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Description of the Test Components

Listening Comprehension Test - includes 3 to 4 test passages with multiple-choice questions. Each passage is heard twice. The test lasts about 60 minutes.

Reading Comprehension Test - includes 3 to 4 passages of 400 to 700 words with multiple-choice questions and a 20 to 30 item multiple-choice cloze test, in which words are deleted from a passage (candidates select the correct words to complete the text). This test lasts 60 minutes.

Writing Test - involves writing a composition of approximately 250 to 350 words about one of the three topics provided. Candidates have 45 minutes to complete this test.

Speaking Test - involves a face-to-face interview with an evaluator who asks questions about the candidates’ professional life, as well as more general topics. Please allow approximately 30 minutes to complete this test.

Description of Language Requirements

Passive Bilingualism

To demonstrate passive bilingualism, professors must have their listening and reading comprehension evaluated.

The University of Ottawa requires a level 2 in Listening and a level 2 in Reading to demonstrate passive bilingualism.

Active Bilingualism

To demonstrate active bilingualism, professors must have their written and spoken expression evaluated in addition to their listening and reading comprehension.

The University of Ottawa requires a level 3 in Listening, a level 3 in Reading, a level 3 in Speaking and a Level 2 in Writing to demonstrate active bilingualism.

Registering for the Test

The test is scheduled on an individual basis with each professor. The tests are scheduled during regular office hours. If desired, the test may be completed over the course of two or more days.

To request a test, professors may complete the request form and return it to L2test@uOttawa.ca.

Tests will be confirmed by email within three to five business days.


Score Reporting

Five to ten business days following the test, the results will be communicated to the professor by email.

Abbreviated Level Descriptions

Listening Comprehension (L) and Reading Comprehension (R) Skill Levels

L1, R1

Incomplete global comprehension.

L2, R2

Almost complete global comprehension; Comprehends many explicit details.

L3, R3

Complete global comprehension; Comprehends almost all explicit details.

L4, R4

Complete global comprehension; Comprehends all explicit and implicit details.


Speaking (S) and Writing (W) Skill Levels

S1, W1

Communicates with difficulty.

S2, W2

Communicates somewhat effectively, with some imprecision.

S3, W3

Communicates effectively, with ease and minor imprecision.

S4, W4

Communicates very effectively, with ease and precision.

Evaluation Process
The levels for the listening and reading tests are determined based on the percentage of questions answered correctly. Depending on the test version, the minimum score for a L2, R2 is between 53 and 57 percent and the minimum score for a L3, R3 is between 74 and 78 percent.

The written and spoken tests are evaluated by two trained assessors who then discuss the sample and agree on a final level.

Sharing Test Results

Results remain confidential between the professor and Language Testing Services. Professors who wish to have a copy of their results sent to their dean must complete the request form and return it to L2test@uOttawa.ca.


It is strongly recommended that professors who do not meet the language requirements in one or more area explore further language training options. Two months following the original test date, professors may request another test.

If a professor is convinced that their level is stronger than the result reported, they may request a re-evaluation of their writing or speaking test. In the event of a re-evaluation, the sample would be sent to two different assessors who would discuss the sample and agree on a final level. Due to test security concerns, professors will not be able to view their tests. Requests for re-evaluation should be emailed to L2test@uOttawa.ca.

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