[SOFTWARE REVIEW]

Best English proficiency tests for business

May 2022 Edition

Seeking to assess your candidates' true oral and written English skills?

Do you need to assess your employees’ English fluency to identify their training needs to better prepare them for future internal mobility?

It's time to start exploring language assessment solutions for your business!

Why should you turn to English proficiency tests for professionals?

  • Recruitment of multilingual candidates:

- accelerate your recruitment process

- save recruiters valuable time

- reduce the risk of selection errors 

  • Talent management

- consistently assess your employees’ fluency in a variety of 40 languages

- anticipate their training needs

- organize internal mobility

  • Management of your training plan

- be able to position your employees according to their initial level

- measure the progress made thanks to your training actions

- provide your employees with a recognized language assessment (namely, the Common European Framework of Reference or CEFR)

Having a specialized, dedicated tool perform the language tests will give you a clear vision of the real level of your candidates and employees. To help you find your way among the different solutions on the market and identify the one that best suits your needs, we have gathered on this page the best evaluations in English available to businesses. You’ll find a description of their interface as well as their key features, their strengths and limitations, and fee structure.

Check out our comparison of the top 15 English language assessments for business:

  • Pipplet
  • TOEIC
  • Linguaskill Anywhere
  • IELTS (General training)
  • TOEFL IBT
  • Pearson Versant
  • Kite by Kaplan
  • Duolingo english test
  • TestGorilla
  • Harver
  • TrackTest
  • The English Quiz
  • EF SET
  • Bright Language
  • LTI

Pipplet

The simple, fast, and reliable reference English proficiency test for businesses.

Pipplet is a 100% digital solution for assessing the language level of your candidates in 30 minutes, using questions based on professional situations.

The operation is simple:

  • You send one or more invitations to take the test in a few clicks.
  • Your candidate/employee/learner can take the test at any time—without an appointment—from a PC or mobile device.
  • Their answers are then evaluated by a native examiner who in turn delivers the results within 24 hours.

Pipplet assists recruitment professionals in their hiring process, language audits, or internal mobility, as well as language training organizations.

Key features:

  • online language test, without appointment
  • real-life and professional situations
  • assessment of the four skills: listening and speaking, oral and written
  • Test scoring by native human examiners and delivery of results in less than 24 hours
  • test available in 40 languages
  • anti-cheat devices to detect and prevent fraud
  • personalization of the candidate experience (white label) 
  • assessment based on the international CEFR

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • only online (no face-to-face sessions)

Pricing: starting at €40 per test

TOEIC 

The internationally recognized English language test.

The TOEIC test provided by ETS Global is an English language assessment that goes way back. Based on the CEFR assessment framework, the TOEIC test is commonly used to prove one's level of English internationally.

Two tests are available: the TOEIC Listening & Reading and the TOEIC Speaking & Writing.

Key features:

  • language assessment recognized by companies around the world
  • possibility to test all four language skills by combining the two TOEIC tests 
  • the Listening & Reading module can be done remotely
  • assessment based on the international CEFR reference system

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • test duration: more than three hours required to assess all four skills
  • turnaround time for results (up to 15 days)
  • high pricing
  • test interface not well optimized for remote evaluation

Pricing: €132 per test

Linguaskill Anywhere

A comprehensive English test to assess and certify a CEFR level.

Linguaskill is a computer-based English test that assesses language proficiency through three skill modules (reading and listening, writing, and speaking). It assesses the level of English for everyday professional situations (General) or professional life (Business). 

Key features:

  • results within 48 hours
  • combinable, independent modules: reading and listening, writing, speaking 
  • reliable and recognized test designed by the University of Cambridge
  • remote evaluation possible (Linguaskill anywhere)

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • automated correction
  • to evaluate the four dimensions of language (expression and comprehension, written and oral), a full two-hour session is necessary

Pricing: starting at €60 per module

IELTS (General training)

An English test used by employers and universities in numerous international organizations, to assess English proficiency skills.

The IELTS assesses an employee's ability to communicate in English. 

The test assesses listening and speaking skills, both oral and written.

Key features:

  • test available online for listening, reading, and writing
  • four independent skill modules, to be chosen according to need
  • accurate evaluation through various exercises per module

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • no speaking test available for the remote version
  • independent assessment of the international CEFR reference framework: each skill is rated on a scale of 1 to 9
  • duration: two hours, 45 for the complete test (all four skills)
  • test by appointment, to be done in approved centers on paper or computer
  • turnaround time for results: two to five days

Fee: €250 on average to evaluate all four skills

TOEFL IBT

The assessment which validates oral and written expression and comprehension of English in academic topics and contexts.

Like the internationally recognized TOEIC test, the TOEFL IBT is also provided by ETS Global and is designed to assess the ability to use and understand both written and spoken English.

However, unlike the TOEIC, which is mainly used in the professional sphere, the TOEFL is used in higher education to validate the English skills of students (especially in foreign schools and universities). This is sometimes considered when recruiting young graduates.

Key features:

  • standardized test used worldwide to certify proficiency in English
  • assessment of the four skills 
  • available on a computer at home or at the test center

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • total duration of the test: three hours
  • mainly adapted to the university context
  • turnaround time for results: 6 to 10 days
  • high pricing

Pricing: €220 per test

Pearson Versant (four essential skills)

Automated English language assessment to support recruitment and training.

Pearson Versant tests incorporate patented AI technology to assess language skills in the workplace in 30 minutes.

Availability of online testing, without appointment, in over 100 countries.

Key features:

  • test application available on smartphone
  • accurate assessment of the four skills
  • speed of the test
  • very affordable price

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • automated scoring that's difficult to compare with that performed by a human grader

Pricing: €13 per test (four essential skills)

Kite by Kaplan

An English language skills assessment for new talent.

To hire, place, and promote talent, Kaplan offers a customized language assessment.

Key features:

  • digital test available on PC or mobile device
  • assessment of the four language skills (separate modules)
  • creation of advanced reports to compare employees' skills
  • individualized testing for each employee using IRT (Item Response Theory) technology
  • results assimilated to the CEFR and IELTS score scales

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • duration of the test two hours to combine the two assessment modules
  • turnaround time for results up to 48 hours for the speaking and writing portions
  • automated scoring for the listening and reading parts (thus less reliable than a correction by a professional)

Pricing: upon request

Duolingo English Test

The Duolingo test to certify proficiency in English expression.

Duolingo offers an online test to evaluate written and oral expression, using open-ended questions.

Each assessment takes 45 minutes on average, and the questions are adapted according to the quality of the candidate's answers. The result certificate provides an overall description of the language level as well as four scores in reference to comprehension and expression skills (oral and written) 

Key features:

  • digital testing available anywhere, anytime
  • results within 48 hours
  • priced affordably
  • simplified sharing of results with organizations and institutions through a personal and secure link

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • academic test mainly recognized by academic institutions
  • little clarification/explanation of skill level on the results report 

Pricing: €45 per test

TestGorilla

An explicit assessment of English language comprehension skills.

In just 10 minutes, TestGorilla evaluates the English level of your candidates or employees from B1 to C1.

Adapted to the professional context, this language test allows recruiters to determine which candidates are capable of communicating in English on topics commonly encountered in the workplace and in everyday life.

Key features:

  • 10 minutes to complete the test
  • invitation by e-mail, from the ATS, or by direct link
  • Customizable test questions

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • fairly generic results, with too little detail
  • no notification when a candidate has completed the test
  • hidden fees and ambiguous pricing
  • lack of personalization of invitation emails

Pricing: €21 per month and up (subscription-based)

Harver

An oral English test to evaluate word choice, pronunciation, and fluency.

To determine the English language level of candidates, Harver integrates a customizable oral expression assessment.

The difficulty of the exercises can be adjusted: word selections and test excerpts are used to assess oral English proficiency.

Key features:

  • innovative evaluation of verbal interactions: pronunciation, fluency, speaking speed, hesitations, and cadence
  • results translated on the CEFR and IELTS scale for easy comparison and sharing
  • fully customizable

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • no assessment for written expression
  • no assessment for written and oral comprehension
  • automated scoring 

Pricing: on request

TrackTest

The online English exam to assess comprehension skills.

TrackTest's English tests allow us to position a candidate on the CEFR scale according to his or her level of English, and to obtain a certificate of existing oral and written skills.

After purchase, each test is available free of charge once a month for a year to track progress and learning in English.

Key features:

  • free placement test (10 minutes) before purchasing the main assessment
  • assesses all levels, from A1 to C2 
  • TrackTest CECR English certificate issued after the evaluation
  • fully available online with immediate results 
  • one year license at a very attractive price (see below) 

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • 45-minute test for the listening and writing part
  • optional oral and written expression (20-minute test with results within six days)
  • no details on the scoring method and on the results report

Pricing: 

  • €15 for a one-year license for the listening and writing module only (the test can be retaken once a month)
  • Oral and written expression module for an additional fee of €12.
  • The proctored version of the test costs an additional €12.

The English Quiz

A pre-screening solution to assess the level of understanding in English.

To test your understanding of the English language quickly and easily, The English Quiz offers a 15-minute online test.

Key features:

  • quick English level check in 15 minutes
  • modular platform that allows for independent assessment of skills 
  • results based on the CEFR and delivered within 24 hours
  • anti-cheating measures to validate candidates' identities
  • easy integration with multiple ATS such as Workable, Workday, Zapier, Greenhouse, and more

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • assessment of comprehension skills only
  • automated scoring
  • provides only a brief overview of skills for 15 minutes of testing
  • obligation to purchase a minimum of 20 tests

Pricing: starting at €220 (pack of 11 tests)

EF SET

A free English test to quickly assess your own reading and listening skills.

In 15 minutes, EF SET allows you to assess your level of oral and written comprehension of the English language online. Aligned with the CEFR scale, no fee or registration required.

This is a useful solution for schools and organizations that want to get a quick snapshot of a student or employee's English reading and listening skills. To go further, the company also offers EF SET Certificate: a 50-minute English test that delivers a personalized certificate to be promoted on the CV or on LinkedIn.

Key features:

  • very fast basic test: 15 minutes to complete
  • accessible from anywhere on PC or mobile device
  • entirely free
  • recognized by several companies and schools

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • provides only a snapshot of skills, which does not always reflect the candidate's actual level
  • no evaluation of written and oral expression
  • the CEFR level seems difficult to determine in such a short time

Pricing: completely free

Bright Language

Online tests to assess written and oral comprehension skills.

The Bright Language English test is suitable for gauging English speakers beginner to advanced (levels A1 to C1 on the CEFR scale).

Bright offers two assessments: the General Professional English Test and the English for Beginners Test.

Key features:

  • tests available at a distance and for all levels
  • certificate of proficiency issued within the hour and report available immediately
  • very flexible: exclusively available online

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • The Bright Language test does not assess speaking and writing skills. (In other words, it is only a comprehension test.) 
  • duration of the evaluation (between 45 minutes and 1 hour)
  • automated correction

Pricing: €80 per test

LTI

Accurate assessment of English language skills at home or in the office.

LTI language assessments provide an accurate picture of an employee's English level

Several tests are available depending on the needs and skills to be evaluated: oral or written, expression or comprehension.

Key features:

  • remote testing solution
  • oral and written expression is evaluated by certified evaluators 

Limitations/disadvantages:

  • duration: the longest tests can take up to 1.5 hours

Pricing: on quotation

Want to learn more about Pipplet?