A language course can help you obtain a certification. TOEIC, DCL, LILATE… There are many options available and it can be confusing. To determine which language test to choose, there are several criteria to take into account. Which language do you want to test for? Which aspects of the language are most relevant to your career plans? Which examination method is best for you? Let’s take a look at the main language certifications available.
TOEIC: the best-known language test
The TOEIC Listening and Reading is a test administered by ETS Global. It is the best-known test for evaluating language skills in a professional context. It is a written test that takes place in an examination centre and evaluates your written and oral comprehension skills. It is a multiple choice test containing 200 questions. The test lasts 2 hours.
Note: there is also a Speaking and Writing test, which is rarer and focuses more specifically on your written and oral expression skills.
🌎Language(s) concerned: English.
👍 Main advantage: this test is internationally recognised. A good TOEIC score is particularly appreciated by recruiters.
👎 Disadvantage: not suitable for absolute beginners.
💡 Are you thinking of taking a language test? You might like this article: How can you measure your progress in language learning?
The Bright Test: a wide range of languages assessed
Il s’agit de l’examen de référence de l’organisme BrightLanguage. Tout comme le TOEIC, This is the benchmark test of the BrightLanguage organisation. Like the TOEIC, it assesses professional skills in written and oral comprehension. However, there are three major differences:
- the language test is taken online at an approved test centre;
- 11 languages are available;
- it is suitable for all levels (even beginners).
🌎 Language(s) concerned: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Dutch, Flemish, Swedish, Russian, Mandarin.
👍 Main advantage: the test is taken on the BrightLanguage platform and the results are immediate.
👎 Disadvantage: less recognised than the TOEIC for the English language.
The Pipplet FLEX: the most flexible test
As the name suggests, this is a much more flexible test than the previous two. You don’t have to go to a test centre to take it. Everything is done online, without any prior appointment. The four aspects of the language are assessed in 30 minutes:
- Written expression.
- Written comprehension.
- Oral expression.
- oral comprehension.
You then receive your certification indicating your CEFR language level within 24 hours.
🌎 Language(s) concerned: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Polish, Japanese, Greek, Dutch, Hebrew, Korean, Mandarin, Turkish… This test can be taken in almost 40 languages!
👍 Main advantage: there is no need to register at an examination centre.
👎 Disadvantage: the exam is less thorough (only 30 minutes).
The DCL: an official language certification
The Diplôme de Compétence en Langue (DCL) was set up by the French Ministry of Education. It is quite popular with students, and it also has the advantage of validating professional language skills, both written and oral. Although it is a 100% made in France certification, the results are also valid abroad, as it is part of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (the famous CEFR).
Like the TOEIC or the BRIGHT test, the DCL is taken in an examination centre. The test lasts 2.5 hours and is based on 6 main points:
- reading a case study;
- listening to audio files;
- a phase of reflection and organisation of the information gathered during the first two phases;
- presentation of the information in front of a jury;
- writing a summary.
🌎 Language(s) concerned: English, German, French (FLE), Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, professional French, sign language, Breton, Occitan.
👍 Main advantage: a very comprehensive exam, focused on language skills in the professional context and validated by the Ministry of Education (in France).
👎 Disadvantage: not suitable for absolute beginners.
LILATE: an adaptive test with an examiner
This language test is quite unique as it is conducted online, via video conference with an examiner. It lasts one hour: 30 minutes are dedicated to written skills and 30 minutes to oral skills.
You can take it anywhere, provided you have a computer with a good internet connection, a webcam, and Acrobat Reader software. You will also need a keyboard or tablet that allows you to write in the alphabet of the language concerned.
This is a fully adaptive test. This means that the examiner adjusts the difficulty of the questions to your level.
🌎 Language(s) concerned: English, German, French (FLE), Spanish, Italian, Portuguese (Portugal or Brazil), Russian, Arabic, Chinese, French (spelling), Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, sign language, Norwegian, Polish.
👍 Main advantage: an adaptive test that is suitable regardless of your starting level.
👎 Disadvantage: requires a good command of computer skills.
With this brief overview of the main language certifications, you will have a general idea of which test could be the right one for you. If you are still unsure, contact our 1to1PROGRESS advisers! We will guide you to the test that best suits your needs and will design a tailor-made language programme so that you get the best possible score.