Admissions Tests

Some programs look at the results of specific admissions tests before accepting students. The following is a summary of various exams you may be required to take. (Please note that when application fees are stated in U.S. currency, they must be paid as such.)

The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)

All Canadian common-law schools require the LSAT except the French common-law program at l’Université d’Ottawa and l’Université de Moncton. Civil-law schools do not require the LSAT. The LSAT is a half-day standardized test, consisting of five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions and a 30-minute writing test at the end. This written portion is not scored along with the others, but is sent to all law schools to which you apply. The LSAT provides law schools with a standard measure of skills that are essential for success in law school; the ability to read and comprehend complex texts, the ability to manage and organize information, and the ability to process this information to reach conclusions.

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

The GMAT is designed to help graduate schools of business assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in management. Most graduate schools of management require you to take the GMAT, although many French-language universities in Canada do not. Traditionally, the test has been a multiple-choice measure of verbal and mathematical skills, with equal weight allotted to the two areas. Since October 1994, however, the GMAT has been expanded to include an analytical writing assessment (AWA), which requires written responses to two questions.

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)

Some Canadian and almost all American graduate schools require or recommend that their applicants submit scores on either the GRE General Test, a Subject Test (of which there are 16), or both. The GRE Tests are used by admissions personnel to supplement undergraduate records and other indicators of students’ potential for graduate study. The scores provide a common measure for comparing the qualifications of applicants who come from a variety of universities with different standards. The GRE General test contains seven 30-minute sections designed to measure verbal, quantitative, and analytical abilities. The Subject Tests are designed to measure knowledge and understanding of subject matter basic to graduate study in specific fields. Each Subject Test lasts 2 hours and 50 minutes, except for the revised music test (it lasts about 3 hours). No Subject Tests are offered in June, most in December, only some in February, and all are offered in October.

The GRE is also offered on computer which allows applicants to write the test on any work day of the year. Five work days’ notice is required and it must be done at a designated computer site.

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The goal of the MCAT is to help admission committees predict which of their applicants will be successful in medical school. The test assesses mastery of basic concepts in biology, chemistry (general and organic), and physics; facility with scientific problem solving and critical thinking; and writing skills. The verbal reasoning, physical sciences, and biological sciences portions of the exam are composed of multiple-choice items. The writing sample includes two 30-minute essays. Most medical schools in Canada and the United States require MCAT results.

The Dental Aptitude Test (DAT)

The DAT is a half-day-long test conducted by the Canadian Dental Association in conjunction with the American Dental Association and offers a standard measure of candidate admission potential to dental schools. While the English version of the test consists of four sections (measuring manual dexterity, knowledge of general sciences, perceptual ability, and reading comprehension), the French test has only three parts (no reading comprehension is required in this version).

The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)

The PCAT is a specialized test which helps identify qualified applicants to pharmacy colleges by measuring general academic and scientific knowledge necessary for the commencement of pharmaceutical education. It consists of approximately 300 multiple-choice questions, divided into five sections. These measure verbal ability, quantitative ability (mathematics), biology, chemistry, and reading comprehension respectively.

The Optometry Admission Test (OAT)

The OAT is designed to provide optometry schools with a standard measure of candidates’ general knowledge of science (biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, and physics), and of their verbal and quantitative skills.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Test of Spoken English (TSE)

The purpose of the TOEFL is to evaluate the English proficiency of people whose native language is not English. Given in a single session of about 3 hours, the test consists of three sections: listening comprehension, structure and written expression, and vocabulary and reading comprehension. The TSE is an oral test that measures the candidate’s proficiency in spoken English and is 30 minutes long. The TOEFL and TSE are offered once every month.

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