepts given in lectures, academic texts, and conversations in university settings. Recordings and texts use advanced, academic language similar to what can be heard in an English-speaking university classroom. For that reason, skills that are important for a university classroom, such as note-taking and organizing essays, are key for success. In order to prepare for the test, students should become comfortable with academic English and practice with material similar to the real exams.

A few options of English proficiency tests:

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is a high quality, international English language qualification that can be used for study and work purposes. It is trusted and accepted by more than 3,000 organizations worldwide as proof of high-level English language skills. This includes universities and colleges in the USA, Australia, Canada, and the UK -- including West Virginia University, University of Evansville, City University of Seattle, and Berkeley College in the United States.

Preparing for the exam helps you develop the English language skills you need to stand out from the crowd as a high achiever.

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) covers all four language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and also knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. You take the speaking test face-to-face with one or two other candidates -- which shows you can communicate in a real-life context.

The test focuses on Level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) -- the level required for academic and professional success. The test is available at more than 1,300 locations in 113 countries, and you can choose between a paper-based version and a computer-based version. Search for your nearest center here: cambridgeenglish.org/centres

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is produced by Cambridge English Language Assessment, a department of the University of Cambridge. For more information, visit cambridgeenglish.org/advanced and facebook.com/CambridgeCAE

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

IELTS is the world's most popular, high-stakes English language test, recognized by over 3,000 educational institutions and programs in the U.S., including all Ivy League universities. IELTS is also accepted by more than 6,000 organizations worldwide, including universities, professional registration bodies, employers and government.

With over 800 test locations in more than 130 countries worldwide, IELTS is one of the most accessible English language tests in the world. There are 48 test dates a year, and results are issued just 13 calendar days after the test is taken.

The IELTS test includes four components (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking). Both American and British spellings are accepted, and all questions are carefully prepared and trialed to avoid any bias toward certain cultures, age groups or gender. This ensures the test is fairer to everyone, wherever they learn English or choose to sit the test.

IELTS has always included a face-to-face Speaking test, conducted in a quiet room with no interruptions or distractions from other test takers. With IELTS, test takers' speaking skills are assessed by a highly qualified examiner.

To find an IELTS test center near you, visit IELTSessentials.com.

IELTS is co-owned and was co-created by a global partnership of education and language experts: the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge English for Speakers of Other Languages).

Take the TOEFL® test. And go anywhere from here.

To help you get into the university of your choice, the TOEFL test gives you many advantages, including access to more than 8,000 institutions worldwide, in over 130 countries such as the U.S., U.K. and Australia. That's because the TOEFL test measures your ability to integrate the four key English skills needed in the academic setting — reading, listening, speaking and writing — another key advantage that makes it the most accepted, most respected English language test in the world.

To help you prepare for test day, ETS, the creators of the TOEFL test, offer an array of easy to use online tools at TOEFLGoAnywhere.org. You can easily download the FREE TOEFL® IBT Tips guide and FREE TOEFL test sample questions, watch test tips with the Meet the Study Group video series and get official practice tools with TOEFL® Practice Online and The Official Guide to the TOEFL® Test, 3rd Edition.

To help you start your TOEFL test journey, go to TOEFLGoAnywhere.org and search the more than 4,500 test locations worldwide — then register today to reserve your seat. You can also use the search tool to see if your desired institution accepts the TOEFL test, or search by destination. Either way, you'll see how the TOEFL test can help you go anywhere from here.

PTE Academic: Pearson Test of English

PTE Academic is a new, computer-based English language test for non-native speakers who want to study at institutions where English is the main language of instruction. The test accurately measures Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing skills with question types that reflect how language is actually used in an academic environment. The test is offered in test centers around the world on a choose and book basis, providing students with the flexibility of scheduling the test at a time and location that is convenient for them. Scores are available online normally within five business days, and students can send their scores to as many institutions as they wish at no charge. A number of test preparation materials, including a fully-scored practice test, are available at pearsonpte.com/testme.