To enroll at a university abroad, international students have to pass an English language proficiency test. Academic institutions use this requirement to ensure that future applicants have the necessary language skills to understand lectures, complete assignments, and pass examinations
You’d usually have to register and then go to a test centre to take an English test. But these centres are now closed in most countries due to the COVID-19 outbreak. So, what are international students supposed to do?
Take an online exam, like the Versant English Placement Test (VEPT) offered by Pearson, the same organisation that provides the PTE Academic.
What is Versant?
Versant refers to a set of tests aimed at a wide range of non-native English speakers, who need to prove their English language skills in academic or professional environments.
Here are several examples of Versant tests:
- Versant English Placement Test (VEPT) – for students and academic institutions
- Versant English Speaking Test – for HR departments and prospective employees
- Versant English Writing Test – for businesses in all sectors, including customer support
- Versant 4 Skills Essential Test – for HR departments and Learning & Development programs
We’ll only focus on the Versant English Placement Test because our goal is helping international students like you. VEPT is an online computer-based examination evaluating the Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing abilities of non-native English speakers.
The main advantage of Versant? Unlike other English proficiency tests, which need to be taken in specialised centres, Versant can be taken from the comfort of your home – in a web browser or offline, by installing a computer software. You only need a reliable PC, internet connection and a good pair of headphones with a built-in microphone.
The Versant English Placement Test is available 24/7 and you don’t need to make an appointment to take it. After completing the registration and payment, you can take the test right away, or whenever you’re ready. The VEPT costs 39.95 USD.
What is the format of the Versant English Placement Test?
It takes around 50 minutes to finish the VEPT test, which includes 81 questions. These questions evaluate real-life skills, like summarising information, text comprehension, understanding emails and other forms of written or verbal communication, and so on.
The questions are grouped into 9 sections:
- Read Aloud
- Sentence Builds
- Sentence Completion
- Passage Reconstruction
- Summary and Opinion
Understanding the VEPT scores
The results are available online, within minutes after taking the Versant English Placement Test.
Scores range between 20 and 80, and you receive a detailed explanation of the concordance between your scores and the GSE (Global Scale of English) and CEFR (the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). Here’s a sample of a VEPT score report to make things crystal clear.
The good news continues, as there is no minimum passing score. It is up to each organisation to decide what result allows them to select the best candidates for their purpose.
Based on independent research conducted by Pearson in collaboration with other institutions (including universities), this is the concordance between VEPT scores and other similar English tests and grading scales:
VEPT vs CEFR Levels
20-23 = <A1
24-33 = A1
34-45 = A2
46-56 = B1
57-67 = B2
68-78 = C1
79-80 = C2
Learn more about the CEFR Global Scale.
VEPT vs IELTS scores
20 - 22 = 2.5
23 - 26 = 3
27 - 31 = 3.5
32 - 36 = 4
37 - 40 = 4.5
41 - 45 = 5
46 - 50 = 5.5
51 - 55 = 6
56 - 60 = 6.5
61 - 65 = 7
66 - 69 = 7.5
70 - 74 = 8
75 - 79 = 8.5
80 = 9.0
VEPT vs TOEFL® scores
20 - 40 = no score
41 - 45 = 44 - 56
46 - 53 = 59 - 80
54 - 59 = 82 - 92
60 - 69 = 94 - 112
70 - 76 = 113 - 119
77 - 80 = 120
We encourage you to think about these concordance numbers as relative information. The results and data were based on a limited number of test takers and they could not take into account all the variables. But it is a good starting point for people trying to understand the Versant test results.
What are the benefits of taking the Versant English Placement Test?
- You can take it from home using a computer. If you have a slow internet connection, you can download a desktop application and take the test offline.
- It's much shorter than PTE Academic (3 hours), IELTS Academic (2h 45 min) or TOEFL® iBT (3 hours).
- The results are available online shortly after taking the test.
- The scores are accurate and unbiased (Versant uses an automated computer-based evaluation system).
- It's easy to administer (for institutions).
- It is secure.
If the Versant English Placement Test sounds like a great alternative to you, request a free product tour or purchase a practice test. Before going all out and spending your money on the VEPT, please ensure that the university where you want to apply accepts it as a valid proof of English proficiency.