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OFFICIAL ENGLISH TESTS: The Eiken Test in Practical English Proficiency and the United Nations Associations Test of English (UNATE) - Japan
The Eiken Test in Practical English Proficiency is an English language test administerd by the Society for Testing English Proficiency (STEP), a non-profit organization, and its use is supported by the Japanese government. The test has four sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. It has seven levels (grades), ranging from "junio high beginner"(the lowest) to "university level" (the highest). The higher levels of the test are widely accepted in Japan as proof of proficiency. Some foreign institutions (in Australia, Canada, and the United States) also accept high-level Eiken results as proof of Japanese students' ability to communicate in English.
The United Nations Associations Test of English (UNATE) is a Japanese standardized test of both the English language and facts about the United Nations. It is administered by the United Nations Association of Japan. It is similar to the the above mentioned Eiken. The test has been growing in popularity in Japan, partly because of the "United Nations" association.