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In order to become a resident in Canada, you must show your English skills are enough. Canada government documents it in a very clear way. It states what tests and the minimum grade you must have. For English, only two exams are valid: CELPIP and IELTS. I will tell you my experience and based on that you can get a better idea. I don't consider myself very good at English, I felt more comfortable with CELPIP.

My Experience

IELTS can be taken outside of Canada. This is good, you can do the test before travelling. It evaluates you against British English. However, IELTS is kind of old school exam; you use a pencil for the written part and for the oral you are interviewed with a live person. Times are organized per exercise, and they assume you know how to answer them. Don't take this exam without doing at least one simulation, because there are no directions about how to answer. About the exercises, in my exam there were 4, 2 compositions about your opinion on general matters (for example if it is good or not to travel when studying or to describe how living in Canada has changed you) the other 2 were about to fill some diagrams about a process and missing words while listening to a recording. The oral part is individual, someone will interview you and he or she will record your conversation. In my case, they asked me what I don't like and how was living in Mexico.

After some weeks you will get your results by postal service.

CELPIP is more a new era exam and as far as I know, it can only be taken in Canada (UPDATE: Philipinas and UEA available now). It evaluates you against Canadian English. It is done on a computer. Timing is closely done by section, this means you can go back and forward answering if the time allows you. The written part has exercises with multiple options and it allows you spelling corrector, which is good; you only focus on answering correctly. Exercises are more about reading and then answering questions about your understanding or filling blanks. The oral part is a little complicated because you talk to a computer you may not feel comfortable. The tricky part about the oral part is to keep speaking (use all the given time); I know this is something difficult for those like me that are very quiet. Oral exercises are about to describe paintings, to describe things that may happen based on a drawing, to complain by phone about a bad product or to gossip with a friend.

After a week you will get an email with your results, and weeks later a postal mail with your results in a hard copy.


To pay for the IELTS, the same as the exam, it is an old school process. You need to call an application center and you will get a form to fill. After that, you will need to fax a written authorization to charge your credit card (at least that was the way I did for the Algonquin College). You will get later an exam confirmation with a special code you must bring the examination day.

CELPIP is more modern, you can pay on the web page and get study material there as well. You will get a code as well, don't forget it it is the key to everything.


If you ask me, I think CELPIP is easier to do rather than IELTS.

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