CELPIP Vs IELTS – Which is the Best Option for Indians

CELPIP and IELTS both are English Language proficiency tests that need to be taken in case you are planning to move abroad for higher studies or job; both the exams have certain parameters on which a candidate is judged. The choice of the examination depends on your personal or professional needs. To make it easier for you to choose between the two common tests, here is some information about both the test type, the differences between the two, similarities, and more.

In case you plan to immigrate to Canada, then it is important to prove language proficiency in either of the language French or English. In fact, it is the most important immigration requirement. Getting a good score in the language proficiency exam can make a huge difference in your Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS). To showcase their English language skills, candidates have two options either they can give the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) or the International English Language Testing System commonly known as the IELTS. Both of these tests are considered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

In this write-up, we will discuss CELPIP and IELTS, the only two English tests considered or accepted by Canada Immigration and Citizenship. Read carefully to be able to take the right decision and choose between CELPIP and IELTS.

All About the IELTS and CELPIP Tests

Both IELTS and CELPIP are conducted to evaluate the candidates’ English language proficiency skills. Based on the candidate’s performance in four categories including Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking they will be scored.


The CELPIP test is designed purposefully to assess key language skills needed to obtain Canadian permanent residency and citizenship. The test uses Canadian English and considers both British and American English spellings for its components. In case you are giving CELPIP to apply through Express Entry, then CELPIP-General Training (four-skill tests) is needed.

CIC consider CELPIP for Canadian immigration in –

  •       Permanent residence
  •       Canadian citizenship
  •       Express Entry
  •       Federal Skilled Worker Program
  •       Federal Skilled Trades Program
  •       Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  •       Start-up visas
  •       Most Provincial Nominee Programs

Similar to the IELTS, there are two versions of CELPIP including the General Test and the General LS Test. For Canadian immigration purposes, CELPIP General Test is needed. The General LS Test includes only Listening and Speaking and thus is not accepted.


On the other hand, the IELTS is taken by candidates planning to study or work in an English-speaking country. Also, it is considered for immigration purposes and recognizes both British and American English for spelling, grammar, and for word choice. IELTS score is valid in 140+ nations and is segmented into IELTS Academic (mainly for education purposes) and IELTS General Training (considered for migration to an English-speaking country). For Canadian immigration, one has to take the IELTS General Training as CIC doesn’t accept Academic scores for immigration.

IELTS General Training is conducted to test how well a person can express himself/ herself in English.

The four modules included in it are:

  1. Reading
  2. Listening
  3. Writing
  4. Speaking

Both CELPIP and IELTS are approved and accepted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The final test score obtained by the candidates must meet the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), demonstrating the country’s language standards for recognizing a second language.

Below is the CLB comparison chart from the CIC website.

Main Components of CELPIP and IELTS

Beneath we have provided a comparison table focusing on the main components of the tests:

Particulars CELPIP IELTS
Score breakdown Score between 1 – 12 for each section; it will be calculated against the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) levels Candidates will be scored anywhere between 1 – 9 for each section
Listening 47-55 minutes in duration; 7 components, a total of 40-46 questions will be asked (40 scored) Half an hour, there will be a total of 4 components, a total of 40 questions
Reading 55-60 minutes; 4 components, a total of 38-45 questions (38 scored) 1 hour; 3 components, 40 questions
Writing 53-60 minutes; 2 components: Writing an Email and Responding to Survey Questions 1 hour; 2 components: Writing a Letter and sharing a Point of View, Argument or Problem
Speaking 15-20 minutes; 8 components, a total of 8 short-answer questions 11-14 minutes; 3 components: Introduction, Individual Speech and Two-Way Discussion
Details The test times consist of the transition times among the test components The test times exclude the transition times between the test components
Exam Format Only online mode is available You can choose paper-based or on a computer the IELTS for both the General Training and Academic tests.


Similarities Between IELTS and CELPIP

We have discussed the differences between the both above. Now let’s try to understand the similarities between the two.

Below are the Similarities Between IELTS and CELPIP

  • None of these exams gives an official break
  • Both of these exams are pretty strict regarding formal and informal tones used while Speaking and Writing
  • Both Speaking and Writing modules are checked by humans
  • One must learn Canadian English, culture, and tradition for CELPIP

Major Differences

Here, we will have a quick look at the key differences between the two – The International English Language Testing System and the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program.

Some of the main differences between both these tests are written below:

  • In IELTS, one gets into an academic kind of conversation in Listening, while there are a few lengthy passages in Reading. But CELPIP more often focuses on day-to-day conversations.
  • IELTS exam is much more particular about spelling and grammar; while the CELPIP checks only grammar.
  • There is no need to rush to complete tasks in CELPIP. And to your surprise, you might end up getting a higher band despite having an incomplete response.
  • Unlike IELTS, Speaking has many small tasks in CELPIP; mentioning an unusual situation.
  • In the Listening section, the audio clip will not be played with questions. In the IELTS exam, one has to listen and read at the same time to get answers in Listening. On the other hand, in CELPIP the audio clip plays first and upon tapping on the ‘next’ button, it gets you a short series of questions.

Is CELPIP More Difficult than IELTS?

There is no significant proof indicating that CELPIP scoring or the CELPIP test is more difficult than IELTS or vice versa. In fact, both of these tests are quite similar in terms of difficulty. The main difference lies in the CELPIP Vs IELTS test formats.

Though CELPIP tests Canadian English it also accepts both British and American spellings. This gives the test-taker a huge benefit. On the other hand, the IELTS test is also taken on paper and many people are more comfortable with it. This can be an added advantage for those who are not proficient at using computers.


In a nutshell, it would not be wrong to say that both of these tests – The International English Language Testing System and Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program are equally appropriate and considered for immigration applications. Consider your need for the test and take your decision accordingly.

IELTS is also ideal for test-takers who prefer offline exams – the exams that were taken using pen and paper, and want to have some face-to-face speaking modules. Moreover, they can appear for this exam in case applying outside Canada as well. On the other hand, CELPIP is a wiser option for those who prefer online exams and looks for a faster and less stressful test experience. To shortlist between CELPIP Vs IELTS and to know the best option for Indians it is better to start giving the sample tests to understand the kind and pattern of both the tests. No matter what test you have chosen, make sure you begin with your exam preparation in advance to get the desired score. One must find a certified and experienced tutor for IELTS or CELPIP as learning without professional help is a bit difficult task.

If you are looking for a coaching institute in any of the major cities in India consider IELTS coaching at Study Smart – the dependable destination for all. Contact us today for a professional consultation!

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