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How to navigate the testing landscape

If you work for a university admissions department and are faced with the task of choosing a new English test to recognise, this is a very important decision. But it doesn’t have to be a difficult one.

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"Choosing the right English language tests also helps you to reach more students"

Ultimately, as an admissions officer you want English tests that cover the relevant skills to help students not only cope with the demands of university life, but also to make sure they have a positive study experience.

Choosing the right English language tests also helps you to reach more students. For example by choosing an English language test that is recognised and available all over the world you can increase the pool of students you have access to which will diversify your admissions and encourage fairness in your application processes.

At Cambridge Assessment English we have been working in this sector for decades and every year hundreds of thousands of students take one of our Cambridge English Qualifications to help them take that next step and get a place at university.

Our tests are also used during students’ courses to check their ongoing progress and on graduation to see what English level students have achieved. We’re a department of Cambridge University and our experts work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure our Cambridge English qualifications remain valid and fit for purpose.

Like many universities, you probably accept a range of qualifications to suit your differing needs. But how do you choose a new one?  Here are five questions you need to ask – and answer – to help you make the right decision.

Five questions you need to ask:

The first question you need to consider is: does the test have industry standard protocols?

This is a particularly important question when you consider the high stakes nature of the tests that are used in the university sector. When considering this question it’s essential to look at how secure the test is in terms of production and delivery.

The second question you need to consider is: will the test increase my institution’s reach and reputation?

When looking at this question it’s important to think of areas such as how well recognised the test is and does the provider offer lots of choice and support.

The third question to ask is: does the test meet the relevant stress tests for the demands of academic study?

When looking at this area it’s important to look at what skills the test focuses on and whether it is fit for purpose.

And number 4: is the test provider reliable?

Areas to consider here are how experienced the test provider is and what kind of track record they have.

Lastly, it’s important to ask yourself: Can the test results be freely and securely verified?

When looking into this question it’s important to consider what processes are in place to verify the test and what frameworks the English test reports to.

What about the answers?

As you set your own entry requirements, many of the answers will depend on your own individual needs and entrance criteria. However to help you answer the questions, we’ve devised a helpful checklist which will help you navigate the English testing landscape. Download our free guide to choosing an English exam for admissions

Nicola Johnson is Global Recognition Manager at Cambridge Assessment English.

This is sponsored content, paid for by Cambridge Assessment English.

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