MELA Test Format & Content

MELA measures English language communications skills in four areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing. The test takes about three and a half hours, including 10 minutes for sign in, document verification and instructions.

Speaking Listening Reading Writing
One-on-one, face-to-face interview Paper-based with audio input (controlled by invigilator) Paper-based Paper-based
20 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes
4 parts: talk about personal experience, role-play in a typical workplace task, discuss a health care topic 4 tasks: take messages, follow instructions, understand a conversation and answer questions about a lecture 3 tasks: get information from charts and forms, comprehend details and meaning in textbook-style and academic-style texts 3 tasks including write a report, make a request, discuss a health care topic
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The test structure is based on the assumption that a language user can engage in tasks of different levels of complexity but their performance levels will differ depending on their language skills. For each skill area the MELA tasks increase in their level of difficulty, with the first task being relatively common, and the final task being more complex.

Speaking (20 minutes) Speaking

The speaking test is a four-part interview which is recorded and rated by two different assessors to ensure score reliability. The interview requires test takers to demonstrate their ability to describe, instruct, persuade, educate, give opinions, propose, and recommend. Performance during the interview is evaluated based on the appropriateness of responses, fluency, pronunciation and the range and accuracy of the language used. The role play scenario is occupation-specific.
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Listening (60 minutes) Listening

The listening tasks test the ability to understand messages and follow instructions, conversations and short academic-style lectures. There are four tasks that include completing forms while listening, taking notes, and answering multiple choice questions. The audio is delivered at normal speech rate and varies in length from 2 to 8 minutes.
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Reading (60 minutes) Reading

The reading tasks test comprehension of authentic texts from health care workplaces such as procedural manuals and memos as well as some academic reading such as medical journal articles and textbooks. There are three tasks that include matching and multiple choice questions. Because health care workplaces rely heavily on forms and charts, the reading test contains passages in prose as well as forms and charts.
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Writing (60 minutes) Writing

The writing tasks test the ability to complete forms accurately and communicate requests and ideas clearly and effectively. Tasks including write a report, make a request and discuss a health care topic. The writing tasks are assessed according to content, organization and accuracy of language use.
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What you need to do on the test day

The MELA takes 3 hours and 20 minutes. The reading, writing, and listening tests take 3 hours and there will be one short break after the first hour. After the reading, listening, and writing tests are finished, there will be another short break and you will go to an interview room to have your speaking test. Depending on when your interview is scheduled, you will need to allow for more time at the test session. You should allow a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 5 hours of time to take MELA.

When you arrive at the Michener Institute, you will be directed to the test room at reception. The test room will open at the time the test is scheduled to start. The test invigilator will ask you to complete a registration form, sign an attendance form and show a government issued photo ID (eg. drivers' license, health card,...etc). No dictionaries or electronic devices are allowed in the test room. You may use pen or pencil to complete the test.