As promised, here are the prices for English tests in China:

  • IELTS: 2170 RMB ($303 USD)
  • TOEFL: 2100 RMB ($294 USD)
  • PTE: $310 USD

A few things are worth noting:

  1. Per Chinese law, the IELTS and TOEFL tests are administered in China via partnerships between their owners and China’s National Education Examinations Authority (NEEA). This inserts an extra level of bureaucracy into the whole process. This means that test-takers register for the tests via the NEEA website, get their scores via the same website, and pay the test fee directly to the NEEA. Test-takers are subject to the NEEA’s privacy policies. Moreover, at-home testing in China requires a clunky workaround. The NEEA also keeps some (a lot?) of the test fees, but I guess that’s the cost of doing business in China.

  2. Many people view this partnership as the reason test fees are so high in China. As you can see, the cost of taking a TOEFL or IELTS test in China is way above the worldwide average (which is close to $230 USD). On the flip side, fees are set in RMB, so Chinese test-takers are protected against the slow and steady rise in value of the USD. When I started tracking prices a few years ago China was the most expensive place in the world to take the TOEFL. I think it is the ninth most expensive now.

  3. It seems like Pearson administers its tests on its own. I’ve always wondered how that is possible. The NEEA handles the whole registration process for all the major tests in China – the TOEFL, the IELTS, the GRE, the GMAT, the LSAT. Even the CAEL. Am I missing something here?

  4. Students looking for a good deal in China might try the CAEL, which is fixed at 1920 RMB (267 USD).
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