There are three types of exams that you can take for the language requirements if you want to apply for a Permanent Residency in Canada. For the English Language test, you can choose either the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP). For the French Language, you will take the Test d’ évaluation de français (TEF). But we will be focusing on the English test.
What is the difference between the IELTS and CELPIP?

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Measures the language proficiency of those who want to study or work where English is the primary communication language. It uses a nine-band scale to identify proficiency levels, from non-user (band score 1) to expert (band score 9).

There are two types of IELTS exam

IELTS Academic

The IELTS Academic test is for those applying for higher education or professional registration in an English-speaking environment. It shows some of the academic language features and assesses whether you are ready to move to a country that uses English as the primary language.

IELTS General Training

The IELTS General Training test is for those going to English-speaking countries for secondary education, work experience, or training programs. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. The test focuses on necessary survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts.

IELTS can be taken on Paper or Computer

Paper-based IELTS

This test requires test takers to sit at a desk with the question papers and answer sheets for the Reading, Listening, and Writing tests in an official IELTS test center. Test takers will write their answers in either pen or HB pencils. The Speaking test is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner.

Computer-delivered IELTS

This test includes Reading, Listening, and Writing tests in front of a computer with the screen’s questions in an official IELTS test center. The examinees submit their answers using a keyboard and a mouse. The Speaking test is not on a computer and is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner.

IELTS results validity period

While it is up to each organization to set a validity period that works for their purposes, the IELTS partners recommend a 2-year validity period for IELTS test results based upon the well-documented phenomenon of second language loss or ‘attrition.’

What is the CELPIP – General?

The CELPIP – General evaluates English listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills and is officially designated for permanent residence applications by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and accepted for professional designations. CELPIP – General and CELPIP – General LS?

There are two types of CELPIP tests

CELPIP – General Test

Evaluates the examinees’ English speaking, reading, listening, and writing skills and is used for permanent residence applications and professional designations.

CELPIP – General LS Test

Evaluates examinees’ English speaking and listening skills and are used for citizenship applications and professional designation.

Which One Should You Choose?

Here are the things that you should consider:

How much is your budget?

The exam price varies from country to country. You need to make sure that you’ve got the right estimate before you take the test. CELPIP is cheaper than IELTS. The low price makes it feasible for applicants who’re tight on a budget.

Where can I take the Exam?

Applicants living in Canada will have no issues in taking any of these tests. Both CELPIP and IELTS are available to take across Canada.

Canadian Centers:

CELPIP is available in over 40 locations in Canada.IELTS is available and conducted in 119 locations.

International Centers:

CELPIP only has a handful of centers outside Canada, i.e., UAE, India, Philippines, and the USA. IELTS is available all over the world. The British Council usually sponsors it in the countries that they operate in. Therefore, if you’re living abroad, then taking IELTS might be the only option for you.
Please take note that some locations only offer IELTS Academic exams. You should always make sure which assessment test you need for your immigration pathway.

How long will it take?

If you need to take the test urgently, then CELPIP is the way to go. The test will take approximately 3 hours. They usually send out the results within 10-12 days after the test. You can also access your score via the express rating system within three business days. However, that will cost you an additional fee.
On the other hand, IELTS will take at least two schedules. They usually take the speaking test a few days before the remaining sections. The results will take 13 days to receive.

Which is Easier?

It will depend on you. The tests may be designed on a similar scale to assess the candidate’s language proficiency, but they vary in execution. This factor changes the way individuals view the test. As a result, some find one test easier than the other.

Here are a few things they point out:

The speaking section in IELTS is carried out with an examiner, while CELPIP requires you to answer the questions via a recording. Many people find that it’s easier to hold a conversation with an examiner rather than a computer. In listening, IELTS’s listening section involves native speakers from various regions (Britain, Australia, and New Zealand). The variation in accents and pronunciations may confuse some applicants who are not familiar with the accents. On the other hand, CELPIP uses only Canadian speakers. Not only are their words easier to understand, but they are more relevant to the situation immigrants will witness on a day-to-day basis when they move to Canada. In regards to reading and writing, IELTS is taken on paper while CELPIP uses a computerized format. In this digital age, many applicants will be more comfortable in giving the second test. However, others may prefer doing the test at their own pace.


Both tests hold equal value for your Express Entry CRS score and passed the standards of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The best way to determine which one you should take is by going through the sample tests. These will give you an idea of how well you’ll perform in the real test. Moreover, you should take your budget, time, and overall format of the test before deciding. All these factors will ensure that you have made the right choice for yourself.
Are you taking your IELTS or CELPIP but afraid of failing? Contact our consultant now and ask for help. Just fill out the form: Free Consultation and Assessment

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