Navigating Language Assessment: CELPIP vs IELTS for Study Purposes

Elly Kimreviewed byKateryna Protsenko / more about Editorial Process9 min
Created: Jun 23, 2023Last updated: Jan 28, 2024

Proven English proficiency is often a prerequisite for those aspiring to pursue their academic ambitions abroad. With various assessment options available, choosing the right one to determine your language fluency can be challenging. While some can be online tests that only take a few minutes, others, like CELPIP vs IELTS, require a more comprehensive evaluation. Today, we will compare two prominent language assessments beyond regular fluency checks, providing a holistic examination of an individual’s reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. 

The Importance of International English Proficiency Tests

Numerous reasons explain why you should take an international fluency exam. While it is not mandatory, it can still be helpful, even if you are not planning to work abroad or immigrate to another country. Let’s find out the primary benefits of IELTSCELPIP, and other similar options.

  1. Academic excellence. Such tests assess various language competencies, allowing students to gauge their proficiency levels and identify areas for improvement. This knowledge enables them to develop the necessary skills to engage with study materials effectively, actively participate in discussions, and produce high-quality writing assignments.
  2. Personal development. Proficiency tests offer a valuable opportunity for self-assessment and personal growth. By preparing for and taking these exams, students gain confidence in their abilities, overcome language barriers, and develop their communication skills, which are essential for success in various aspects beyond their academic pursuits. 
  3. Admission requirements. Many universities and colleges worldwide require international students to demonstrate their language proficiency as part of the admission process. Educational institutions widely accept both CELPIP and IELTS.
  4. Visa applications. Proficiency tests are often mandatory when applying for visas or immigration permits. Authorities use such exams to ensure applicants possess the necessary language skills to function effectively in an English-speaking environment.
  5. Employability. In today’s global job market, English fluency is highly valued by employers. Proficiency tests provide students with internationally recognized credentials that validate their skills and fluency. Such results can enhance their resumes and open a range of domestic and international career opportunities.

These are only a few of the many benefits of most proficiency tests. However, to choose the best option, you must consider many details, including your goals, exam requirements, rating system, etc. So if you aim to pass an international fluency test but don’t know which one yet, buckle up and let’s discuss two of the most prominent ones, CELPIP and IELTS.


IELTS vs CELPIP: Background Information

Before comparing the two tests, we need to learn more about each. Below, you will find all the necessary details about the IELTS and CELPIP exams. This information will help you understand which test suits your circumstances and realize critical preparation nuances to pass any of them successfully.

All You Need to Know About IELTS

This exam’s name stands for the International English Language Testing System. It is designed to assess the proficiency of non-native speakers and evaluate one’s ability to understand and use English in various contexts, including academic, professional, and everyday life situations. The British Council, IDP Education, and Cambridge Assessment English administrate IELTS. There are two options available for students:

  • IELTS Academic is suitable primarily for individuals applying to study in universities or higher education institutions where English is the medium of instruction. It examines the candidate’s readiness to learn in an academic environment.
  • IELTS General Training works for those seeking work experience, training programs, or immigration to English-speaking countries. It focuses on evaluating language proficiency in everyday work and social circumstances. 

The IELTS test consists of four main sections. The first one is listening (duration time: 30 minutes), where candidates listen to four recordings of native speakers and answer questions related to these audios. The following section is reading (60 minutes). It evaluates the ability to understand and interpret various written texts, including articles, advertisements, and excerpts from books or newspapers, followed by comprehension questions.

After that, students can move on to the next section, writing (60 minutes). Here, they need to complete two writing tasks. The first involves describing, summarizing, or explaining visual information, such as graphs or charts. The second task is an essay response to a given topic, requiring candidates to express their opinion or present arguments. 

The last section, speaking, takes approximately 11–14 minutes and assesses the candidate’s verbal communication ability. It is a face-to-face interview with an examiner, consisting of three parts: an introduction, a short speech on a given topic, and a discussion based on the topic.

The IELTS score system uses a 9-band scale to report results, which provides a detailed assessment of a candidate’s English proficiency. Each band represents a level of competence, ranging from band 1 (non-user) to band 9 (expert user). But it’s important to note that universities, employers, and immigration authorities may have specific score requirements for different purposes. Candidates receive individual results for each section and an overall band score, and the results are valid for two years from the test date. 

All You Need to Know About CELPIP

The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program, or CELPIP, is a recognized assessment designed to evaluate fluency for individuals seeking study, work, or immigration opportunities in Canada. The CELPIP test consists of four sections that examine different language skills:

  • Listening (47–55 minutes) measures the ability to understand spoken English in various contexts, including real-life conversations, news broadcasts, and lectures. Candidates listen to audio recordings and answer questions based on the information they hear.
  • Speaking (15–20 minutes) allows candidates to converse face-to-face with an examiner. Here, students are assessed on their ability to express opinions, provide arguments, and discuss various topics.
  • Reading (55–60 minutes) evaluates the ability to comprehend written English. Candidates read texts like emails, advertisements, or articles and answer questions based on the presented information. 
  • Writing (53–60 minutes) requires candidates to complete tasks to express their thoughts in a written form. They may be asked to create an email, respond to a survey, or provide a detailed description based on a prompt. 

CELPIP uses a scoring system that provides a detailed assessment of an individual’s English proficiency. The scores are reported on a scale from 1 to 12 for each section, with a total possible score of 48. You must remember that CELPIP is specifically designed to examine proficiency in Canadian English. While American and British variations are also accepted, it is important to understand the vocabulary, pronunciation, and cultural references commonly used in Canada.

Main Factors to Consider When Choosing IELTS or CELPIP

At first glance, both tests are similar since they are designed to determine the fluency level of non-native speakers. So how can you choose the most suitable options? In this case, you need to focus on your goals and why you need to examine your proficiency. To help you make a final decision, we’ve compared the similarities and differences between CELPIP and IELTS.

Key Similarities:

  • Purpose. Both tests assess individuals’ language skills for study, work, or immigration goals.
  • Language skills. CELPIP and IELTS evaluate the four main skills – reading, speaking, listening, and writing, examining one’s ability to comprehend and communicate English in various contexts.
  • Scoring methodology. Both exams use a scoring system to report results. International institutions and authorities widely recognize such scores.

 Main Differences:

  • Test format. IELTS offers two options (IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training). CELPIP also has two test formats, but they serve different purposes. The general exam evaluates four main language skills for permanent residence and professional aims. CELPIP General LS assesses only listening and speaking skills and is suitable mostly for citizenship applications.
  • Accent and context. IELTS is designed to accommodate a range of English accents, including British, American, Australian, and Canadian. CELPIP, however, focuses specifically on Canadian English, incorporating the vocabulary and pronunciation used in this country.
  • Delivery method. IELTS is available in paper- and computer-based formats, depending on the test center and location. CELPIP is a computer-delivered test, allowing for efficient assessment and quick results.
  • Availability. IELTS has a wider global presence and is accepted by institutions and organizations worldwide. CELPIP is primarily used in Canada and accepted by the country’s universities, employers, and immigration authorities. 

When choosing between these tests, consider factors such as the requirements of your desired institution or organization, the specific purpose of your English assessment, the availability of test centers in your location, and your comfort level with different formats. And our advice – if it is hard for you to select the best option, consult relevant authorities to determine which exam mostly suits your needs. 

Prepare for CELPIP and IELTS with Promova

International tests are always a challenge, and passing them requires solid preparation. While it is possible to achieve the necessary level by yourself, the help of professionals will never harm you. If you’ve decided to determine your fluency level with international tests, let us introduce you to Promova. This language-learning platform provides all the necessary tools to achieve the desired results. So, how can we help?

  1. Online classes for different needs. Since both IELTS and CELPIP assess four main language skills, Promova helps you master them all. You can either join the group or personal classes with professional tutors to finish the general course or focus on your specific needs and practice readingwritinglistening, and speaking separately.
  2. Convenient mobile application. The Promova app is available on iOS and Android devices, allowing you to practice the necessary skills on the go. You can easily access useful materials and track your progress. Also, it is an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with modern technologies, which can be helpful during the CELPIP test.
  3. Conversation club. This option is perfect if you want a friendly and supportive environment to practice communication. Our free Conversation Club allows you to discuss various topics with fellow students worldwide; it is a great way to enhance your skills and prepare for both IELTS and CELPIP speaking sections. 

Of course, that’s not all. Promova is a perfect opportunity even for those who have just started their study path and have not yet considered passing international proficiency tests. We are happy to help students with different fluency levels and have something to offer for both novices and experienced learners. And if you are hesitating, you can always book a free trial lesson and see the main learning processes with Promova before making a final decision.


To sum up, we can say that IELTS and CELPIP are great tests that can give an objective language assessment. Although preparation for such exams might take time and effort, it will pay off with endless opportunities in various contexts, from international education to global employment. We hope that now that you know more about both tests, it will be easier for you to choose the most suitable one and focus on your preparation. So please, don’t forget to share your scores after you pass one, because we know you’ll receive the highest results.


Are there any alternatives to IELTS and CELPIP?

Yes, some other international exams focus on English proficiency levels. It includes TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English Academic), and Cambridge English Exams (Cambridge English: Advanced and Cambridge English: Proficiency). All these tests are widely accepted by universities and organizations worldwide.

Which exam is more difficult, CELPIP or IELTS?

The complexity of both tests is subjective and depends on an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. However, these exams are designed to assess English proficiency and require a solid understanding of the main language skills. The difficulty level varies based on the test taker’s familiarity with the format, fluency, and preparation level.

How long are CELPIP and IELTS scores valid?

CELPIP and IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. After the expiration of this time, the results are considered outdated. You must pass the test again to receive new results for the following two years.

How soon can I receive my IELTS or CELPIP results?

For the paper-based version of the IELTS test, you can expect the results within 13 days after the exam date. Computer-delivered results can be received quicker; usually, they are available within 3 to 5 days. CELPIP results are typically accessible within 8 business days after completing the test.


PayalSep 27th, 2023
Very helpful information. If you are preparing for CELPIP you can visit
PromovaAug 17th, 2023
The CELPIP and IELTS exams are both language proficiency tests, but they differ in terms of format, content, and scoring. CELPIP focuses more on practical language skills for daily life, while IELTS assesses a wider range of language abilities, including academic and general contexts.
Rexella Aug 17th, 2023
what are the key differences between the CELPIP and IELTS exams?