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Canada's new English language proficiency test is accepting bookings starting February, 2024.

Pearson’s Test for English (PTE) Core is a third option for Canadian immigration applicants to demonstrate their English skills, alongside IELTS and CELPIP.

On January 30, Pearson announced that the tests are available for booking starting February 12, 2024.

The test is a two-hour, computer-based exam taken in a test centre. It tests four key English language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

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Pearson says that what makes the PTE Core stand out is that it is designed with a real-life, non-academic focus. In contrast to the PTE Academic, which is approved as an English proficiency test for Student Direct Stream (SDS) visa applications.

The PTE Core was created to meet Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s language proficency requirements, as well as Canada’s specific migration needs.

“We are excited to roll out PTE Core to test takers across the world. It was designed to test real life language skills and allows test takers to showcase their proficiency and be themselves in English,” said Gio Giovannelli, President of the English Language Learning division at Pearson.

“It was designed to test real life language skills and allows test takers to showcase their proficiency and be themselves in English. Whether people are looking to work, study or migrate to Canada, there’s a Pearson English language proficiency test that suits their requirements.”

PTE Core is a fully digital test that uses AI technology for scoring and biometric data collection for security measures. These technologies are intended to provide impartial, and accurate testing of English language proficiency.

Jennifer Bell, a media liaison, told Moving2Canada that Pearson worked with the Canadian government to ensure that the test contained language that people would actually be using. She also said the language would be geared toward a Canadian market as opposed to British or Australian-style English.

“It’s more real-life examples and the kind of wording is at a level that would be appropriate for people who have English as a second language. It’s not too elevated,” Bell said.

PTE Core will be offered across Pearson’s existing network, with more than 400 PTE centres in 118 countries. In Canada, there are currently eight Pearson testing centres: Burnaby, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, and three in Toronto. More are expected to be rolled out.

Test takers will go to a Pearson centre to take the test, which is delivered by Person VUE, a program that uses AI to mark tests. The AI marking is reviewed by a human before final scores are administered to the test takers, and it helps Pearson deliver results in less than 48 hours.

Pearson also collects biometric data at the centres and uses voice recognition software for the speaking portion of the test to ensure the integrity of the test taker and provide an impartial and accurate test, the release says.

PTE Core test takers can book online up to 24 hours in advance. Test centre slots are available year-round world-wide. Results can be retrieved within 1-3 days.

PTE Academic available for international students

Another Pearson product, the PTE Academic, is already accepted at more than 90 percent of universities in Canada as well as Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK. It is also accepted for all visa applications to the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. PTE Academic Online, however, is not accepted for work and migration purposes. Whereas, the PTE Cores cannot be used for academic purposes.

“We’ve already seen how PTE Academic can help people take a huge stride towards being themselves in English in whichever country they choose to work or study,” said Andy Bird, CEO, Pearson, in the release. “I’m delighted PTE [Core] is now accepted in Canada for economic visas and proud of the innovation and rigor that sits behind the quick and high-quality experience our test provides to test takers.”

The inclusion of a new test provider comes as IRCC works to admit 485,000 new permanent residents this year as part of a larger effort to welcome nearly 1.5 million over the next three years. The majority of these newcomers are likely coming through economic-class programs that require a language test. Although both English and French proficiency tests are accepted for Canadian immigration, there is more demand for English tests.

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