English Language Certificates: All You Need to Boost Your Career

In today’s globalized business world, English certificates have become an essential requirement. When you apply for a position at an international company, you will most likely need to have passed one of the different types of English tests. This will help you prove that you have the knowledge and communicative skills to navigate the challenges of working in an international environment.

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Getting one of the industry-recognized English certificates might do wonders for your professional career, but it also means you’ll need to invest a lot of time and energy. Below, you’ll find essential information about the best types of English tests for every level so you can make the right choice.

Language Levels

The Common European Framework (CEFR) describes the achievements of foreign language learners based on international standards, making it easier for colleges and employers to evaluate the language qualifications of candidates. The CEFR divides learners into 6 different levels. Let’s take a look at them to help you better understand what you have to achieve to get one of the most recognized English certificates!

A – Basic Speaker

A1: Breakthrough or Beginner

This type of learner can take part in everyday conversations using basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of concrete needs.

A2: Waystage or Elementary

Elementary speakers can understand longer sentences and describe aspects of their background. They can also convey basic information about local geography, shopping, and employment.

B – Independent Speaker

B1: Threshold or Intermediate

Intermediate learners can produce simple connected speech in areas that are familiar or of personal interest. In addition, they can communicate experiences, events, dreams, and ambitions.

B2: Vantage or Upper-Intermediate

This type of learner can understand more complex texts on both concrete and abstract topics, and interact with native speakers with an acceptable degree of fluency and spontaneity.

C – Proficient Speaker

C1: Effective Operational Proficiency or Advanced

Advanced learners can understand a wide range of demanding clauses, and correctly interpret implicit meaning. They can also produce flexible, effective discourse for social, educational, and professional purposes.

C2: Mastery or Proficiency

Proficient learners can express themselves with spontaneity and precision and understand fine shades of meaning. In addition, they can summarize main ideas from different spoken and written texts, conveying arguments fluently and coherently.

The Top English Certificates for Your Career

Here is an overview of the main English certificates you might need if you’re looking for an important job.

Cambridge Exams

Taking Cambridge English tests is a globally valid way to obtain a confirmation of your language level, and to prove to yourself that you have really mastered the English language.

Tests like KET, FCE, and CAE are among the most widely taken English language certificates in the world. One of the reasons for their popularity is that they have unlimited validity, which means you will never have to take them again.

Read everything you need to know about Cambridge English certificates and find the best English test for you.

● A2 Elementary (KET)

This is an Elementary English exam that measures learners’  ability to use simple clauses in conversation and writing. If you understand basic texts, short phrases and can produce coherent sentences in familiar situations about concrete topics- the KET exam is for you.

The Cambridge A2 Key certificate enables candidates to work abroad in countries like Denmark and the Netherlands in positions that do not demand advanced English language certificates.

Cambridge A2 Key (KET) is taken annually by almost 50,000 people in more than 50 countries.

● B1 Preliminary (PET)

This is the most popular of the Intermediate-level English language certificates. The PET will prove that you can read simple books and articles, write letters and emails, and express your ideas on common topics. B1 Preliminary (PET) is a must if you plan to work or study abroad in junior positions. In addition, it may serve as a preparation stage for higher English certificates.

The good news is that even if you fail to successfully complete B1 Preliminary but show mastery over the topics included in the Cambridge A2 Key (KET), you will still get an A2 certificate.

● B2 First (FCE)

FCE is probably one of the most widely known Upper-Intermediate level English certificates. Is your overall level good enough so you can use it for daily communication, in academic contexts, and in business? Then this is the best English test for you.

B2 First is a wonderful choice if you’re seeking a position in industries that require advanced language skills, such as medicine, international business, or engineering.

Annualy, over 270,000 people in more than 100 countries take the B2 First (FCE).

The good news is that even if you fail the B2 First exam, you can get a B1-level certificate by showing that you have this level of competence in your test.

● C1 Advanced (CAE)

This is an Advanced level exam that shows you’re very close to mastering the English language. Can you produce and understand complex linguistic constructs? Are you able to communicate spontaneously and fluently in a variety of situations? Then the C1 Advanced (CAE) exam is for you.

Why is CAE one of the best English certificates out there?

Because a big number of companies and universities in most countries recognize it as an undeniable acknowledgment of a high level of English language skill.

Learners who fail to successfully get a C1 certificate but demonstrate an upper-intermediate command of the English language will still get a B2-level certificate.

● C2 Proficiency (CPE)

The Certificate of Professional English Language is called “Proficiency” for a reason. Completing the CPE shows that you can use the language practically as well as a native speaker. This certificate is widely known in academic, scientific, and industrial spheres worldwide as proof of an exceptionally high level of English language mastery.

Being such a challenging exam, every instance of practice you can get is a major benefit. This is where online language tutors come in handy. With English online language tutors, you have access to expert feedback, guidance, and practice material in the form of conversation sessions, grammar exercises, and writing tasks!

And, even if you fail to complete CPE but show an advanced level of English, you will still get a C1-level certificate!

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

IELTS is one of the most widely taken English language tests in the world. It is accepted as proof of your English language skills for most work permits, as well as for immigration purposes.

IELTS Academic is administered both on paper and online. A computer-based exam means you’ll take the exam using a computer in an official center, not at home.

The IELTS certificate is valid for two years. In order to measure your skills, IELTS testers use a 0–9 grading scale. You are given a score from 1 to 9 for each section of the test –Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. The average results in your overall band score. You can get a whole score (e.g., 6.0, 8.0) or you can score half bands (e.g., 6.5, 8.5) in each part of the exam.

Commonly required scores for most jobs range between 5.5 and 6.5.

TOEFL: Test Of English as a Foreign Language

TOEFL® is probably one of the most popular English certificates around the world. In most cases, people take its internet-based form (TOEFL® iBT). But it can also be done on paper in locations without a reliable internet connection. Normally, both the internet and paper-based versions are taken in official examination centers.

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, TOEFL® iBT may also be taken from home in some locations.

TOEFL® iBT has 4 parts. Each of them is worth up to 30 points, adding up to a maximum score of 120 points. The sections are Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Though every section involves one main skill, some questions require the use of multiple abilities at the same time. In the writing section, for example, you will get an article on a scientific topic and a clip of a talk on the same subject. Based on this text, you will have to write a report saying how the two complement or contradict each other. Similarly, in the Speaking part, you’ll have to listen to conversations and lectures. Then, you will have to summarize them and comment on them.

Like most English language certificates, the TOEFL certificate is valid for two years.

How to Prepare for an International English Language Test

1. Familiarize Yourself With the Test

The first thing you have to do before sitting for any of the English language tests above is familiarizing yourself with their format. Luckily, there are lots of print and e-books specifically aimed at practicing for all these exams, which include mock tests with answer sheets and answer keys. This means that, by the time you take the test, you will know exactly what the exam will look like and what each of its parts consists of.

2. Find Someone to Study With

Studying alone might get a bit boring sometimes. Do you want to make the preparation process more entertaining? Find a person that is planning to take the same exam and give each other feedback on your speaking and writing.

3. Practice With a Qualified Native Teacher

Practice books and study partners are always useful. Yet, if you really want to boost your level so you can get an excellent score, the best thing you can do is take a few lessons with a native tutor.

What sets our tutors apart is that they’re not only native speakers of English. They’re also qualified professionals with a lot of experience in preparing students for international English exams.

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Do you want to know more about the best types of English tests for a specific kind of job? Are you still unsure about which is the best English test for your level? Get a free trial class with one of our native teachers and find out which is the right test for you! Contact us now to get started.