Myth #1: “Test X is the best English language test, ever!”
This is obviously a myth, and as I stated previously, you must take into account a whole range of factors before setting your mind on a specific test. In fact, you should consider “who” says this, and “when” and under “what” conditions they took the test. So, once again, “it depends”!
In terms of their “intrinsic quality”, if you do a bit of research about most of the high-stakes English language proficiency tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE, you’ll realize that they have all been developed by dedicated teams of scholars and experts, who constantly monitor, revise and improve the tests. This means, almost all the tests you hear about, such as IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE, are credible in terms of doing what they are supposed to do and measuring what they are supposed to measure.
You might also consider the “relative quality” of the tests, which requires making comparisons among them. If this is the case, you cannot separate yourself as a test taker from the context of making comparisons. This means, if you wish to compare tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE, you cannot do so without including yourself inside the process of evaluating their relative quality. In other words, a test can be “the best” option for you but “the worst” option for another candidate.
It is true that despite their inevitable
differences, the existing tests have a lot in common. However, some could be
more suited to your situation, needs, and characteristics as a test taker. For
example, if you are not comfortable with reading on a computer screen, or if
you are not very good at typing, you could find paper-based IELTS a suitable
choice. Likewise, if you don’t feel comfortable talking face to face to
strangers, you might find the speaking test of TOEFL iBT or PTE more
convenient. In a sum, as the test taker, you are a major part of the play when
deciding which test is best.
Myth #2: “I shifted from Test X to Test Y, and you should do it, too!”
Myth #3: “The scoring process of test X is not that fair compared to test Y!”
So, if you are still unsure which English language test to take, my take-away advice for you is listed below.
- Take all the tests in a mock form to see how each one is, and if you are comfortable with its format. Some people find it hard to take an online test, no matter how popular the test is.
- Consider the logistics and costs of the tests. For example, if taking a test requires travelling to another city or even country, you might want to revisit your plans.
-Consider the wait time for booking the test and for the results to be released.
- Take into account the practical aspects of preparing for the test including the preparation materials and resources available to you. In some cases, it is hard to find qualified instructors, high quality materials, and effective courses to prepare for a test.
In summary, it is crucial that you consider your own situation, needs, wants, preferences, study habits, personality traits, and test taking habits when deciding which test to sit.
By: Sina (A.SJ)