Whether you live in Canada or are moving to Canada and are looking to take the IELTS, you are here because you want to know if you can take the test online. Drumroll, please…
You can take the new online format of IELTS, called IELTS Online, from anywhere in Canada. The makers of IELTS launched a new test in 2022, which you can currently take from about 50 other different countries around the world as well.
So if you live in Canada and want to look at taking this test, we will cover how you can do just that. We will also look at the acceptance of IELTS Online by universities, and what your other options are if you are not able to take IELTS Online for entrance into the university of your choice.
The all-new IELTS Online
The precursor to IELTS Online, the IELTS Indicator, was launched during the Covid-19 pandemic as a way to help test takers still take their IELTS exam during the lockdowns, during which many IELTS testing centers were temporarily closed.
Like the traditional IELTS test, the IELTS Indicator covered all four areas of communication typically tested on English proficiency exams: listening, reading, speaking, and writing. As the name suggests, the IELTS Indicator gives an indication of what your IELTS test score would be if you were to take it under normal circumstances. Some universities would accept the IELTS Indicator as proof of your English proficiency, whereas others would not.
Now that the world has opened up again in general, many test makers have come up with online tests to compete in this space, as many universities are starting to accept tests that have always been online, such as Duolingo. For this reason, IELTS has created IELTS Online, a test designed to be taken online at home to assess your English proficiency more effectively than the IELTS Indicator would.
There has been a little bit of hesitancy by universities to accept these online tests, however. For example, TOEFL® has an online version of their English proficiency test, however, not all institutions accept it. For this reason, it would be good to check with your university of choice if they will accept IELTS Online.
The concern with online tests which you can take at home is that one student may have an unfair advantage over another (or have problems with integrity, which a university doesn’t want) if something were to slip past the proctor, such as a piece of paper on the desk that he or she doesn’t see.
With experience during the pandemic, it is hoped that online proctors will be able to guarantee a testing experience that would become more and more equal for all. This will give universities peace of mind that all students are on equal footing and that no student misrepresents their English proficiency level by cheating on the test.
Other online options for Canada
TOEFL Home Edition
The TOEFL Home Edition is similar to the IELTS Indicator in that it was also launched during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s an exact replica of the TOEFL iBT and takes about three hours to finish. It is administered by an online proctor and the proctor is present via webcam throughout the duration of the test.
Like the IELTS Online, this test is not accepted by all universities, however, it looks like it is becoming more and more accepted. You can check which institutions are currently accepting the TOEFL Home Edition here.
Available in Canada: Yes
The TOEFL Essentials exam is a recent addition to the TOEFL family of assessments. It is designed to help test takers evaluate their level of proficiency in the English language from anywhere in the world in the comfort of their own homes.
While the TOEFL Essentials tests all four areas of English proficiency, the test is a lot shorter than most other tests, in that it lasts only about 1 1/2 hours. It also costs only about half of what the traditional TOEFL iBT costs.
Since it is a new test, it is not always accepted by universities, and it is certainly not as accepted as the traditional TOEFL iBT test. For this reason, it would be a good idea to check with the university you intend to apply to to see if they accept the TOEFL Essentials.
Available in Canada: Yes
During the pandemic, Duolingo was more ready than most other English exam creators. Not only that, but their test is a lot less expensive and is a lot shorter than any other test. Because many universities were starting to accept it as proof of proficiency during the pandemic, it became an attractive option for many test takers.
A big difference between Duolingo and other tests is that, rather than grading the four traditional areas, it assesses your proficiency in a combination of those skills: literacy (reading and writing), comprehension (listening and reading), conversation (speaking and listening), and production (writing and speaking).
Cost: $49 + applicable taxes
PTE Academic Online
Pearson Test of English (PTE) has announced that they will also have an online option of the PTE Academic, called the PTE Academic Online, which you will be able to take from the comfort of your own home.
This test was launched recently, and costs $300 CAD to take in Canada. You can check the list of institutions that accept this version of the PTE here.
A word on online tests
Before going further about other online options for English proficiency tests in Canada, you should double-check that your computer and environment meet the requirements for online testing. While you should check the specific requirements for each of the tests that are possibilities for you, in general, you will need a webcam, a microphone, an empty desk, and a room that can be observed in its entirety by the Proctor who is administering the test.
Hopefully, this post will help you make a good decision about what English proficiency exam you can take to suit your own needs.