In many cases, the starting point in your pursuit of U.S. academics is a widely recognized exam that measures your English proficiency in a variety of ways. Please contact your local U.S. education agency for further information on what exams are available in your area; it is important that you verify the credentials of the examination center. Some exams are Internet-based or computer-based, while others are taken with pencil and paper. U.S. campuses may specify different English proficiency requirements, so please begin corresponding directly with international admissions counselors.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a product of Education Testing Services of Princeton, New Jersey in the United States. The TOEFL is recognized by colleges, universities and employers all over the world.
You may choose from a few different types of exams, depending on your intentions; options include general English, business English, or English for academic purposes. Each English as a Foreign Language test typically contains sections on listening, structure, reading and writing.
Another test is the International English Language Testing System, or IELTS. It is now recognized at more than 200 U.S. universities. IELTS is considered a test of English as an international language (not just British), so it may be more representative of the type of English an international student encounters on a U.S. campus. The varieties of English on the test include North American, UK, and Australian; no one variety is considered more important than another.
IELTS profiles English language proficiency in four skills: reading, listening, writing, speaking. The exam has flexible test dates, is available worldwide, and has results available within two weeks. There is no official 1:1 correlation between IELTS and TOEFL or CBTOEFL scores because the tests are different.
Again, please contact your local U.S. education agency for further information on what exams are available in your area. We wish you all the best!