canada exams

Canada Entrance Exams 2021: Guide To Exams Required To Study In Canada

As per U.S. News Best Countries Rankings 2021, Canada is currently the number 1 best country to study for quality of life. This consistent top ranking is attributed to its affordable cost of studying and high quality education blended with a mix of social and cultural diversity. 

Resultantly, the benefits of pursuing higher education in Canada are huge. However, students wanting to reap the benefits of studying in a Canadian university must stay informed about the standardized Canada exams. These tests hold substantial importance and decide whether one is eligible to study in a chosen university or not. 

Why study in Canada?

Canada has been welcoming international students around the globe for decades. Here are some of the many benefits of studying in a Canadian university:

  • High quality of education

Canada is recognized around the world for its world-class education – from elementary school to post-secondary education. University professors are highly trained and cultivate diverse perspectives in the class. Moreover, as many as 10 Canadian universities fall under the top 250 universities globally, as per THE World University Rankings.

  • Excellent quality of life

International students in Canada enjoy a high quality of life, added to a decent standard of living, and utmost safety. As per the World University Rankings, Canada has four of the world’s 100 best student cities globally

  • Promising future

During the past decade, Canada has created as many as 1.6 million new jobs for its graduate students. Under the guidance of industry professionals, students get long-term exposure to face real-world situations and compete in this ever-challenging job environment. Moreover, one of the biggest reasons to consider Canada for higher studies is because of the country’s extended focus on research and development. The government of Canada offers ample opportunities for students in research disciplines like agriculture, telecommunications, medicine, science, etc.

  • Affordable cost of studying and living

Canada is known for some of the lowest tuition fee universities among the other English-speaking countries. With a diverse range of programs to choose from, students can always find something that fits their budget. 

  • Cultural diversity

The ‘warm and welcoming’ stereotype for Canada is indeed true. Canadians welcome international students from all ethnicities with diverse cultures and lifestyles. This multicultural environment provides a sense of friendliness and safety among the international students. 

Exams that make you eligible for Canadian universities 

Students planning to study in Canada must have all the information regarding the various exams that make one eligible to study in Canadian universities. Furthermore, these Canada exams are highly dependent upon what study level a student wants to enroll himself/herself into.

Depending upon their type, Canada entrance exams can be distinguished as language tests and academic tests. The language tests are essential in proving one’s English language proficiency. On the other hand, academic tests determine a student’s knowledge of various areas. 

Mentioned below are the various exams that make a candidate eligible to study in Canada.

TOEFL exam

The Test of English as a Foreign Language is one of the important language proficiency exams that students need to give to enrol in Canadian universities. The test is designed with four sections, namely reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It measures the candidate’s ability to communicate in the English language. 

Candidates need to apply to a test centre to take the test on a given date. Furthermore, the duration of the test is around 3 hours 30 minutes. The candidates are scored between a range of 0 and 120, with each section entailing a score of 0 to 30. 

The TOEFL exam comes in two versions – a paper-based exam and a computer-based exam. The latter is only applicable in areas where internet connection is unsteady or unavailable. 

This exam is conducted by ETS, which rolled out the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition in 2020. This new version of the exam follows the same syllabus as the actual exam. Upon completing the test, candidates will receive their results within 6-10 days. Students should note that they would not be getting a hard copy of the test results for this test. Instead, the results will be available on their official website.

IELTS exam 

IELTS is another important exams required to study in Canada. The international English language testing system (IELTS) is an internationally recognized and owned direct English language assessment exam. IELTS is accepted in some of the most popular study destinations, including Australia, the U.K., the USA, New Zealand, and Canada. 

The exam measures the students’ ability to communicate in the four basic language areas – reading, writing, speaking, and listening. 

As a matter of fact, IELTS is also the most popular English language proficiency test conducted by IDP. As of 2018, IELTS test reached a whopping number of 3.5 million. 

Further, there are two types of IELTS exams, namely IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic, and students can complete the registration for the same through offline or online modes. The test lasts for around 2 hours 45 minutes. 

Students can receive their test results 13 days after completing the test. In addition, IELTS score card is valid for 2 years.


The Graduate Record Exam is one of the most prestigious Canada entrance exams. GRE is a standardized test considered by many colleges and universities in Canada. The exam is conducted by ETS and is one of the world’s largest assessment programs. Moreover, there are over 1000 test centres set up by ETS for conducting this exam, and more than half a million candidates register for GRE from across 160 countries.

The exam is computer-based and evaluates the key areas, including quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, analytical writing skills, and critical thinking. What makes this exam unique is that its syllabus is not associated with any specific field of study. 

In Canada, GRE is mainly required for admissions to the Master’s level of study. While the exam may not be mandatory in all universities, some may even require a good score in this test too. This test helps colleges and universities in determining the ability of candidates for advanced education. 

The eligibility to appear for this exam is simple. The candidate must be a graduate or should be graduating within 6 months of taking the GRE.

GMAT exam

GMAT is the most preferred entrance exam for study in Canada for management programs. Graduate Management Admissions Test is commonly referred to as the GMAT exam. It is a standardized test in Canadian universities for MBA aspirants that evaluates students’ potential in the business and management fields. Initially, the test was prepared for only U.S. universities offering management and business courses. However, with time, over 1700 universities and colleges around the world have adopted the GMAT exam as a core criterion in admitting international students.

The GMAT exam is a computer-based test that assesses the candidates’ knowledge on quantitative aptitude, verbal aptitude, analytical writing, and reading skills. The duration of the exam is 3 hours 30 minutes, including breaks and test instructions. One of the interesting features of the GMAT is that it allows students the flexibility to choose the section order in which they prefer taking the exam. 

To get admission into a top Canadian university, applicants need to score well in this exam. 

Eligibility for doing Master’s in Canada

Just knowing the Canada exams is not enough to take admission into a top Canadian university. Prospective students must also know all about the eligibility of studying for a master’s degree in Canada. 

To fulfil the eligibility, candidates must:

  • Provide test scores of exams like GMAT or GRE depending upon the choice of program
  • Have a GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 in the related U.G. degree, equivalent to 65-70%.
  • Non-English speakers must provide the required language proficiency test results, such as IELTS, TOEFL, or other related exams.
  • A few master’s programs like business and management also require 1 to 3 years of work experience.

Students must also note that although most of the programs are in English, there may be a few programs also taught in the French language. To study a program in French, the candidate must prove French proficiency by taking the TEF or DELF exam. 

English requirement for doing Master’s in Canada

International students belonging from non-native English-speaking countries are required to submit proof of English proficiency. The minimum score required to take admission in the top universities may depend upon the type of course chosen. However, here are the general scores that top universities prefer:

TOEFL exam: Among the other Canada exams, students taking the TOEFL exam must produce a decent score to take admission to a high-ranked Canadian university. Most universities require a >250 TOEFL score, or >90-100 for iBT. 

IELTS exam: Top-ranked Canadian universities mostly accept students with a 7.0 band in IELTS exam. However, the minimum score accepted in most universities can range between 5.0-7.5 bands. This generally depends upon the university and the type of course. 

Documents required for doing Master’s in Canada

After students are done with their Canada exams and have met the required eligibility, they must submit these documents as a part of the application package:

  • A duly filled in application form
  • Academic transcripts and certificates from all attended educational institutions
  • Resume
  • Letter of recommendation or reference letter
  • Statement of purpose
  • Scores of the standardized tests accepted by the university
  • Payment for the non-refundable application fee
  • Passport copy
  • Proof of funding or scholarships, if any

Costs of doing Master’s in Canada

Before making the final decision to study abroad, students must make a cost estimate. The total cost of studying Master’s in Canada will include one-time pre-arrival costs, tuition fees, and living costs.

The pre-arrival cost generally includes admission application fees, standardized exams registration fees, visa expenses, etc. The below table will provide individuals with an in-depth idea about the various pre-arrival costs related to studying in Canada.

Expense Cost (in Canadian Dollars)
IELTS fee 250
TOEFL fee 220-345
GRE fee 280-320
PTE fee 250
GMAT fee 345
Application fee Varies according to the university
Airfare  Varies as per students
Student visa 150 + 85 (application for study permit + biometric fee)

As far as the tuition fee is concerned, Canadian universities provide high-quality education at a low tuition fee. For instance, studying an MBA program in Canada may cost around Rs. 11 lakhs to Rs. 59 lakhs. This again depends upon the type of university. 

According to the latest report by Statistics Canada, the average tuition fee for international students in Canada is around CAD 17744 (6). This figure is comparatively lower as compared to its peers.

In addition, the cost of living in Canada is economical. The average accommodation cost in the country is around CAD 850 – 1000. Other expenses can be related to food, books, leisure activities, etc. Refer to the table below to get an idea about how much a student spends monthly on personal expenses.

Expense Monthly cost (in Canadian Dollars)
Groceries, food 250-300
Supplies, books 327
Transportation 100-250
Others 150-300

The above table shows the estimated monthly expenses of an average international Canadian student. However, these expenses may alter depending upon the spending habits of individuals.

Scholarships for doing Master’s in Canada 

International students can apply for several scholarships after completing the Canada exams to make their stay more affordable in Canada. These scholarships may include funding awarded by universities, by the government, private organizations or agencies, and much more. 

Here are a few famous scholarships awarded to international students by the top-rated Canadian universities.

Name of the scholarship Scholarship amount (in Canadian Dollars) Awarded to
Graduate Entrance Scholarship 3,500 Students pursuing Master’s in Taxation in the University of Waterloo
Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarship 5,000 Full-time students pursuing thesis-based Master’s program at the University of British Columbia
International Entrance Awards Up to 20,000 MBA students at McGill University
Ontario Graduate Scholarship 10,000-30,000 Offered to graduates enrolling in universities in Ontario
Master’s Entrance Scholarship 17,500+10,000 Offered in the form of stipend to full-time graduate students in the University of Alberta
Graduate Scholarship 1,000 Master’s degree students at the University of Waterloo
JN Tata Endowment Scholarship 1,650-16,500 (approx.) Indian students wanting to study abroad

If you plan to pursue higher education in Canada, you must stay informed about these exams, because they are the backbone upon which your enrolment will depend. You can prepare for these tests accordingly through various available resources according to your preference.

Preparing for these standardized Canadian exams is definitely one of the most important things you should consider before studying abroad. Moreover, this is the first stepping stone for your study abroad dream in a sublimely affordable country. 

However, it is also true that tuition fees in Canada have been on the rise for the past year. Given the rising costs, it may become a bit challenging to finance your Master’s program. This is where Leap Scholar comes to the rescue. 

We have helped more than 3000 students to pursue their study abroad dream by providing education loans at the lowest interest rates. Our education loan requires no collateral and covers the cost of living and studying. So, pour your stress regarding studying overseas with us, and dream for a better future ahead.

Frequently asked questions

1. Is GRE mandatory to get admission into Canadian universities?

No, GRE is not mandatory to get admission into Canada. However, some universities may ask for this exam, and some may even demand a good score too.

2. What are the other English language proficiency tests that Canadian universities accept other than IELTS and TOEFL?

The following tests are widely acceptable in Canadian universities other than IELTS and TOEFL:

  • Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) assessment
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) assessment – academic

3. What is the minimum amount that I need to have in my bank account to immigrate to Canada?

Candidates need to show proof of funds amounting to CAD 10,000 for staying outside Quebec. On the other hand, students who have to stay inside Quebec need to have CAD 11,000.

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