Both the CELPIP and the IELTS tests assess candidates across four modules, namely speaking, reading, writing, and listening. There are, however, a number of differences between the two. Individuals who are fortunate enough to have a choice between CELPIP or IELTS should consider the following points:
- Are you more comfortable on a computer, or with a pen or pencil and paper? The CELPIP test is conducted entirely on a computer, whereas the IELTS test involves the use of a pen or pencil and paper for certain modules. People with poor handwriting may have to take this difference into consideration, particularly with respect to the writing module.
- Anecdotal evidence suggests that the process of sitting a CELPIP test is shorter than sitting an IELTS test, the latter sometimes taking far longer than the advertised 2 hours and 45 minutes as candidates wait to complete the speaking module.
- There are more targeted online test preparation resources, such as practice tests and testimonials, for the IELTS test, as this is offered in far more international locations and has been around longer.
- CELPIP test results correlate directly with CLBs, while IELTS results do not. This does not offer any inherent advantage either way, but CELPIP test results may be more easily understood in the context of Canadian immigration programs and how many points may be awarded for your English ability.
- The CELPIP test has a built-in spellcheck feature. The IELTS test, given that it is not delivered on a computer, does not have this feature.
- The IELTS speaking component is conducted with another person designated for this task, whereas the CELPIP speaking component is delivered on a computer.
- There is a marginal difference in the fees to sit CELPIP ($280 across Canada, $215 in Manila, $285 in the USA, and $340 in Dubai) and IELTS (from $309 to $319 at locations in Canada), respectively (all quoted prices are in Canadian dollars).
- If you are dissatisfied with your results, you can request a re-evaluation of your test. CELPIP gives you six months to request a re-evaluation. Generally, IELTS gives you six weeks to request a re-evaluation.
- If you wish to retake the test, IELTS allows you to register for another exam as soon as you are ready. Meanwhile, CELPIP requires that you wait at least four days between tests.