Dinesh Pandiyan

Updated on 31-03-2023


CELPIP vs. IELTS: Which Is Better For Canada Visa

CELPIP vs. IELTS: Which Is Better For Canada Visa

Are you thinking about CELPIP vs. IELTS? Which one should you take for your Canada visa? 

IELTS is a popular and the most accepted English language testing system in the world. It’s also accepted for migration visas for Canada. The IELTS general test is the one you need to aim at if you are willing to migrate to Canada. On the other hand, CELPIP is another commonly chosen exam for Canada migration visas. CELPIP is relatively new and is strictly for immigrants and international students. 

In this blog, we will talk more about CELPIP vs IELTS, Whether CELPIP is easier than IELTS, What are the advantages of taking up CELPIP, and the similarities and differences between CELPIP and IELTS. 


What's IELTS? 

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It’s a widely accepted test for international student admissions abroad. IELTS score is also considered for Canada PR. Many countries use IELTS for their immigration requirements, such as Canada. There are two types of IELTS tests: General and Academic. For Canadian immigration, you have to take the IELTS General. 

what's ielts? 

IELTS General tests are aimed at understanding the test-takers ability to communicate well in English. It uses a nine point scale to identify the various levels of English proficiency. There are 4 modules -

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking

Each of the 4 modules are measured on a scale of 0 to 9, and then the score is averaged to give you the final result.  

What’s CELPIP? 

Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program or CELPIP is for immigrants and international students. It’s a newer test than IELTS. The exam is accepted by the Canadian and provincial governments, universities, colleges and employers. It’s accepted for -

what’s celpip? 

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

The employers accepting CELPIP in Canada are:

  • ICCRC: Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council
  • CDO: College of Dentists Ontario
  • BC Corrections
  • SREC: Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission
  • Professional Business Accountants’ Society of Canada

Similar to IELTS, CELPIP has 2 versions – General Test and General LS Test. If you’re looking at migrating to Canada, CELPIP General Test is the one for you. The General LS Test only covers Listening and Speaking, and thus is not accepted as a complete validation of your English skills.

Also Read: Study abroad from India - Guide

Why choose CELPIP over IELTS? 

Even Though there are many good student cities in Canada that accept both CELPIP & IELTS, CELPIP has its own advantages over IELTS. If you’re still in the figuring out phase, thinking which exam you  should take, consider the following reasons -

  • The CELPIP only uses North American accents in the Listening section;
  • The CELPIP takes place in one sitting, whereas IELTS happens on two different days.
  • The CELPIP is a totally computer-based test, whereas IELTS has both versions of online and offline tests.
  • CELPIP results are declared within four to five days of your test, much faster than IELTS results. 
  • The CELPIP is also widely accepted in Canada, for university admissions, job search and immigration applications. Therefore, it’s a valuable certification that you can aim for for your future.

What are the similarities between IELTS and CELPIP? 

Check out the below table, wherein we have shown the similarities between CELPIP and IELTS. Decide for yourself which is better for you -

Availability 33 locations; 9 provinces; Canada and UAE  119 locations; 5 provinces; >140 countries
Price CA$265 / US$207.5 / INR 15,119Tax added; Express rating available for CA$100 CA$309 / US$242 / INR 17,629Tax included; could be expensive in other locations
Time 3-hour exam; Results in 4 to 5 days Approx. 3-hour exam; speaking test is conducted another day; Results are declared in 13 days
Difficulty CBT, Canadian English dialect; Speaking test is done via recording Both CBT and PBT, Australian, American and British English dialects; Speaking test is done via one-on-one discussion
Preparation Courses available Materials available

Differences between IELTS and CELPIP 

The main difference between IELTS and CELPIP is that IELTS is an international English proficiency test, common for all English-speaking countries, whereas CELPIP is a Canadian-based English language test with topics, themes and vocabulary based on daily life in Canada. IELTS is a paper-based and computer-delivered test. But CELPIP is purely a computer-based test.

what are the differences between ielts and celpip 

Score  1 to 12 for each of the 4 sections. Follows the Canadian Language Benchmarks [CLB] level Each of the bands are marked on a scale of 1 to 9; overall score is marked on a scale of 1 to 9 as well
Listening 7 components with nearly 40-46 questions; lasts for almost 55 minutes  4 components with 40 questions; lasts for 30 minutes 
Reading 4 components with nearly 45 questions; lasts for almost 60 minutes 3 components with 40 questions; lasts for 60 minutes
Writing 2 components for 53 to 60 minutes; writing an email and responding to survey questions 2 components for 60 minutes; writing a letter and an essay
Speaking 8 components for 15 to 20 minutes 3 components for 11 to 15 minutes
Type of test  Only computer based test  

Preparation materials for IELTS and CELPIP 

Both IELTS and CELPIP have preparation materials available for the students interested in attempting the exams. Prep materials will help you understand the test format and question patterns for each. 

IELTS has different practice tests and sample test questions available on the IELTS website as well as with Kanan International. IELTS study materials can be purchased from either online or offline sources. 

Check out some of the best books to prepare for IELTS. 

CELPIP is a much newer exam compared to IELTS. Having said that, it doesn’t mean CELPIP doesn’t have prep materials available. You can look up study materials on celpip.ca website. 

Which is easy: CELPIP or IELTS? 

Which is good for a Canadian student visa? Is it IELTS or CELPIP. 

Before you decide on a test of your choice, you must consider certain factors that will help you decide whether or not to go for CELPIP. The below table lists out the factors based on which you can decide whether CELPIP is right for you. 

Location CELPIP has only 3 test centres in India - in New Delhi, Chandigarh, and Gujarat [Ahmedabad] Test locations are widespread. Both British Council and IDP have over 100 test centres for IELTS
Price General CELPIP test fee is around 10848 plus taxes General IELTS test fee is around 14K
Test timings CELPIP lasts for 3 hours; all sections are covered in one day only ELTS also lasts for 3 hours, but sometimes a little longer. It happens over 2 different days.
Result timings Results are declared within 4 to 5 days  IELTS CBT results are declared within 5 to 7 days, and IELTS PBT results are declared within 13 days
Difficulty level CELPIP happens completely online, and therefore easier for tech-savvy people. It gives you the option to use word count, spell checker, and timer ELTS has both paper- and computer-based tests. It happens over 2 different days
Language CELPIP is mostly based on Canadian English slangs IELTS has British, American, Canadian and Australian slangs

The above reasons will help you understand and judge which is better for your immigration visa - IELTS or CELPIP. However, in some cases, one exam may stand out better than the other for you. If you are wary of learning different English slangs, then CELPIP could be easier for you. On the other hand, someone who feels more confident about the test format of IELTS will usually choose that over the other. 

Is IELTS better than CELPIP? 

IELTS is a very old exam that’s been taken up by hundreds of students worldwide every year. Many students are more familiar with the test patterns of IELTS, and they may feel reluctant to opt for any other exam. 

Although CELPIP is a good alternative for students looking for visas to move to Canada, IELTS may appear as a better option for them for many reasons:

  1. IELTS has both paper-based and online test formats. This is helpful particularly for those students who are not confident appearing for online exams.
  2. IELTS has more number of test centres all over the world. Also, students may feel more assured about reaching out to someone for queries about IELTS given the large number of centres that they have. 
  3. IELTS is a recognised exam all over the world, whereas CELPIP is a modern exam which is accepted only in Canada. 

Is CELPIP better than IELTS? 

CELPIP is a Canadian test, but that does not mean taking up the exam will make it easier for you to get admissions to Canadian universities and colleges. 

However, there are certain advantages that one can expect from CELPIP:

  • The test is for Canadian immigration unlike the IELTS. Therefore, CELPIP tests your English according to the English language followed in Canada. 
  • It is possible that employers will be more open to accepting CELPIP scores since it shows your ability to use Canadian English.
  • Canada is one of the best places to study abroad. When you start studying & living in Canada, you must understand how the people of the country communicate. Thus, giving a test which is more focused on Canadian English makes more sense. 
  • The CELPIP test is taken on a computer, and thus it’s more modern and easier to attempt from anywhere.
  • You get CELPIP results within 5 days from the day of the test.
  • With ‘Express Rating’, you can get your results in just 3 days.
  • The entire test is completed in one sitting, unlike IELTS.
  • CELPIP fee is slightly less than that of IELTS.

What’s a good CELPIP and IELTS score? 

Since CELPIP is assessed based on the Canadian Benchmark Level [CBL], below we have tried to show what the each score means [source:celpip.ca]:

what’s a good celpip and ielts score?

Descriptor CELPIP Level CLB Level
Advanced proficiency in workplace and community contexts 12 12
Advanced proficiency in workplace and community contexts 11 11
High-level proficiency in workplace and community contexts 10 10
Effective proficiency in workplace and community contexts 9 9
Good proficiency in workplace and community contexts 8 8
Adequate proficiency in workplace and community contexts 7 7
Developing proficiency in workplace and community contexts 6 6
Acquiring proficiency in workplace and community contexts 5 5
Adequate proficiency for daily life activities 4 4
Limited proficiency 3 3
Minimal proficiency or insufficient information to assess M 0, 1, 2
Test-taker did not attempt the exam NA /

Check out what each IELTS band score signifies from the below table:

Band score Skill level Band descriptor 
9 Expert user

The test taker has a high operational command of the language.

The English usage is appropriate, accurate and fluent

He or she shows complete understanding of the context.

8 Very good user he test taker has complete operational command of the language with only occasional inaccuracies and usages. He or she can handle complex and detailed argumentation well.
7 Good user The test taker has operational command of the language, but with occasional inaccuracies , inappropriate usage and misunderstandings sometimes. Still he or she can handle complex language well.
6 Competent user The test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usages and misunderstandings.
5 Modest user The test taker has a partial command of the English language. He or she has basic Understanding, although likely to make many mistakes.
4 Limited user The test taker’s ability is limited to familiar situations only. He or she may lack understanding, and fail to use complex language.
3 Extremely limited user The test taker conveys and understands only the general meaning of the English language.
2 Intermittent user The test taker shows a great difficulty in understanding spoken and written English.
1 Non-user The test taker has no ability to use the language, except for a few words.
0 Did not attempt the test The test taker did not attempt any questions in IELTS.

How are both CELPIP and IELTS important? 

Given the requirements that every test-taker has, both IELTS and CELPIP are important in various ways. Both the tests measure the ability of the test-takers to communicate in English. Both are good indicators for assessing or gauging the English language skills of a person. 

While IELTS tests your fluency in other accents, CELPIP is more tailored to your Canadian English usage. Both the tests are useful for adapting to a foreign environment where English is the primary, perhaps the only, mode of communication. 


Now that you have enough information about CELPIP and IELTS, which is your preferred choice? Which exams suit you the best for your immigration visa? Let us know. Also, speak to our IELTS experts if you are looking for assistance about the IELTS test prep. 

Kanan has dedicated IELTS trainers to guide you through the steps of applying for admissions abroad. Get in touch with us to know more about the IELTS training facilities at our centres all over India. 

FAQs on CELPIP and IELTS exams 

1. Is CELPIP harder than IELTS? 

There’s no proof that CELPIP is harder than IELTS or vice-versa. However, it depends on the test-taker. Some people may feel CELPIP is harder because it happens in one day. While others may feel IELTS is easier and safer because it’s much more popular and a very old exam. 

2. What is a good CELPIP score? 

Any score in the range of 8 and 12, as per the CELPIP levels, is a good score. Please check the table given above for the test descriptors. 

3. Is CLB easier than IELTS? 

Both CLB and IELTS are challenging in their own ways. 

4. How difficult is CELPIP? 

CELPIP could be difficult for some test-takers. This is primarily because CELPIP is focused only on Canadian English and also the exam happens in just one day. Moreover, there are only 3 test centres in India for CELPIP. 

5. Can I take the CELPIP exam at home? 

No, you must take the CELPIP exam at one of the test centres in India.

6. How many times can I apply for the CELPIP exam? 

The time gap between each test should be 30 days. 

7. Is CELPIP computer based? 

Yes, CELPIP is a complete computer-based test.

8. Can you retake the CELPIP test? 

Yes, you can retake CELPIP.

9. What is the minimum CELPIP score required for Canadian citizenship? 

For express entry, the minimum score needed is 7 points in each category of the exam. However, the score changes with what you need. 

10. How can I prepare for the IELTS at home? 

Kanan International offers online IELTS classes for test-takers all over the country. You can sign up for a demo session and see where you stand. 

11. Is 7.5 a good IELTS score? 

Yes, 7.5 in IELTS is a good score. It denotes that the test-taker has the basic operational command over the English language. 

12. Can I prepare for the IELTS in 15 days? 

Yes, you can. At Kanan International, we have trained many students within 15 days for IELTS, and helped them excel in the exam with a good score. 

13. Can we go to Canada without IELTS? 

It’s difficult. IELTS is a popular exam and the most widely accepted one in Canada for admissions for international students. Also, CELPIP is yet another exam which is considered to be an alternative to IELTS. 

14. What is a good IELTS score? 

A good IELTS score is somewhere between 6 and 8. Anything above 8 is extraordinary. 

15. Is 1 month enough for IELTS preparation? 

Yes, more than enough. 

16. Which is the easiest module in IELTS? 

Some people consider reading to be the easiest module while some consider speaking. 

17. Can I prepare for the IELTS in 10 days? 

Although it sounds like a daunting task, it’s possible to prepare for IELTS within 10 days.

18. Which training centre is best for the IELTS exam? 

Centres like Kanan International and British Council are both good for IELTS classes. 


About Author Dinesh Pandiyan

Dinesh is a highly experienced content writer who specializes in language proficiency tests like IELTS, GRE, PTE, TOEFL, and study abroad. He provides valuable insights and tips to students on various modules of these tests, including reading, writing, speaking, and listening. His articles are well-researched, informative, and engaging, offering practical guidance to students looking to succeed in their academic pursuits. Additionally, Dinesh has coordinated with IELTS trainers to prepare test preparation materials, guides, practice tests, and mock tests, and worked closely with counsellors for study abroad consultancy, providing guidance on choosing the right institution, preparing for interviews, and writing effective statements of purpose (SOP) and letters of recommendation (LOR). Students can benefit from Dinesh's comprehensive knowledge and experience by checking out his articles.

More Articles Post by Dinesh Pandiyan

Kanan International is an IRCC-certified study abroad consultancy that offers reliable services, products, and solutions for students and education institutions. We support students throughout their study abroad journey, ensuring a hassle-free experience. Our expertise and commitment to excellence make us the go-to partner for expanding global horizons. The company provides coaching for IELTS, GRE, TOEFL, and SAT exams and services like visa consultation, accommodation, scholarship assistance, and education loans.

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