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Exams Required to Study in Canada

8 min read
Blog Summary Learn about the essential exams required for international students to study in Canada, ensuring a smooth application process.

Canada doesn't need an introduction—it will have 25 QS World University Rankings in 2022, is the home of recognised academic credentials, and is a top destination for international students at the best universities. The public and private sectors of the nation's education system are both well-known. Canada promotes education over other industries; therefore, whether it is a private or public institution, the former receives the greatest funding.

Every international student who wants to study in Canada must take a few required standardised tests. The degree of schooling you intend to pursue will determine the specific examinations you must take. Different entrance exams are needed for different degrees and college programs. While academic skill and language fluency are both required by educational institutions, language competency is a requirement for a Canadian student visa.

Students can also take several tests to demonstrate their proficiency in English, French, or even both. Knowing which exams you must pass to submit a full application is crucial if you are an international student planning to study in Canada. International students are typically required to present documentation of their English language skills to Canadian colleges. IELTS and TOEFL are the two most popular tests.

List of Exams Required to Study in Canada

As Canada is mainly English-speaking, any non-native individual studying, working, or residing there must have adequate language abilities.

The following are the exam criteria for admission to top-ranking colleges in Canada which are most popular among Indian students:

Exam Name 

Minimum Band Requirements











Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

This standardised test is accepted in practically all Canadian higher education institutions for various reasons. For people looking for a student visa to study at a Canadian university, the TOEFL is a suitable test to determine their level of English proficiency. More than 11,000 colleges and organisations throughout the world recognise TOEFL results. The four sections of this test are writing, speaking, listening, and reading.

Students have two years from the time they get the results to apply and be accepted by the university of their choice before it expires. To pass the TOEFL, undergraduate students must score 79 (or above), whereas graduate students must get an 80. (and above).

One should remember that passing the SAT reading exam with a score of 35 will exempt them from taking the TOEFL if they can also provide evidence of four years of English-language study in a formal setting. The TOEFL results are not accepted for immigration purposes; it is important to remember. Only IELTS or CELPIP results are accepted as proof of English competence for immigrants.

International English Language Testing System

IELTS is a commonly used test that assesses candidates' level of language ability for admission to Canadian universities and colleges. The International English Language Testing System evaluates candidates' reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills, similar to other language tests. IELTS tests come in two different varieties. The IELTS Academic Test is the typical type of test for students who want to study in Canada, and the IELTS General Test is designed for those who seek to live or work in Canada, respectively.

IELTS is a test that opens many doors since it is recognised as evidence of English proficiency for study at all Canadian universities and colleges and for citizenship and permanent residency by provincial and federal governments. More specifically, almost 300 Canadian institutions have accepted this test.

Test of English by Pearson (PTE)

For non-native English speakers, the Pearson Test of English has just been made available in Canada. Additionally, not many Canadian universities will think it suitable. Before taking the test, which costs about CA$310 (US$247), students are advised to confirm with the school to which they plan to apply. People who finished their schooling in a setting where English was the official language are exempt from having to show their PTE results.

Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL)

All English-speaking universities and 82% of English-speaking colleges in Canada accept the Canadian Academic English Language test, which over 180 institutions and colleges accept. Your proficiency with the English language is evaluated on the test in the four skill areas of reading, listening, writing, and speaking. Since it may be done online, at home, or in a testing facility, the CAEL Test is particularly versatile. A scale from 10 to 90 will be used to rate your performance. The best feature of CAEL is that you may check your results online within 8 business days of taking the exam.


The CAEL test costs INR 2,864 and can be taken in Canada, the United States, India, the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, or China. The exam measures your English competence in four areas: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. You will read articles, listen to a lecture, respond to questions, and write a brief essay. Your performance will be graded on a scale of 10 to 90. The best part of CAEL is that the results are available online within 8 business days of taking the test.


MELAB is a test administered by non-native English speakers in over 70 nations to qualify the English proficiency levels in countries such as Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. It is offered by the University of Michigan's English Language Institute. It costs INR 12,017 to take the exam and an extra INR 2,861 to take the optional speaking test. The results are valid for two years.


CELPIP is divided into two types: the General exam, which is used for permanent residency applications, and the General LS test, which is used for IRCC citizenship applications. Most students take the General Test, which costs INR 10,845, and the results are valid for up to two years. For visa reasons, a minimum score of 7 is necessary.

French Language Tests

French is spoken by around 20.6 percent of the Canadian population, with most speakers in Quebec. French is used as the medium of teaching in certain universities in that area and others.

As a result, it is critical to ensure that any overseas students who enrol in those programs speak enough French to understand what is being taught. TEF or TEFAQ recognised scores will meet the Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadiens (NCLC) criteria.

Test of English Evaluation or TEF

Examen d'Évaluation de Français, or TEF, is a test that evaluates applicants' proficiency in the French language to pursue their academic goals at French educational institutions. It's crucial to understand that a TEF score of 400 is needed to enrol at the University of Montreal. Additionally, in the case of economic immigration schemes that involve proof of language ability, TEF is a prerequisite exam for obtaining Canadian citizenship.

Test of French Adapted for Quebec or TEFAQ

Unlike the Test d'Évaluation de Français, the TEFAQ, or Test de Français Adapté au Québec, is only useful for persons moving to the province of Quebec. The French Assessment Exam adapted to Quebec (TEFAQ) is a test created to evaluate a student's level of understanding and oral French expression knowledge and skills. Oral comprehension, written expression, oral presentation, and reading comprehension are the four modular sections that make up this exam.

Subject Aptitude Tests

  • Graduate Record Examinations or GRE
  • Graduate Management Admission Test or GMAT

Graduate Record Examinations or GRE

The Graduate Record Examinations, sometimes known as the GRE, is a standardised exam used to determine if a candidate is qualified to enrol in graduate programs in the United States, Canada, and other nations. In addition to the General Test, the GRE offers the Subject and Writing Assessment Test. This exam carefully examines a candidate's verbal reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing abilities to determine their suitability for admission to a higher education facility.

The candidate must be a graduate student or be on track to graduate within the next six months to take the GRE, which is important information to be aware of. You should know that some schools and programs may need a high exam score. One should examine the entry requirements of the chosen institution because some specific universities do not require GRE scores.

Graduate Management Admission Test or GMAT

For higher education in Canada and other English-speaking countries, the GMAT is an adaptive computer exam (CAT) used to evaluate candidates' analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English. For entrance to MBA or master's programs, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has registered the GMAT as a trademark. In general, this test calls for proficiency in a specialised language and an understanding of certain geometry, mathematics, and arithmetic. The examination may be taken up to five times annually, but a person may not have it more than eight times in one calendar year.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key standardized exams required for international students to study in Canada?
International students aiming to study in Canada typically need to take standardized exams such as the IELTS or TOEFL to demonstrate English language proficiency. Additionally, they may need to take exams like the GRE, GMAT, or SAT for specific programs.
Are there language proficiency requirements for international students, and which English language proficiency tests are accepted in Canada?
Yes, language proficiency requirements exist. Canadian universities and colleges commonly accept the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores as proof of English proficiency.
Do international students need to take exams like the GRE or GMAT for admission to graduate programs in Canada?
Some graduate programs in Canada may require applicants to submit GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) scores as part of their application, particularly for business or STEM-related programs.
What is the importance of language proficiency exams, and how do they impact the admission process for international students?
Language proficiency exams ensure that international students can effectively engage in coursework and communicate in English, which is essential for academic success in Canada. They play a crucial role in the admission process and may determine eligibility for English language programs.
Are there preparation resources and courses available to help international students excel in these standardized exams?
Yes, various test preparation resources, including study guides, practice tests, and preparatory courses, are available to help international students prepare for exams like IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT. These resources can enhance their performance and chances of admission.

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