Changes in Australia Student Visa Options

Small person running through opened door for carrer opportunity479566953The Australian the Department for Immigration and Border Protection recently announced that, starting later this year, it will accept results from both the TOEFL iBT and PTE Academic as proof of English proficiency for a number of its post-graduate visa options. This decision, which goes into effect in November 2014, mirrors a 2011 change to accept these two exams for academic admissions purposes and means that these same exams will be accepted as proof of proficiency for all graduate, skilled, and business visa applicants.

Popularity Has Its Benefits

Not only does the addition of two more test systems give visa applicants a wider choice of English proficiency exams (and with it the opportunity to take the exam best-suited to their needs) it also gives their would-be hosts –that is to say, Australian universities and businesses– access to a larger pool of recruits. After all, the TOEFL iBT alone has been taken by more than more than 27 million people around the world and this ruling means that every one of them could potentially use their TOEFL results for undergraduate admissions and a host of post-graduate options. Continue reading “Changes in Australia Student Visa Options”


English Exam Overviews: The ECPE

examen-michigan-ecpeWhile similar in name the ECCE exam (and likewise offered by Cambridge Michigan Language Assessment), as the following overview reveals the ECPE is a distinct exam designed to meet the needs at a unique subset of English language students.

What is the ECPE and what makes it unique?
Like its brother exam the ECCE, the ECPE was original developed by the University of Michigan and, accordingly, tests students on their mastery of American-style English and its conventions. This naturally makes it ideal for English as a Second Language students with an interest (or experience) in using English the United States for professional or academic purposes. The “P” in ECPE stands for Proficiency and this, indeed, has significant implications for would-be test-takers. Proficiency is in this case means that the exam is calibrated at the C2 – advanced – level and this makes it an ideal choice for university- or professional-minded test takers.

How is the ECPE scored?
Scoring on the ECPE shares make of the characteristics common to the Cambridge Michigan Language Assessment group of exams. That means that both the listening grammar, cloze, vocabulary, and reading (GCVR) sections of the test are scored electronically and reported on a scale that ranges from 0 to 1000 while the speaking and writing sections are assessed separately by human grades according to a pre-established rubric on a scale of A to E. While passing grades must be achieved in all areas to receive a certificate of proficiency, highest marks in all sections entitle a student to receive a “Certificate of Proficiency with Honors.”

Where can I take the exam and how do I register?
Though offered around the world, registering for the exam nevertheless requires advanced planning as the ECPE exam is administered at Cambridge Michigan Language Assessment test centers only two times each year. To find out more, check their list of approved testing centers in your area and contact the most convenient testing center directly. Of course, if you have any other questions about the make-up and layout of the exam check our full overview!


English Exam Overviews: The IELTS

New_IELTS_logo.gifAs the exam of choice for 2 million test takers from more than 130 countries around the world, the International English Language Testing System is a major player in English language examinations. The IELTS, as the exam is widely known, owes its popularity not only to its track record but, as we shall see, its uniquely adaptable design.

What is the IELTS and what makes it unique?
Jointly operated by the prestigious University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations and the British Council, the IELTS exam is similar to other English assessments in that it measures the reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities of test takers using a computer interface. Unlike other exams, however, the IELTS has two distinct formats whose names – Academic and General – are indicate the markets they are intended to serve. Though all candidates take the same speaking and listening sections, the content of the reading and writing will differ depending which version the a given candidate is taking. Because the content of the exam varies in this way, a single exam can help to serve the needs of both university admissions (Academic) and immigrations (General) offices while still maintaining consistency of style. Continue reading “English Exam Overviews: The IELTS”