English Language Tests Options For International Students To Study In Canada

Are you looking to study in Canada this fall, here is a review of English language tests that are government-approved and widely accepted by Canadian universities and colleges? With the fall 2020 semester not far away, many soon to be international students around the world are preparing their applications to study in Canada.

Each Canadian educational institutions sets its own admissions policies. They assess criteria such as an applicant’s transcripts, motivation letter, professional background, and professional and academic recommendations. They also assess your language abilities.  It is important that you check with the designated learning institution (DLI) you are applying to before deciding upon which English language tests to take.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, language testers have had to scale down their operations to comply with government lockdown restriction orders around the world. However, they are also offering online tests to help students meet the admissions requirements of Canadian higher institutions.

English Language Test Options For International Students

Here are language testing options approved and widely accepted by Canadian educational institutions:


The Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) test is run and operated by Paragon Testing Enterprises. It is accepted by over 180 colleges and universities across Canada, including all English-speaking universities and eighty-two (82) per cent of English-speaking colleges.

According to Paragon’s website, CAEL is set to once again be available in the UAE, India, the Philippines, and in most of Canada by May end. Test results are usually available within eight (8) business days.

IELTS Academic

The IELTS Academic test is run and managed by three partners: the British Council, Cambridge Assessment English, and IDP Education. This test is accepted by some 400 Canadian higher educationals institutions. It is currently available in over thirty (30) countries but is usually administered in about 140 countries.

Results are available after thirteen (13) days for paper-based tests and within seven (7) days for computer-based tests.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the three partners recently introduced the IELTS Indicator as a temporary solution to help international students complete their English language tests online. IELTS Indicator is taken online from the student’s home.

The IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training are the only English language tests approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for international students that want to fast-track their study permit application.

Under IRCC’s Student Direct Stream (SDS), residents of China, Vietnam, Pakistan, India, the Philippines, Morocco, and Senegal can get their study permit processed within twenty (20) calendar days, so long as they meet certain requirements, including obtaining a score of at least 6.0 on each skill of the IELTS (reading, listening, speaking and writing).

IRCC accepts both computer-based as well as paper-based IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training test results.


The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is accepted by approximately 400 Canadian universities and colleges including hundred (100) per cent of universities. Test results are available within six (6) days.

The TOEFL iBT (“Internet-based Test”) is typically available in over 150 countries but the organizers of the test, Education Testing Service (“ETS”) has had to scale-down operations just like every other tester. Test dates are becoming more available for international students in locations around the world in the coming days.

As a short measure, ETS is temporarily offering the TOEFL Special Home Edition iBT to students in every country where it runs tests except for mainland Iran and China. Test results are available after Ten days.

Pearson Test of English (PTE)

The Pearson Test of English (PTE) is accepted by ninety (90) per cent of Canada’s colleges and universities. Normally available in over fifty (50) countries, PTE is presently available in over Ten (10) countries, including in much of India. Results are usually available for most people within two days.

Pearson is also offering its Versant test online during the COVID-19 so that international students can get their English taken from the home. Versant test results are usually available immediately after the test has been completed.

IELTS General and CELPIP for Canadian permanent residency

There are other English language tests options available to international students. For example, there are tests that are offered by individual institutions themselves, such as McGill University, and the University of Toronto.

Before registering for an English language test, make sure that the Distance Learning Institutions you are applying to accept the test.

In addition, ensure that the DLIs will accept online tests that are currently being offered during the coronavirus period.

Many students go on to obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit and then apply for Canadian permanent resident status. Before lodging your Canadian immigration application, you have to take another English language test, and the two English tests accepted by IRCC are the CELPIP and the IELTS General.

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