Which English proficiency test should I take, Eiken or TOEIC?


Speaking of English qualifications, TOEIC and Eiken are almost always candidates for selection. However, there are times when I took the exam and obtained a qualification, but in reality it was not very useful later. If you decide to take the test without fully understanding the characteristics and merits of TOEIC and Eiken, this may happen.

This time, I will explain in an easy-to-understand manner the various differences between Eiken and TOEIC, which are useful for considering taking an examination, along with a score conversion table.

In addition, we will introduce TOEIC on the premise of the most common TOEIC Listening & Reading public test (hereinafter referred to as TOEIC L & R).

TOEIC and Eiken score conversion table

The first thing to notice about the difference between TOEIC and Eiken is the comparison between the TOEIC score and each grade of Eiken. For example, what is the equivalent score of Eiken Level 2 recommended in high school in TOEIC?

The TOEIC score converted to Eiken is as follows.

870~970 Level 1
740~820 Quasi-level 1
550~600 level 2
450~490 Quasi-level 2
291~299 Level 3
260~269 level 4
100~259 Level 5

According to the above table, you can see that there is a score difference of 130 points (difference at the lowest line) in terms of TOEIC score between Eiken 1st grade and quasi 1st grade. 90 points between quasi 1st and 2nd grade, 100 points between 2nd and 2nd grade, 159 points between quasi 2nd and 3rd grade, 31 points between Eiken 3rd and 4th grade, English The difference between Eiken 4th grade and Eiken 5th grade is 160 points. There is a large variation in the difference in scores for each grade.

TOEIC score level

What is the difference in English proficiency for each different score in TOEIC? Below is a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of English proficiency by listening and reading score.


495 – 375 points

When a wide range of vocabulary is used in short conversations and long sentences, the purpose, purpose, and basic context of the story can be inferred even if there is no repetition or paraphrase of information. Understand details even with complex syntax and vocabulary.

Weak in grammar and vocabulary that are not often used.

370 – 275 points

It is possible to understand the contents in a short conversation if there is no particularly difficult vocabulary. In long sentences, details can be understood when information is repeated or paraphrased.

It is difficult to understand the contents when there is a complicated syntax or esoteric vocabulary in a short conversation. In long sentences, it is difficult to understand the content if there is no repetition of information that uses esoteric grammar and vocabulary.

270 – 5 points

If the vocabulary is simple with short conversations or photo depictions, the content can be understood. If the vocabulary is simple in a long sentence or the information is repeated, the content can be understood.

It is difficult to understand the contents of vocabulary and syntax that are a little difficult to express directly in a short conversation. It is difficult to understand the content when it is a long sentence and it is necessary to associate a wide range of information, or when the vocabulary and grammatical structure are difficult.


495 – 425 points

The purpose, purpose, and details of the text can be inferred. Understand a wide range of vocabulary, exceptional meanings of commonly used words and idioms. You can distinguish between synonyms. Understand complex and esoteric grammatical structures.

Weaknesses can only be seen when many thoughts or complex thoughts are expressed in less words or in complex ways, or when esoteric vocabulary appears.

420 – 325 points

The purpose, purpose, and details of the text can be inferred. Information can be associated within a limited range even if difficult vocabulary and grammar are used. Understand intermediate level vocabulary.

A wide range of information cannot be associated. I can't understand esoteric vocabulary, exceptional meanings of commonly used words, and idioms. It is difficult to distinguish synonyms.

320 – 225 points

Easy guessing is possible for sentences of limited length. Can understand simple vocabulary. It is understandable if the grammatical structure is based on commonly used rules.

Paraphrasing and information association are not possible. I can't understand esoteric vocabulary, grammatical structure, exceptional meanings and idiomatic expressions of everyday vocabulary.

220 – 5 o’clock

Can understand simple vocabulary, phrases used daily, and basic grammatical structure.

I cannot guess the information in the text or understand the paraphrase of the information. When difficult linguistic elements are included, even a simple grammatical structure cannot be understood.

Eiken grade level

How does the English proficiency of each grade differ in Eiken? Below is a summary of the guidelines for each grade, so please refer to them.

Level 1

Advanced university level. Proof of English ability that can be used worldwide, such as overseas business scenes, with not only knowledge of English but also the ability to communicate and respond to the other party.

Quasi-level 1

Intermediate level at university. Proof of practical English proficiency that is useful for the English environment such as study abroad destinations.

Level 2

Proof of English proficiency that allows you to take on the challenge of studying abroad or taking university entrance exams after graduating from high school.

Quasi-level 2

Intermediate high school. It can be appealed as an English qualification for going on to school or getting a job.

Level 3

About junior high school graduation. Proof of solid basic strength.

Level 4

Middle school intermediate level. Proof of more practical basic strength.

Level 5

Beginner level in junior high school. The first target level for those who have started learning English.

Differences between TOEIC and Eiken [Overview]

What is the difference between TOEIC and Eiken in terms of exam costs and frequency of implementation? The outline of each item is explained below, so please refer to it when you are wondering whether to take the TOEIC or Eiken test.

Exam fee

I will explain the difference between TOEIC and Eiken exam fees.


The TOEIC test fee was revised in October 2021 and is as follows. If you retake the test one year later for three months from the same month using the same ID, the repeat discount will be applied. For example, if you take the test in November 2021 and then take it again in November 2022, you can take the test with a repeat discount.

Examination fee (tax included) 7,810 yen
Repeat discount examination fee (tax included) 7,150 yen
Repeat discount amount 600 yen

For Eiken

In the case of Eiken, the examination fee varies depending on the class, venue, and whether you are taking a group or individual exam.

* In the case of 1st grade and quasi 1st grade, the test will be taken only at the main venue.

Quote: Eiken "Examination Guide"

Implementation frequency

There is also a difference in the frequency of implementation between TOEIC and Eiken. Please refer to the information below.


TOEIC L & R is held more than 10 times a year. However, there are variations in the number of implementations depending on the venue. For example, even in the same 2021, prefecture A is held 12 times a year, but prefecture B is held only 4 times a year.

Please check the related page of the TOEIC official website below for the schedule in your area.

Test schedule by test location

For Eiken

Eiken is held less frequently than TOEIC, about four times a year.

The test schedule varies depending on the venue. In the case of Eiken, you can take the test at the "main venue" set up in about 230 cities in 47 prefectures nationwide, and in the case of group exams, you can take the test at the venue called "quasi-venue" set up by the applicant group. .. For details, please check the following page on the Eiken official website.

Eiken Examination Guide

The term of validity

How does the expiration date of the acquired English qualification differ between TOEIC and Eiken?


It seems that the expiration date of the TOEIC score is often recognized as "within 2 years", but in reality there is no expiration date. However, certificates and score reports can only be reissued within two years of the exam date.

There is no expiration date, but if you use it for the purpose of employment or promotion at a company, there are cases where the acquisition period is specified, so please be careful in that case.

For Eiken

As with the TEOIC score, Eiken is valid semi-permanently once you have obtained the qualification. However, the expiration date is 2 years only when using it for study abroad. Also, depending on the application destination, the expiration date may differ, so you need to contact each school.

Difference between TOEIC and Eiken [Test content]

Although it is an interesting test content, TOEIC and Eiken have different characteristics such as words and grammar used, listening and reading, and speaking questions.

I will explain the differences for each item.


Unlike the Eiken test, TOEIC does not have different test contents for each level, such as level 2 and level 3. Regardless of the difference in the English proficiency of the examinee, the same questions will be asked uniformly with the contents assuming daily life and business scenes. Therefore, the vocabulary used can be difficult for beginners.

If you want to aim for a high score with TOEIC, it is a good idea to learn the vocabulary that is expected to be asked in advance.

On the other hand, the Eiken test is divided into 7 stages from "5th grade" to "1st grade" so that it can accommodate examinees of various levels. Therefore, the questions will be given using words that match the difficulty of the test. It is a great merit of Eiken that you can narrow down the words to study according to the grade you are taking.


How to measure grammar ability is also different between TOEIC and Eiken.

In the case of TOEIC, questions about grammar knowledge will be given in Part 5 and 6. Since the same content will be given to all the examinees, it will be necessary to focus on grammar in order to improve the score as much as possible.

On the other hand, in the case of Eiken, there are no questions that require knowledge of grammar, such as fill-in-the-blank questions. That doesn't mean that you don't need grammar measures, so make sure you have the necessary grammar skills for each class.


In the TOEIC L & R listening section, 100 questions will be asked in about 45 minutes.

Listen to the explanation about the photo and choose the correct option Part 1 of the "photo depiction problem", Part 2 of the "response problem" to choose the appropriate response to the played voice, listen to the voice of the conversation of two or three people, It is divided into Part 3 of "Conversation Question", which selects the correct option for the subsequent question, and Part 4 of "Explanatory Question", which selects the correct option for the subsequent question by listening to the explanation of the announcement and narration. ..

Much of the content is about everyday life. Questions will continue one after another without a pause, so it is necessary to answer while switching quickly.

In the case of Eiken, the listening question format differs depending on the grade. For example, the question of choosing the right response to the content of the conversation, or the question of answering questions about the content of the conversation. Questions will be given on a wide range of themes, from everyday matters to academic content.


In the case of TOEIC L & R, 100 questions will be asked in 75 minutes. Therefore, the ability to read a large amount of sentences in a short time and quickly is required. I can't afford to spend one minute on each question, so it's a match against time.

On the other hand, in Eiken, the amount of sentences in the reading comprehension question is not as large as in TOEIC, but in order to reach the correct answer, it is necessary to read each sentence carefully and carefully. If you spend too much time reading, you will not have enough time to spend on other sections, so it is a good idea to plan your time allocation in advance.


In the case of TOEIC L & R, no speaking questions will be asked. There are three tests that can measure your speaking ability with TOEIC: TOEIC Speaking & Writing Tests, TOEIC Speaking Test, and TOEIC Bridge Speaking & Writing Tests. At this stage, it is not as major as TOEIC L & R.

In Eiken, speaking is given in the secondary exams of the higher grades (3rd grade, quasi 2nd grade, 2nd grade, quasi 1st grade, 1st grade). The content of the questions differs depending on the grade, and not only the point of being able to answer the questions accurately, but also the attitude such as positiveness is asked. Of course, the higher the grade, the more information provided, the more sophisticated the topic, and the higher the degree of free talk.

Which should I take, TOEIC or Eiken?

It's finally time to get into the main subject. Roughly speaking, the choices you should take, TOEIC or Eiken, depend on what you are aiming for.

Below, we will introduce which is the more advantageous option for each of the three cases of university entrance exams, job hunting, job hunting, and promotion.

When taking a university entrance exam

When using English qualifications such as TOEIC and Eiken for university entrance exams, your options will change depending on whether you go on to a domestic university or an overseas university.

When going to a domestic university

You can use both TOEIC and Eiken to go on to university in Japan. If you have TOEIC or Eiken qualifications, you will be exempted from the English subjects of the entrance examination, and you can also use it as a proof of your English ability in the AO examination.

It is necessary to confirm whether the TOEIC or Eiken test is certified, and the TOEIC score and the level of the Eiken test, which are the criteria for certification, are different for each university.

For Eiken, Level 2 can be considered as the lowest level considered for college entrance exams.

When studying abroad at an overseas university

TOEFL and IELTS are international standards for English qualifications that are accepted when going on to university abroad. Unfortunately, TOEIC is not well known overseas and cannot be used very much when going on to higher education. The only exception is when the partner school uses TOEIC as a guideline for determining English proficiency, such as when studying abroad as an exchange student.

While Eiken is not well known overseas, more and more educational institutions are accepting Eiken as a criterion for judging the English proficiency of international students. In this so-called Eiken study abroad system, about 400 universities and colleges around the world, including North America and Australia, certify Eiken as proof of English proficiency. It is also a good idea to get an opportunity through studying abroad at Eiken.

When appealing in job hunting

As an important skill for future business people, English proficiency is especially emphasized by companies and organizations. Eiken is well known among companies due to its long history, but on the recent employment front, more and more companies are considering TOEIC for new graduates and mid-career hires. Therefore, TOEIC tends to be more appealing in English.

According to the "English Utilization Survey" (Note 1), the reasons for using the TOEIC test are that companies and organizations are first "highly recognized" and secondly "easy to use" (can be implemented/used in-house). (Many times) is listed. The average TOEIC L & R score required by companies in recruiting new graduates is 545 points.

However, if Eiken is not considered at all, it is not. If you write it on your resume, it will appeal to you if you are at level 2 or above.

Note 1:
Source: Survey on English Utilization 2019

If you are aiming for a job change or promotion

In the case of job change/promotion, it is not clear at this stage whether Eiken or TOEIC is more advantageous, but at least it is certain that more and more companies are adopting based on the TOEIC score.

According to the English utilization fact-finding survey mentioned earlier, among the reasons cited by companies and organizations that have adopted the TOEIC test as usage purposes, the third most common reason is "promotion/promotion criteria" and "overseas assignments". , Criteria for selecting overseas business travelers, "Criteria for new graduate hiring / mid-career hiring", "Criteria for assignment decision/personnel transfer". It can be seen as a sign of the tendency that TOEIC is emphasized in terms of personnel.

According to the same survey, the average TOEIC L & R score required for promotion/promotion is 515 points for the chief / chief class, 530 points for the section chief class, 565 points for the department manager class, and 600 points for the officer class. In addition, his average TOEIC L & R score, which is a requirement and reference for mid-career recruitment in English-speaking departments, is 620 points. In addition, 620 points are required for selecting overseas business travelers / references, and 635 points are required / reference for selecting overseas employees. Both require a higher level than recruiting new graduates.


TOEIC and Eiken have different characteristics in various points such as level classification, question format, and frequency of holding. There are differences in the questioning tendency depending on the vocabulary and grammar used. Therefore, depending on the purpose of going on to higher education, studying abroad, getting a job, etc., there will be a difference in whether TOEIC or Eiken is more advantageous.

Please refer to the information introduced this time and challenge either TOEIC or Eiken according to the level you want to aim for in the future and the purpose you want to achieve!