The Most Popular English Test: A Comprehensive Ranking

Choose the test you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 16, 2024 07:03
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion matters! Today, we're exploring the world of English language proficiency exams with a thrilling ranking of "What is the most popular English test?" With thousands of individuals around the globe striving to prove their language skills, we're curious to know which test reigns supreme in your eyes. Is it the widely recognized TOEFL or the prestigious IELTS? Or perhaps you're a fan of the versatile Cambridge English exams? Whatever your preference, we invite you to join the discussion, cast your vote, and make your voice heard. Don't see your favorite test on our list? No worries! Suggest a missing option and let the debate continue. Dive into the linguistic arena and help us uncover the ultimate English test champion!

What Is the Most Popular English Test?

  1. 1
    It is the most popular English proficiency test for academic purposes and is widely recognized by universities in North America, Europe, and Asia.
    The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is an English language proficiency test. It measures the ability of non-native speakers to understand and use English in an academic setting. The test is widely accepted by universities and institutions around the world as a reliable assessment of English language skills for admission purposes.
    • Test format: Internet-based (iBT) or Paper-based (PBT)
    • Sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing
    • Test duration: 3 hours (iBT) or 2 hours 25 minutes (PBT)
    • Scoring scale: 0-120
    • Score validity: 2 years
  2. 2
    It is one of the most popular English proficiency tests, recognized by universities and employers worldwide.
    IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a widely recognized English proficiency test designed to assess the language abilities of individuals who wish to study, work, or immigrate to English-speaking countries.
    • Test Format: Four components: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
    • Test Versions: There are two versions: Academic and General Training.
    • Test Duration: Around 2 hours and 45 minutes.
    • Scoring Scale: Scores range from 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest.
    • Accepted Worldwide: Recognized by over 10,000 organizations in 140+ countries.
  3. 3

    Cambridge English Language Assessment

    University of Cambridge
    It offers a range of English language exams, including the Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) and the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE).
    Cambridge English Language Assessment is a widely recognized and highly regarded English language testing organization. It offers a range of exams that assess individuals' English proficiency for academic, professional, and personal purposes. The tests are designed to measure the four language skills - reading, writing, listening, and speaking - and are known for their accuracy, validity, and reliability.
    • Test Types: Offering a variety of exams such as Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE), Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE), Cambridge English: First (FCE), and more.
    • Test Levels: Covering the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels A1 to C2.
    • Availability: Available in over 130 countries.
    • Recognition: Accepted by over 25,000 universities, employers, and governments worldwide.
    • Validity Period: Certificates are valid for life.
  4. 4
    It is a computer-based English proficiency test widely accepted by universities and colleges in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
    PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English Academic) is a computer-based English language proficiency test that evaluates the listening, reading, speaking, and writing abilities of non-native English speakers. It is widely recognized and accepted by universities, colleges, and governments around the world.
    • Format: Computer-based test
    • Sections: Speaking, writing, listening, reading
    • Test duration: Approximately 3 hours
    • Scoring: Overall score on a scale of 10 - 90
    • Accepted in: Countries around the world
  5. 5
    It is a popular English proficiency test for business purposes, especially in Asia.
    TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) is one of the most popular English language proficiency tests globally. It measures the ability of non-native English speakers to understand and communicate effectively in international business and workplace environments.
    • Test Format: The TOEIC test consists of two sections: Listening and Reading. Each section has 100 multiple-choice questions.
    • Test Duration: The total test duration is approximately two and a half hours.
    • Scoring: The TOEIC test is scored on a scale of 10-990. The score is divided into two sections: Listening and Reading.
    • Validity: TOEIC scores are valid for two years.
    • Availability: The TOEIC test is available in over 150 countries and can be taken at authorized test centers.
  6. 6
    It is a language proficiency test for healthcare professionals, recognized by regulatory bodies in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
    The Occupational English Test (OET) is a specialized English language proficiency test designed for healthcare professionals seeking to work or study in an English-speaking environment. It assesses the language skills of candidates in a healthcare context, focusing on their ability to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues.
    • Format: The test consists of four sub-tests: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Each sub-test is designed to simulate real workplace scenarios in the healthcare sector.
    • Validity: OET results are accepted as proof of English proficiency by healthcare regulatory bodies, universities, and employers in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Dubai, and the UK.
    • Target Audience: The test is tailored specifically for 12 healthcare professions, including doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists, among others.
    • Scoring: Candidates are scored on a scale from A (highest) to E (lowest) in each of the four sub-tests. Overall performance is reported using the same grading scale.
    • Test Availability: OET is available in over 40 countries and can be taken multiple times every year.
  7. 7
    It is a business English proficiency test developed by the University of Cambridge, widely used by multinational companies and organizations.
    BULATS (Business Language Testing Service) is a widely recognized English language test that focuses on assessing the language skills of individuals in a business context. It evaluates the ability to communicate effectively in English for professional and work-related purposes.
    • Language Skills: Tests all language skills – reading, writing, listening, and speaking
    • Target Audience: Designed for individuals seeking to enhance their business English proficiency
    • International Recognition: Accepted and recognized by numerous international organizations and companies
    • Flexible Testing: Offers both online and paper-based testing options
    • Customizable Levels: Provides various proficiency levels to cater to different learners' needs
  8. 8

    Trinity College London

    Trinity College London
    It offers a range of English language exams, including the Integrated Skills in English (ISE) and the Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE).
    Trinity College London is an international exam board based in London, England, that offers English language assessments and qualifications. It is known for its English language proficiency tests which are widely recognized and accepted globally.
    • Established: 1877
    • Exam types: Speaking and listening exams, Graded examinations in spoken English, Integrated Skills in English exams, and other language proficiency tests
    • Levels: From beginner to advanced (A1 to C2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)
    • Recognition: Accepted by universities, employers, and governments worldwide
    • Format: Oral exams conducted by certified examiners
  9. 9
    It offers a range of English language exams, including the International ESOL and the Functional Skills qualifications.
    City & Guilds is a leading provider of vocational qualifications, apprenticeships, and assessments in the United Kingdom. It is highly recognized and respected for its English language proficiency tests.
    • Recognition: Widely recognized in the UK and internationally
    • Variety of tests: Offers a range of English language tests for different purposes
    • Levels: Tests available for beginner to advanced levels
    • Skills assessed: Tests assess reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills
    • Validity period: Test certificates are valid for life
    City & Guilds in other rankings
  10. 10
    It offers a range of proficiency tests in multiple languages, including English, recognized by schools and universities in the US.
    The ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) is an organization that promotes the learning and teaching of foreign languages in the United States. It is a leading authority in language education and assessment.
    • Purpose: To promote language education and strengthen proficiency-based language learning.
    • Testing Format: Multiple-choice tests divided into four main sections: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.
    • Proficiency Levels: Assesses proficiency levels according to the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.
    • Scoring: Scores are reported on a scale of Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Superior.
    • Testing Levels: ACTFL offers tests for K-12 students, college students, and professionals.

Missing your favorite test?


Ranking factors for popular test

  1. Global recognition
    The extent to which the test is recognized and accepted by universities, employers, and immigration authorities around the world.
  2. Test availability
    The accessibility of the test in terms of test centers, test dates, and locations.
  3. Test format and content
    The structure of the test, types of questions, task types, and topics covered should be relevant and practical for the target test-takers.
  4. Test reliability and validity
    The test should reliably and accurately measure test-takers' English language proficiency levels consistently over time and across different test forms.
  5. Preparation resources
    Availability of comprehensive and up-to-date preparation materials and support, including official study guides, practice tests, and courses.
  6. Test accessibility and accommodations
    The test should be accessible to individuals with disabilities, and accommodations should be offered as needed.
  7. Cost of the test
    The registration fees and additional costs, such as for score reports and rescheduling, should be reasonable and affordable for test-takers.
  8. Score reporting and validity period
    The length of time it takes for the test scores to be reported, the validity period of the scores, and the ease of sending scores to institutions should be considered.
  9. Test security
    The test should have strong security measures in place to prevent cheating and ensure the integrity of the test results.
  10. Test-taker satisfaction
    The overall satisfaction of test-takers with the test experience, including registration, test administration, scoring, and customer service.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular English test. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Test is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 161 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Test once every 24 hours. The rank of each Test is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular english test

Background Information: English proficiency is a crucial skill that is highly valued in today's globalized world. It is a common language that connects people from different countries and cultures. There are various English language tests available to assess one's proficiency level, and each test has its own set of criteria and requirements. The most popular English tests include TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge English, and PTE Academic. These tests are widely recognized by universities, employers, and immigration authorities around the world, making them important measures of English proficiency for individuals seeking to study, work, or reside in English-speaking countries.

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