Will you be studying, working or migrating to Canada in the near future? If so, one of the basic requisites is an English language proficiency test. Most tests of this nature follow a standard pattern, wherein they assess the person’s acumen in four primary faculties: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

You will have to spend a couple of hours at your designated test centre to complete them. If you score a high average on the test, this strengthens your migration/academic portfolio.



To prove how good a command you have on the English language, the government acknowledges the results from two types of tests; IELTS and CELPIP.

Alternatively, CanTEST is required if you want to join a formal licensing body or a Canadian postsecondary institution. Although newer than its previous counterparts, CanTEST is quickly gaining traction for its stellar reputation. In fact, several ivy league universities now accept it.

If you’re trying to decide between a CELPIP preparation, IELTS preparation or CanTEST preparation, we can help clear things up. Below, we break down the essentials of each and recommend which works best for you.


International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

IELTS is primarily intended to meet work, study and migration requirements. Available in over 135 countries, the test incorporates both US and British lexicon, spelling, and phrases. There are two types of tests that you can choose from – Academic IELTS and General Training IELTS. This internationally standardized scoring method doesn’t focus on passing or failing – ie. there isn’t any minimum scoring threshold that you have to meet. However, the higher your score, the stronger your portfolio.

You can score anywhere between “band 1” which indicates that you are a novice at English to “band 9” which indicates that you have a high level of English proficiency. “Band 0” is reserved for those who did not attempt the questions on the exam.

The Government of Canada does not accept test results that are older than one year.


Academic IELTS

Test takers opt for this when they are applying to an academic institution for higher education in a country that predominantly speaks English. It assesses your ability to train or study at an institution in which the curriculum and instructional material is in English. It has immense popularity and is acknowledged by a wide range of institutions across Canada.


General Training IELTS

This test is intended for test takers who will be immigrating to an English speaking country or for training programs, work or secondary education. It is used primarily for migration purposes to the United Kingdom, America, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Different aspects of the test cover English knowledge required in professional and social environments.


Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)

Much like IELTS, CELPIP also measures your acumen in English. The test results of which are recognized by certain educational institutions, organizations, governments, and the likes.

It assesses important language skills that are needed to acquire a citizenship status or a permanent resident status. Like its predecessor, it uses the US and British lexicon, syntax, and spelling.

Unlike IELTS, CELTIP scores test takers anywhere between 1 to 12 for each section. Also, it isn’t as widely available as IELTS and is only offered in Canada and the United Arab Emirates. It is also much cheaper than IELTS.

There are two variants to the test.


CELPIP General Training

This is accepted by the Canadian government and is intended for those seeking a permanent residence card. CELPIP tests your functional English prowess in Listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking. There are a couple of other institutions that also acknowledge CELPIP: the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC).



Also, accepted by the IRCC, it is intended for those who are seeking citizenship in Canada. It only has two aspects, viz., Speaking and Listening.


The Canadian Test For English Scholars and Trainees (CanTEST)

CanTEST is of a slightly different ilk than IELTS and CELPIP. As mentioned, it is used to gain acceptance into a Canadian postsecondary institution or a specific professional licensing organization. It was developed by the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI; an organization endorsed by the University of Ottawa.

There are just a handful of universities that accept CELPIP, viz., University of Nova Scotia, University of Winnipeg, Carleton University, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, to name a few.

As for the professional licensing institutions that accept CanTEST; Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapists, Alberta College of Pharmacists, Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association, among others.

Just like its predecessors, it addresses the four main facets of the English language including Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. It should be noted that CELPIP is easier than the other tests. It inculcates just 5 band scores, which, in some cases can be a disadvantage as that requires more effort from the test taker to score as high as possible.  


Read Write Think Helps You Prepare for Your IELTS, CELPIP or CanTEST!

We use structured strategies to tutor you in English. Our staff incorporates the latest material that will appear on the actual test! We conduct classes in groups, one-on-one or even via Skype. Based on your learning profile, we provide help in those areas where you need it the most.