English Test - IELTS
The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the only standardized test that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) recognizes as proof of English language ability for immigration purposes.
Some Canadian immigration applicants are required to take the IELTS to demonstrate that they have sufficient English language ability to integrate into Canadian society and the Canadian work force.
Canadian Language Benchmarks
The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) are the national standards used in Canada for describing, measuring and recognising the English language proficiency of adult migrants and prospective migrants for living and working in Canada.
To demonstrate English language ability, IELTS results must be submitted so that the Visa Officer will be able to objectively evaluate the language category of the applicant. For Citizenship and Immigration Canada, IELTS results are considered the only conclusive proof of English language proficiency.
To enroll for an IELTS examination, you will need to contact your local IELTS test centre to find out the dates when you will be able to take your test and what the cost will be. Then, download and complete the application form and send it the local IELTS centre along with your photos, a copy of your identification, and your payment.
Many people take preparation courses before they take the IELTS to ensure that they receive as high a score as possible. You can also take IELTS practice tests to get an idea of what the tests are like.
The IELTS consists of four parts: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The whole test lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes and can be completed in one day. The Speaking component can also be taken up to 7 days before or after the other three components (at the discretion of the test centre).
The Listening component lasts for 30 minutes and consists of four audio clips that you must listen to and answer questions about.
- Conversation – 2 speakers
- Conversation – 4 speakers
You can read the questions and familiarize yourself with the question types before you listen to the recordings. Listen carefully, as the recordings are played only once.
The Reading component lasts for 60 minutes and consists of three passages you will read and answer questions about. The texts are typically taken from books, newspapers, magazines, and journals.
You will be asked to:
- Identify attitudes and perceptions
- Find detailed information
- Complete a diagram
The Writing component lasts for 60 minutes and consists of 2 tasks.
You will need to:
- Write a descriptive report of a table or diagram (150 words)
- Write an essay in response to a statement (250 words)
Be sure to read the question carefully before composing your text.
The Speaking component lasts for 10-15 minutes. It is a face-to-face interview between the candidate and the examiner.
It consists of:
- Introduction and interview
- Individual talk
- Discussion topics
Try to speak fluently, using appropriate grammar, and demonstrate a range of vocabulary. Always try to support your opinions and answer the questions with more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
You will be given a score for each component (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking) on a Band Scale from 1-9. In order to be awarded the maximum 24 points for English language ability on the Federal Skilled Worker application, you will need to score a 8 or higher in the Listening component and a 7 or higher in the other three components.
- Band 1 – Non user
- Band 2 – Intermittent user
- Band 3 – Extremely limited user
- Band 4 – Limited user
- Band 5 – Modest user
- Band 6 – Competent user
- Band 7 – Good user
- Band 8 – Very good user
- Band 9 – Expert user
IELTS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Do I need to take the IELTS?
All applicants for the Federal Skilled Worker and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) must submit either IELTS or TEF results as conclusive proof of language ability for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. For French requirments for Quebec, see Proving French Language Ability (Quebec Skilled Worker Program).
2. How do I prepare to take the IELTS?
There are preparation courses available through educational institutions and on the internet. We offer free IELTS practice tests to help you practice English and familiarize yourself with the IELTS exam.
3. Should I take the Academic or the General Training Module?
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) recently updated its processing instructions to visa offices, and is now only accepting test results from the General Training module.
4. Where do I take the IELTS?
On the official IELTS website, you can search for your nearest IELTS test centre on the top navigation bar.
5. How much does the IELTS cost?
The cost varies but is typically around $250CDN.
6. How long does the test take?
The whole test takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete.
Listening – 30 minutes
Reading – 60 minutes
Writing – 60 minutes
Speaking – 10-15 minutes
7. How long does it take to get my results?
Results are generally issued 13 days after the test.
8. If I’m not satisfied with my results, how soon after can I take the test again?
Candidates are able to repeat the test whenever they wish. You will need to submit another application form; on that form you must indicate the date on which you last took the test. New fees will apply.
9. Can I repeat only the module in which I did not score well?
No. The IELTS is meant to provide an overall profile of a candidate’s English proficiency at a given time. For the results to be accurate, all modules must be taken over at the same time.
10. How long are the test results valid for?
IELTS results are valid for a period of two years. IELTS results issued within 24 months from the date of submission of an application should remain valid throughout the application process.
11. How do IELTS test results correspond to Canadian Benchmark Levels (CLBs)?
IELTS test results correspond to CLB scores as follows:
CLB Level 9 - IELTS Listening: 8.0 Reading: 7.0 Writing: 7.0 Speaking: 7.0
CLB Level 8 - IELTS Listening: 7.5 Reading: 6.5 Writing: 6.5 Speaking: 6.5
CLB Level 7 - IELTS Listening: 6.0 Reading: 6.0 Writing: 6.0 Speaking: 6.0
CLB Level 6 - IELTS Listening: 5.5 Reading: 5.0 Writing: 5.5 Speaking: 5.5
CLB Level 5 - IELTS Listening: 5.0 Reading: 4.0 Writing: 5.0 Speaking: 5.0
CLB Level 4 - IELTS Listening: 4.5 Reading: 3.5 Writing: 4.0 Speaking: 4.0
IELTS takes you further
Your IELTS result opens doors to work and study in Canada and around the world. IELTS results are accepted by over 9,000 institutions in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the USA and in many other countries where English is used. IELTS is also recognised by governments in more countries than any other test for immigration and permanent residence purposes.