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The Pros and Cons of the CELPIP English Proficiency Test

By: Ronda Payne

Published On: August 2, 2018

Becoming a permanent resident or citizen of Canada involves more than just the decision to immigrate. There are also a number of requirements that need to be fulfilled before you ever submit your application to become a permanent resident and work, study, settle or visit in the country. One of these requirements is proving language proficiency through an accepted English proficiency test – one of the tests available is the CELPIP test.


Canada has two official languages: English and French. CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program) is an English language test for permanent resident status and Canadian citizenship. There are two versions of the test, the CELPIP-General and the CELPIP-General LS. The general CELPIP test is accepted for permanent residency while the LS test is accepted for Canadian citizenship.

Pros of Taking CELPIP

There are other language exams available, but the CELPIP does have some pros that may allow you to achieve a higher language score – which can make the difference between admission to Canada and not being admitted.

  • The CELPIP exam is completely computerized. This is important because you won’t be worrying about scrambling to sharpen a pencil, picking up a dropped pen or re-writing words that don’t look quite right. There are also spell-check options so if a word is typed in incorrectly, the computer provides alternative spelling options and both British and American spelling are accepted.
  • If speaking English face-to-face with someone causes you stress and anxiety, CELPIP is a good choice because you will be speaking to the computer, not another person.
  • Do the exam in one day, in one location with CELPIP. All four of the CELPIP test components (speaking, listening, reading and writing) are performed in one sitting at a computer. There is no need to return for other aspects of the test.
  • More date options to take the exam. The CELPIP exam is one of the best known language exams in Canada, so there are often far more options to sit and take the test than with other options.
  • The CELPIP test is designed to assess the skills required for Canadian permanent residency and citizenship specifically.

Cons of Taking CELPIP

While there are a lot of great reasons to choose the CELPIP as your language exam, there may be reasons to find a different test that is a better fit for you and may result in a higher language score.

  • No human touch. Because the CELPIP test is completely computerized, there is no human interaction in the testing process. Other exams may have examiners for different components, like speaking, where slight facial gestures may assist you in understanding how you’re doing and allow you to modify your speech. Also, some people are simply more comfortable talking to another human being than a computer screen.
  • Specific to Canada. As mentioned above, the CELPIP exam is designed specifically to meet the language skills for Canadian permanent residency and citizenship. If you need an English language exam for other reasons, this may not be your best option.
  • A broader band of scores. Your CELPIP score may end up lower than you thought because it is ranked on a scale of 1 to 12. Some other language exams are ranked from 1 to 10. More rankings on the scale means more likelihood of a more accurate score – but perhaps less chance of being bumped up into the next ranking.

CELPIP Test Results

What’s the hardest part of taking an exam? Waiting for the results once you’ve completed it. Language exams are no different, but fortunately, the wait is short to find out your CELPIP score. Because the administration of CELPIP is linked to your online account, your scores will be available in that account within 8 business days of taking the exam. For those who added the Express Rating to their order, results will be available in 3 business days after taking the exam.

Not only can you check your online account for the CELPIP test results when they are expected, you will also receive an email advising you when the scores are available in your account. These scores are available to you for up to two years after your test date.

As mentioned in the section about “cons” for the CELPIP test, the CELPIP score levels are from 1 to 12 – or more precisely, from “M” or Minimal (CELPIP level 0, 1 and 2) to level 12. Each level of CELPIP corresponds to a CLB level – a Canadian Language Benchmark level. This chart is considered to be a CELPIP score calculator that allows you to determine your ranking for CLB levels and if you have achieved the level you need for the immigration program you’ll be pursuing.

The listening and reading components of the test are marked by computer automatically as the responses you input are multiple choice for these two sections. For the writing and reading components, a trained CELPIP Rater will provided the scores. This manual, human scoring is common among all language tests as the responses are not multiple choice or single answer, but are word-based including a number of words and sentences.

By inputting the scores you achieved on the CELPIP test into one of the many CELPIP score calculators found online, you will be able to see instantly how your CELPIP scores stack up against other testing options and/or how your scores position you for admission into Canada. Different immigration programs require different language score levels, so get to know what your requirements are and you’ll be able to see if you’ve reached the right levels as soon as your CELPIP exam scores come in. Even if the immigration program you will be applying for is score based (meaning a variety of factors, including language, are taken into account to create a resulting score), each program may have its own minimum levels for language – regardless of the other factors. Plus, having a higher CLB score on reading, writing, speaking and listening will help push overall scores higher.

One of the best things about language exams like the CELPIP test is that you can always take it over again. If your scores aren’t as high as you’d like, or you ran out of time, you can simply retake the test and apply for immigration with the higher of the two sets of scores.

Get to know what your language requirements are before applying for immigration and be prepared for your language test, whether you choose CELPIP or something different.


    View All Comments

  1. M Umair Tariq says:

    I am from Pakistan and can I come to Canada to appear in this exam?

  2. Anjira silwal says:

    I am interested for celpil

  3. Maria Bychkova says:

    Hi Ceriyac,

    Thank you for your interest in CELPIP exam. We currently offer a preparation course in class in Vancouver, Canada.

    Please learn more about the course here:

    Thank you!

  4. I am from India .I would like to enroll the course how would it possible

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