Understanding the Scoring System: CELPIP vs. IELTS

by Robin Thakur
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The CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are two commonly accepted English language proficiency tests used for immigration, work, and study purposes in Canada. While both tests assess language skills, they have some differences in terms of scoring and test structure.

Scoring System:


  • Overall Score:
    • Scores range from 1 to 12.
    • Divided into four components: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
    • Overall scores are calculated by averaging the scores of the four components.
  • Component Scores:
    • Listening and Reading have scores ranging from 1 to 5.
    • Writing and Speaking have scores ranging from 1 to 6.
    • The overall CELPIP General test score is calculated by adding the four component scores and then converting the total to a scale from 1 to 12.


  • Overall Band Score:
    • Scores range from 0 to 9.
    • The overall band score is an average of the four component scores: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
  • Component Scores:
    • Each component (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking) is scored individually on a scale from 0 to 9.
    • The overall band score is the average of these four scores, rounded to the nearest half or whole band.

Test Structure:


  • Listening:
    • Consists of eight parts.
    • Different question types, including multiple-choice, fill in the blanks, and summarizing information.
  • Reading:
    • Consists of seven parts.
    • Involves various question types such as multiple-choice, reading for the main idea, and interpreting information.
  • Writing:
    • Consists of two tasks: Writing an Email and Responding to Survey Questions.
    • Requires test-takers to respond to practical situations.
  • Speaking:
    • Consists of eight tasks.
    • Involves giving advice, describing a scene, and expressing opinions.


  • Listening:
    • Four sections with different types of listening tasks, including multiple-choice, matching, and note completion.
  • Reading:
    • Three long passages with a variety of question types, such as multiple-choice, true/false/not given, and matching headings.
  • Writing:
    • Two tasks: Task 1 (Describing a Graph, Table, Chart, or Diagram) and Task 2 (Essay Writing).
    • Task 2 is longer and carries more weight in scoring.
  • Speaking:
    • Consists of three parts: Introduction and Interview, Long Turn, and Discussion.
    • Involves discussing familiar topics and expressing opinions.


While both CELPIP and IELTS assess language proficiency for similar purposes, the choice between them often depends on individual preferences and the specific requirements of the institution or immigration program. Test-takers should familiarize themselves with the format and scoring system of each test to make an informed decision based on their strengths and preferences.

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