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PTE Core Vs IELTS General Vs CELPIP – What To Choose For Canadian PR

Settling in Canada is your dream? Then you might be aware of the path of how to reach there. Even though you have decided everything, clearing the language proficiency exam is one crucial hurdle you’ll need to overcome. This is where the PTE Core, IELTS General, and CELPIP exams come into play.

Recently, IRCC launched PTE Core, and it has become confusing for test takers to choose between these exams. So here is a quick comparison that you need to check

Differentiation Based On Sections of the Exam

Speaking Test:

PTE Core :

The PTE Core speaking test is the most technology-driven. It incorporates five different question types that you have to do.

  • Reading sentences aloud: This assesses your pronunciation and clarity.
  • Sentence repetition: Tests your ability to recall and reproduce spoken language accurately.
  • Image description: You’ll be asked to describe an image within a time limit, demonstrating your ability to articulate visual details.
  • Responding to situations: Like CELPIP, you must react verbally to a presented scenario.
  • Answering short questions: This tests your fluency and responsiveness in concise answers.

IELTS General:

IELTS General offers a unique experience – a one-on-one interaction with a qualified examiner. This format can be beneficial for several reasons.

  • Understanding Accents: Human examiners can understand different accents and recognize natural pauses from moments of confusion.
  • The Power of Prompting: Unlike computer-based tests, the examiner can guide you with gentle prompts if needed. This can be particularly helpful if you get stuck or need a nudge to elaborate on your thoughts.
  • A Quiet Environment: The test takes place in a dedicated, private room, minimizing distractions and allowing you to focus solely on the conversation. This can be ideal if you’re easily affected by background noise.


The CELPIP speaking test takes a different approach. You’ll be asked to speak into a headset, responding to simulated situations and questions. These prompts might involve

  • Offering advice in a specific scenario.
  • Sharing a personal experience.
  • Describing a scene in detail.
  • Making predictions and expressing opinions.
  • Navigating a challenging situation.
  • Persuading someone to agree with your viewpoint.
No. of Questions 5 types of questions 3 part discussion 8 tasks, plus one practice task
Time Approx. 30 Minutes 11-14 Minutes 15-20 Minutes

Writing Test :

PTE Core:

PTE Core takes a unique approach to writing assessment. It incorporates two dedicated writing tasks within the Speaking and Writing Test section:

  • Summarizing Text: You’ll be given a written passage and asked to summarize it in 25-50 words within 10 minutes. This tests your ability to identify key points and condense information effectively.
  • Email Writing: Similar to CELPIP, you’ll be presented with a situation and need to craft an email response of 50-120 words in 9 minutes.

However, PTE Core goes beyond these specific tasks. Throughout the test, you’ll encounter questions requiring written responses, which will contribute to your overall writing score.

IELTS General:

The IELTS General writing test features two distinct tasks designed to assess your writing proficiency:

  • Task 1: This section requires you to write at least 150 words in 20 minutes. You’ll get a situation or topic and need to write a short message (like a letter or email).
  • Task 2: This essay-based task is worth double the marks of Task 1 and requires at least 250 words in 40 minutes. You’ll be given a statement, problem, or argument. Your job is to write a longer piece explaining your opinion, analyzing the issue, or suggesting solutions.


The CELPIP writing test prioritizes practical communication skills. It consists of two tasks that you’ll have approximately 53-60 minutes to complete:

  • Email Writing: This section focuses on crafting an email of 150-200 words within 27 minutes. You’ll be given a scenario requiring you to email someone, such as a colleague, neighbor, or service provider.
  • Survey Response: Here, you’ll be presented with a statement and two options. Your task is to choose one option and justify your choice in a written response of 150-200 words within 26 minutes.
No. of Questions 2 types of questions 2 questions 2 Tasks
Time 10-15 Minutes 60 Minutes 53-60 Minutes

 Click to know the desired CLB Score for these exams. 

Listening Test:

PTE Core:

PTE Core’s listening test takes a unique approach, integrating your listening skills with writing:

  • Summarize the Message: After listening to a short recording, you’ll condense the key points into a concise summary of 20-30 words.
  • Multiple Choice: You’ll encounter multiple-choice questions with either single or multiple answers based on audio prompts ranging from 30 to 90 seconds.
  • Fill in the Blanks: This task requires you to listen to a recording and complete sentences with missing words (the recordings last 30-60 seconds).
  • Spot the Difference: You’ll be presented with a list of words and a recording (20-70 seconds). Your task is to identify and click on the words that don’t match what you hear.
  • Type what you hear: Listen to a brief sentence (3-5 seconds) and then type it word for word.

IELTS General:

The IELTS General listening test exposes you to a variety of spoken English scenarios through four recordings by native speakers:

  • Everyday Conversation: You’ll hear a typical conversation between two people, allowing you to gauge your understanding of casual dialogue.
  • Presentation on a Daily Topic: Here, you’ll listen to someone speak about an everyday topic, testing your ability to follow a monologue on a familiar subject.
  • Educational/Training Conversation: This recording features a conversation between up to four people in an educational or training setting, demanding your attention to detail in a multi-speaker environment.
  • Academic Talk: Finally, you’ll be presented with a lecture or presentation on an academic subject, which will challenge your comprehension of more complex topics.


The CELPIP listening test takes a structured approach, dividing the section into six distinct parts:

  • Practice Task: You’ll begin with a practice task to familiarize yourself with the format and question types.
  • Problem-Solving (Part 1): Prepare to listen for information related to problem-solving scenarios in this section.
  • Daily Life Conversations (Part 2): Focus on comprehending everyday conversations to answer the questions in this part.
  • Listening for Information (Part 3): You’ll need to identify specific details mentioned in the recording.
  • News Items (Part 4): Test your ability to grasp the key points of news reports.
  • Discussions (Part 5) & Viewpoints (Part 6): These parts challenge you to understand the flow of discussions and identify different perspectives presented.
No. of Questions 7 types of questions 40 questions 6 parts, plus one practice task
Time 30 Minutes 30-40 Minutes 47-55 Minutes

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Reading Test:

PTE Core:

The PTE Core reading test differs slightly from the others. It integrates reading with other skills and requires you to:

  • Fill in the Blanks (Reading and Writing): Similar to other tests, you’ll complete sentences with missing words, but here, the focus is on understanding the passage and using appropriate vocabulary.
  • Multiple Choice: Based on the reading material, you’ll encounter questions with single or multiple-answer options.
  • Reorder Paragraphs: This task challenges you to arrange jumbled paragraphs in the correct order to form a coherent text.
  • Fill in the Blanks (Reading Only): Similar to the previous fill-in-the-blanks task, the focus is solely on comprehension of the passage.
  • Multiple Choice (Single Answer): You’ll be presented with questions with only one correct answer choice.

IELTS General:

The IELTS General reading test exposes you to various authentic reading materials you might encounter daily. These include:

  • Informative Texts: Excerpts from books, magazines, and newspapers on various topics.
  • Descriptive Texts: Passages that vividly depict a place, person, or event.
  • Functional Texts: Advertisements, notices, and other practical materials.


The CELPIP reading test adopts a structured approach, dividing the section into five distinct parts:

  • Practice Question: A warm-up task to familiarize you with the format and question types.
  • Correspondence (Part 1): You’ll read a piece of communication, like an email or letter, and answer 11 related questions.
  • Applying Diagrams (Part 2): You’ll analyze a passage with a diagram and answer questions that combine information from both (8 questions here).
  • Reading for Information (Part 3): Here, you’ll be tasked with extracting specific details from a text to answer 9 questions.
  • Viewpoints (Part 4): You’ll analyze different perspectives presented in a passage and answer questions about them (10 questions here).
No. of Questions 5 types of questions 40 questions 38 Questions
Time 30 Minutes 60 Minutes 60 Minutes


Overall Comparison Of All Parameters:



Unbiased Opinion:

If affordability is your top priority, CELPIP is the most budget-friendly option. If minimizing testing time is crucial, PTE Core emerges as the quickest. Both CELPIP and PTE Core offer flexibility for rescheduling, whereas that might be limited with IELTS General.

However, IELTS General reigns supreme if your goal requires acceptance in many countries. It also boasts the most global testing locations, ensuring convenient access.

No matter what exam you choose, Gurully is a one-stop solution for practicing. We provide you with a full-length mock test with accurate scoring so that you get a fair idea about your practice. Our online practice platform will help you achieve your dreams. 


For Canadian PR, PTE Core, IELTS General & CELPIP are the most prominent exams you must attempt.  The ideal English language proficiency test for you depends on your priorities. CELPIP or PTE Core might be better choices if you prioritize affordability and fast results. CELPIP is also the most flexible for rescheduling. However, if widespread acceptance and the most testing locations are important, IELTS General is the way to go.

PTE Core is a good option for those who want a computer-based test with faster results and decent global recognition. Consider the factors above to make an informed decision about which test best suits your needs.

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