Many international students dream of studying in Canada. Still, the language proficiency test requirement can be a significant barrier for some. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standard requirement for admission to most colleges and universities in Canada. However, some colleges in Canada offer admission to international students without needing an IELTS score. In this blog, we will explore some of the colleges in Canada that do not require IELTS scores for admission and the alternative options available for demonstrating English proficiency.
What is IELTS?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a widely recognised exam used by universities worldwide to assess international students' language proficiency. The test comprises four sections: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Upon completion of the three-hour exam, students receive an overall score reflecting their proficiency in the English language. While exams like the IELTS are often used to assess language skills for studying in English-speaking countries like Canada, it's not always mandatory.
Popular Intakes in Canada
Canadian universities offer three main intake periods for students: Fall, Winter, and Summer. Fall is the most popular student intake, followed by Winter and Summer. However, the Summer intake is often the least popular due to limited course offerings and fewer applicants during this period. In this blog, we'll explore the different intakes available for students and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Can you study in Canada without taking the IELTS exam?
Yes, it is possible. While many Canadian universities use IELTS to assess the language proficiency of applicants, some institutions have alternative language requirements that you can fulfil. Some universities may ask for a Letter of Recommendation from a previous academic institution, while others may exempt students from certain countries from providing English language proficiency scores. Additionally, there are other English language proficiency tests that Canadian universities accept besides IELTS, which you can submit during the admission process.
How to Study in Canada if You Don't Have IELTS Scores?
If you're interested in studying in Canada but don't have IELTS scores, don't worry! Many Canadian universities accept alternative ways of assessing English language proficiency. Here are some options:
Provide scores from other English proficiency tests like TOEFL, Duolingo English Test, or PTE.
Submit proof that you have studied in an English medium school for at least 4 years.
Candidates from English-speaking countries may be exempted from providing IELTS scores.
The university offers English language courses specifically designed for students who need to improve their English language skills.
Colleges without IELTS
University of Winnipeg
IELTS certification is not required to study at the University of Winnipeg, but you must provide proof of English proficiency. You can submit an English language proficiency certificate, including the Duolingo English Test. The university offers an English Language Program (ELP) that you can attend before starting your degree. To learn more about the language program exemptions and requirements, you can access the official manual on the University of Winnipeg's website, which is a helpful resource for those looking for alternative ways to meet English proficiency requirements.
University of Saskatchewan
The University of Saskatchewan, situated in the heart of Saskatoon, offers international students the opportunity to enrol in its courses by demonstrating an overall score of 86 in TOEFL, with minimum scores of 19 in each area. The Test of English as a Foreign Language is an excellent alternative to IELTS. In addition to accepting this test, the university allows students to take the CanTEST, the Canadian English test for scholars and trainees, and participate in the university's English Language Training program. CanTEST and IELTS assess four sub-skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Furthermore, CanTEST is not a computerised exam and features a face-to-face speaking test.
Brock University accepts the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as proof of English proficiency, but it is not mandatory. The preferred scores for admission are 88 iBT points for TOEFL, with a minimum of 21 for Speaking and a score of 580 PBT or 237 CBT (TSE 4.5) (TWE 4.5) for the Writing section. In addition, international students can improve their English proficiency by taking the Brock Intensive English Language Program.
To be eligible for admission to any undergraduate or graduate program at Brock University, you must have completed an International Baccalaureate diploma or its equivalent using English as the medium of instruction.
The Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador
International students who want to study at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador must demonstrate their English proficiency by providing their academic grades from the last four years. Although exemptions are rare, students can contact the university directly to verify their eligibility, primarily if their previous degree program was taught in English. The university also accepts TOEFL scores, which require a minimum score of 90, with a minimum of 20 in each Reading and Listening section and no less than 25 in the Speaking and Writing sections. In addition, students can submit their CanTEST scores, which require a minimum band score of 4.5 in the Listening and Reading subtests and a score of 4 in Writing. Moreover, the Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) requires an overall score of 70, with at least 60 in each band and no less than 70 in Writing and Speaking.
To apply to Carleton University without submitting IELTS scores, you must provide official transcripts from the past three years of high school, college, or university studies in English. In addition to this, other documents can be used to demonstrate your proficiency in the English language, such as the Canadian Academic English Language Test (CAEL) with a minimum score of 70, TOEFL iBT with an average score of 86, or the Pearson Test of English with an overall score of 60.
To be exempted from taking an English language proficiency test at Concordia University, students must meet one of the following three requirements, as the primary language of instruction is English:
- Completion of three full years of undergraduate or graduate studies at an approved university.
- Candidates applying to professional programs at the John Molson School of Business must have at least five years of work experience in an English-speaking environment and pass a personal interview.
- Completion of a Quebec Diploma of Collegiate Studies (DEC) and a university degree from a Quebec university (DEC evidence is required).
Alternatives to IELTS
Other than IELTS, there are alternative English proficiency tests that applicants can provide to apply for a study program in Canada. Here are some of the alternative English proficiency tests recognised by Canadian universities:
- CAEL Assessment (Canadian Assessment of English Language),
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language),
- Duolingo English Test
- PTE (Pearson English Language Test)
- CanTest (Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees)
Reasons Why Students Avoid Taking the IELTS Exam
In general, many students avoid taking the IELTS exam because they fear it could reduce their chances of acceptance into a Canadian university. Specifically, four main reasons discourage students from taking the IELTS exam:
- The IELTS exam format requires students to write short and long essays, which may be difficult for those who lack confidence in their writing abilities.
- The IELTS exam fee of 223.42 CA$ can financially burden some students.
- The speaking component of the IELTS exam is conducted face-to-face with an examiner, which may take more than one day to complete and can be a source of anxiety for some students.
- The IELTS speaking component test requires students to respond to questions in person, which can be stressful for specific individuals.