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English language test options for studying in Canada

Posted on June 3, 2020
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Study in Canada - Language Tests

Many individuals wanting to Study in Canada will now be preparing for the fall semester and sending their applications to the universities and colleges in Canada.

Each Designated Learning Institutes (DLI) has its own admissions policies. DLIs are colleges, universities, and other educational institutes that admit international students.

Applicants must meet various requirements and provide various documents such as transcripts, proof of professional background, letters of recommendation, etc. Another important requirement is meeting the required language proficiency level. For this, you as an applicant must take a language proficiency test.

You must check with the DLIs that you are applying for on which language test you should take.

Here are the details of the language tests that DLIs in Canada require prospective students to take.


The Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) test is operated by Paragon Testing Enterprises. More than 180 universities and colleges across Canada accept this exam, including all English-speaking universities and 82 percent English-speaking colleges. By early June, CAEL is expected to be available again in India, the Philippines, the UAE, and most of Canada.

The results of the test are available in eight business days.

Cambridge Assessment of English

C1 Advanced and C2 English proficiency tests offered by Cambridge Assessment are approved by more than 200 schools in Canada and nearly all public universities.

Test results are available for computer-based tests within 2-3 weeks, and paper-based tests within 4-6 weeks (both of which must be performed at a Cambridge research center).

These exams are usually taken after the students have completed courses in English. As such, assessments are more comprehensive in training students to be able to make effective use of their English language skills in real-life situations like higher education. C1 Advanced and C2 proficiency certificates have lifetime validity.

Cambridge is reopening its global test centers and encourages students to access the latest details at their local test centers.

Duolingo English test

140 Canadian post-secondary institutions accept the Duolingo English test. It can be completed in just 1 hour, and results are available in 2 days. The test is conducted online.

IELTS Academic

Three partners run the IELTS Academic Test: IDP Education, the British Council, and Cambridge Assessment English.

Some 400 Canadian universities and colleges accept this test. It is currently available in more than 30 countries but is normally administered in over 140 countries.

Results for paper-based tests are available after 13 days, and computer-based tests within 5-7 days. 

Pearson Test of English (PTE)

90 percent of Canada’s universities and colleges accept the Pearson Test of English (PTE). PTE is normally available in over 50 countries and is currently available in more than 10 countries, including India.

 Many people will get test results within 2 days.


More than 400 Canadian universities and schools, including 100 percent of universities, consider the TOEFL. Results are available in 6 days’ time.

Other options

International students have other options too. For example, there are assessments offered by individual institutions, such as the University of Toronto, and McGill University, themselves.

Before you register for an English language exam, make sure the DLIs you are applying for will accept the scores.

IELTS General and CELPIP for immigration

Many foreign students receive a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) and then apply for permanent resident status in Canada. You need to take another language test before submitting your Canadian immigration application, and the two English exams approved by IRCC are the IELTS General and the CELPIP.

English language proficiency tests form a crucial part of admission to Canadian universities and colleges. You must choose a test that is accepted by your target universities.

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