More and more adult professionals all over Europe are taking English lessons to improve their skills and knowledge in the global workplace. Many people are also studying to pass certain certificate exams, giving them concrete proof of their English level, which can be a great addition to any CV.
There are several different types of English certificates that exist for adults who speak English as a second language, and there are also certificates for those who want to be qualified to teach English. But which one is the best one? Where can you get tested? Don’t worry, we’ve got all the answers for you here!
Which certificate you choose to take should depend on how you will be using it—whether it is for entrance to a university, or as a professional asset. You’ll also have the cost to consider: the price range varies from around 70€ to around 215€, so it’s worth it to make sure you are taking the right one! For all the tests, you’ll have to find a local testing center to administer the test for you and score your results.
Here is a quick overview of four different English certifications you can obtain :
Cambridge Certificate – The Cambridge name is well known around the world, and there are many different Cambridge English certificates depending on your field. Whether you are applying to an academic institution or a company, you should find out which Cambridge exam corresponds with your purpose. One of the most common certificates is the BEC—the Cambridge Business English Certificate. Another one that is used in some European engineering universities is the BULATS. There are Cambridge English exams for nearly every purpose and level, making it one of the most thorough exams, so find out which one corresponds to your profile. One advantage of the Cambridge certificates is that your score will be valid forever, whereas the other exams will expire after a time and would have to be retaken to prove your level again in the future, if necessary.
IELTS – The International English Language Testing System is the English exam you should take if you are seeking entrance into a British University, whether in the UK or elsewhere. There are two types of IELTS, one which is focused on academia, and the other is “General Training.” With sections of speaking, reading, listening and writing, the IELTS can also be a good general test for those who simply want to test their level, without necessarily having an end goal in mind.
TOEFL – The name stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. This is the best test to take if you are seeking entrance into a North American university, such as in the United States or Canada. The easiest way to take this test is online, and there are many companies and schools who can administer the test for you.
TOEIC – The Test of English for International Communication is probably the most widely used English test in multi-national companies, with about 3 million people taking it each year (English Live). There are two types of exam: one is focused on reading and listening, and the other is focused on speaking and writing. If you are looking for an English exam that will look great on your CV when you apply to large companies across Europe and Asia, this is the test for you. In fact, some companies even purchase the rights to use this testing internally.
Maybe you are wondering, what is the point of an English certificate for someone like me? Even if you have a job or you feel comfortable with your level, there are advantages to adding this type of certification to your repertoire…
Here are 4 great reasons for passing an English certificate exam:
- You no longer have to wonder how good your level is. Once you’ve taken an official exam, you can see how your level measures up to certain academic or professional standards. This can give you some concrete goals for improving—or some reassurance that you are better than you thought!
- When creating an online professional profile, such as on LinkedIn, having the English certification on your CV will make your name pop up in searches by employers which include keywords like “English” or “Cambridge”, for example.
- An English certificate is an investment in yourself and your future, just like any other type of diploma or certificate. It can open doors for you in your career, placing you ahead of other candidates without the certificate, even if they speak English fluently.
- Unlike your high school or university diplomas and degrees, the English certificate exams are internationally recognized. So once you’ve got your certificate, you’ll be recognized as a qualified English speaker by companies and schools around the world, without having to take separate tests for each internship, job change or work promotion. And if you choose one of the Cambridge certificates, your score is good for life. That’s what I call “a lot of bang for your buck!”
If you’d like more advice on this topic, or if you are looking for a place to administer an English certificate exam, get in touch with us right away at Speak English Center!
Have you obtained an English certificate or taken an exam?
Was it difficult? Do you feel it benefitted you?
We love to read your comments below!