November 26, 2020

CAEL in 30 Minutes a Day: Listening Tips

When it comes to preparing for the CAEL Test, the best advice we can offer to you is to take your time. Preparing for the test the day or even just the night before you take it will not allow you adequate time to prepare and feel comfortable taking your test. As we’ve outlined in our previous blog, creating a daily study routine is your best path to ensuring your success. In this blog, we will focus on tips for the listening portion of your CAEL study routine. 

Listening Tips:

  • Practice listening to academic English before the test.

For practice with English in academic contexts, try listening to news broadcasts, podcasts, the radio, or audiobooks on more academic subject material. Listening to a topic you’re interested in will make things more enjoyable, and you’re likely to pick up on new terms and expressions more easily.

  • Build your vocabulary in a systematic way.

In order to become better at understanding all the words you hear, you need to expand your vocabulary. Find a way to keep track of new vocabulary that works for you. You could collect new words using index cards, a notebook, or a chart on your computer. Make time to review the words that you have added to your list until you are sure of their meaning.

  • Decide on a note-taking strategy.

During your CAEL Test, your main focus should be answering the questions as you listen. That being said, keep in mind that you will sometimes need to use what you learned from the Listening passage to help with your Speaking or Writing task later in that test part. If you wish to take any brief notes during the audio, use some abbreviations or symbols that you think will help you take notes more quickly. Try practicing with the CAEL Sample Test to become better at gauging your time in these tasks.

  • Become familiar with question types.

You may encounter many different kinds of questions on the Listening part of CAEL. You can gain familiarity with these question types by taking the free online sample test. When taking this free sample test, pay attention to each question type and make sure you fully understand what it requires.

Preparation Resources:

  • Practice tests: from our free online practice test, to our additional paid practice tests, these will give you a good idea of your current score level, and will allow you to focus on areas that you need to improve upon.
  • Free online courses: for each test component, we have hours of free online courses and webinars, hosted by a CAEL expert. These online courses are available as live webinars each month, and as recorded sessions on our YouTube channel.
  • Study materials in the online store: we have created a wide range of study materials to help you prepare for your CAEL test, from additional practice tests, to Accelerate, our self-directed online study program, to CAEL Practice Test Plus, a complete practice test that includes sample responses and analyses.
  • Preparation programs: for additional guided preparation, contact your local test centre to see what preparation programs are available in your area and online.


  • Building your vocabulary and practicing your listening note-taking through podcasts, news broadcasts, and practice tests are great ways to improve your listening comprehension skills.
  • The online study programs in our online store, such as CAEL Practice Test Plus and CAEL Accelerate, each provide comprehensive study materials that you can use each day, from vocabulary building exercises to speaking strategies to improve your test responses. These are a great option for supplementing your daily study routine.
I appreciated the availability of test dates for CAEL, and found it convenient and inexpensive compared to other English proficiency tests.
- Aashima, CAEL - Test Taker
What I liked most about the CAEL was that you can do the test on the computer, it uses Canadian English, and the results are released quickly!
- Alinsson, CAEL - Test Taker
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