How to pass TOEFL and IELTS now if you are in Russia

TOEFL and IELTS cannot now be taken in Russia. However, there is a way out of this situation – you can take testing in another country or find an alternative to popular international language proficiency exams. In this article we talk about each of these methods.


TOEFL and IELTS are among the most popular international exams that confirm knowledge of English as a foreign language. They are usually taken for admission to foreign universities, work abroad or immigration.

However, now it is not so easy to pass these exams in Russia. In March 2022, the organizers of TOEFL and IELTS suspended exams in the Russian Federation. It is unknown when applications will be accepted in the country again. What about those who cannot wait? What if you need to prove your language proficiency in the near future? We found several options.

Option number 1: going abroad

One way for Russian residents to take TOEFL and IELTS is to do it abroad. This way you can get tested in any country where these exams are held.

On the official websites of TOEFL and IELTS it is easy to find testing centers and find out the test dates.

1. Go to the official TOEFL website – Find Test Centers and Dates section .
2. In the field, enter the city in which you plan to write the test, and click Continue.
For example, in July there are four “windows” for taking the exam in Yerevan. Below the calendar is a list of testing centers where you can sign up for TOEFL on these days.
1. Go to the official IELTS website – Book a test section .
2. In the field, enter the country in which you plan to write the test, and click Find a test location.
3. A list of testing centers in the selected country appears in front of you. For example, in Armenia there are two of them – American University of Armenia and British Council Armenia.
4. Click Book Now next to the selected testing center – the branch website opens. There you can choose a convenient exam date.

For example, on the British Council Armenia website you need to indicate in what form you want to take IELTS, on paper or on a computer, indicate the required exam dates or view all options, and then click Search for test. The following page will open with a list of venues and dates:

When registering for the exam, you must provide your passport details. The same document will need to be presented during the testing itself.

Registration is considered completed only after payment. From Russia, this can be done with a Mir card (relevant for those countries where this payment system is accepted) or UnionPay, a card from a foreign bank, or ask friends who have a bank account abroad to pay for the exam.

It is most convenient to take TOEFL and IELTS in a country where a visa is not required. Below is a selection of seven such areas:

Exam fees and exchange rates are as of June 13, 2022.

The advantage of this option is that you don’t have to switch to another test. You will pass TOEFL or IELTS – the exams for which you spent time and energy preparing. The downside is the additional costs of flights and accommodation in another country.

In addition to TOEFL and IELTS, you can take other exams in other countries that are temporarily not held in Russia. Among them, for example, are Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE-A), Certificate in Advanced English (CAE), First Certificate in English (FCE).

If you have questions about exams or other aspects of studying abroad, sign up for a consultation on admission to the USA . Our specialists will discuss your profile and tell you how they can help.

Option number 2: looking for alternatives

  1. Duolingo English Test (DET)

In Russia, the English language proficiency test from the learning application Duolingo is still available. Duolingo English Test (DET) is an affordable and affordable alternative to TOEFL and IELTS. The test certificate is recognized by 1943 educational institutions around the world. You can see if the DET certificate is listed at your university on the website .

You can take the Duolingo English Test (DET) online from the comfort of your home. To register for the exam, you need to register on the official website of DET. Taking the test will cost $49. From Russia you can pay for the exam using a UnionPay card.

The DET consists of two parts – a test (45 minutes), a short written work and a video interview (10 minutes). You can take a free practice test before taking the exam. It lasts 15 minutes. We talked about how DET differs from TOEFL and IELTS here .

The test results will come within two days. You can get from 10 to 160 points for the exam. To enter a foreign university you need to score at least 100 points, which corresponds to 6 on the IELTS scale and 74–79 on the TOEFL scale.

  1. University internal exam

Sometimes TOEFL or IELTS certificates are not needed for admission to foreign universities. Educational institutions themselves conduct an internal examination of English language proficiency. However, this opportunity is not available at all universities; information about this should be clarified at the selected educational institution.

These exams are usually free of charge and most are scheduled for June. The format of the event—in person or remotely—is determined by the university. It should be remembered that the exam results will be quoted only in the educational institution where you took the test.

How to prepare for exams?

To pass an exam that will prove that you can study or work on par with English speakers, preparation must consist of two parts – improving your English level and learning the test format. A trip to a language school will help with the first one. Immersion in a language environment for two weeks is an effective way to improve your English. And now this is also a profitable option – it is possible to book a trip at an attractive exchange rate with a discount of up to 30%.

Sign up for a free consultation with a Repafi specialist to choose the country, school and program that suits your goals.

Specialized online courses will help you prepare for the test itself. For example, “TOEFL above 100 points” and “IELTS 6.5 and above” . At these intensive courses, you will understand the exam system, understand what to solve first and what later, learn to quickly read assignments and search for the necessary information, and most importantly, get better at taking tests.

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