What Exams Are Required to Study in Canada

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If you're planning to study in Canada, then you need to be prepared for some standardized examinations as many Canadian institutions ask for them during admission. Depending on the university and program chosen by you, you must take up these exams and clear them with at least minimum marks to be considered for the course intake. International students need to get in touch with their respective colleges or universities and verify the exams they need to be taking beforehand. This way students can breeze through the admission procedure. While English Proficiency Tests like IELTS, PTE, CAEL, and TOEFL has widely accepted by Canadian educational institutes, there are other examinations students need to take to complete the admission procedure and secure a seat in the college. Some of these exams include GMAT, GRE, LSAT Canada, SAT, MCAT Canada, etc. 

English Proficiency Tests

The primary language of instruction at a majority of universities in Canada is English. Therefore, studying in Canada required international students to possess a certain level of proficiency in English to be able to study and live in the country. Whether or not you're required to sit for an English Proficiency Test depends on a few factors, like where you come from, your educational background, etc. Also, individual colleges and universities in Canada can have their criteria for English Proficiency Tests to allow international students to study in their place. However, the most popular English Proficiency Tests in Canada include IELTS, CAEL, TOEFL, and PTE.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

To study in top Canadian universities and colleges, international students need to produce an IELTS score. A majority of Canadian colleges accept IELTS scores for evaluating the language skills of students, especially those belonging to non-native English-speaking countries. The IELTS exam itself is divided into four sections – listening, writing, reading, and speaking. International students are expected to score minimum marks in each of the parts to be considered for various courses in Canada. The minimum overall score required may vary from one course to another and also depends on the level of study. On average, students pursuing undergraduate courses in Canada need to have a minimum overall IELTS score of 6 with no band less than 5.5. For postgraduate courses, students need to have a minimum overall score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.

Some of the popular Canadian universities accepting IELTS scores are:

  • McGill University
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Trent University
  • McMaster University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Waterloo
  • University of Montreal
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Calgary

CAEL (Canadian Academic English Language)

An alternative to TOEFL and IELTS, CAEL (Canadian Academic English Language) is a test that assesses the ability of a student to use English at the post-secondary level. CAEL is accepted by most Canadian universities and, therefore, international students interested in studying in Canada should consider taking up this exam. CAEL assesses the ability of the students in different aspects of the English language, like speaking, listening, writing, and reading.

However, international students need to meet certain eligibility criteria to be able to take up the CAEL test. These include:

  • Candidates need to have a valid passport and an approved document for identification purposes
  • After clearing the CAEL, 10+1 or 10+2 secondary education is required for students who wish to apply for undergraduate programs
  • Candidates can take up the CAEL test any number of times. However, the result of the previous test needs to be obtained before appearing for the next test.

The total duration of the CAEL test is for 3.5 hours and the paper has four sections – Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking. In the Reading section, students are expected to collect information provided as extracts from brochures, documents, and textbooks and use them to identify and classify the main ideas. In the Listening section, students will be answering the questions while they're listening. Some of the common tasks they'll be undertaking include taking notes, filling in blanks, completing charts and identifying details. In the Writing section, students are expected to complete an essay based on the information they collected from the Reading and Listening sections. Also, students are expected to agree or disagree and present a claim. In the Speaking section, students need to collect main points and make short presentations after listening to group discussions.

There are more than 180 institutes in Canada that accept CAEL scores. Some of them are:

  • Alberta University of Arts
  • Bow Valley College
  • ABM College
  • Cypress College
  • Lakeland College
  • Burman University

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

More than 400 universities and colleges across Canada accept TOEFL scores for assessing students' English Proficiency levels. The TOEFL iBT is accepted by more than 80 per cent of graduate programs in Canada and thereby making it the most popular English test to be accepted by the colleges in the country. The TOEFL exam pattern is designed such that students' abilities in different areas of the language like listening, reading, writing, and speaking are tested to an acceptable level. While there are many TOEFL test centres available across the world for students to take up the exam, the pandemic has prompted the authorities to conduct the same exam from the comfort of home. The cut-off TOEFL scores largely depend on the course applied to and the university chosen by the student. In general, a score of 110 should help students get into the Tier I universities of Canada. The scores between 80-90 are considered to be good to get into other top colleges in Canada.

Given below are some of the top Canadian universities that consider TOEFL scores during admission:

  • University of Toronto
  • McGill University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Montreal
  • McMaster University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Waterloo
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Queen's University
  • Western University
  • Concordia University

PTE (Pearson Test of English)

Getting a student visa to study in Canada isn't a straightforward job. There are a few prerequisites students need to meet to be able to study in the country. Scoring decent marks in English Proficiency Tests like PTE is one of them. Many educational institutes in Canada accept PTE scores. Also known as the Pearson Test of English, PTE is a computer-based test that assesses students' ability in different areas – Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. PTE Academic is given by a vast majority of students wishing to study in Canada. To be able to secure a place in the university, international students need to score at least 58-73 in the PTE test. However, this score range can vary from one university to another.

Given below are some of the top Canadian universities that accept PTE scores during admission:

  • University of Calgary
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Waterloo
  • Ryerson University
  • Saint Mary's University
  • Western University
  • Simon Fraser University
  • McMaster University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Alberta
  • McGill University
  • Concordia University

Other Examinations

There are many other general tests international students may need to take up to secure admission to top Canadian universities or colleges. Some of these include:

  1. Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT): International students aspiring to study MBA will benefit a lot in appearing for the GMAT exam and scoring well in it. GMAT test scores are an indicator of students' ability to speak English, reason, and math. However, many Canadian colleges and universities do not require GMAT scores to be considered for their programs.
  2. Graduate Record Examinations (GRE): This examination is recommended for students who wish to pursue MS or MA in Canada. There are quite a few business institutions across Canada that have started considering GRE scores before they start enrolling students into their programs. However, there are still many colleges in Canada that do not require GRE scores.
  3. Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT): SAT is conducted by colleges to assess students' ability to write, read, and analyse different situations. International students are encouraged to check with the college authorities whether SAT scores are considered for their programs or not.
  4. Law School Admission Test (LSAT): If you're applying for a Canadian law school, then you need to appear for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This standardized test assesses the speaking and reading abilities of students.
  5. Medical College Admission Test (MCAT): Many medical colleges and universities across Canada consider MCAT scores during admission. This computerised examination evaluates students' ability to reason verbally, and ideas of biological and physical sciences. MCAT also examines one's analytical and critical abilities. 

If you're planning to study in Canada but are not sure where to start, then get in touch with the experts at AECC . We not only make you aware of all the steps required to study in Canada but also guide you in making your dreams come alive. Our expert advisors will throw more light on the different exams you'll be required to take before you start applying to Canadian universities and colleges. As different colleges have different examination criteria, we help you prepare for them earnestly. AECC has been at the forefront in preparing students to take up different exams, including English Proficiency Tests and helping them score competitively. If you're nurturing goals of studying in Canada, then now is the time to make it a reality!

AECC is one of the world's leading educational consultancies with versatile expert professionals who are ready to help you with any queries you may have. Contact us so we can be of assistance to you in your journey of fulfilling your dream.


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