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TOEIC, TOEFL, IELTS... How to prepare for an English exam

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Are you preparing for a ‘grande école’ exam? Are you planning for a university exchange semester or applying for an internship or a job abroad? In all of these cases, you may need to take an international exam. English language tests such as TOEIC, TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge EFL are designed to rate your language level. Unleash your potential and maximise your chances of succeeding in your English exam with Influent's programs.

What is TOEFL ?

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is an American exam composed mainly of multiple-choice questions. It is a four-hour test divided into four stages to assess the candidate's written and oral comprehension and expression. The written part of the test is an essay.

Generally speaking, TOEFL is designed to evaluate the language skills of non-native English speakers for academic purposes. It is usually required to study at a North American university, even for a single exchange semester. The exam is marked out of 120, and most institutions require a minimum score of 100. The result is valid for two years.  TOEFL is available in paper and computer-assisted formats.

What is TOEIC ?

Another American exam, TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) focuses more on testing language levels in a professional context. This written and oral test aims to check whether the candidate is capable of using a level of English and vocabulary appropriate for the workplace. Although most schools in France acknowledge it, particularly engineering schools, the TOEIC test is particularly popular in the corporate world. This is the test that companies most often ask for when recruiting employees who will be using the English language for work.

TOEIC consists of two tests, each focusing on two areas: Listening & Reading; Speaking & Writing. The test most often taken is Listening & Reading. It lasts two hours, and is also a multiple-choice questionnaire, with around 200 questions. As with TOEFL, the test is valid for two years. TOEIC is marked out of 990 points. To prove a fluent level of English, a minimum of 750 is often required. Many companies would much rather see a TOEIC score on a candidate's CV than a vague notion such as "English: read, written and spoken".

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What are IELTS and Cambridge EFL ?

Unlike the two previous tests, the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is British, and is the most widely used international English language test. The paper-based test lasts three hours and also features a multiple-choice format. It assesses both written and oral comprehension and expression as follows:

  1. Reading: 1 hour of written expression based on magazines, newspapers and books extracts.

  2. Writing: 1 hour of written expression with two essay sub-tests.

  3. Listening: 40 minutes of listening comprehension on a variety of subjects, such as education, the world of work or society.

  4. Speaking: a 15-minute individual interview with an examiner for oral expression.

Again, the score is valid for two years and ranges from 1 to 9. Internationally renowned, IELTS enables you to study and work abroad. While TOEFL dominates at Canadian and American universities, IELTS is more common in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Scandinavian countries also rely on it

In addition to these three major English exams, there is also the Cambridge EFL, the only one whose results are valid for an unlimited period. Lasting three hours, the test identifies three levels:

  1. FCE (First Certificate in English) for advanced intermediate level ;

  2. CAE (Certificate in Advanced English) for advanced level;

  3. CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English) for advanced higher level.

Prepare  for your English exam with Influent!


Influent has the resources and methodology you need to get you ready for your English exam, no matter which one it is. In addition to the tests we've just mentioned, here are two others:

  1. The DELF (Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française), is a diploma in French as a foreign language that certifies the level of non-French speakers. Issued by the Centre international d'études pédagogiques (CIEP), the diploma is recognised internationally. It is divided into several levels, each assessing written and oral comprehension as well as written and oral expression. This exam is useful for international students wishing to study in France or to certify their level of French for professional purposes. It is followed by the DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française), which certifies more advanced levels of the French language.

  2. The DELE (Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera) is the Spanish equivalent of the DELF. It is a diploma that certifies the level of competence in Spanish of a non-Spanish speaker. The DELE is awarded by the Instituto Cervantes, in collaboration with the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. This diploma is widely recognised internationally and is a benchmark for assessing Spanish language skills. Here too, there are several levels. They correspond to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scales: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. The same scale is used to assess the DELF. The DELE is often used by foreign students who want to study in a Spanish-speaking country.

Influent  can help you prepare for other exams on request: Baccalauréat, Abitur, Matura, etc. In concrete terms, you are supervised by a teacher who designs a program tailored to your objectives. He or she is at your side to help you assimilate the content and understand the format of the test. Using practice and exercises, he or she will test you on the various sub-tests and questions for the exam in question. To do this, tests taken from past papers  are often a good resource.

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