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The Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL)

The Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL) is a standardized test of English used for admittance to higher education institutions in Canada. It indicates the level of English language of the candidate desires to study in Canadian colleges and universities.

The CAEL Assessment offers a unique alternative to other standardized tests of English because it is a topic-based performance test.

The CAEL test assesses candidates collectively through one subject in a variety of reading and writing skills.


CAEL has 4 sections- Reading response, listening, speaking, and writing response.

Total Duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Reading Response

In this section, two readings are given to the candidates. The candidates are required to recognize and extract the main idea of the text, understand the language and expressions in context, organize the information, and follow a sequential pattern of events as they occur in the readings.  The readings are adapted from the following sources: first year university textbooks, newspaper articles or academic journals, magazine, information leaflets or pamphlets, and government documents.
  • Duration: 50 minutes

Listening / Lecture Response

In this section, a pre-recorded lecture on the same topic as the reading and writing section is presented to the candidates. The recording is played only one time. The lecture is taken from the first-year university curriculum. Candidates are asked to perform the task or answer questions related to lecture. The tasks are: recognizing the central idea, taking notes, completing the diagrams, filling in the blanks, organizing and recording information.
  • Duration: 20 minutes

Speaking Section/Oral Language Test

The test comprises 5 tasks in which candidates are required to talk about their academic work within colleges and universities. The tasks include making short presentations, communicating information, summarizing the key points, listening and replying to group discussions.
  • Duration: 25 minutes


In this a topic for essay is given to the candidates. Candidates must use the information from the reading and listening section to write their essay. The essays must be one to two pages in length. The essay topic requires the candidate to argue in favor or against the topic, and talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the subject or topic.
  • Duration: 45 minutes

Registration and Fees

Step1: You can register online for CAEL. You need to fill an online form available at CAEL-Registration (hyperlink). Along with filling in your particulars, you’re required to enter the details of a valid identification proof (at least two) and upload a photograph as well.

** Identification Proof can be a valid passport with recent photo and signature, driver’s license, or any other photo ID issued by a government authority

Step 2: After you have filled the registration form, you need to create an online profile by entering username and password. This profile will help you to get your Admission ticket as well as your score report. You need to log in to get these details.

Step 3: Pay the registration fee. Choose the mode of payment. If you want to pay it online, then you can pay by credit or debit card, and if you want to pay the fee by Money Order you need to mail it to the CAEL Office.

Step 4:
Click the “Register” button. The system will ask you to confirm the details and click “Yes”.

Step 5: Your request for registration will be processed within 3 working days. You will get an email if your registration was successful showing your test Admission ticket. You can download it from your profile. Go over it carefully, take a print out of it and bring it with you on test Day.

To know more about the registration and other details, visit CAEL-Location  (hyper-link). Choose a location and know about the dates and deadlines and other necessary details.

You can also reschedule the test, but only once.  To reschedule you need to fill a rescheduling form and sent it to CAEL office.

Contact details of CAEL office:

The CAEL Assessment Office
300 St. Pat's Building
Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1S 5B6
Toll free no. within North America: 1-855-520-22351-855-520-2235
Toll free no. within Ottawa: 613-520-2600613-520-2600-x2271
Fax: 613-520-7872


The CAEL Assessment Score Report indicates the English proficiency level in 4 areas- reading, writing, listening and speaking. CAEL Assessment score range from band level 10 to 90.

CAEL Band Descriptors-

 Range Proficiency Level Description
 90 Fluent Communicate easily and correctly in all academic and professional environments
 80 Expert High level of proficiency. Language is correct and flexible in different settings.
 70 Adept Uses accurate language in most situations.
 60 Advanced Demonstrate proficiency in academic and professional environments.
 50 High Intermediate Display some competency in academic or professional settings. Communication may go wrong at some settings.
 40 Intermediate Exhibit ability to understand and convey the complex ideas and arguments related to the academic or professional environment.
 30 High Beginner Communicate basic ideas about familiar topics in everyday context
 10-20 Low Beginner Communicates with limited competency

Band Score Interpretation-
  • Candidates who score are between 70-90 meet the English language requisites for admittance to Canadian Institution’s degree programs.

  • Candidates who score 60 meet the English language requisites for admission to some Canadian Institution’s degree programs.

  • Candidates who score 50 meet the English language requisites for admission to a few Canadian Institution’s degree programs.

  • Candidates who score are between 10-40 needs to increase their level of academic English for admittance to the Canadian Institution’s degree programs.


Results of tests written at Carleton University are accessible within 10 working days after the test date. Candidates need to log in to their profile to determine the result. Results of tests written at Canadian testing Centres and international testing locations are available within 20 working days after the test date. Candidates need to log in to their online profile to determine the score report.

**A notification email is sent to the candidates when the scores are available.

The CAEL test results are valid for a period of 2 years.

Educational Institutions that Accept CAEL Scores

There are a lot of Canadian institutions which accepts  CAEL scores, the minimum score required for both Undergraduate and Graduate programmes at Canadian educational institutions vary in different universities and colleges.

Special Accommodation
For Special test accommodation, the candidate needs to fill a form – Request for Special Accommodation at least 1 month in advance of the examination appointment. The special arrangements as a result of medical disability or other reasons are made available only if the candidate provides an evidence to support the request.

Essentials for the test day
On the test day, you need to get the following requisites:
  • Photo Identification proof
  • Admission ticket
  • Pen or pencil

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