Nacel International Publishes English Language Test Scores Comparison Table

A guide for international students and professionals is now available on the website to find the equivalent scores across all the main English language proficiency testing services.

Online PR News – 21-June-2013 – St. Paul, Minnesota – There are four main providers of English proficiency tests accepted by schools, universities and professional organizations worldwide. While each provider tests students for their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, the way they score the tests is quite unique. Nacel has reviewed reports from ETS, Cambridge English, IELTS and Pearson, to create an equivalency table that compares English language test scores, based on the latest research.

The different scoring systems make it confusing to compare scores from one provider to the other. The results that are the most difficult to compare are for the internet based TOEFL test. Research provided by ETS, the test provider, scales the results differently when comparing scores for the IELTS and the CEFR. For example a B2 level which implies a student “Can give clear, detailed descriptions and presentations on a wide range of subjects related to his/her field” (source, is equivalent to a TOEFL score range between 87 and 109, however, equivalent IELTS levels from 5.0 to 6.0 are given a score between 35 and 78 (source The decision for interpreting the grade is left to admissions officers.

The test score comparison table,, is available in an easy to read table alongside a full description of the different providers and language proficiency tests, most commonly used for academic admissions and professional placements.

Nacel has more than 50 years of experience with educational language travel. The company has a strong network of schools that prepare students for English proficiency exams. It also offers programs for professional development that require a minimum English language proficiency level, such as the Learning Teaching assistant program in Australia and internships in Canada, the United Kingdom and Spain.

Overview of language proficiency tests

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
A guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe and other countries. The six reference levels are becoming widely accepted as the European standard for grading an individual's language proficiency.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
Designed to measure the proficiency levels of candidates, preparing for entry to higher education or professional employment, who are not native speakers of English. Results reference the descriptions of language proficiency in the CEFR. Source

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
Designed to assess the language ability of candidates who want to study or work where English is the language of communication. Results are reported as band scores on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest). Source

Test of English as a Foreign Language, administered by internet (TOEFL ibt)
Designed to aid in school admissions process, but the speaking score is potentially useful as a pre-arrival screening measure for international teaching assistants. Results measure a candidate’s ability to combine listening, reading, speaking and writing skills. Source

Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)
Designed to measure the ability of nonnative speakers of English to listen, read, speak and write in English in the global workplace. The total score adds up to a scale from 10 to 990 points. The TOEIC certificate exists in five colors, corresponding to the result. Source

Business Language Testing Services (BULATS)
Designed for workplace language assessment, training and benchmarking. Used internationally for business and industry recruitment, for identifying and delivering training, for admission to study business-related courses. Results reference CEFR proficiency levels. Source

Pearson Test of English General (PTE general)
Designed to reward positive achievement in English language learning. It consists of two parts: a written paper and a spoken test. There are six levels which are linked to the(CEF). All levels in the test are awarded by Edexcel and accredited by Ofqual in the UK. Source

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE academic)
Designed to test English proficiency levels through tasks which reflect real-life settings. The test is accepted for admissions for thousands of international programs. PTE Academic acceptance includes top UK and US universities and government organizations. Source