It should first be clarified that CELPIP has got two main versions – the CELPIP General Test and the easier version – CELPIP-General LS. For this article, we shall compare the CELPIP General Test and the IELTS Academic. So, let’s compare the similarities and differences of both English Proficiency exams.

Which Test Should You Take, CELPIP or IELTS?

It depends on your plans. If they involve relocation to Canada with subsequent applications for permanent residence or citizenship, then CELPIP is, perhaps, the more viable option. On the other hand, if you just need to take an internationally recognized test of proficiency in English for your work or studies, then IELTS is the better one.

Must Know Facts About CELPIP and IELTS

How Much Does it Cost to Take the CELPIP General Test and IELTS Academic?

There isn’t a unified fee for taking IELTS, and each testing center around the world is free to charge its own fees. Thus, for example, the UK appears to be one of the most expensive places to take this test, as the average exam fees hover around GBP 200.

If you decide to sit for IELTS on the Continent, the exam centers in Germany, Italy, and France charge around 240 EUR. Then, there is the option of sitting for IELTS in Canada, where the fees range from about $300. Finally, the USA appears to be the cheapest place to take IELTS, with fees ranging between $200 and 225.

In this respect, the CELPIP General Test appears to be the more affordable of the two tests with exam fees in Canada standing at about $280 plus taxes. However, there still are some regional variations in the exam fees. For example, taking the test in the UAE will cost you CAD 340 plus taxes, while sitting in the Philippines will cost you only CAD 215 plus taxes. In a nutshell, the CELPIP General Test is cheaper than IELTS!

Which of the Two Tests is More Widely Accepted?

The clear winner against this criterion is IELTS because the CELPIP General Test is accepted only by a handful of professional organizations and colleges in Canada. Some of these colleges are, for example, Northern Lights College, Alberta Institute of Massage, and Canadian Arts & Sciences Institute. By contrast, IELTS is accepted by colleges and universities around the world. So, IELTS is the winner in terms of popularity and global acceptance.

See Also: IELTS Band Requirements for Universities in Austria

Where Can I take IELTS and CELPIP?

Outside Canada, the CELPIP General Test can currently be taken in India, the Philippines, UAE, and the USA. By contrast, the IELTS testing locations are so numerous around the globe that it will be easier to name the places where you can’t sit it. So, our clear winner in terms of testing locations’ availability is IELTS!

Which Test is Easier to Prepare for – CELPIP or IELTS?

This, of course, depends on the learning abilities of each candidate. However, if we consider the availability of preparation materials around the world, those about IELTS are the more widely available ones. Similarly, there are more IELTS prep centers and courses available around the world, and even in Canada, than ones preparing English language learners for the CELPIP General Test.

Now, let us look at the preparation materials’ price and availability. Because, as we established above, IELTS is far more popular than the CELPIP General Test, you are far more likely to be able to purchase self-study materials from a test and preparation center in your own country, and in your currency.

On the other hand, the free study materials available on the official website of CELPIP Canada provide only a general insight into the nature of the test and there also are some sample tests available online that you can try to take. So, you have to go to the paid section of their website, where you can buy a bundle of fourteen comprehensive practice tests with explanatory answers for CAD 150. The subscription package’s validity is three months.

There is also the option of ordering paperback study guides from their online bookstore. For example, the CELPIP Study Guide to Reading and Writing costs $25. However, you will also have to purchase the Guide to Listening & Speaking, which costs another 25 dollars. If you go for the CELPIP Focus series, please note that they are a bit more expensive and cost $32 each. To these prices, you should add the postage expenses, of course!

So, in terms of availability and price of the test preparation materials, our winner is again IELTS!

Check Also: CELPIP Practice Tests Study Materials

Which Test is More Difficult the CELPIP General Test or IELTS?

Regarding the Listening sections of the two tests, one of the CELPIP General Test is recorded by Canadian speakers only, while the of IELTS may include speakers from the UK, USA, Australia, and Canada. Thus, some candidates may find CELPIP to be a bit easier to understand.

In terms of the Speaking section, CELPIP candidates record their voices while answering a recorded question. Some candidates may find this situation quite unusual and therefore stressful. By contrast, the IELTS candidates have a live conversation with an examiner, which can be more reassuring.

The Writing section of both IELTS and CELPIP appear to be somewhat similar – the candidate has got to first write a letter (IELTS) or respond to an email (CELPIP), and then answer survey questions (CELPIP again) or respond to a point of view (IELTS).

CELPIP’s reading section appears to be a bit bulkier – it contains 45 questions divided into four subsections and takes up to one hour to complete. The Reading section of IELTS also takes an hour to complete, but it’s got 40 questions distributed into three subsections.

Finally, IELTS is paper-based, while CELPIP is computer-based. Some candidates may find the former to be user-friendlier, while others may opt for the latter. On the whole, both CELPIP and IELTS take about three hours to complete.


Because of its wider availability, higher popularity, and wider acceptance around the world, we think that in the IELTS vs CELPIP showdown, the clear winner is IELTS!

CELPIP and IELTS are both important tests for immigration purposes and to develop your English communication skills. However, picking either of them depends on your preference and circumstances. If you prefer a computer-based exam, then CELPIP should be your choice. Just remember to start preparing for your exam in advance by taking advantage of available resources, like the IELTS books listed on our page.


We hope that this article comparing CELPIP and IELTS was helpful. To learn more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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