Entrance Exams for Studying in Canada – GRE, GMAT, SAT, IELTS, TOEFL

To study in Canada or abroad, students need to demonstrate their language efficiency and aptitude to take admission in the desired institution. Canada is a bilingual country with two languages, English and French. The language may change depending upon the area.

Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario provinces speak French language. Students interested in the admission in the mentioned areas must be proficient in French.

Apart from that, exams such as GRE and GMAT are also a requirement for admission in the major universities of Canada.

Before, one makes a choice of a university, it is better to know about the international exams which must be accepted before filling the application forms of the universities.

The exams depend upon the countries and universities. There are situations when students could be exempted from the exam.

English Language Test in Canada- IELTS, PTE, TOEFL

English Language Proficiency tests are organized for the students aspiring to get admission in English speaking countries when their first language is not English.

There are few exams listed which are well-known for the ELP purpose: –

  • PTE
  • CAEL
  • CELPIP (For Canada)

Among these, TOEFL, IELTS and PTE are the most preferred exams for English proficiency around the world.

IELTS is considered to be the most well-known English language proficiency exam at undergraduate and graduate level.

Students who have completed their high school education from the following places are exempted from TOEFL, IELTS and PTE.

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • BermudaBotswana
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada: All provinces except Quebec
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • Fiji
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Liberia
  • Marshal Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Micronesia
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent & The Grenadines
  • Sierra Leone
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales)
  • USA
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

TOEFL measures the ability of a non-native English speaker to communicate in English language.

  • TOEFL is apt for the people who are seeking student visa for admission into universities of Canada.
  • It tests the examinee on the basis of reading, listening, writing and speaking categories.
  • TOEFL score is accepted in more than 10,000 institutions around the world.
  • It is not accepted by Canada in case, the person is seeking immigration. Only IELTS or CELPIP are the tests valid for that process.
  • The score must be less than two years from the first day of the class.

TOEFL Fee – US $170

Minimum score required to pass TOEFL (iBT)

  • Undergraduates – 79 and above
  • Graduates – 80 and above

Minimum TOEFL score requirement for top universities of Canada

University Minimum TOEFL Score (iBT)
University of Toronto 100
University of British Columbia 90
McGill University 90 – 100
University of Alberta 90
McMaster University 86

Though TOEFL is a well-recognized exam for English language proficiency but still, IELTS is preferred by considerable number of Canadian Universities.


  • If the students achieve the score of minimum 35 in SAT reading test, they are exempted from taking TOEFL and they do not need to request a TOEFL waiver. TOEFL will automatically be waived off when the application reaches the university.
  • Student who scores more than 670 in the critical reading section for OLDSAT exam or Reading Test score more than 35.
  • Exemption may also be provided to the students who have studied for at least 4 years from an institution where English is the official language. 

Extended Testing Time for disabled

  • 50% more time for exam
  • 100% double time for documentation breakdown

IELTS – International English Language Testing System

IELTS is organized to assess the English language proficiency of a candidate who is looking forward to go to a place where English language is used for communication. IELTS score is required for entry to Canada or other countries.

It is accepted by around 350 institutions in Canada.

Fact: IELTS was the first exam recognized by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Quebec for English language proficiency for Express Entry of skilled immigrants.

There are two types of IELTS exam:

  • IELTS General Test – For people who want to work or live in Canada
  • IELTS Academic Test – For students who want to study in Canada

One, who is planning to study in Canada must give the latter.

IELTS Fee – US $309

IELTS Academic Test

Most universities in Canada believe in IELTS rather than TOEFL. Institutions accepting IELTS are more as compared to institutions requiring TOEFL.

IELTS is more preferred exam worldwide when compared to TOEFL.

Average score required for IELTS in different Canadian Universities – 6.5 with each component not less than 6.0.

Minimum IELTS score required in top universities of Canada

University Minimum
University of Toronto 7 with each component not less than 6.5
University of British Columbia 6.5 with each component not less than 6.0
McGill University 6.5 with each component not less than 6.0
University of Alberta 7.0 with each component not less than 6.0
McMaster University 6.5 overall


  • If the student resides in English-speaking nation for at least 4 years is exempted from IELTS
  • Exemption may also be given to the students who have been attending the English   -speaking educational institution as Non-ESL program for at least 3 years.
  • Students with first language being English and have a passport of Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, UK and USA.

PTE – Pearson Test of English

There are two types of exams for PTE: –

  • PTE Academic
  • PTE General

PTE Academic

It is a computer-based exam aimed for non-native English population who wants to take admission abroad. It is a multi-level test. One advantage of PTE is that its results are revealed within 5 days from the date of test.

PTE is conducted throughout the year at its designated centers across the globe.

More than 200 colleges which includes, MBA, MS and B.Tech consider PTE as a famous English proficiency test.

PTE Fee – Between $150 and $210

Canadian Universities accepting PTE score

  • Acadia University
  • Alexander College
  • Algoma University
  • Algonquin College
  • Ascenda School Of Management
  • Assiniboine Community College
  • Bth Education Group
  • Bishop’s University
  • Brandon University
  • British Columbia Institute Of Technology (Bcit)
  • Brock University
  • Canadian Aesthetic Academy
  • Canadian Beauty College
  • Canadian Mennonite University
  • Canadore College
  • Cape Breton University
  • Capilano University
  • Carleton University
  • Centennial College
  • College Of The Rockies
  • Concordia University, College Of Alberta
  • Concordia University, Quebec
  • Conestoga College
  • Confederation College
  • Coquitlam College
  • Dalhousie University
  • Douglas College
  • Durham College Of Applied Arts And Technology
  • Emily Carr University Of Art And Design
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University (Vancouver)
  • Fanshawe College
  • Fleming College
  • Georgian College
  • Hillfield Strathallan College
  • Humber Institute Of Technology And Advanced Learning
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Lambton College
  • Langara College
  • Laurentian University
  • London School Of Business And Finance, Toronto
  • Macewan University
  • Marine Institute Of Memorial University
  • Mcgill University
  • Mcmaster University
  • Medicine Hat College
  • Memorial University Of Newfoundland
  • Mohawk College
  • Mount Allison University
  • Mount Royal University
  • New Brunswick Community College
  • Niagara College
  • Nipissing University
  • Northern Alberta Institute Of Technology
  • Northern College
  • Nova Scotia Community College
  • Olds College
  • Providence College
  • Providence Seminary
  • Pures College Of Technology
  • Queen’s University
  • Royal Roads University
  • Ryerson University
  • Sait Polytechnic
  • Saint Mary’s University
  • Sault College
  • Seneca College
  • Sheridan College
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Sprott-Shaw Community College
  • St Francis Xavier University
  • St Thomas More College
  • St. Peters College
  • The King’s University College
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • Trent University
  • University Canada West
  • University Of Alberta
  • University Of British Columbia
  • University Of Calgary
  • University Of Guelph
  • University Of Lethbridge
  • University Of Manitoba
  • University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology (Uoit)
  • University Of Ottawa
  • University Of Prince Edward Island
  • University Of Regina
  • University Of Saskatchewan
  • University Of Victoria
  • University Of Waterloo
  • University Of Windsor
  • University Of Winnipeg
  • University Of The Fraser Valley
  • Vancouver Island University
  • Western University
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • York University


International students who complete minimum of 3 years of studies from any academic institution where English is the official language are exempted from the test.

French Language Proficiency Test

Test d’Évaluation de Français pour le Canada (TEF) is a test of French language to measure the proficiency of the examinee in spoken and written French language.

There are two types of French exams:

  • TEF

One is suggested to write TEF instead of TEFAQ as TEF is acceptable for Quebec and federal immigration while TEFAQ is acceptable only for Quebec immigration.

TEF Fees

TEF Canada
4 modules Listening, Speaking, Writing and Reading 2 modules Listening and Speaking Listening Reading Speaking Writing
$460 $230 $90 $115 $140 $115

Aptitude Based Exams

Apart from language proficiency tests, one is also tested upon the critical and analytical skills. Exams such as GRE, GMAT and MCAT judges the examinee on the mentioned basis.

GRE General Test

GRE is accepted by numerous Canadian Universities for graduate admissions for international students. Around 1,000 exam centers are present over 160 countries.

GRE also holds GRE Subject Tests in the fields of: –

  • Mathematics
  • English Literature
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Psychology
  • Physics

Subject tests are organized for the students who have undergraduate major or background of one of the above mentioned subjects.

Canadian Institutions which do not require GRE Score

Smaller institutions in Canada exempt the students from GRE test. Mentioned are those institutions: –

  • Brock University
  • Carleton University
  • Concordia University
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Lakehead University
  • Laurentian University
  • Laval University
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Royal Roads University
  • Trent University
  • University of Lethbridge
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of New Brunswick
  • University of Northern British Columbia
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • University of Prince Edward Island
  • University of Regina
  • University of the Fraser Valley
  • University of Winnipeg

Apart from these, major universities such as McGill, University of Alberta or University of Toronto require GRE score for admission.

Programs which require GRE/equivalent for all applicants

  • Accounting
  • Counselling Psychology
  • Craniofacial Science
  • Finance
  • Library, Archival and Information Studies
  • Management Information System
  • Management Science
  • Marketing
  • Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Population and Public Health
  • Psychology
  • School Psychology
  • Strategy and Business Economics
  • Transportation and Logistics

Programs which do not require GRE

  • Master of Fine Arts Programs
  • Executive Programs
  • Online Master’s Program

MBA Institutions in Canada that accept GRE scores

GMAT is not necessary for MBA aspirants. Instead, GRE is the preferred test for technical and non-technical courses around the world.

Mentioned are the universities that accepts GRE for business education. 

  • Brock University
  • Cape Breton University (Community Economic Development)
  • Carleton University
  • Concordia University
  • Dalhousie University (MBA in Financial Services)
  • HEC Montreal
  • Ivey Business School Toronto
  • Lakehead University
  • McGill University
  • McMaster University
  • Queens University School of Business
  • St. Mary’s University
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Calgary
  • University of New Brunswick – Fredericton
  • University of Quebec at Rimouski
  • University Canada West
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of New Brunswick — Saint John
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Victoria
  • University of Western Ontario
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • York University

Fees for GRE Exam

Country Fees (U.S. Dollars)
Australia $230
China $231.30
Nigeria $220
Turkey $255
Other Areas $205

Score – Examinees must achieve at least 1100 together in verbal and quantitative sections. A minimum score of 3.5/6.0 in analytical writing section is also required.


Unlike top ranked public institutions in Canada, other institutions in Canada may waive off GRE.

GMAT – Graduate Management Aptitude Test

If students are taking GMAT, they are serious about the business school admissions. GMAT lets you identify

  • Commitment and motivation to succeed in a business school
  • Ability for critical thinking and reasoning skills
  • Open worldwide opportunity and earnings


Sometimes GMAT is also known as GMAT CAT. CAT is an acronym of Computer Adaptive Test. It means the test adapts to the examinee’s ability.

GRE general test is almost replaceable with GMAT. Canada accepts GRE scores for business schools too.

Unlike GRE, GMAT does not require high efficiency English from the aspirant. The exam judge’s the candidate on the basis of verbal, mathematical and analytical criteria.

GMAT prefers analytic thinking. GRE judge’s the student on the basis of knowledge base while GMAT as earlier considers the student on the basis of analytical thinking.

Therefore, GMAT CAT is considered to be a hard test.

Limitation: GMAT is only meant for management students while GRE has a broad base with maximum technical and non-technical tests.

GMAT Fee – $250 globally

Average score required for GMAT in most institutions of Canada- 550

Popular MBA programs requiring GMAT

  • Rotman School of Management (U of T)
  • Ivey Business School ( Western University)
  • Queen’s School of Business (Queen’s University)
  • HEC Montreal
  • Saudar School of Business (University of British Columbia)
  • DeGroote School of Business (McMaster University)
  • John Molson School of Business (Concordia University)
  • Ted Rogers School of Management (Ryerson University)
  • Telfer School of Management (University of Ottawa)
  • Sprott School of Business (Carlton University)
  • Sobey School of Business (Saint Mary’s University)
  • Alberta School of Business (University of Alberta)
  • Haskayne School of Business (University of Calgary)
  • Lazaridis School of Business and Economics (Wilfrid Laurier University)
  • Beedie School of Business (Simon Fraser University)


GMAT is required by the institutions offering business courses. In different situations, the students could be exempted with GMAT.

Mentioned are few well-known Canadian Universities for MBA without GMAT.

  • Ivey Business School
  • DeGroote School of Business
  • Rotman School of Management – University of Toronto
  • Schulich School of Business – York University

One may find admission in Canadian Universities. It is important to note that academic scores may not be as important as the international exams to test one’s language and intelligence.

MCAT – Medical College Admission Test

It is a standardized test which assess the critical and analytical thinking, natural behavior and social science concept of the students for the study of medicine.

Many Canadian schools require MCAT score for admission. Most of the schools do not accept the score which are more than three years old.

This computer based test judges physical and biological sciences and verbal reasoning skills.

MCAT Fee – $315 globally

A good MCAT Score

Each section of MCAT is scored between 118 and 132 which has 125 as the median. Similarly, the overall score ranges from 472 to 528 which has 500 as the median.

Expected score on percentiles basis

Percentile Scaled MCAT Score
Top 10% 514 to 528
Top 25% 508 to 513
Top 50% 500 to 507
Below 50% 499 or below

Popular Medical Schools accepting MCAT score

  • University of Alberta
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Manitoba
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Dalhousie University
  • Mcmaster University
  • Northern Ontario School of Medicine
  • Queen’s University
  • University of Western Ontario
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Toronto
  • McGill University
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • Laval University
  • University of Montreal
  • University of Sherbrooke

Exams like TOEFL, IELTS, PTE and more reveals the level of proficiency of a student for the given language.

Similarly, exams like GRE and GMAT check one’s intelligence through an aptitude test which comprises of sections such as critical and analytical thinking.

Selective students have an edge over others and are exempted from the required examination and get direct admission. Canada has a pool of world ranked universities and colleges along with a pool of international students.

It will never be difficult for foreign students to get admission in Canadian Universities if they are through with the language and aptitude.

Akhilesh Kumar
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