CAEL CE (Computer Edition) will be continuing while CAEL (Paper Edition) will be retiring as of August 31, 2018. Read more.

CAEL (Paper Edition) has two parts: Part 1, the Written Assessment and Part 2, the Oral Language Test (OLT).

Part 1 Written Assessment
Reading Section 1 25 minutes
Listening Section 20 minutes
Reading Section 2 30 minutes
Writing Section 45 minutes
Part 2 Oral Language Test (OLT)
25 minutes

Important Notes:

  • The timing for each section of the test is approximate and may vary.
  • The total allotted test time is approximately 145 minutes (i.e., 2 hours and 25 minutes); however, test takers may be required to spend more time in the test room.
  • On some tests, there will be a third reading section; however, this will not affect the total time of the test.
  • Select test centres offer CAEL (Paper Edition) over 2 days, with the Written Assessment and the OLT held on separate days.



Time allotted: approximately 55 minutes

Test takers are given two readings that are on the same topic as the Listening and Writing components.

The readings are taken from the following sources:

  • first-year university textbooks
  • magazine and academic journal articles
  • brochures or information leaflets
  • newspaper articles
  • graphs and charts
  • government documents

Reading tasks include the following:

  • identifying main ideas
  • extracting specific information
  • understanding vocabulary in context
  • classifying information
  • following a logical or chronological sequence of events

Time allotted: approximately 20 minutes

Test takers listen to a pre-recorded lecture on the same topic as the Reading and Writing components.

  • The lecture is adapted from a first-year university course.
  • The recording is played only once.
  • While they listen, test takers take notes and answer questions related to the lecture.

Listening tasks include the following:

  • identifying main ideas
  • completing charts and diagrams
  • taking notes
  • sequencing information
  • filling in the blanks
  • recording specific information

Time allotted: 45 minutes

This component is composed of hand-written answers. Test takers will use the information from the Reading and Listening components to write their essay.

  • The essay is always the final task of the test.
  • The essay topic is always provided at the beginning of the test.
  • The essays are typically one to two pages in length.

The essay topic asks the test taker to:

  • agree or disagree with a claim
  • argue for or against a position
  • discuss advantages and disadvantages of a course of action

Test takers are encouraged to plan their essays before they begin writing.

Oral Language Test (OLT)

Time allotted: 25 minutes

The OLT is carried out on a computer equipped with a headset and microphone, however test takers will not be required to use the computer mouse or keyboard. The OLT may be taken before or after the Written Assessment.

It consists of five tasks which sample typified and recurring speech acts within college and university settings:

Task 1 (2 minutes)

Make a short oral presentation. Test takers will be asked to answer a question about themselves.

Task 2 (5 minutes)

Relay information obtained from a lecture. Test takers are asked to provide key information to another student based on their understanding of a short recorded segment of a professor’s instructions.

Task 3 (5 minutes)

Relay information obtained from an academic document. Test takers are asked to provide specific information based on their reading of a short, generic academic document.

Task 4 (5 minutes)

Relay information from an academic text. Test takers are asked to read a section of the text in Task 3 aloud, for the purpose of discussing the text in the context of a group discussion or academic presentation.

Task 5 (8 minutes)

Explain a choice for participation in a group project. First, test takers listen to a professor’s instructions for a group oral presentation. Then they listen to other members of a group who explain their preferences for participation in the presentation.

After listening to the other group members, the test takers are asked to explain their own presentation choice and ask a question regarding an important detail related to the presentation (e.g., time allowed, marking criteria, available equipment, etc.).