TOEFL is an acronym for “Test Of English as a Foreign Language“.  The TOEFL test is the most widely respected English-language test in the world, recognized by more than 9,000 colleges, universities and agencies in more than 130 countries, including Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the United States. Wherever you want to study, the TOEFL test can help you get there.  It is a test of an individual’s ability to use and understand the English language for academic or school purposes.   This test is most often used to determine if a non-native speaker’s English language proficiency is good enough of study in an English-speaking university. Taking the TOEFL is now a requirement for all non-native English speakers by almost all American colleges and universities.

The TOEFL looks at 4 areas of language skill: reading, listening, speaking and writing.  Each of these areas is tested in a specific amount of time (20-90 minutes depending on the area) and all areas are taken consecutively on the same day.  Each area is scored individually (0-30 points) and a total TOEFL score is also given.  A TOEFL score ranges from 0-120 points.  The minimum acceptable score for TOEFL varies from college to college, but usually a score of 80 is the very minimum required to attend an English-speaking university.  Some universities require a higher test score.  The TOEFL is usually given electronically, on a computer, but there are still some paper and pencil versions of this test that are given.  Passing the TOEFL is the first step toward attending an American university for many foreign students.  Other tests of general knowledge are usually also required for college admission.

(Excerpts of this explanation have been taken from )

IELTS is an acronym for “International English Language Testing System“.  The IELTS test is also a test of an individual’s ability to use and understand the English language.   There are two versions of the IELTS: the Academic Version and the General Training Version.  The Academic Version is similar to the TOEFL in that it is intended to provide information about an individual’s ability to understand English for an academic or school setting.  The General Training Version of the IELTS is used to assess English language proficiency for people who need English for work or immigration reasons.  The IELTS is used frequently in Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa.  The Academic Version is also accepted at many American universities although the TOEFL remains more prominent. Obtaining a passing score on the IELTS is required for immigration to Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

The IELTS looks at 4 areas of language: reading, listening, speaking, and writing.  Each of these areas is tested for a specific amount of time (11-60 minutes depending on the domain).  All but the speaking module must be taken in the same day, the speaking domain or module must be taken within 7 days of the other domains.  IELTS scores range from 0-9.  Each number score also corresponds to competence level; for example 9 = Expert User, 6 = Competent User, and 1 = Non User.   The minimum score needed on the IELTS Academic Version for college admission in America varies from college to college, but usually a score of 6 is the minimum.  When the IELTS is used for the purposes of immigration, required scores generally vary as well, with a minimum of 5 required by New Zealand and a minimum  of 6 required for Australia in order to immigrate.

Gaining a strong understanding of the English language is required before taking either of these exams.  St. Louis recommends a minimum of CLB Level 6 in order to achieve success.

(Excerpts of this explanation have been taken from )

St. Louis offers TOEFL and IELTS test PREPARATION classes,  which include practice tests.  It is strongly recommended that students successfully complete CLB 6 in listening, 6 in speaking, 5 in reading and 6 in writing.   These language benchmarks will support you in your efforts to prepare for the TOEFL / IETLS test.  Your ESL instructor will give in-class support to help you achieve these CLB levels and guide you as to whether you are ready to complete the test. St. Louis also has strong relationships with nearby Colleges and Universities that are testing sites.

St. Louis does not administer the TOEFL or the IELTS tests.  You can visit the following websites to find information on testing locations and costs:

Home – IELTS Canada

Canada’s First Official IELTS Testing Centre. IELTS is a test developed by the world’s leading experts in language assessment on four key English language skills …

TOEFL: Home – Test of English as a Foreign Language

TOEFL ® Talks. FREE webinars available in 6 languages. Learn about the TOEFL iBT test and test prep tools, and chat with a TOEFL expert. NEW — View Prerecorded Webinar

TOEFL and IELTS preparation classes are offered on an ongoing basis at St. Louis – St. Mary’s Campus, Monday to Friday, 12:30-3:00pm.

Preparation classes are currently not offered at any other campus. 

Fees for TOEFL / IELTS preparation classes are the same as if you took an ESL class with us at St. Louis.

Whatever ESL class you take, the cost is a one-time annual $10 fee (Sept – June),

$5 one-time fee for any Summer ESL program.

**Visitors are welcome to attend at an additional cost

  • Visitor’s Language Assessment: $60
  • Visitor’s Materials Fee : $40
  • Visitor’s Hourly Fee: $7/hour

Canadian Citizens, Convention Refugees, Refugee Claimants, Permanent Residents or Landed Immigrants who are not a current ESL / LINC student at St. Louis, please follow these steps:

Step 1: Contact the YMCA Language Assessment Centre – 519-579-9622 (Kitchener) / 519-621-1621 (Cambridge) to book an appointment. (Visitors to Canada, contact St. Louis at 519-745-1201 directly)

Step 2: Have your English language skills assessed for FREE. Required Canadian Language Benchmarks are listening 6, speaking 6, reading 5, writing 6 to take the TOEFL / IELTS preparation class.

Step 3: Register at St. Mary’s Campus for TOEFL / IELTS preparation class.

Registration Dates/Locations

To register, please bring

  • Personal documents as identification
  • Completed language assessment from the YMCA. If you had a language assessment in the last year, while living in a different community in Ontario, please bring that completed language assessment. If you have not had an initial assessment or have moved from another province, please call the YMCA to make an appointment first at 519-579-9622.

Office Hours to Register:

St. Louis – St. Mary’s Campus, 77 Young Street, Kitchener

  • Go to St. Mary’s Campus office, Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 12:30pm

For information contact St. Louis at 519-745-1201 or email