'If you want to join a course for advanced language students, or you want to join a UK university or college, your institution may ask you to demonstrate that you have reached a certain level of English language skill first'
If you want to learn English in the UK then there are plenty of courses on offer for you - whatever your level of skill. Don't worry if you're a complete beginner, you won't be alone!
But if you want to join a course for advanced language students, or you want to join a UK university or college, your institution may ask you to demonstrate that you have reached a certain level of English language skill first. For this, they might set you their own test, or they might ask you for certain language qualifications.
Here is some information on the main language qualifications.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) assesses listening, speaking, reading and writing. It grades students from 1.0 (someone who has a few words of English) to 9.0 (a fluent speaker). If you are planning to study an undergraduate degree in the UK, it is advisable to have an IELTS score of 5.5 or above. The British Council provides IELTS testing in over 500 locations worldwide.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language evaluates students’ ability to use and understand English in an academic setting. It assesses listening, speaking, reading and writing and the test can be taken on paper or online.
The Pearson Test of English grades students in six categories from foundation to proficient. It consists of a spoken and a written exam. There is also a PTE Academic test for students coming to study at colleges or universities.
How to approach the tests
If you are asked to take an English language test, remember that it is for your benefit - it's designed to make sure you get on to the right course. You can find useful online English language learning tools at Learn English, from the British Council.
English language courses
Finding the right course