February 25, 2019

So, you have booked an appointment at an official Assessment Centre to have your English or French language skills tested and be referred to a government-funded language training program. Now What? You have been given basic information about your appointment, the type of ID you will need to bring, directions to the assessment centre, and told that your appointment might be up to 4 hours in duration. You may now be wondering how to prepare for this assessment and make the best use of the time you have before the date of your test. It is not unusual for people to get nervous or even stressed in the anticipation of a test. It is normal if you are feeling that way, and it usually means that the language assessment is important to you.

There are at least 3 ways in which the Canadian Language Benchmarks Online Self-Assessment (CLB-OSA: www.clb-osa.ca) can help you get better prepared for the official CLB assessment, control your stress levels, and perform well on the test:

1. Get Your Unofficial Results Online:

For your own awareness, take advantage of the CLB-OSA, or its French equivalent, that is available to everyone in Canada and abroad at no cost. Currently, there are 3 versions of the Reading and 2 versions of Listening of online tests available in English. This web-based tool provides an approximate indication of the language ability in Listening and Reading upon successfully completing the online test. Online results are considered unofficial and cannot be used for academic, employment, and immigration/citizenship purposes or placement to most government-funded language training programs. Completing the online tests will help you become familiar with the testing format and some of the types of tasks to expect at the assessment centre.

2. Understand Your CLB Score:

Once you have completed an online self-assessment, your CLB results will be immediately displayed on your screen indicating a range of 2 benchmarks to describe your approximate CLB score. Move your mouse over the CLB results on the screen, and a drop-down menu will show a list of what a person should be able to do in English at that particular CLB Score. You are also encouraged to explore the benchmark section of the CLB-OSA website to look at descriptions of individual language skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing) across the CLB levels to see how each next CLB is more elaborate than the previous one. You can also look at the CLB Charts at-a-glance to look at all four language skills at once at a particular CLB level. Knowing your approximate CLB score can be very helpful when planning your language learning and/or making decisions about it.

3. Explore Additional Web Resources:

In addition to Reading and Listening tests on the CLB-OSA website, and information about CLB as a system of standards used for language assessment and training, you will find useful links to resources designed for newcomers with info about the settlement, job search, credential evaluation and more. You will also find links to websites that will help you study English on your own.

Remember, the CLB assessment is neither a test that you can pass or fail nor it is a test of your memory. So, it probably isn’t a good idea to try to memorize a dictionary or grammar book just before your test. This assessment will simply measure your level of proficiency in a second language and assign a benchmark score based on your performance. The test is based on authentic communication tasks which mean that you will be assessed on how well you can use your English in real-life situations that would normally come up in your daily interactions at home, at work, and/or in the community. You are now well equipped with the tools to better understand the CLB, find out your approximate CLB range prior to taking an official language assessment, and benefit from relevant and useful links to resources listed on CLB-OSA website and feel more confident when you do your official CLB assessment. All the best!

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