November 12, 2020

CAEL in 30 Minutes a Day: Reading 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 reading portion of your CAEL study routine. 

Reading Tips:

  • Practice reading academic English.

Try to read as much English as possible on a regular basis. Focus especially on more formal or academic texts—magazines, journals, and news articles are a great place to start. Seek out reading material on a topic you wish to study in school; this will make your reading experience more enjoyable, and you’ll probably grasp new vocabulary and expressions more easily.

  • Build your vocabulary in a systematic way.

In order to become better at understanding all the words you read, 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.

  • Take a wholistic approach to reading.

It is important to remember that you don’t have to read every single word in the passage to successfully answer the questions on your CAEL test, so keep this in mind when you are practicing your reading. First, skim through the text to get the main idea. Then re-read a passage and find some key words that occur throughout the text. This will help you practice understanding the context of these key words and phrases in the larger article.

  • Don’t stress about the vocabulary.

It’s all right if you can’t understand every word in an article, as you don’t need to understand everything to be able to get the main idea of the passage. If you find a word that you don’t know, try to determine its meaning based on its context in the sentence or in the passage as a whole. Add new words you find to your vocabulary cards, and you will be surprised at how quickly you remember them!

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 familiarizing yourself with a variety of English periodicals, such as newspapers and academic articles, are great ways to improve your reading 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.
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
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
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