IELTS vs. CELPIP: The differences between CELPIP & IELTS test takers need to know

What is the difference between the IELTS test vs the CELPIP test? Is one test better than the other in testing your English language proficiency? Is one easier than the other? We will take a look at these questions and more to give you the definitive guide to both the IELTS test and the CELPIP test.

Is CELPIP easier than IELTS?

Let’s face it. This is the question most people want to know! The main answer is if you study and prepare for either of these English language proficiency tests, you are likely to succeed. Remember the three Ps – prepare, prepare and then prepare some more! For test takers planning to do the IELTS test or CELPIP test, it is important to know the structure of each so that you are ready for the big day! Let’s have a look at each test in detail.

What is the difference between CELPIP and IELTS?

IELTS test format

IELTS tests your English language proficiency in all four skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. Find out more about the test format here. As it is an internationally recognized test, you will hear a variety of accents in the Listening section. However, the recordings in this section are always designed to be clear and they do not include and slang or unfamiliar vocabulary and expressions.

CELPIP test format

Just as IELTS, the CELPIP test covers all four skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. The main difference here is that there is a focus on North American language. For example, the listening and reading sections will contain more Canadian content.

IELTS test versions

There are two versions of IELTS.

Academic – IELTS Academic is for those who want to study at a university or college or join a professional association where English is a prerequisite.

Each organisation sets its own entry requirements, and some may even accept both versions of IELTS. If you are not sure of which version you should take, it is advised to check with your organisation to see what version of IELTS they accept.

General Training – The IELTS General Training test is typically taken by those who wish to move to Canada and is accepted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s numerous immigration programs, such as Express Entry.

Find out more about the different IELTS test versions.

CELPIP test versions

There are two types of CELPIP tests.

CELPIP General test – The CELPIP general test is used for permanent residency applications.

CELPIP Listening & Speaking – This version is used for Canadian citizenship applications.

IELTS test delivery

One benefit for test takers of IELTS is that you have both a paper-based test and a computer based test. The test content is exactly the same for both tests and for the speaking test you still do the test face-to face with an examiner. Both are excellent options to test your English language proficiency.

CELPIP test delivery

The CELPIP test is entirely a computer-based test. All sections of the test are delivered at a test centre. The main difference is that the speaking test is not done with an examiner. The speaking test is done on a computer with your responses to questions recorded.


What IELTS score is required for PR?

Once you have taken the IELTS general training test, you can use the results of your test as proof of English language proficiency for Canada’s many immigration pathway programs. The Government of Canada assesses this through Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs).

IELTS is linked to these Canadian Language Benchmarks. Find out more about this on the CLB to IELTS page.

For more information on Canada’s language requirements, visit the Government of Canada’s Language equivalency charts.

What CELPIP score is required for PR?

Just like IELTS, the CELPIP test is also accepted for Canada’s immigration programs through the Canadian language benchmarks. To find out more about this, visit the Government of Canada’s Language equivalency charts.

What is a good score for the IELTS?

This is always a common question and one that is quite difficult to answer! A good score will depend on what your goals are.

Do you want to take IELTS to assess your English language proficiency for permanent residency? If so, the higher score the better as this can get you more points for the Express Entry system.

If you need to take the IELTS for academic purposes, then each educational institution sets a particular requirement, so it is best to check what score you will need.

What is a good score for the CELPIP test?

Just like the IELTS test, there is not a specific score which can be classified as “good”. It will depend on what your immigration objectives are.

It is important to note that the CELPIP test can’t be used for academic purposes.

How is the IELTS test score calculated?

IELTS uses band scores to assess your English language proficiency. Find out more about band scores. Your listening test and reading test scores will be determined by the number of correct answers you get.

Your writing test and speaking test scores are assessed by a trained examiner based on various criteria. IELTS continually works on test development so that it remains an accurate way to determine your English language proficiency.

For paper-based tests, you results will be available 13 calendar days after your test date.

For computer-based tests, your results will be available 3 to 5 days after your test date.

How is the CELPIP test score calculated?

For the CELPIP test, your listening and reading test scores are determined by the number of correct answers that you get. For the listening and speaking test, a rater will determine your level.

Your results are available 4 – 5 days after your test date.

So, which is better IELTS or CELPIP?

While both tests can be used for immigration purposes, there are some additional advantages to IELTS

The academic version can be used to show English language proficiency required by Canadian universities for acceptance onto their programs and courses.

Not only is IELTS highly recognized in Canada (by over 800 organisations), but IELTS is the world’s most recognised English language proficiency test. Over 11,000 organisations worldwide accept and trust IELTS.

Do you need to prepare for IELTS? Visit our IELTS preparation page.

Are you ready to take IELTS? Find IELTS test dates at a location near you!