Are Language Certifications Really Useful?

Many people believe that having a language certification is like having a Passepartout that will open many doors.
This is not entirely true. Language certifications are not the only way to prove your knowledge of a foreign language.
In fact, many people holding a certification are not actually able to have a real conversation. That is because after scoring a good mark at the test, many people just stop practicing and forget many of the things they used to know.
Moreover, most of the certifications need a specific preparation. The exams usually feature a fixed structure with particular types of exercises. Some guidelines are necessary while studying. But this study method is not always useful for becoming fluent in the language but mostly for performing well at the test.

What Do I Need A Certification For?

In general, whether you should get a certification or not really depends on your situation and needs.
They can be useful or even compulsory in some situations. For instance, if you want to study at a foreign university you will most surely be asked for TOEFL or IELTS. These two are usually the most common. One important thing is to make sure you are enrolled for the official certification from the entrusted provider. Otherwise, it will not be globally recognized and will lose its purpose. In fact, some general criteria are necessary to evaluate your knowledge and compare it with the one of a mother tongue.
Another reason why is worth doing the test and holding the certification is in case you need to apply for getting citizenship in a foreign country.

Concerning the job search, you will need a certification only for specific fields. For example, if you want to be a translator or interpreter you will most surely need to hold a certificate as proof of your qualification.

For other fields, it can help you catch the attention of recruiters. Especially if you are relocating to a foreign country or applying for a position where language knowledge is largely considered.
Anyway, it is not strictly necessary as your language level can be tested through other methods such as an interview. Most of the times it will be indeed tested even if you are holding a certification.
Anyway, it could still give you a small push toward your goal.  

Consider The Amount Of Effort.

You have to consider also the time and money you will spend on it. The fee for this kind of exams it’s usually expensive and can be around 150/200 euros. Plus, you have to consider it will take a consistent part of your time. Depending on your knowledge and the grade you expect to score it could keep you busy for a month or more.

In conclusion, when deciding you should take into consideration all these factors. Do some research and understand whether it’s really necessary for you to have a certification. If it’s not that important for your purpose, then it could just bring you to a waste of money and time.

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