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CELPIP vs IELTS: Which is Easier and Better?

While preparing to study in Canada, students come across CELPIP vs IELTS confusion. They are eager to know which one of them is better and easier. However, none of them can be passed without preparation by a non English speaker. Yet, let us dissect the differences between CELPIP and IELTS. Moreover, let us compare their format, cost, mode of exam, and more. In addition, let us take note of the advantages and disadvantages of both exams. Firstly, dive in and know what these tests are.

Introduction to CELPIP

The CELPIP stands for Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program. As the name suggests, it is an English language test in Canada for those who wish to take a permanent residence in the country. Hence, it assesses candidates on how well they can use the first language of Canada. CELPIP is taken by people who want Canadian citizenship.

It has the recognition of the IRCC (Immigrants, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada). Moreover, candidates can take this test on the computer. This one tests the people on a broad array of skills in the English language. These include the ones relevant to various purposes while residing in Canada. Now, let us discuss CELPIP vs IELTS.

Now, let us talk about the IELTS test.

Introduction to IELTS

The IELTS test stands for the International English Language Test System. It is one of the most accepted English language tests on the planet. It has four parts just like the CELPIP test. These are listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Moreover, the scores you get in the exam are measured in bands. So, there is a band score scale from 0 to 9.

Furthermore, the IELTS is for academic and job purposes. Hence, it is also one of the most taken exams by students and employees. There are different types of IELTS for various purposes. Thus, there is an IELTS general, academic, and life skills IELTS test.

The next section will talk about the CELPIP vs IELTS exams. It will discuss the difference between IELTS and CELPIP tests from a bird's view.

Difference Between CELPIP and IELTS

This section will cover the difference between CELPIP and IELTS in a tabular form. The image below also shows the basis on which the differentiation is done.

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Now, let us elaborate on each factor in pointers below:

1. CELPIP vs IELTS: Exam Format

The CELPIP test General has 4 sections and the CELPIP General LS has 2 sections: listening and speaking. The general one takes 3 hours and the LS takes 1 hour 10 minutes. Both are conducted in one sitting.

Whereas, the IELTS exam format has 4 sections. It takes 2 hours 45 minutes. However, the listening section is taken in the second sitting. The table below will help you compare the two better:


LISTENING (30 + 10 minutes)

No. of Tasks: 4

The tasks involve multiple choice questions, matching, diagram labeling, a flow chart or a table summary completion, and short answer type questions.

No. of Questions: 40

LISTENING (47-55 minutes)

No. of Tasks: 7

The tasks involve a practice task and then listening to problem-solving, conversation, information, news items, discussion, and viewpoints respectively.

No. of Questions: 39

READING (60 minutes)

No. of Tasks: 3

The tasks involve multiple choice, true or false, identifying the writer’s views, matching information, matching headings, sentence endings, features, sentence completion, summary completion, diagram labeling, and short answer type questions.

No. of Questions: 40

READING (55-60 minutes)

No. of Tasks: 5

The tasks involve a practice task and then reading correspondence, diagrams, information, and viewpoints respectively. Moreover, you can expect the questions to be related to the text you will read

No. of Questions: 39

WRITING (60 minutes)

No. of Tasks: 2

The task involves describing graphs, charts, and tables in 150 or more words and the second task is about describing a diagram of an object, device, process, or event in 250 words or more.

No. of Questions: 2

WRITING (53-60 minutes)

No. of Tasks: 2

The tasks involve writing an E-mail and responding to survey questions respectively. The writing section assesses your ability to communicate officially with individuals. Hence, your tone has to formal and precise.

No. of Questions: 2

SPEAKING (11-14 minutes)

No. of Tasks: 3

The tasks involve an introduction, an interview, and then a long run where you have to speak on a particular topic for 2 minutes. Then comes the discussion where there will be follow-up questions for 4 to 5 minutes.

No. of Questions: variable

SPEAKING (15-20 minutes)

No. of Tasks: 8

The tasks involve a practice task and then giving advice, talking about a personal experience, describing a scene, making predictions, comparing, dealing with a tough situation, giving opinions, and describing an unusual situation.

No. of Questions: 8

2. CELPIP vs IELTS: Score Structure

Here, the table will help you compare and understand the marking system of CELPIP vs IELTS.

0, 1 M (Minimal Proficiency)
2 3 (Limited Proficiency)
3 4 (Adequate Proficiency for Daily Life)
4 5 (Acquiring Proficiency)
5 6 (Developing Proficiency)
6 7 (Adequate Proficiency for Word Place)
7 8 (Good Proficiency)
8 9 (Effective Proficiency)
9 10, 11, 12 (Advanced Proficiency)

But, how to register for IELTS exam? Take a look at the section below to know more.

3. CELPIP and IELTS: Registration Modes

IELTS has an offline and an online (in-person) mode for registration. Moreover, it can be taken online on a computer system and offline on paper. However, the speaking section will be in person.

Furthermore, you can register for the CELPIP test online and offline. It is an entire test based on a computer system. The speaking section is conducted virtually.

4. CELPIP and IELTS: Exam Cost

The exam cost of the CELPIP vs IELTS test is different for every type. Take a look at the tables below:

CELPIP Exam Fees

Express Rating General 9,000 + tax
Express Rating General LS 4,000 + tax
Regular Rating General & General LS Test Free

IELTS Exam Fees

IELTS Academics Rs 17,000
IELTS Life Skills Rs 16,050
IELTS for UKVI Rs 17,250
IELTS for UK Visa and Immigration Rs 17,250

 Now, let us move on to the next section. The next segment will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the IELTS test. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of IELTS

There are several merits and demerits of the IELTS test. Refer to the table below to know how IELTS can be beneficial for you:


  1. The IELTS test is accepted by over 140 countries including the USA, UK, Canada, etc.
  2. You can get an overview of your complete English language skills including reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
  3. Moreover, the IELTS speaking section has a lot of accents. For instance, they use North American, British, and Australian accents.
  4. Lastly, The dates and slots for the exam are flexible which makes it easy for candidates to prepare and register for the test.


  1. The test has a time limit for every section. However, many struggle to finish the tasks in the given time.
  2. Moreover, speaking to a complete stranger while knowing they are going to judge your language can be challenging for many.
  3. Students may find preparing for each section quite taxing.
  4. Lastly, the scoring system requires you to score well on each section to make the overall score acceptable.

Advantages and Disadvantages of CELPIP

The CELPIP exam has many benefits. However, do you know about the demerits? Let us find out in the table below:


  1. The CELPIP focuses on the English skills you need to survive in Canada. Hence, it requires you to practice everyday language skills.
  2. It is entirely based on a computer and easy to take. Moreover, you get the results just after the exam.
  3. The CELPIP test is a trusted exam taken by the Canadian immigration authorities.
  4. Moreover, the test helps you face the real life situations that you would face in Canada.


  1. The CELPIP exam is only valid for getting Canadian citizenship.
  2. There might be issues with finding the right study material for the test.
  3. Moreover, they can also get confused with the types of CELPIP tests available.
  4. Lastly, in remote areas, it is a tough job to find a CELPIP test center. Hence, the candidate might have to travel to a farther location to take the test

These were the many aspects of the CELPIP test. Now, let us move on to CELPIP vs IELTS and know which one is easier.

CELPIP Vs IELTS: Which is Easier?

The IELTS test and the CELPIP are for different purposes. However, their difficulty level depends on you and your adaptability. Thus, the difficulty level of both exams cannot be generalized. However, looking for IELTS coaching is comparatively easier.

But, which one of them is better? Let us know in the next section.

Which Test Should I Choose?

The question of CELPIP or IELTS arises when you wish to study or work in another nation. However, the choice depends on various factors. For instance, you cannot rely on IELTS if you aim to get Canadian citizenship. Moreover, the CELPIP test is also not recognized in most of the UK and US colleges.

The CELPIP test is for those candidates who are applying for PR or Canadian citizenship. Whereas, the IELTS test is to be taken by those who are looking forward to studying or working abroad.

In addition to this, there is not much difference between the two. However, both tests are to assess your English listening speaking, writing, and reading abilities.

Hence, the purpose of giving the test define which one is better. Therefore, check the eligibility criteria for the university, company, and country visa before applying to any one of these.

To sum up, the best English language test is the one that solves your purpose. However, if you are confused about what to choose then seek expert help. Experts at Gradding are available to answer all questions related to overseas studies. You can book a free session on the website anytime and talk to a counselor. Moreover, the CELPIP vs IELTS debate has nothing to do with either of them being easier. Yet, it is about what you want to do with the scores.

Suggested Read:

  1. How To Prepare for IELTS Effectively
  2. Countries to Study Abroad Without IELTS

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Is CELPIP Harder than IELTS?

Neither of the tests is harder or easier. Moreover, in most of the cases, they are not interchangeable. However, both of them have different purposes. The CELPIP test is for the ones who want Canadian citizenship.

Q2. Are CELPIP, IELTS, and TOEFL for the Same Purpose?

No, TOEFL vs IELTS, the only difference is that TOEFL has the speaking section taken by the computer. However, the IELTS speaking section is taken by a human examiner. The CELPIP is all computer-based, yet, has a virtual speaking section.

Q3. Is CELPIP Valid for PR in Any Other Nation?

No, the CELPIP test is accepted only in Canada for PR for immigrants and workers.

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