Choosing the right English test depends on what your goals are. If you need an English test score for some official purpose, for example applying for a visa to Australia or a doctoral program at the University of Wisconsin, the test you'll take is usually not up to you. The school or government you are applying to will tell you which test it accepts and you'll take that one. But if you want to take an English test for some other reason, for example to have a certification for your CV or to finish off an English course with some type of proof of your English level, you have more flexibility. In that case, you can choose a test based on many different factors such as how expensive it is, whether or not it is offered at a test center in your city, or how well-known it is in your country. In any case, it's best to take a good look at all the options before making a decision because although standardized English tests may seem the same, each one is actually quite unique.
|Why take this test?||Immigration to the UK & university application in the UK and elsewhere||Professional certification||Professional certification||University application in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, UK or Canada||Institutional testing & university application in the UK|
|Price||US $200-$300||US $125-$200||free||US $100-$320||US $150-$250|
|Length||175 minutes||120 minutes (receptive) or 80 minutes (productive)||50 minutes||90 minutes (Essentials) or 180 minutes (iBT)||110 to 236 minutes, depending on test version|
|Result report||6 to 13 days||3 to 15 days||immediate||6 to 10 days||2 to 40 days|
|Test location||authorized test centers||authorized test centers||open online access||authorized test centers or online||authorized test centers|
|Score validity||2 years||2 years||forever||2 years||forever|
|For university application?||UK (often), Australia & Canada (sometimes)||no||no||USA (often), UK & Canada (sometimes)||UK (often: higher level tests only)|
|For immigration?||UK, Canada, Australia||no||no||yes||UK|
|For job seekers?||no||yes||yes||no||yes|
|For school & corporate testing?||no||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|As a study tool?||no||no||yes||no||no|
Information valid at the time of writing. Check official test websites for prices in your area.