CELPIP vs IELTS: Which Test is Easier and Score Comparison


Canada processed more than five million visa applications in 2023 and that’s the highest ever. Both CELPIP vs IELTS are accepted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and they both access four skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. They differ from each other by their grading system, paper patterns, and acceptance radius.

So, before you are about to pay around 300$ for the test, let’s understand the differences, similarities, and some important information about each of them. In this article, we are going to talk about CELPIP vs IELTS and we hope to answer most of your questions about these language proficiency tests. 

We will cover aspects like which is an easier test, the advantages and disadvantages of CELPIP vs IELTS, their key components, score charts, CLB scoring criteria, and the preparation materials you need to ace these tests. By the end of this article, you should easily be able to choose the one that suits you best.

Key Takeaways

  • Language Proficiency tests are used to assess your knowledge of the language and how well you can use it practically.
  • There are quite a few types of Language Proficiency Tests. CELPIP and IELTS are the most go-to choices among test takers.
  • CELPIP vs IELTS: CELPIP and IELTS have quite a few differences, You should be expecting differences in accents in multiple sections and differences in recognition by organizations.
  • CELPIP and IELTS assess your knowledge of English using 4 separate sections and try to access your knowledge and language capabilities using Interactive Audio and Video Questions  
  • IELTS Scores are calculated in a band range from 0 to 9 and CELPIP scores are calculated in points range where M is lowest and 12 the highest.
  • The CLB, Canadian Language Benchmark is used to standardize both CELPIP and IELTS scores.
  • For CELPIP you should consider studying material provided on their official website as it is more Canadian-focused. 
  • For IELTS there are multiple brilliant materials available online and practicing mock tests increase your chances of doing well in the test.
  • To decide between CELPIP vs IELTS, your Immigration plan, and center availability are the key factors to be considered.
  • CELPIP and IELTS both these tests cost about $300 and both tests give the applicants a chance to retake the exam.

What Are Language Proficiency Tests?

Language proficiency tests are known for testing your basic practical skills in the language that you will use in a foreign country.

These tests focus on reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills and do not test you for advanced grammatical elements of the language.

You will be tested on how well you can put your knowledge of the language in real-life scenarios.

What Are Types of Language Proficiency Tests?

If you are planning to immigrate to Canada you either need proficiency in English or French.

There are two tests for English:

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

One test for French: TEF Canada 

What are the IELTS and CELPIP tests?


  • It’s specifically made for Canadian English Assessment administered by Paragon Testing Enterprise a subsidiary of the University of British Columbia.
  • It tests the same four skills entirely on a computer-based test with a lot of Canadian Content.
  • It’s held in about 70 centers worldwide.


  • It’s an internationally recognized test administered by the British Council, IDP, and Cambridge English.
  • You will hear a variety of accents in the listening sections, it has both computer and paper-based versions depending on your exam center.
  • There are about 4000 centers worldwide and it’s accepted by more than 140 countries.

CELPIP vs IELTS: Which is easier?

We can’t say which one is easier because both the tests are used for accessing English Language proficiency and are of the same difficulty. Here are a few things you could keep in mind.

  • If you are well versed in Canadian English Accent you’d naturally find it comfortable to give CELPIP and if you are into conversational English from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc. then, IELTS could be considered.
  • In CELPIP the answers are usually in a drop-down menu whereas, in IELTS you will face questions in a Fill-in-the-blanks format. So, Spelling errors are one known red flag while taking the IELTS test.
  • IELTS is held offline with the presence of an examiner or computer-based test both, based on your location center. CELPIP is always a computer-based test.

Keep in mind that choosing which test to take should not be based on the difficulty of the tests because they are pretty much the same difficulty. Instead deciding based on immigration choices, organization requirements, and center availability proves to be more beneficial.

What are the focuses of CELPIP and IELTS exams?

Both these tests focus on the 4 Important skills. Their main focus is on how proficient you are in English.

These exams tell you whether you are ready to adapt and live in a country without any language barriers. A bad score implies that you do not know the language well and you will face difficulty in communication with employers, teachers, and citizens.

Key Test Components of CELPIP and IELTS


Time47- 55 Minutes30 Minutes
Components 74
Number of Questions 40-46 (40 Scored)40

Time55-60 Minutes60 Minutes
Components 43
Number of Questions 38 – 45 (38 Scored)40

Time53-60 Minutes60 Minutes
Writing an Email Responding to Survey questions Writing a letter Responding to a point of view argument of a problem 

Time15 – 20 Minutes11 – 14 Minutes
Components 83
Number of Questions 8 Short Answer QuestionsIndividual Speech and a Two-Way Discussion 

Advantages and Disadvantages of CELPIP                                

Advantages Disadvantages 
It is recognized everywhere in Canada  because it’s a test specially designed to test Canadian EnglishApart from Canada, you can’t use it as it’s exclusively accepted only in Canada
For Citizenship purposes, there is an adaptive 1 hour test which has only two sections: listening and speaking.For professional and university purposes there is a general 3 hour test.
It is a computer based test with a drop-down answer menuIf you have to retake the exam you need to retake all four sections once again

Advantages and Disadvantages of IELTS         

Advantages Disadvantages 
It’s recognized by more than 140 immigration bodies all around the world. In some cases, it’s an Offline Exam. The presence of an examiner often leads to nervousness in a few takers
It has two different test formats. One is for academic purposes and the other is for General Training FormatUnlike CELPIP, instead of a drop-down menu there are fill-in-the-blank questions in IELTS.
It should be easy to find a center because there are about 14,000 centers all over the world.

CELPIP vs IELTS Score Chart

Each skill that you are tested for in CELPIP will range from 1 – 12 and their average is your final CELPIP score in IELTS each skill will be scored on a 9 band scale.

CELPIP Score Division

CELPIP LevelScoreWhat it means?
12 – 1035-38Advanced Proficiency in Workplace and community contexts
933-35Effective proficiency in Workplace and community contexts
830-33Adequate proficiency in Workplace and community contexts
727-21Moderate proficiency in Workplace and community contexts
622-28Improving proficiency in Workplace and community contexts
517-23Minimum proficiency in Workplace and community contexts
411-18Sufficient proficiency for daily life activities.
37-12Some Limited proficiency.
M0-7Minimal and Insufficient knowledge to assess.

IELTS Score Division

Academic IELTS testGeneral IELTS test
IELTS LevelScoreIELTS LevelScore

CLB Scoring Criteria

CLB LevelListening Reading Writing Speaking 
CLB 910-1210-1210-1210-12
CLB 89999
CLB 77-87-87-87-8
CLB 66666
CLB 55555
CLB 44444

What are the preparation materials for IELTS and CELPIP?

  • There are a lot of resources that can help you prepare for IELTS websites, coaching centers, the best books, and agencies to help you ace the test.
  • For CELPIP as well there are a lot of online materials and it’s highly recommended to use their official site for resources.

Also, consider practicing a lot of mock tests online. This will familiarize you with the pattern of the paper and keep your confidence levels high.

How To Choose Between IELTS and CELPIP tests?

  • If you are looking for long-term Immigration or permanent residence, particularly in Canada then CELPIP is the exam for you as it focuses on real situations that you could face after moving to Canada. Globally, It’s not as relevant as IELTS is.
  • If you are seeking to immigrate to multiple English-speaking countries and work in various locations then IELTS it is! Stats tell us that IELTS is globally recognized by more than 12,00 organizations and more than 140 Immigration bodies.


1. How long is the CELPIP result valid?

The results are valid for 2 years. That is 24 months from the date of submission of the application. It’s the same case with IELTS as well.

2. Which is cheaper, CELPIP or IELTS?

Both tests could cost about the same depending upon your location. The cost of CELPIP is around $280 and IELTS is about $320. You can find out here

3. How many times can I take CELPIP?

You are allowed to give only one attempt within four calendar days. If you violate the rules, your registrations are subject to cancellation by Paragon.

4. Can I retake a single section in IELTS if I have done badly in it?

Yes, you can retake a single section of the IELTS test among any of the four sections. The format and timing are the same as the normal test.


Both these tests are approved proficiency tests by the IRCC and hold equal importance in the eyes of the IRCC.

These tests focus on your language proficiency and test 4 important skills.

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking

When you have to choose between CELPIP vs IELTS, the most important point to keep in mind is that CELPIP is exclusively for Canada and perfect if you decide to stay only in Canada whereas IELTS has much more global recognition!

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