International students who wish to pursue higher education in Canada must pass the required exams to qualify for admission. The required exams may vary based on the level of study, the student's country of origin, and the institution's policies.
In this guide, we will discuss the standard exams that many Canadian universities and colleges require for international students.
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Required exams for international students
There are some common exams that many Canadian universities and colleges require for international students. These exams are divided into the following categories:
- English language proficiency exams
- Standardised exams
Also read: Exams to study abroad for Indian students
English language proficiency exams
International students in Canada are often required to provide proof of their English language proficiency as part of their admission requirements to study at Canadian universities and colleges.
The following are some of the most commonly recognized English language proficiency exams for international students in Canada:
IELTS is one of the most widely recognised English language proficiency exams for international students and is accepted by most Canadian universities and colleges. It tests an individual's proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening in English.
IELTS has two versions: Academic and General Training. The IELTS Academic test is intended for individuals who wish to study at the tertiary level in an English-speaking country. In contrast, the IELTS General Training test is intended for individuals who wish to immigrate to an English-speaking country or must demonstrate their English language proficiency for professional or personal purposes.
It consists of four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The overall band score is calculated using all four sections and ranges from 0-9. A minimum overall band score of 6.0 or higher is typically required for admission into post-secondary institutions in Canada.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is another widely accepted and recognised international English proficiency exam for non-native speakers seeking to study in Canada. TOEFL measures language proficiency in four areas - listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
The TOEFL exam has two parts: an internet-based test (iBT) and a paper-based test (PBT). The iBT is the more commonly used version as it allows students to take the exam online in their own homes or other secure locations. On the other hand, the PBT requires students to visit an authorised test centre physically.
For both versions of the TOEFL, scores range from 0 to 120; these scores are then translated into levels that indicate language proficiency. Depending on the school's requirements, international students may need to score between 70 and 100 points to be accepted for admission.
The Pearson Test of English (PTE) is an internationally recognised language proficiency exam for international students looking to study in Canada. The PTE is divided into three sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Each section tests different skills and knowledge related to the English language.
The primary purpose of PTE is to assess the English language proficiency of non-native speakers in an academic context. It does this by testing the candidate's understanding of English grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and reading and writing skills through multiple-choice questions and short answer tasks.
The PTE has two versions – the Academic version and the General version. The Academic version assesses the English language skills of students for university or college courses. In contrast, the General version assesses English language proficiency for other purposes, such as visas, employment or immigration.
The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) is another popular language proficiency exam for international students wanting to study in Canada. It is a computer-based test that measures an individual's ability to understand and use the English language in real-life situations.
The CELPIP assesses four core skills: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The CELPIP exam scores are divided into three categories: General Test (for permanent residency), Academic Test (for university admissions), and Workplace Test (for professions requiring specialised knowledge).
The CELPIP exam has become popular among international students due to its convenient online format and accessibility. Students can take the exam in their own country and have their results sent directly to Canadian immigration authorities. Additionally, over 1,200 official CELPIP Test Centres are located worldwide, allowing students to take the exam at a location close to them.
Standardised tests are a common way for international students to demonstrate their academic capabilities when applying to Canadian post-secondary institutions. These tests provide universities with an objective measure of the student's knowledge and skills and indicate how they will fit into the university's curriculum.
The most popular standardised tests are:
The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is the standardised exam required for international students to gain admission into post-graduate programs in Canada. This exam tests a student's aptitude, critical thinking skills, and analytical writing and verbal reasoning abilities.
The GRE consists of three core sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. On each section of the test, students will be asked to answer multiple-choice questions that gauge their knowledge on various topics related to the designated section.
The GRE is scored on a scale of 130-170 for each section and an overall score of 0-6 points on the Analytical Writing component. It typically takes between three to six weeks from the day it is taken for scores to be released online. Scores are valid for up to five years, after which they must be retaken if needed.
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardised exam that is widely accepted by business schools and graduate programs in management, finance, and other related fields. It tests the students' quantitative, verbal and analytical writing skills and their English grammar and usage knowledge.
The GMAT curriculum tests students' general understanding of reading, writing, math and analytical skills. The questions in the GMAT are designed to test skills critical for success in a business school program. It focuses on testing a student's analytical ability by having them solve complex problems under limited time constraints.
The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test consisting of four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Integrated Reasoning. The time limit for the GMAT is three and a half hours, and the total score ranges from 200 to 800.
The SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) is a standardised college admissions test widely accepted by universities and colleges in Canada. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and essays designed to assess a student's academic readiness for college.
The SAT assesses a student's ability to solve problems related to reading, writing, math, and essay-writing skills. The exam focuses on reasoning through challenging questions involving analysis, problem-solving skills, critical thinking abilities, and data interpretation.
The SAT is scored on a scale from 400-1600, with 1600 being the highest possible score. Scores for each section range from 200-800 points. The average scores for both sections combined typically fall between 900-1100 points. A good score on the SAT can help students gain admission into competitive universities.
Exams are an important part of the process for international students looking to pursue higher education in Canada. They provide an excellent opportunity for international students to demonstrate their academic abilities and pursue their dreams of attending a Canadian university. With the right preparation, exams can be a valuable stepping stone in your journey towards higher education in Canada.
Frequently asked questions
What are the most commonly recognised English language proficiency exams for international students in Canada?
The most commonly recognised English language proficiency exams for international students in Canada are IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, and CAEL.
What are the most commonly recognised standardised exams for international students in Canada?
The most commonly recognised standardised exams for international students in Canada are GRE, GMAT, and SAT.
What are the different versions of IELTS?
IELTS has two versions: Academic and General Training. The IELTS Academic test is intended for individuals who wish to study at the tertiary level in an English-speaking country, while the IELTS General Training test is intended for individuals who need to demonstrate their English language proficiency for professional or personal purposes.
What does the GRE measure?
The GRE tests a student's aptitude, critical thinking skills, and analytical writing and verbal reasoning abilities.
What are the different sections of the GMAT?
The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test consisting of four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Integrated Reasoning.
What do the two versions of PTE assess?
The PTE has two versions – the Academic version and the General version. The Academic version assesses students' English language skills for university or college courses.