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What are the odds of a successful study visa application at IRCC if you take the PTE exam?


Canada has been renowned for providing an excellent education for several decades, making it a top preference for Indian students. Although both French and English are official languages in the country, the number of courses taught in English significantly exceeds those in French, which is why non-native English speakers must take English proficiency tests to pursue their studies in Canada.

Proficiency exams in English are a reliable way to assess a student’s aptitude in effectively communicating in the language, covering all areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking, that are vital for academic prosperity in a foreign land. These tests gauge a student’s grasp of intricate language structures, academic terminology, and analytical thinking, all of which are essential for pursuing advanced studies.
In addition, English proficiency assessments hold significant importance in visa applications as they allow immigration officials to determine the sincerity of the applicant’s desire to pursue their education in the host nation. By demonstrating the student’s commitment towards refining their language capabilities, these tests serve as evidence that they are genuinely interested in studying in the host country.

In Canada, there are two ways to apply for a study visa: the SDS (Student Direct Stream) and the Regular Study Permit application, also popularly known as the NON-SDS stream. While a minimum overall band score of IELTS 6.0 with no score less than 6.0 is required for SDS applications, PTE has become increasingly popular among students who apply for study visas under the regular-stream. Many
universities and community colleges accept PTE for admissions, but having higher scores on your PTE test can enhance your chances of being accepted into top- ranked Canadian universities as an international student. Proficiency in English not only aids in admissions but also facilitates smoother integration into the local community and eases the transition to life in Canada.

Although Canadian institutions recognize the test’s validity, there is still significant uncertainty among students, resulting in numerous inquiries . Few of the common queries I come across are:

  • “The immigration has recently announced that they will accept PTE essential in Late 2023 , so does that mean my acceptance by the DLI guarantee approval of my study visa application by immigration as well ?”
  • “Does taking the IELTS instead of the PTE increase my chances of obtaining a visa?”
  • “Is the PTE less challenging than the IELTS?”

When such questions are left unanswered, they can cause unnecessary confusion among students. Therefore, let’s make an effort to address these questions and gain a better understanding of the topic.
First of all we need to understand that , PTE Academic and PTE Essential are two different versions of the Pearson Test of English. PTE Academic is an English language proficiency test commonly used for academic and professional purposes, such as university admissions and study visa applications. PTE Essential, on the other hand, is a streamlined version of the test that assesses basic communication skills in English and is intended for immigration purposes only. The immigration has announced accepting the PTE Essential in the late 2023 .

Now that we have a clear understanding of the basic difference between PTE Academic and PTE Essential, as well as the recent update from Immigration, let’s move on to addressing other remaining questions or concerns.

It is important to note that IELTS is mandatory only if you are applying for a study permit under the SDS category; for any other English test, your application is automatically considered under the non-SDS category. There is no definitive statement regarding the difficulty level or acceptance of PTE versus IELTS as both exams have their own levels of difficulty that vary from student to student. English proficiency is just one of the criteria that are evaluated in a study visa application, along with other factors such as your immigration history, program relevance, and intent to return to your home country after completion of the program. It is not the sole deciding factor.

While institutions may accept PTE Academic, its recognition by immigration authorities is an intriguing topic. As mentioned earlier, the IRCC follows a comprehensive approach to evaluating study visa applications, where language proficiency is just one of the factors taken into consideration. Acceptance of the ‘PTE Essential Test ’ ( bookings for the same will open later in 2023) for immigration purposes is a very welcoming move by the Canadian government. The fact that the Canadian government has accepted this new test for immigration purposes , suggests that the test has undergone rigorous evaluation and
meets the required standards for language proficiency assessment.

As with any new test, it will be interesting to learn more about the specifics of the PTE Essential Test and how it compares to other language proficiency tests in terms of accuracy, reliability, and validity.

None the less, this news is a significant development for those looking to immigrate to Canada and may provide a more accessible and efficient pathway for demonstrating language proficiency. It will be important to stay informed and up-to-date on any further developments regarding this new test.

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