Exams required to study in Canada for international students

If you want to apply to Canadian universities for higher education, it is crucial to know about the exams that you will need to take to complete the process. The exams that you might require to take will depend on the level (graduation, post-graduation, or PhD) you want to study and the kind of course you are applying to. To shed more light on the subject, let us talk in detail about the exams required to study in Canada. 

IELTS: International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a well-known and widely-accepted English proficiency test. Canadian universities mostly ask for the IELTS scorecard for admissions, especially from international students who come from non-native English speaking nations. This exam can be taken in two ways:

  1. Paper-based -:  Results will be provided after 14 days.
  2. Computer-based -: Results will be provided after 3 to 5 days.

The IELTS exam is scored on a scale of 1.0 to 9.0. One needs a band score of at least 7.0 for admission to renowned Canadian universities. Depending on the course and the university, the IELTS score requirement may change and usually ranges between 5.0 to 7.5.  For a Canadian visa, you need to obtain a minimum score of 6.0.

The IELTS exam tests a candidate on four language skills, namely reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The listening and speaking sections for all the candidates are the same. However, when it comes to the IELTS syllabus and pattern, one can choose between Academic and General Education. The listening, writing, and reading sections need to be completed on the same day whereas the speaking module can be taken seven days before or after the first three modules. The speaking exam will be scheduled based on the test center’s discretion. 

The cost involved in appearing for the IELTS examination in India is currently INR 14,700 and the scores are valid for a period of two years. 

The exam may not be taken in the following cases:

  1. If you have resided in a country where the medium of communication has been English for at least four years.
  2. If you are a citizen of a predominantly English-speaking country.
  3. If you have been a part of an English medium educational institution for a minimum of three years.

TOEFL:  Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is also an English language proficiency exam that tests the abilities of an applicant who wishes to study or work in an English-speaking country. TOEFL, much like the IELTS examination, tests the applicants based on four skills, which are reading, listening, writing,  and speaking. The cost involved in taking this test is currently INR 13,617 in India.

The TOEFL examination can be taken in two formats:

  1. TOEFL iBT test – This is an internet-based test that is scored on a scale from 0 to 120. Each section comprises 30 marks. The reading and listening sections are completed first, after which the writing and reading tests are taken. There is a 10-minute recess between the two sections. A total of 203 minutes is given to take the test. The acceptable TOEFL iBT score for admission in Canadian universities ranges between 90 and 100.  
  2. Paper-based test (PBT) – This test is scored on a scale of 0 to 677. It comprises three subsections, namely listening (0 to 68), speaking  (0 to 68), and reading (0 to 68). The writing section is scored separately on a scale of 0 to 6. Usually, Canadian universities seek a minimum score of 580 on the TOEFL PBT. 

The TOEFL PBT is only available at those centers that do not have internet access. So, most applicants are likely to give the internet-based test. A TOEFL score is valid for a maximum of two years. 

There are certain conditions under which the TOEFL test might not be required for admissions, but this completely depends on the university’s preference. The TOEFL test might not be required under the following circumstances:

  1. If the applicant has scored at least 35 on the SAT reading test.
  2. If you have been a part of an educational institution for a minimum of four years where the official medium of communication has been English.

PTE : This is also a well-recognized academic test that is accepted by many Canadian universities. PTE stands for the Pearson Test for English and is gaining gradual recognition within the Canadian education system. The cost of taking this exam in India is INR 13,300. A PTE score is usually valid for a maximum period of two years. 

The PTE test is scored on a scale of 0 to 90. Usually, a score between 65 to 75 is accepted by Canadian universities. 

Other exams required to study in Canada:

GMAT: Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is extremely important for students who want to pursue a degree in management or business. This examination tests an applicant’s ability in English, maths, and logical reasoning. Initially, the test was for MBA aspirants applying to the USA for degrees in management or business but it is now being accepted by many colleges all over the world. 

MBA schools in Canada usually seek a score of around 550 in the GMAT examination. This can range between 500 to 600 and above depending on the university requirements. A GMAT score is usually valid for five years. 

GRE: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is important for students applying for master’s programs in arts (MA) or science (MS) in Canada. Even though there are a few management universities that accept the GRE score during admissions, not all Canadian universities accept the GRE academic for management aspirants. The applicant should carry out a thorough investigation on whether or not the university of preference accepts the GRE score for admissions. The GRE examination is one of the most prestigious examinations within the education system of Canada and evaluates the applicant based on four specific criteria: 

  1. Quantitative reasoning or Maths.
  2. Verbal reasoning
  3. Analytical writing skills
  4. Critical thinking 

The GRE score ranges between 0 to 340. An acceptable GRE score for Canadian universities ranges between 310 to 315. A GRE score is usually valid for five years.

LSAT:  Law School Admissions Test or LSAT is a standard examination required for students who want to pursue a degree in law. This examination tests the applicants based on two criteria, namely reading and speaking. LSAT scores are valid for five years. The LSAT score ranges between 120 to 180 out of which a minimum score of 150 is required for admission into a Canadian law school. 

SAT: Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) assesses a student’s ability of reading, analyzing, and writing. This test is required by institutions that want to evaluate an applicant’s behavior under certain circumstances. This exam is taken by high school graduates and is more or less a mandatory examination for admission into Canadian universities that offer graduate programs. 

The SAT exam score ranges between 0 to 1600. For admission into a Canadian university, the minimum SAT score required is 1150. 

MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is mandatory for students who wish to pursue a medical degree. The test evaluates the applicants based on certain criteria which have been mentioned below:

  1. Biological and Biochemical foundations of living systems. 
  2. Chemical and Physical foundations of biological systems.
  3. Psychological, Social, and Biological foundations of behavior.
  4. Critical analysis and reasoning skills.

A single section needs to be attempted within 90 to 95 minutes and there are a minimum of 50 questions per section. The entire duration of the examination is approximately seven and a half hours which includes breaks in between. The MCAT score is valid for two to three years. 

Even though MCAT scores are mandatory for admission, if the applicant has three years of work experience then he/she might be excused.

 Lesser-known examinations:

CAEL: Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) is an English proficiency test that can be taken at a test center in India for INR 2,864. The test evaluates four English language skills, namely reading, listening, writing, and speaking. You will be assessed on a scale of 10 to 90. The best thing about CAEL is that you can see the results within eight working days. 

MELAB: Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) is a test taken by non-native English speakers to qualify for English proficiency standards in Canada. It costs INR 12,017 to sit for the test, and an extra INR 2,861 if you opt for the optional speaking test. The scores are valid for a period of two years

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