CanTEST© - FAQ

 Frequently Asked Questions about the CanTEST

  1. How will I know what score I got?
  2. How do I arrange to have an official score report sent to another university?
  3. Can I have a refund if I decide not to take the test after I have paid the registration fee?
  4. If I failed to obtain the required score on one component of the CanTEST, must I rewrite the entire test?
  5. How often can I write the CanTEST?
  6. All I need is a score for my speaking ability. Can I register for the Oral Interview alone?
  7. Can I see my exam papers to see what my problems were?
  8. Can I get my exam re-evaluated?
  9. Is there any practice material I can use to prepare for the CanTEST?
  10. What scores do I need to "pass"?
  11. I am coming from out of town to write the test. How long should I expect to spend in the test session?
  12. What do my CanTEST scores mean?
  13. What is involved in each section of the CanTEST?

    1. How will I know what score I got?

    Within ten working days of the test session you attend, you will be sent by regular mail an "unofficial score report," telling you what scores you obtained. Note that this letter is NOT an official score report. Official score reports are sent directly to the requesting institutions or organizations only.

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    2. How do I arrange to have an official score report sent to another university?

    Official Score Reports are sent to one university or certifying institution. The test candidate must specify the receiving institution at the time of registration; requests received later are subject to a $15.00 fee. If candidates need scores sent to more than one institution, they must complete the "Request for an Official CanTEST Score Report" available here (PDF).  The fee for this service is $15.00, payable by cash, certified cheque, money order, Interact, Visa, or Mastercard. Candidates are responsible for providing accurate addresses for score reporting.

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    3. Can I have a refund if I decide not to take the test after I have paid the registration fee?

    Candidates who cancel more than ten business days prior to the test session will receive a refund, less a $20 administration charge. Candidates who cancel within ten business days of the testing session will not receive a refund, but they may transfer their registration and fees to the NEXT scheduled test session. Candidates unable to attend the test session must contact the English Language Centre more than 5 business days prior to the testing session to request a transfer of their registration. All requests to cancel or transfer registration for a test must be emailed to elc@umanitoba.ca

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    4. If I failed to obtain the required score on one component of the CanTEST, must I rewrite the entire test?

    It depends. Candidates whose Reading and Listening scores meet the requirements of the receiving institution may register separately for the Writing or Speaking components of the test. Candidates who meet the Writing score requirements of the receiving institution but do not meet the requirements in Listening or Reading must take all three components (listening, reading and writing) at the next scheduled test session they are eligible to attend.

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    5. How often can I write the CanTEST?

    Candidates are required to wait three months before taking the CanTEST Listening Comprehension and Reading Comprehension components again. The waiting period for the writing and speaking components is six full weeks. This policy applies to all CanTEST Test Centres.

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    6. All I need is a score for my speaking ability. Can I register for the Oral Interview alone?

    Yes, you may pay the fee and register for the Oral Interview alone. Please note that professional organizations and institutions do not generally combine test results from different testing organizations.

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    7. Can I see my exam papers to see what my problems were?

    The CanTEST is a test of English proficiency; it is not a diagnostic test. For this reason and for test security, exam papers are not released to test candidates. Your profile of scores will tell you in which general skill area you need improvement - listening, reading, writing or speaking.

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    8. Can I get my exam re-evaluated?

    Yes. Candiates who wish to have their scores re-evaluated my submit this request form (PDF) with payment within 20 business days of the test. Telephone requests will NOT be accepted. Listening and Reading tests can be re-evaluated for a $15.00 fee for each test. The writing paper can be re-evaluated for a $30.00 fee; however, please note that the paper was scored by two trained readers who conferred before assigning the final score. The speaking test can be re-evaluated for a $30.00 fee; however, the speaking test was originally evaluated by two trained interviewers who conferred before assigning the final score. If the score is changed as a result fo the re-evaluation request, the candidate will receive a refund for the re-evaluation fees.

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    9. Is there any practice material I can use to prepare for the CanTEST?

    Yes, you can purchase a set of practice materials from us for $30.00. The practice test will give you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the format of the CanTEST, the type of questions and the speed of delivery on the listening test. It is not intended as a way of improving your English.

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    10. What scores do I need to "pass"?

    You will need to contact the University and/or the Faculty to which you are applying to determine the required scores. The English Language Centre does not set the standards, we simply administer the test. The usual practice at Canadian universities is to require an average of 4.5 with nothing lower than a 4.0. Some professional organizations require higher scores as do some Faculties such as Education or Law.

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    11. I am coming from out of town to write the test. How long should I expect to spend in the test session?

    The test takes place in the morning starting at 8:30 a.m. and lasts three and a half to four hours, with one or two short breaks. The Oral Interview lasts about 15-20 minutes and is scheduled every 25 minutes, starting usually at 12:30 p.m. Some candidates may have their interviews scheduled as late as 4:30p.m.

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    12. What do my CanTEST scores mean?

    Band

    Description

    5+ Fluent User. Consistently effective, fully operational command of the language in demanding familiar and unfamiliar contexts of language use, with full comprehension. No language problems that would impede academic success. An exceptional score awarded when a candidate exceeds the minimum for Band 5 in all skills tested.
    5 Very Good User. Very good command of the language in most demanding contexts of language use, especially in area of expertise, with a high degree of comprehension. Only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inapproriacies in communication with misunderstandings in some unfamiliar situations, which very rarely impede communication. Level of proficiency considered adequate for full time academic study.
    4 Competent User. Generally effective command of the language in fairly demanding contexts, especially in area of expertise, with a satisfactory level of comprehension. Some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in less familiar contexts with more complex language. This level of proficiency in a skill area indicates some weaknesses which sometimes impede communication, and could affect performance in an academic program. Additional language training would be helpful to improve overall speed and accuracy.
    3 Limited User. Fair command of the language only in moderately demanding language contexts or in interactions with a sympathetic speaker, with limited comprehension. Markedly reduced effectiveness in demanding or unfamiliar situations. The number of systematic inaccuracies and misunderstandings significantly impedes communication and comprehension. Definitely requires additional language training before being considered for academic placement.
    2 Very Basic User. Some ability to function in highly contextualized, familiar situations, but no real command of the language. Frequent systematic errors, and misunderstandings seriously impede communication, leading to frequent breakdowns in communication.
    1 Novice. Extremely limited command of the language, with the user limited to handling basic communicative needs.

     

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    13. What is involved in each section of the CanTEST?

    Listening

    The listening test involves answering 40 multiple choice or short answer questions based on authentic taped material delivered at normal speed. The listening samples include dialogues, announcements, interviews, and short lectures.

    Reading

    The reading test has a 15-item Skimming and Scanning component, which is strictly timed (10 minutes) and administered before the Reading Comprehension. The Skimming and Scanning component features authentic texts from public information brochures, newspapers, university calendars, and annotated bibliographies. The reading comprehension part of the test is composed of passages of various lengths (up to 650 words) with 20 questions (both multiple-choice and short answer). This test also includes a 25-item multiple choice cloze.

    Writing

    All candidates produce a writing sample which is graded according to content, organization, and language use. The writing task varies, but candidates are generally required to compare, contrast, or react to information given on a current issue of interest.

    Speaking

    Candidates participate in a 15-minute interview with two judges where they are evaluated on the basis of listening comprehension, pronunciation, fluency, and range and accuracy of language used. (Not all institutions require a score for this component of the test.)

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