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What Is the Difference Between TOEFL & First Certificate?

published by Enrique Fernandes

tags: english exams, english test, toefl test, (all tags)

origin: What Is the Difference Between TOEFL & First Certificate? (

Choosing an English proficiency test from the many options available can be as challenging as actually learning the language. Understand the differences between two common tests, the First Certificate and the TOEFL, to decide which one is right for you.


Both tests verify your level of proficiency in the English language. The First Certificate in English is an exam offered by the University of Cambridge ESOL. It is an upper-intermediate level exam.
The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) tests for understanding and use of English in academic and general settings.

Uses of the Test

The First Certificate is used to verify written and spoken English for work or study. This exam may be required by some employers or educational institutions to prove your level of English. The TOEFL is most often required by English-speaking universities of foreign applicants, though some businesses and other institutions may also request this test.

Preparatory Classes

Many language schools and private tutors offer preparatory classes for these tests. The classes are designed to help you become familiar with the format of the test and the kinds of material that it covers.

Testing Dates

The TOEFL is offered as an internet-based or paper-based test, depending on the location, and is offered throughout the year. The First Certificate is offered only in the months of March, June and December at approved Cambridge ESOL exam centers.

What is Covered

The TOEFL employs writing, listening, reading and speaking (interacting with a computer or other voice recorder only) sections while the First Certificate includes reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary, listening and speaking sections (interacting with an examiner as well as with a group).

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