CELPIP vs IELTS – Which One is Better to Obtain Admissions in Canadian Institutes?

Mar 01,2023

IELTS VS CELPIP - Which one is better to Obtain a Canada Student Visa

Evidence of language proficiency is an imperative requirement to obtain a Canadian student visa and achieve your dream of Study in Canada. The CELPIP Test is one of the most popular and reliable tests enabling international students to demonstrate their language proficiency while aiming to study in Canada. The test is accepted by a large number of government bodies, professional organizations, universities, and colleges across Canada. However, CELPIP mainly accepting by the IRCC for the Canada Permanent Residency so better to discuss with our counsellors before come to any conclusion.

IELTS – An Alternative to CELPIP

IELTS is another common option for potential candidates allowing them to show their language proficiency, accomplish easy attainment of Canada Student Visa, and realize their dream of study in Canada. The test is recognized and accepted by a tremendous number of organizations and educational bodies across all parts of the world including Canada.

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CELPIP vs IELTS Comparison

Conduct of Test

The CELPIP test is completely computer-based. All the constituents of the test are provided by a computer. IELTS, on the other hand, a paper-based. The Listening, Reading, and Writing sections are completed on paper and the Speaking test is taken in person.


The CELPIP test emphasizes more on functional language. The questions are mostly based on everyday situations the test takers are likely to encounter. This is not the case with IELTS. The involvement of questions based on everyday situations can be seen in IELTS as well but in a few parts only. Also, the CELPIP test is based on Canadian English whereas IELTS is based on British English.

CELPIP vs IELTS – Difficulty Level

There is no explicit difference between the difficulty level of the two exams. Both IELTS Exam and CELPIP Exam are exhausting and require a good level of preparation and command over the English language to succeed. Hence, the choice between the two exams primarily depends on the below two factors

  1. Your understanding of the test formats i.e. which of the two test formats you understand better and find more useful.
  2. Your purpose of taking the exam i.e. which of the two is likely to help you more in your studies and career.

CELPIP vs IELTS – Test Format and Types Of Questions

If we talk about a few sections, the exams look quite identical, however, the other sections of the exams differ in many ways.

For example, the writing section of the CELPIP Test asks the test-taker to write an email and respond to the survey questions. Conversely, the writing section of the IELTS test presents a picture or diagram to the test-takers and the test takers are required to write an essay on that. Consequently, a precise comparison of the difficulty level of the two writing tasks cannot be made. Where writing a good essay needs adequate training and practice, writing an impressive essay about a diagram requires extraordinary skills.

Similarly, the speaking section of the two exams is very different from each other. Where IELTS Speaking has three sections, the CELPIP speaking is divided into seven sections. Let’s have a brief comparison and understanding of all the four sections associated with these exams.


The CELPIP listening task takes around one hour to complete. The types of tasks and number of questions include

  • A practice task – 1 question
  • Listening to problem-solving – 8 questions
  • Listening to an everyday conversation – 5 questions
  • Listening for information – 6 questions
  • Listening to the news – 5 questions
  • Listening to a discussion – 8 questions
  • Listening to opinions – 6 questions

The IELTS Listening Task, on the other hand, takes around 30 minutes to complete and involves the questions like

  • An everyday conversation
  • A monologue in a social context
  • A conversation in an educational or professional context
  • A monologue on an academic subject


The reading section of both exams takes around 1 hour, however, it differs in terms of number and types of questions. The CELPIP reading comprises a practice task (one question), reading correspondence (eleven questions), reading and diagrams (eight questions), reading for information (nine questions), and reading for opinions (ten questions). The IELTS reading, on the other hand, is made up of the sections like understanding everyday texts for basic information, understanding workplace texts such as a job description, understanding complete texts such as instructions or fiction.


The CELPIP Writing is 53 to 60 minutes long and presents the tasks like writing an email (one task), responding to a survey (one task) to the test taker. The IELTS writing also presents two types of tasks and takes an hour to complete. The types of tasks include writing a formal or semi-formal letter and writing an essay response to a problem.


CELPIP speaking takes 15-20 minutes and involves the tasks like

  • A practice task
  • Giving advice
  • Talking about something personal
  • Describing a scene
  • Making a prediction
  • Making comparisons and persuading
  • Difficult situations
  • Expressing opinions
  • Unusual situations

Read More: Speaking Test Tips for CELPIP Exam

The IELTS speaking requires 11-15 minutes and asks the test-taker to

  • Respond to general questions on familiar topics
  • Speak about a particular topic
  • Respond to more abstract questions on your topic.

Below is given a table to show the summary of the above detail

ListeningNo. of sections – 6 No. of questions – 40No. of sections – 4 No. of questions – 40
ReadingNo. of sections – 4 No. of questions – 38No. of sections – 3 No. of questions – 40
WritingWriting an email, Answer a surveyWriting a letter, Presenting a point of view
Speaking8 sections3 sections
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CELPIP vs IELTS – What to Choose?

Although the choice is entirely yours, below are given a few prominent reasons for taking CELPIP over IELTS

  • CELPIP is an entirely computer-based test. Hence, the chances of errors are less as compared to IELTS.
  • CELPIP can be completed in a single sitting whereas IELTS needs two sittings. Hence. CELPIP is ideal for candidates traveling long distances to take the test.
  • CELPIP gives results within 4 to 5 days of the accomplishment of the exam. IELTS, on the other hand, takes more than a week. Hence, CELPIP is a better option where swift results are required.

Canadian Universities and Colleges Accepting CELPIP Test

  • Alberta Institute of Massage
  • Ascenda School of Management
  • Ashton College
  • Bow Valley College
  • Brock University – Masters Preparation Certificate in Education
  • Canadian Arts & Sciences Institute
  • Coast Mountain College
  • Dalhousie University – UBC Certificate in Immigration: Laws, Policies and Procedures Program
  • Dominion Herbal College
  • First College
  • Focus College
  • Gateway College Great Plains College
  • MaKami College
  • McKenzie College
  • NorQuest College ELP (English Language Proficiency)
  • Northern Lights College – Health Care Assistant
  • Olds College
  • Pace Canada College – Health Care Assistant
  • Pacific Coast Community College
  • Pacific Link College
  • Pacific Rim Early Childhood Institute
  • Rhodes Wellness College
  • SELC Career College Vancouver
  • Sprott Shaw College
  • Think Tank Training Centre
  • TLC-Edmonton Training for Foreign Caregivers
  • Western Community College

Read More: List of Colleges Accepting CELPIP Test


CELPIP might help to obtain the admissions in the listed above institutes. However, the final decisions are depend on the program criteria. There are likely chances that the eligibility criteria may vary between admission criteria and Study Visa Process.

Canada is a leading study abroad destination in today’s time. The outstanding educational and other benefits offered by the country bound youths from all over the world to Study in Canada. Acquiring a Canada student visa is a must to reach your purpose of Study in Canada, however, the same cannot be attained without valid language proficiency proof in place.

I hope the above information will help to choose the right one among the two most compelling options helping you to get your Canada Student Visa with ease and Study in Canada. For more details or assistance, Connect With Our Canada Student Visa Experts!



  • Is the CELPIP score equivalent to IELTS?

    No. The CELPIP score is equivalent to the Canadian Language Benchmark(CLB). Thus, a CELPIP 9 score is equal to CLB 9. However, the CLB 9 is equal to the IELTS band score of 8777.

  • Does CELPIP have more points than IELTS?

    No, CELPIP does not have more points than IELTS. Both CELPIP and IELTS use a scoring system to assess English language proficiency, but the scales are different. CELPIP uses a scale of 1 to 12, while IELTS uses a band scale of 1 to 9. The scores obtained in each test are not directly comparable in terms of points, as they represent different scoring systems.

  • Is CELPIP harder than IELTS?

    The two tests have no difference in complexity level. Some test-takers may find one test more challenging than the other based on their strengths and weaknesses in English language proficiency.

  • Can I take CELPIP instead of IELTS?

    When choosing between IELTS and CELPIP, consider your objectives and prospects of success. CELPIP is appropriate for permanent residency, citizenship, or professional designation, while IELTS is preferred for study or work visas. As both tests have comparable difficulty levels, select the one that aligns with your strengths, objectives, and preferences.

  • Is CELPIP or IELTS cheaper?

    CELPIP test may be slightly cheaper than the IELTS test in Canada and India. However, The cost of the CELPIP and IELTS tests varies depending on the country and location where the test is taken.

Written By

Himani Dave

Himani Dave is an IELTS and PTE tutor with over three years of experience. She is a Cambridge and Pearson IT-certified tutor and has helped hundreds of students ace the exams and achieve their dream scores. With her friendly and approachable teaching style and a knack for making even the most difficult concepts easy to grasp, she is a rockstar among peers and students.


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