Diagnosis and Assessment (ELDA)
The Certificate of Proficiency in English (COPE) comprises a series of tests designed to assess your level of proficiency in the English language in order to demonstrate that achievement level to universities where the language of instruction is English. The COPE is currently accepted by the University of Toronto for graduate and undergraduate admission consideration. Transcripts can also be provided to other universities.
Please read the following policy statements before contacting us. We will not respond to questions answered here.
The cost of the COPE Test is $220.00 and the price of the TOP Test is $80.00.
Transcript request forms can take us two weeks to process. We cannot answer questions on behalf of the receiving department or institution.
You cannot transfer your application to anyone else and you cannot request a refund.
The tests take place at the downtown University of Toronto campus.
Tests will take place at 8:30 am at the Exam Centre at 255 McCaul Street, Toronto, Ontario near College & University Avenue.
There is no COPE office at the test locations.
Results of the ELDA/COPE test will be posted online within 14 days of the test.
What are ELDA/COPE and ELDA/TOP?
ENGLISH LANGUAGE DIAGNOSIS & ASSESSMENT (ELDA) is the name of a group of ESL experts who develop and administer English Proficiency tests. The results of these tests are currently accepted by the University of Toronto for graduate and undergraduate admission consideration. Transcripts can be sent to other institutions on request.
What is the format of each test?
ELDA/COPE tests three areas of language proficiency: Reading (90 minutes), Writing (35 minutes) and Listening (75 minutes).
Reading: Reading Text 1 (fact-based) of approximately 850 words followed by a comprehension free response question worth 10 marks and multiple choice questions worth 10 marks. There is also Reading Text 2 in which words have been deleted. Students must choose or add the missing words. This part is worth 15 marks. Reading Text 3 (opinion based) of approximately 450 words where students must state the main idea and supporting arguments in a brief summary. This is worth 10 marks.
The Writing Test follows, a 35 minute essay based on a topic related to the ideas in Reading Text 3. The essay is written after the summary has been collected. It is scored out of 60.
Listening: the first module involves a series of short monologues and dialogues followed by multiple choice or fill in the blank questions. This is designed to test the student’s understanding of informal communication in an academic setting. This is worth 15 marks. This is followed by a fact-based lecture in which comprehension questions are inserted. This is worth 30 marks.
We have no preparation materials or courses.
The ELDA Test of Oral Proficiency (TOP) consists of a 15-20 minute interview which is analyzed by two ESL experts. The TOP takes place after the COPE test has finished.
How do I prepare for the tests?
The best way to prepare for the COPE test is to take an ESL course (particularly one that includes writing and grammar) to improve your overall proficiency. You may find courses which combine reading and writing or speaking and listening.
If you live in a situation where you use your native language most of the time, it is very important to seek out other situations where you can practice the English language in a real environment.
Read real materials in English (newspapers, school textbooks, magazines etc.) rather than ESL textbooks but buy a good ESL grammar book to use for yourself. You may find some in the ESL section of the U of T bookstore.
Listen to radio broadcasts, TV documentaries etc. (particularly programs in which the speaker is not seen). Take notes.
Ask friends and colleagues to correct your speaking errors which cause miscommunication: normally they will not do this in case they offend you but explain how important it is to you.
Do not depend on friends and relatives to monitor your written work. Unless they are trained ESL teachers, they can only tell you what you have done wrong but only a trained person can explain how to correct the mistake on a systematic basis.
Who accepts these tests?
The COPE test is accepted by the University of Toronto at both graduate and undergraduate levels.
How do I register?
Step One: Complete the appropriate registration form online. Do not mail in the registration form.
Step Two: Print out and complete the Identification form which you can download from this website. Our mailing address is: COPE Testing Ltd. 7B Pleasant Boulevard, Box 957, Toronto, Ontario, M4T 1K2.
Two recent passport size colour photos showing your head and shoulders are required. One should be attached to Part A and signed by a Canadian Citizen (not a relative). The second should be attached to Part B which you bring to the test.
In each case, send your form(s) with payment to the COPE Testing Ltd. mailbox address. Please ensure that the spelling of your name is the same on all forms submitted.
Step Three: Payment of Fees
Fees are NON-REFUNDABLE. You may transfer your payment to the next test if you contact us at least four days before the test and pay an additional $30.00. You will need to use the Transfer Form in that case.
ELDA/COPE Fee: $220.00
ELDA/TOP Fee: $80.00
You may pay by money order, personal cheque (payble to Cope Testing Ltd) or credit card.
Credit card details should be written on your identification statement NOT ON-LINE.
NSF cheques will incur an additional fee of $30.00 and results will be withdrawn and not released until this fee is paid.
Tests fill up quickly so apply early. Ensure that your COPE Identification Statement and your payment are received by us before 5 pm on the Friday that is eight days prior to the test date. If we receive your payment late (after the deadline) we will require a further $20.00 for any of the above tests. If there are still spaces available in the week before the test, applicants may be accepted. However, any late payments will incur the additional fee stated above and must be made by money order or by credit card. Personal cheques will not be accepted unless they are received by the deadline.
When do I get a receipt?
Your Official Registration number for the ELDA/COPE will be posted online. We do not send individual receipts. You will need to write this number on your test answer sheets. We post your registration number after we have received your registration form, identification form and payment. We do not normally acknowledge an on-line registration form until we receive the ID statement & fee. You must bring this registration number on the test day OR YOU WILL NOT BE ADMITTED TO THE TEST. Please write it on Part B of your identification statement.
You will keep the same registration number for all tests in a year. You must use it each time you apply.
Your Official Receipt for the ELDA/TOP will be posted online.
When do I get my results?
Results of the ELDA/COPE test will be posted online within 14 days of the test. Check your registration number and birthdate.
Your results for the test will normally be sent online to the University of Toronto within 14 days of the test. Please note that it takes at least four days for our information to be processed through the Admissions and Awards system. This means that your results may not be immediately accessible to you even though we have already sent the information.
Results from all tests will be valid for two years from the date of the test.
After you have received your COPE test results, if you then want an official transcript sent by mail to your home address, please complete the Transcript Form by downloading it from the website & mailing it to us with a $15.00 fee.
Results can be sent to additional institutions after the test if you complete the Transcript Form by down loading it from the website & mailing it to us with a $25.00 fee.
Please note that Transcript Forms may take us up to two weeks to process. We have no control over or information about how long the receiving institutions take to process the transcripts.
What do the results mean?
Please note that ELDA does not provide individual discussion of any of our tests.
Undergraduate applicants to the University of Toronto must achieve a minimum total of 86. The three tests must combine to at least 86 and your writing score must be at least 32 and your Reading and Listening scores must both be at least 22.
Graduate students should check with their departments.
If you feel that your mark does not reflect your proficiency, you have the following options:
Complete a Recheck/Rescore Form and mail it to our mailbox address with the appropriate fee within 30 days of the test date.
A recheck of the test costs $20 (refundable if we made a clerical error) and each score on the test is double-checked in case of any mistake in compiling or recording your results.
A rescore of the test costs $50 and an ESL expert reads all your answers and decides whether or not the original score was fair. If the total mark changes, the new mark will be sent to the University of Toronto Admissions and Awards (whether it is higher or lower). There is no refund of this fee under any circumstances. If changes are made, you will receive an amended transcript which will become your new official transcript.
Extra transcripts can be requested for two years from the date of your test. They can be sent to an institution of your choice for a fee of $20.00 per transcript (complete Transcript form)
There is no limit on the number of times you may attempt COPE tests in one academic year (September to August), but, as significant progress requires time, we advise you to take appropriate ESL courses before trying again.
The ELDA/TOP is scored using a banding system which is reproduced for you below. OISE/UT candidates are expected to reach at least level 7.
Oral Proficiency Assessment Bands for non-native speakers of English
|7+||Approaches bilingual competence.|
|7||Presents complex ideas clearly and without help. Interacts effectively and easily. Can independently and fluently expand and develop the point being discussed. Mis-pronunciation and minor language errors do not interfere with communication. Speakers in this band are still perceived as non-native speakers of English.|
|6||Expresses complex ideas comprehensively and without major difficulty despite some stumbling and hesitation. Is able to maintain a complex discussion with some fluency, but may need some prodding. Mis-pronunciation, errors and inappropriate language are noticeable, but do not significantly impede communication.|
|5||Expresses simple ideas well but has difficulty coping with complex discussions without a great deal of help. Beyond a simple discussion may need to ask for repetition or clarification, and similarly be asked to clarify or repeat. Interviewer must make an effort to maintain relevance or flow of discussion. Mis-pronunciation and errors are obvious.|
|4||Cannot cope with complex discussions but expresses simple ideas comprehensibly. Can maintain a simple discussion with some help, but hesitation, errors and inappropriate language are obvious. Has difficulty following English at normal speed. Demonstrates major problems with grammar or pronunciation.|
|3||Has difficulty coping with simple discussions. Cannot express simple ideas without help. All dialogue is a struggle punctuated with hesitations and severe misunderstandings. Comprehends fragments of normal speech only and has difficulty communicating ideas comprehensibly.|
|2||Cannot cope with simple discussions. Uses single words or stock phrases. Little ability with normal speech.|
|1||Cannot communicate in English at all.|
ELDA/Writing Assessment for non-native speakers of English.
Papers that score between 46 and 60 demonstrate a superior ability to communicate effectively:
- the ideas presented can be followed easily;
- the main ideas and supporting details can be easily identified and are logically and coherently developed in an appropriate organizational framework;
- the writing shows a range of sentence types and vocabulary;
- occasional minor errors in grammar or word choice do not obscure meaning.
Papers that score between 32 and 45 demonstrate a clear ability to communicate effectively:
- the ideas presented can be followed with little difficulty;
- the main ideas and supporting details can be identified and ideas are adequately developed;
- either the writing demonstrates a range of sentence types and vocabulary but contains surface errors in grammar or word choice;
- or the writing is relatively accurate in terms of grammar and word choice but does not demonstrate a range of sentence type or vocabulary.
Papers that score between 22 and 31 demonstrate some ability to communicate effectively:
- the ideas presented can be followed with some difficulty;
- the main ideas and supporting details can be identified most of the time; however arguments may lack relevance or coherence and may be only partially developed;
- complex sentences may be avoided or used incorrectly;
- the writing shows adequate use of grammar and vocabulary but may contain errors that obscure meaning.
Papers that score between 0 and 21 demonstrate little ability to communicate effectively:
- the ideas presented are difficult to follow or do not address the topic;
- the paper lacks a clear organizational structure and ideas are inadequately presented;
- the writing shows a limited range of sentence structure and vocabulary and contains frequent errors in sentence structure, grammar and vocabulary choice;
- OR there is not enough to evaluate.
What happens at the test?
Remember to bring the following to the test:
- your passport (if your passport is out of date, we may allow a driving licence plus health card with recent photos but you must check with us before the test).
- Section B of the ID statement.
You will not be admitted to the test without these documents and no refund will be given.
What happens at the COPE?
Registration begins 15 minutes before the test time indicated on the website. Test room numbers will be displayed in the front hall of the Bahen Centre.
You will be divided into alphabetical or numerical groups which are displayed outside the test room. You will then be sent to registration officers inside the room where you show your official identification documents. You will be asked to leave coats and bags at the back of the room. Mobile phones must be switched off. We cannot accept responsibility for lost or stolen items.
A monitor will then show you to a seat in the test room. When everyone is ready the Test Supervisor will explain the order of the test.
What happens at the TOP?
The interview will be recorded, (you will notice a tape recorder between you and the interviewer) so that another ESL expert can listen later and give you a second mark. The interviewer will begin by asking you some informal questions before going on to a more detailed discussion.
There is no pre-planned topic for discussion. Based on the introductory questions, the interviewer leads you into a discussion that becomes more complex or academic. Throughout the discussion, the tester encourages you to develop and support your ideas.
- Try to ignore the tape recorder: look at the tester, not the tape recorder.
- Try to answer with more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Remember that this is a talking test; you need to develop your ideas with details and / or examples.
- Feel free to ask the interviewer to explain a question in different words if you don’t understand the question.
- Do not memorize a prepared speech. If you do, the tester will interrupt you.
- Do not bring a dictionary or any notes into the room to help you.
- Do not worry about the time. You will be informed when the interview is over.
Important advice and warnings
- Do not bring translation aids, dictionaries or other printed or electronic aids into the test room.
- All communication devices must be switched off while in the test room. If they are not switched off and disturb the test, you will be asked to leave the test and will not receive a result for that test module.
- When the test begins, listen carefully to the Room Supervisor’s instructions.
You will be given time to scan the whole test paper before you begin. Read the instructions and times carefully.
- There are no choices in the test. You will be expected to complete each part.
- Use pencils rather than pens and bring an eraser.
- Behave quietly in the test room so no other candidates are disturbed.
- At the end of the test, stop writing immediately the supervisor instructs you to do so. Otherwise you will be asked to leave the test and receive no refund or results.
N.B. CHEATING IS A SERIOUS OFFENCE. IT CAN INVOLVE IMPERSONATION, COPYING FROM ANOTHER CANDIDATE, OR BRINGING MATERIALS OR AIDS INTO THE TEST ROOM. ANYONE CAUGHT CHEATING WILL RECEIVE NO RESULTS OR REFUND. FURTHER, THE OFFENCE MAY BE REPORTED TO THE ADMISSIONS DEPARTMENTS OF ALL CANADIAN UNIVERSITIES.