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IELTS VS CELPIP - TOP 5 Points About The Two Tests

One of the six selection criteria for Canada permanent residency is language proficiency. Language proficiency tests are an excellent way to demonstrate your ability to fit in with others in a country and to be able to live and work as the rest of the citizens do.

Scoring well will tell authorities that you have what it takes to function in their country, while scoring poorly will tell authorities that you may find it difficult in their country and may not prove to be an asset.

What are language proficiency tests?

Language proficiency tests are specifically designed to test areas of the language that the taker will need to get by in a foreign country. They do not test you on advanced components of grammar.

Instead, they take the main uses of a language and see how you fare in them. This would include reading, writing, speaking and listening.

This assesses how well you know a language, and whether you will be able to put your knowledge into practical use in real-time.

What are the different kinds of language proficiency tests?

There are three test providers in Canada, two for English and one for French. The ones providing English proficiency tests are as follows:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)

What are the differences between IELTS and CELPIP?

The major differences are as follows:



The IELTS can be taken for a variety of visa processes, among which are study visas, work visas and permanent residency visas.

The CELPIP is only meant to be taken for permanent residency visas and citizenships.

Four types of language skills are tested here.

In the General LS version of this test, only listening and speaking skills are measured.

There are two versions, one is the IELTS General Training and the other is the IELTS Academic.

There are two versions, one is the CELPIP General and the other is the CELPIP General LS.

Which test should I choose - IELTS VS CELPIP?

The test you should choose depend on your purpose and chances of success.

The purpose of your visit is an important factor to consider here. If you need to apply for permanent residency, citizenship or a professional designation, then choosing CELPIP is a good idea as it is designed for these purposes.

If you have to apply for a study or work visa, then choosing IELTS is a good idea.

Coming to choosing a test that displays your strengths, there is not much of a difference between the two tests. They both have the same level of difficulty but you can choose one or the other based on the following.

The CELPIP test has a longer speaking and listening section than the IELTS, so if these are not your strengths, then the IELTS exam holds a better chance of success for you. The CELPIP test also covers everyday situations to properly assess your functionality. If you are not good at deciphering these, then IELTS is a safer bet for you.

Key Components of CELPIP


There are 4 sections to this test, with a score of 1 to 12 for each section. This is a computer-based test. They are graded according to the Canadian Language Benchmark Levels (CBL).

Listening section: There are 7 components with 40-46 questions. This section lasts for 47-55 minutes.

Reading section: There are 4 components with 38-45 questions. This lasts for 55-60 minutes.

Writing section: There are only two components for this one. They consist of writing an email and responding to a survey. The writing section lasts for 53-60 minutes.

Speaking section: There are eight components to this test, with 8 questions. This lasts for 15-20 minutes.

Key Components of IELTS


There are 4 sections, with 1 to 9 points assigned to each. You can score whole points or half points.

Listening section: There are 4 components with around 40 questions. This will take around 3 minutes.

Reading section: There are 3 components with 40 questions. This lasts for 60 minutes.

Writing section: There are two components. You are required to write an essay and a letter. This lasts for 60 minutes.

Speaking section: There are three components. You have to introduce yourself, deliver a speech and answer questions. This lasts for 11-14 minutes.

What is IELTS?

IELTS is a test provider that tests you on four language abilities- reading, writing, listening and speaking. This is a test that is accepted by several countries all over the world and is used for general, student and work visas mainly.

The IELTS is not a challenging test, especially for Indian applicants as they have been speaking and using the language their entire lives. Going for classes is a good way to prepare for these exams, however getting familiar with the format of the tests and attempting a few mock exams is usually enough to get a good score.

The IELTS is scored on a band of 9 points. 6.5 points is a satisfactory score to aim for.

What is CELPIP?

CELPIP is not a generalized English test. It is meant to be used for the specific purposes of citizenship and immigration. There is no point in taking this test if you are applying for a student visa, or a work visa that does not involve a professional designation.

There are two kinds of CELPIP exams:

CELPIP General: This assesses your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. It is meant for permanent residence applications and is reviewed by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). You can also take this test for professional designation purposes.

CELPIP General LS: This test only measures you listening and speaking skills and is designed for citizenship applications and professional designations.

How do I prepare for IELTS? 

As IELTS has been established as a common language test for international aspirants, there are plenty of resources that can help you prepare for it.

There are websites, coaching centres and agencies that can help you get the best possible score on the IELTS exam.

Kansas can help you with preparing for the IELTS exam. Get in touch with us now to get the best scores!

How do I prepare for CELPIP?

There are several online materials that you can use to study for CELPIP. However, it is recommended to use the resources available on their website. You can find them here.

There are several off-line tests that are available. However, you will find online resources much more convenient and updated.


CELPIP and IELTS are both language proficiency tests that are approved by the IRCC. IRCC does not recommend one over the other, so it is safe to assume they hold equal importance. Both the tests have the following components:

  • Listening section
  • Reading section
  • Writing section
  • Speaking section

CELPIP focuses on the practical uses of the language. Scoring well on this test will show the authorities that you are well-equipped to tackle real-life scenarios. CELPIP is also a good test if you are applying for citizenship.

An important thing to consider is that you can only access the CELPIP test in 3 cities, while the IELTS has over a 100 test centres in India. For guidance regarding the two tests, book a free consultation with Kansas now!

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Other FAQS

Where can I take the IELTS exam?

There are around a 100 test centres in India, as the IELTS is a very popular test. You can also visit the British Council Library to take the IELTS exam.

Where can I take the CELPIP exam?

You can take the CELPIP exam in 3 cities- Chandigarh, New Delhi and Ahmedabad.

What does the CELPIP General Test cost?

It costs Rs 10,845 + taxes.

What does the IELTS General Test cost?

It costs Rs 14,000 including taxes.

How long does the CELPIP test take?

The CELPIP test is around 3 hours long. All four modules are completed in the same day. Usually, the listening and speaking sections take longer. Transition times are accounted for.

How long does the IELTS test take?

The IELTS test takes around 3 hours. However, it takes two days to complete the IELTS test, as the listening and reading sections take place on one day, and the other sections on another. Both paper-based and computer-based tests are valid, and the times are adjusted accordingly.

When do I get the results for my CELPIP test?

The results for the CELPIP test are usually published in 4-5 business days.

When do I get the results for my IELTS test?

You will get them in 5-7 days in cases of computer-based tests. You will get your results in 13 calendar days in cases of paper-based tests.

When can I retake IELTS test?

There is no time limit before you can retake your IELTS test. Your test results are valid for two years after you take it, and you can send the best score out of all your attempts.

When can I retake the CELPIP test?

You can retake the CELPIP test after a span of 30 days from your last exam.

How many times can I take the CELPIP test?

You can take it as many times as you want, but you may not register for more than one session within a span of 4 days. Also, you have to wait for at least 30 days from your last exam before retaking your CELPIP test.

What do these tests imply?

These tests imply how proficient you are in their native language. This in turn tells the people in question whether you are prepared enough to be able to function and adapt in their country.

A good score means you know the language well enough to do well and be an asset. A bad score implies that you do not have the necessary language skills that are needed to study, work and live in Canada and will have trouble communicating with potential employers, educators and general citizens.

How do I register for a IELTS test centre in India and what is the exam fee?

You can register online or offline according to your convenience. The exam fee is Rs 14,000 inclusive of all taxes.

How do I register for a CELPIP test centre in India and what is the exam fee?

You can register online for your CELPIP test on their official website. The exam fee is Rs 10,845 excluding taxes.

How long is the CELPIP test valid?

It is valid for 2 years after you take them. Following this, if required, you will need to take them again.

How long is the IELTS test valid?

It is valid for 2 years after you take them.

What are the major differences between these tests?

There are no major differences between these two tests. The only difference that stands outs between these tests is the purpose behind taking them.

The CELPIP tests are meant for people applying for citizenship, permanent residency and professional designations.

The IELTS tests are meant for general purposes, like student and work visas.

Topics: Migrate, Canada, Canada-Immigration