CELPIP: Canadian English Language Test


Dear All,
Besides TOEFL and IELTS, learners of English can take CELPIP test to prove their language proficiency. Today I would like to discuss some of the characteristic features of CELPIP and how it compares to TOEFL and IELTS.

Definition. To begin with, what is CELPIP? CELPIP or Canadian English Language Test is a type of English language test which asses learners’ language skills within four or two categories: listening, reading, writing, and speaking (CELPIP-General) or just listening and speaking (CELPIP-General LS).

Purpose. Unlike TOEFL (iBT) and IELTS (Academic version), CELPIP results are not accepted as a proof of language proficiency for academic purposes such as applying to a university or college where English is the major language of instruction; however, other purposes such as work are covered by CELPIP. Depending on the person’s purposes and type of work, either CELPIP-General or CELPIP-General LS may be required. It is a good practice to get in touch with the institution you are applying to in order to to find out whether they accept CELPIP and if so, what type of the test this institution requires.


  • Format and time: CELPIP lasts 180 minutes (CELPIP-General) or 67 minutes (CELPIP-General LS); it is 100% computer-based. Unlike IELTS, test-takers fulfill all the parts at one sitting (the speaking part of IELTS can take place the next day).
  • Locations and signing up for the test: multiple locations across Canada are available for the test. It is relatively easy to sign up for an exam for any upcoming date within a short period of time (some IELTS test centers may be booked up one month in advance). The registration process can be accomplished online. Unlike IELTS, no finger prints are requested from test takers at any time.
  • Results: Express Results feature allows getting the results within three business day of the date on which the exam is taken.
  • Canadian English: the language variety used in the test is Canadian English. This includes the listening part and the reading part where a test taker hears/reads this particular variety of English with some of the frequently used phrases and spelling in Canada. The learners who plan to work in Canada may find it more practical to prepare for Canadian English language variety.
  • Price: it may be somewhat cheaper to take CELPIP than other tests.
  • Preparation materials: all the required preparation materials such as online practice tests (one free practice test is included) and/or electronic books can be purchased directly through the test website.

Possible points for improvement.

  • Speaking:  it may be challenging to speak to a computer as compared to a real person for the speaking part. In order to facilitate the speaking part, it is best to practise answering speaking part questions provided in the online CELPIP practice test on the official website.
  • Locations: currently CELPIP is available only in Canada. It might benefit some test takers if the test were available at other locations across the world.
  • Academic version: presently only the general version of the test is available; however, the general version is not accepted by universities and colleges as a proof of language skills for people who apply to a university or a college. It might be beneficial for test takers who prefer CELPIP to have the possibility to take the academic version of this test.

How CELPIP compares to TOEFL and IELTS.

Similar to TOEFL and IELTS,  CELPIP asses four key language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking (for CELPIP-General). The format of the test is similar to TOEFL iBT since both tests are computer-based. Unlike IELTS, CELPIP listening part does not usually include maps or graphics which may facilitate the test somewhat. CELPIP does not require to come to the testing office twice for the speaking section (as IELTS may do); this feature of CELPIP saves time and may prevent from anxiety.

To sum up, CELPIP is a rigorous English language testing system. It has a number of features which position this test on par with any other testing system world-wide. It also offers certain features which can make it a test of choice for some people.

More information about CELPIP can be found on its official website:

See also post on IELTS fingerprints.




    1. Applied linguistics | BLOG|ON|LINGUISTICS
    2. IELTS: Fingerprints | BLOG|ON|LINGUISTICS

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