Some programs will require you to take a diagnostic test, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TEOFL), Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL). This initial test shows the school what level of English you're ready for. The school may require you to take the test in advance, or may administer a diagnostic test themselves. Other schools may have their own placement test, or they may not require one at all. Be sure to check with the specific ESL school or program.
There are a number of things you can do to prepare yourself personally for studying ESL in Canada.
- Practice what English you may have. Watch television or movies in English, listen to music in English, and if possible have conversations with other English-speakers in your area.
- Get familiar with Canadian culture, customs and the details of day to day life in Canada. This will help you with culture-shock and help you to familiarise you with your host country.
- Gather things to remind you of home while you are in Canada. Having familiar music, books, movies and souvenir objects can be very comforting if you get home-sick.
- Research the extra-curricular activities that are offered by the school you wish to go to, or that are available in the local community. You may find your favourite sport or other activity, or you may find something new that looks interesting. If you research before leaving, you won't have to spend as much time in your new country looking for things to do: you can jump right in!
- Get in contact with other international students already studying at the school you wish to attend. The school's administration may be able to put you in touch with current international students who can share their experiences and advice with you.