CELPIP Vs IELTS: Which Is The Right Choice In 2024?


If you’re an international student or professional aiming to study, work or immigrate to Canada, you’ll likely need to prove your English language proficiency. CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Programme) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are widely accepted. Every year, millions of students across the world appear for these tests. This comprehensive guide will break down the key differences between CELPIP vs IELTS, their test structures and critical features. 

What Is IELTS?

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is usually taken to evaluate your English skills. It is required for international students aiming to study and work in English-speaking countries like Canada, the United Kingdom or Australia. One major difference between CELPIP and IELTS is that the latter includes four major sections. The key points of the IELTS are mentioned in the table below:

Key ParametersIELTS AcademicIELTS General Training
PurposeHigher education, research positions, academic careersWork, immigration, social settings
Test StructureListening, Reading, Writing, SpeakingListening, Reading, Writing, Speaking
Test Duration2 hours 45 minutes2 hours 45 minutes
Validity2 years2 years
Minimum ScoreVaries by institution, typically 6.0 or aboveVaries by requirement, typically 5.5 or above
Test FrequencyPaper-based: 48 times a year, Computer-delivered: 7 days a week, 3 times a dayPaper-based: 48 times a year, Computer-delivered: 7 days a week, 3 times a day


CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Programme) is an English language test designed for individuals planning to settle in Canada permanently or pursue Canadian citizenship. It is recognised by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This is one major distinction between the CELPIP and IELTS as IELTS is majorly for students who want to pursue education in countries abroad. Let us get to know the CELPIP in detail through the table below:

Key ParametersCELPIP
Test FormatComputer-based
VersionsCELPIP-General, CELPIP-General LS
PurposeImmigration, Citizenship
Sections4 (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking)
Listening7 components, 40-46 questions, 47-55 mins
Reading4 components, 38-45 questions, 55-60 mins
Writing2 components (email, survey response), 53-60 mins
Speaking8 components, 8 questions, 15-20 mins
Scoring1-12 per section, Canadian Language Benchmark Levels

IELTS Vs CELPIP: Understand The Difference

The CELPIP and IELTS differences majorly remain in their purpose and the scoring patterns. Let us understand their critical distinctions in the table below:

PurposeImmigration, Citizenship for CanadaEducation, Work, Immigration (Global)
RecognitionAccepted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)Accepted globally in many countries
Test FormatComputer-basedPaper-based or Computer-delivered
VersionsCELPIP-General, CELPIP-General LSAcademic, General Training
Test Structure4 sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking4 sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking
Scoring0-12 scores per section, aligned with Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) levels0-9 band scores per section, Overall Band Score
Listening7 components, 40-46 questions, 47-55 mins4 sections, 40 questions, 30 mins
Reading4 components, 38-45 questions, 55-60 mins3 sections, 40 questions, 60 mins
Writing2 tasks (email, survey response), 53-60 mins2 tasks (150 & 250 words), 60 mins
Speaking8 components, 8 questions, 15-20 mins3 parts, 11-14 mins

Exam Format And Content In CELPIP Vs IELTS

The IELTS and CELPIP test your English skills across four sections: Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking. However, there are some critical differences in format and content. The IELTS offers a computer-delivered or paper-based test, while the CELPIP is entirely computer-based. 

The listening section on the CELPIP is more extended and has more sections than the IELTS. IELTS requires an academic essay in the writing section, whereas the CELPIP asks for a survey response. Finally, the most significant difference is in the speaking section. The CELPIP is conducted on a computer with timed tasks, while the IELTS involves a face-to-face conversation with a human examiner.

Here’s a bulleted list highlighting these key differences:

  • Test Format: IELTS (computer-delivered or paper-based), CELPIP (computer-based only)
  • Listening Section: CELPIP (longer, more sections), IELTS (shorter, fewer sections)
  • Writing Section: IELTS (academic essay), CELPIP (survey response)
  • Speaking Section: CELPIP (computer-based, timed tasks), IELTS (face-to-face with examiner)

Advantages And Disadvantages Of IELTS

While IELTS is a widely accepted examination required for study abroad, it has advantages and disadvantages, which are highlighted in the table below.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of CELPIP

CELPIP is a test for people wanting to move to Canada or become Canadian citizens. Let us learn about the advantages and disadvantages of this examination:

Focuses on English skills needed in Canada and everyday situationsMay not be as well-known globally as some other English tests
Computer-based test with quick results and typing for writingFewer preparation resources available compared to other tests
Fast scoring, convenient for immigration or citizenship applicationsDifferent test versions can be confusing to choose the right one
Recognised by Canadian immigration authoritiesLimited test centre availability in some areas

IELTS Vs CELPIP. Which Test Is Easier?

The question of whether CELPIP or IELTS is easier remains a common one among test-takers. However, the answer depends on several factors, including your English proficiency level and analytical abilities. Both tests focus mainly on assessing your English language abilities. Whether these tests are easy or difficult depends on individual opinions, strengths, and weaknesses. 

How Do I Prepare For IELTS?

As IELTS is one of the most sought-after examinations for studying abroad, staying well-prepared for the test is crucial. Multiple websites, coaching centres, online resources, and agencies can help you get the best possible score on the IELTS exam. 

How Do I Prepare For CELPIP?

Individuals aiming to apply for CELPIP can begin their preparation through the available online study materials and resources. Alternatively, many agencies and coaching classes offer assistance with exam prep. There are many offline mock tests that you can take to prepare for the actual test.

 Thus, while deciding between CELPIP vs IELTS, evaluating the purpose behind attempting these exams is crucial. CELPIP may be the right choice if you want to settle in Canada. However, if you plan to go to other countries, IELTS may be a better option as it is widely accepted and preferred across nations. 


1. Is IELTS easier than CELPIP?

While both the tests are essentially unique, with different structures and time limits, the difficulty level is based on individual preferences. 

2. Is CELPIP valid for PR?

CELPIP is Canada’s popular English language proficiency test for permanent residency and citizenship for students and professionals.

3. Should I take IELTS or CELPIP?

CELPIP may be the right choice if you want to settle in Canada. However, if you are planning to go to other countries, IELTS may be a better option.

4. Is IELTS required only for Canada?

IELTS is an English language proficiency test that is accepted in Canada as well as other countries for international students to study abroad. 

5. What are the two versions of the CELPIP exam?

CELPIP- General and CELPIP- General LS are two types of tests in the CELPIP exam. 

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CELPIP Vs IELTS: Which Is The Right Choice In 2024?

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