IELTS, TOEFL, CELPIP & CAEL: Which English test should you take?

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Sooner or later, most English language learners need to take an official exam to show that their hard work has paid off. These English exams are many learners’ ticket to studying and working in Canada, and even to Canadian citizenship. Check out our list of the most popular English tests below, including what they are and where to find them.

English tests for Canadian citizenship

The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) is a popular Canadian English language test that is accepted by a number of professional organizations, universities, colleges, and employers across Canada as proof of English language skill. The test emphasizes everyday situations, such as interacting with friends and employers or written communications. CELPIP is also accepted by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada for Canadian citizenship applications. Two versions of the CELPIP test are available – the CELPIP General Test, which assesses Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing skills, and the CELPIP General LS Test, which assesses only Listening and Speaking. Both tests are accepted for citizenship.

Where and how much?

The CELPIP is taken at over 60 locations around the world, including Canada, India, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Within Calgary, the CELPIP General LS test is administered by Precise Solutions and Bow Valley College. The cost is currently $195.00.

IELTS, or the International English Language Testing System, is one of the most popular English tests in the world. It is offered at thousands of locations internationally and in Canada in two forms: 1, the IELTS Academic, meant for those wanting to study at  college or university in Canada or join a professional organization, and 2, the IELTS General, meant for immigration applications. The IELTS General is accepted by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for Canadian citizenship applications.

IELTS assesses all four English language skill areas: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. Each skill is based on how you will use it at work, at home, and at school. The test is based on an interview style – that is, you will have a one-on-one conversation with a real person who will be assessing your English skills.

Where and how much?

The fee to complete IELTS is currently $319.00. You can complete the IELTS interview/test in two ways:

  1. At the IELTS Calgary Test Centre: This is the official IDP International English Language Testing System (IELTS) centre in Calgary, based at Global Village Calgary. Find more information on their website You may choose to take the test on paper or by computer.

    For preparation and support materials, please visit:

  2. Through the British Council: Applicants may submit their application online and choose the most convenient location to take the test for them, including Bow Valley College, GEOS Language Plus or SAIT.

For preparation and support materials please visit

English Tests for Studying in Canada

The Canadian Academic English Language Test (CAEL) is designed to measure the English language skills of students who wish to study at a Canadian college or university. It is a computer-based test. The test focuses on the language skills necessary to thrive in a Canadian academic environment. Those who complete the CAEL test will listen to a lecture, answer questions, read articles, and write an essay, similar to the activities found in a college or university classroom. The CAEL test is NOT accepted by IRCC for Canadian citizenship.

Where and how much?

Within Calgary, CAEL is delivered at Precise Solutions and SAIT. The cost is currently $268.00 + tax.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, is one of the most widely used English tests around the world and is designed for international students that wish to study at an English-speaking college or university. It is accepted by thousands of organizations and secondary schools around the world. The test is delivered via the internet. TOEFL is NOT accepted by IRCC for Canadian citizenship.

Where and how much?

The cost for TOEFL in Alberta is currently $245. To find out where to take the test, you must register to take the test at this link.

CIES Guides are a volunteer-led project made possible through contributions from the community.

Thanks to Mary Camino and Whitney Loewen for help with this guide. If you want to suggest a correction to this guide, or want to submit one of your own, please contact us.

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