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Are you planning to take CELPIP?

It is a known fact that anyone who aspires to come to Canada on a student visa or as a Permanent Resident has to give an English Test to prove their proficiency. If you are contemplating between IELTS and CELPIP or want to know which test suits you better or looking for some guidance on how to prepare for CELPIP, then read on. This blog is specially curated for you!!

** Long post alert - consider this article as an essay from IELTS / CELPIP reading. Voila, you already started your preparationšŸ‘

IELTS is an English Language Test that is accepted by wider English speaking countries like the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland and hence its reputation amongst the aspiring immigrants. Unlike IELTS, CELPIP is Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), specifically designed to evaluate test takers ability to function in English for Canada's permanent residency, citizenship and professional designation. In the recent times, especially during the pandemic, many Canada aspirants who couldn't get a slot to give their IELTS, shifted focus on CELPIP. Gradually CELPIP has begun to gain attention. So let me first explain you the similarities between both the exams.

Similarities between IELTS & CELPIP:

  • Tests are designed to evaluate candidate's English language capability 
  • Scores accepted by Canadian immigration
  • Sections of evaluation remain the same - Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking
  • Test duration is approximately same for both, around 3 hours

Differences between IETLS & CELPIP:




Mode of exam

Computer based 

Can choose between paper or computer based tests

All the 4 sections are completed in a single sitting 

All the sections, except for speaking will be completed in single sitting. You may have to book a separate slot for speaking within a week

No human intervention during exam

Candidate will interact with an examiner for speaking section (even for computer-based test)

Computerized time tracking and test time is inclusive of transition times

Manual time tracking with additional transition time between sections


Has 7 components – 47 to 55 mins

4 components – 30 mins

Audio is only in Canadian accent


Audio could be in any accent – British, American, Canadian, Australia and New Zealand

All are multiple choice questions

Questions include multiple choice, matching, sentence completion

No concern of spelling and grammatical errors, as you choose answers from a drop down

Spelling and grammatical mistakes are marked as incorrect answers


4 components – 55 to 60 mins

3 components – 60 mins

All are multiple choice questions, so no scope of spelling or grammatical mistakes

Questions could be multiple choice, matching, sentence completion, in which spelling and grammar errors are penalized


Questions will mention to respond only in 2 words or not less than 3 words and similar. Answers that don’t comply this limitation will be marked incorrect


2 components – 53 to 60 mins

2 components – 60 mins

Writing an email and responding to a survey

Writing a letter and responding to a point of view or argument or problem

Writing section has automatic spell check and word count

Computer based test has word count, no spell check option


8 components - 15 to 20 mins

3 components – 11 to 14 mins

You will speak into the microphone and submit a voice recording

In person interaction

Questions will include giving an advice, talking about personal experience, describing a scene, making predictions, comparing and persuading, dealing with difficult situation, expressing opinion and describing an unusual situation

Questions include introduction, individual speech, two-way conversation


Each section has a score of 1-12 and is calibrated against Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)

Sections are evaluated for a score of 1-9 bands

Test results

Will be available in 4-5 days

Paper based – 13 days

Computer based – 3 days


Costs 280 CAD + tax

Costs 339 CAD + tax

Countries test available

More than 15 countries including India, China, Japan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Singapore, UK etc. apart from US, Canada and Australia. Refer to official website for the full list

More than 100 countries. Refer to official website for the full list

How do you select between CELPIP and IELTS:

Don't get overwhelmed by the above information or peer pressure/advice or preset deadline to give the exam and choose one. There are many sample tests available online (free of cost) for both the tests. So I suggest you to take at least 3 to 4 sample tests in each of CELPIP and IELTS, self evaluate and decide the best suited test for you. 

How to prepare for CELPIP:

If you choose to give CELPIP, don't worry that it is relatively an younger test. Unlike 2 years back, there is so much study material and practice tests available now. All depends on how you start and where you look for the information. I will share some information from my personal experience, which will help you prepare for CELPIP. 

  • To start with, go through the below webinars from CELPIP's official you tube channel. These videos provide you a great insight on the test format, study tips, information about the test day procedure etc. This will be a good starting point.  
  • Apart from the above 4 videos, their you tube channel has a lot of content. You may go over them as required
  • Practice sample tests in each section until you are comfortable. At least 10 tests in each might give you the required confidence to tackle the exam 
  • For writing section, set a timer and type in your answers on a laptop or computer. It helps to gauge your typing speed and work on any improvements needed 
  • Similarly for speaking, set a timer for each component and record on your mobile while you speak. Listen to the recording to know the mistakes you made and try to avoid them in the subsequent tests.
  • You might not get everything right at the first attempt. That's were practicing sample tests help. Once you have the confidence, you could appear for the test
  • CELPIP official website also offers 2 complete tests (free) for us to practice. You can find them here
  • I would suggest you to take these test once you think you are ready to give your actual test. Sit in a quite room and give the test in one go, which means you would need 3 hours, a laptop/  computer, voice recorder
I know the exam pressure. It is real. We all have been there. But nothing can stop you from excelling if you are confident. This confidence comes with thorough practice. I hope this article has helped clarify your doubts, given a perspective to choose the best English test for Canada and an insight to prepare for CELPIP test. Good luck with your preparation!!! 

Do share your questions/ feedback/ any information to add on to this article in the comments section or over an email to me. 

You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook to read my latest articles!!


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