CELPIP versus IELTS: Which One You Should Take?

If you are planning to move to Canada, then you must understand the importance of taking a language test and must be wondering whether you should take the IELTS or the CELPIP exam to prove your English language ability among other CRS selection factors.

As mentioned, proficiency in either English or French language is a must for the purpose of Canada immigration and a high score can boost your overall ranking in the Express Entry pool of candidates.

Those who are looking to take an approved language test in English have two options, i.e.

  1. International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

IELTS is a popular language proficiency test used for work, immigration and study. It recognizes both American as well as British English for spelling, grammar and word choice. Throughout the test, IELTS uses a mix of accents from native speakers.

If you are applying under Express Entry, then you have to take General Training test under IELTS for Canada PR.

  1. Canadian Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)

CELPIP is a Canadian-based test designed specifically to assess language skills required for Canada’s PR and citizenship. The test is conducted in Canadian English and accepts both American as well as British English spellings for all four components.

If you are taking CELPIP to apply through Express Entry, the CELPIP-General Training (four-skills tests) is required.

If you are applying through Express Entry, then you have to take CELPIP-General Training (four-skills tests).

Both are recognized and accepted by the IRCC for immigration purpose and are diligently designed to test an applicant’s English proficiency in all four abilities, i.e. reading, writing, listening and speaking.

In this article, we’ll explore both the options so that you can figure out, which one would suit you best!

We’ll compare the key components for both CELPIP and IELTS, which are the only two English language test providers that are accepted by the IRCC.

Test locations and availability

CELPIP has over 40 test locations available in Canada, while IELTS is conducted in total 119 locations inside Canada.

In case of International test centers, CELPIP has test locations in UAE, India, Philippines, and the USA. while, IELTS is available all over the world and is sponsored by the British Council.

Thus, if you are applying for Canada immigration from outside Canada, then IELTS is an ideal choice.

Availability of preparation material

Both the tests offer sufficient preparation materials like online samples, but, it is easier to get preparation materials for IELTS, as CELPIP is a relatively new test.

Level of difficulty

Both IELTS and CELPIP are designed to measure your English language proficiency and more or less the level of difficulty is same.

IELTS is a paper-based test, while CELPIP is a computerized test. Thus, a few applicant may find it comforting to give an on-paper writing section so that they can keep track of their time. While, others may feel less pressure while giving exam on a computer and typing along with keeping a tab on their timing and word count. The choice is yours!

On the other hand, CELPIP uses only Canadian speakers, while IELTS includes native speakers from countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, US and the UK in their Listening test section. For a few non-native speakers CELPIP’s Listening section can be easy to understand.

But, when it comes to IELTS’s Speaking section, you have to go through a face-to-face conversation with the examiner, but, CELPIP offers a computerized voice recording option. A lot of applicant find it easier to hold a face-to-face conversation with the examiner instead of a computer.

Test components

Score1 to 9 bands for each section1 to 12 score range for each section
Listening30 min for 4 components containing 40 question47-55 min for 7 components containing total 40-46 questions
Reading60 min for 3 components containing 40 questions55-60 min for 4 components containing 38-45 questions
Writing60 min for 2 components containing Letter Writing, Responding to a Point of View, and Problem or Argument53-60 min for 2 components Argument Email Writing and Responding to Survey Questions
Speaking11-14 min for 3 components including, Introduction, Two-Way Discussion and Individual Speech15-20 min for 8 components containing total 8 short  questions
Other detailsThe total test times also includes transition times between two test components


The test times doesn’t include transition times between two test components


To conclude, all we can say is, both of the tests are appropriate to be used for your Canada immigration purpose and choosing one over another is completely a matter of your personal choice and preference.

IELTS is an ideal choice for those who prefer paper-based tests and face-to-face conversation and are applying from outside of Canada.

However, CELPIP is specific to Canada only and is designed specially to meet the language skills for PR and citizenship in Canadian. If you wish to take language exam for other reasons, then this may not be a good option. As IELTS is not limited to PR or citizenship only, it is accepted for Canadian Study and work visas as well.

So, if you are applying for Canadian permanent residency through Express Entry program outside of Canada, then you must undertake IELTS to prove your English language proficiency and obtain minimum IELTS score for Canada PR, i.e. CLB 7 or above.

A significant increase in your points under language skills factor can largely contribute to your overall score and can help you qualify for Express Entry. Thus, you may seek expert assistance and get professional online ILETS coaching that can help you prepare for the listening, reading, speaking, and writing modules of the IELTS test.

With a professional coaching, you can gain better an understanding of how you should approach the four papers in IELTS test and will also get tips on how to prepare, stay calm and confident and score better.


Writer, Blogger , Publisher and owner of Magazineof.com

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