Who hasn’t heard about the Cambridge exams? They are the most important English qualifications for non-natives and everybody knows all about them. Some English students and teachers alike even dream about the structure and know the scoring and scales system by heart. But the careful observer should not fail to look elsewhere: there is an alternative to the highly demanding, stairway-to-professional-success Cambridge ESOL exams, and it is just as prestigious and internationally recognized.
The English qualifications offered by Trinity College London are almost as old as the Cambridge ones, dating back at the beginning of the 20th century. They are just as ruthless with non-natives trying to get an EFL diploma and they have an equally recognized certification level within the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Nevertheless, in recent years, many a student made a move towards the ISE Trinity exams either as a second option after failing a Cambridge exam or even as the very first choice.
British English tests and exams, American tests, exams and tests for Spain… Where there is so much choice, there must be lots of differences. Relax! All these acronyms and abbreviations that sound like secret organizations have more in common than you would think: they are all about English, they all test both receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) skills and they all assess the level of English knowledge, whether for general or specific purposes.
So let´s take a closer look to what the differences are all about.
FCE or TOEFL? Advanced or PET? TOEIC or APTIS? The Oxford Test of English or
so many of them and yet so little understanding of what each encompasses that you
come to feel that much choice is not actually what you wanted. But English is a
global language and depending on many different purposes, you might be asked to
take one of them.