English language tests and exams

Which test or exam should I take?
You must first consider what your needs are and only then compare the English tests and exams below to find one that is appropriate for you. The tests and exams below are the most well-known and widely accepted for higher education, work and visa purposes. However, they are not all recognised equally by government agencies, employers or universities so please check the websites carefully to make sure that your score will be accepted by the relevant organisation.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) offers a general and academic test, but both test your language skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

IELTS is the most widely accepted test by universities and colleges and is the only language test accepted in support of visa applications to the UK​. It can be taken through the British Council in Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

IELTS uses a banding system to grade tests from 1-9. As with all the tests and exams mentioned here, it is important to ensure that you understand the format of the test and prepare properly in advance.

TOEFL is another well-known English academic test, widely accepted by educational institutions around the world and available to take in all the countries with an AKU campus. Free test preparation resources are available, including test questions and sample responses to speaking and writing questions.  

Pearson offers a computer-based academic English test, PTE Academic, and a paper-based general English test, PTE General. PTE Academic is widely accepted by organisations in Australia and North America but is not currently available in Pakistan.

Cambridge English
Cambridge English offer a range of exams suitable for different levels and needs. You are invited to take this short multiple-choice test​ to find out which test might best meet your needs.

You can use this search facility to find an exam centre near you. Sample tests​ and exam guides are provided by Cambridge to help you prepare.

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is an attempt to standardise the levels of language exams in different regions. The English tests and exams above can be mapped to the 6 levels of the CEFR. These six reference levels are increasingly accepted as the standard for assessing language proficiency.






​PTE Ge​​nera​​l Level 1​​​

PTE Academic 30-42

​​IELTS 4-4.5

TOEFL 57-86

PTE Genera​​l Level 2

PTE Academic 43-58

​IELTS 5-6.5

TOEFL 8​7-109

C​ambridge​ English First (FCE)

PTE General Level 3

PTE Ac​​ademic 59-75

​IELTS 7-8

TOEFL 110-120

Cambridge English Advanced (CAE)

PTE G​eneral Level 4

PTE Academic 76-84

​​IELTS 8.5-9

Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE)

PTE General Level 5

PTE Academic 85+