About CAEL or Canadian Academic English Language Assessment


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CAEL is a standardised test for English for admission to colleges in Canada


The test comprises an integrated set of language activities


The CAEL test is for $185

CAEL or Canadian Academic English Language Assessment 

What is CAEL?

CAEL or Canadian Academic English Language Assessment is a standardised test for English for admission to universities/institutes/colleges in Canada at undergraduate and graduate level.  CAEL is a topic based performance based test. It comprises an integrated set of language activities. Test takers read articles, listen to a lecture, answer questions and write a short essay- all on one subject. Students can take the exam anytime of the year. The CAEL test is for $185.
The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) promotes the CAEL Assessment as an effective measure of English language abilities. Students planning to apply to colleges in Canada can register to CAEL through an online registration process.

Test Format for CAEL

A student has to clear four topics, (a) Reading Response (b) Lecture Response or Listening Section (c) Writing Response and (d) Oral Language Response or Speaking Section 
  • Reading Response: The reading section is for 50 minutes out of total time of 2 hours and 15 minutes approximately. Students are given tow readings that are on the same topic as the Listening and Writing Sections would be. A student is tested on the basis of identifying main ideas, extracting specific information, understanding vocabulary in context, classifying information and following a logical or chronological sequence of events. The readings are taken from the following source:
    • First year university textbooks
    • Magazine and academic journal articles
    • Brochures or information leaflets
    • Newspaper articles
    • Graph and charts
    • Government documents


  • Lecture Response or Listening Section: The total time for the Listening Section is 20 minutes out of 2 hours and 15 minutes approximately. Students listen to a pre-recorded lecture on the same topic as the Reading Section and Writing Section. The lecture is adapted from a first-year university course for which the recording is only played once. Students have to listen, take notes and respond to tasks related to the lecture. Students will be tested on the basis of identifying main ideas, completing charts and diagrams, taking notes, sequencing information, filling in the blanks and recording specific information.


  • Writing Response: The Writing Section will take 45 minutes for students to complete approximately. The writing section involves writing an essay on a topic using the information from the Reading Section and the Listening Section to write their essay. The essays are typically one or two pages in length. The essay topic, a student has to agree or disagree with a claim, argue for or against a position, discuss advantages and disadvantages of a course of action. 


  • Oral Language Response or Speaking Section: The 25 minutes test is a tape-mediated test of spoken English in use for purposes. The section consists of five tasks which represent ways in which students talk about their academic work within colleges and universities. The task involves making short presentations, relaying information, explaining choices, summarising main points listening and responding to group discussions.  

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