Planning on living in Canada? Here’s what you need to know about IELTS

Published: March 25, 2021

Given Canada is one of the world’s most welcoming countries1, it is no surprise it is a popular destination for people looking to progress their global work and study goals.

If you are planning on living in Canada, here is what you need to know about the immigration process and its related English test requirements.

Moving to Canada as an immigrant or student

There are a range of ways to immigrate to Canada as a skilled worker. Most of Canada’s skilled worker programs require you to demonstrate your proficiency in English or French.

IELTS General Training is on the list of English Language tests approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Canada (IRCC). It assesses your English language proficiency across four skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

In addition, IELTS Academic is widely accepted by colleges, universities and several Designated Learning Institutes (DLI) across Canada.

What IELTS should I take?

You can take IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic on paper or on computer. Both options take place in official IELTS centres, located in more than 140 countries around the world.

IELTS General Training is suitable for those applying for skilled worker pathways such as Express Entry, the Provincial Nominee Program, and some studies below degree level. IRCC accepts both IELTS on paper and computer.

IELTS Academic is suitable for those wanting to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level in an English-speaking environment or a DLI (college, university, polytechnic). You can also take IELTS Academic for professional registration purposes.

The test measures whether your level of English language proficient is suitable for an academic setting. It features vocabulary that is familiar within an academic environment.

In fact, IELTS is the only English language test that’s accredited by IRCC under Student Direct Stream (SDS). You can read more about both tests here.

Always be sure to visit the relevant government and university and other DLIs websites to confirm which test is required and other entry requirements.

Ask IELTS your questions on the CanadaVisa Forum

What’s the best way to prepare?

It’s important you prepare for IELTS before you take it. Get to know the test format, question types and how IELTS examiners assess your test.

The good news is we have various resources to help improve your skills and avoid common test day mistakes. You can access these materials here.

Please take advantage of these free materials and join IELTS’ social media communities for added support.

By practicing for your test and getting to know your score for each section, you’ll have confidence in your English language to help you adapt to your new environment. The band score isn’t just a number, the higher the number, the more easily you’ll be able to keep up with everyday life. Practice really does make perfect.

IELTS was created to indicate the level of a person’s understanding of the English language however, it’s become much more than that. It brings with it the confidence to hold conversations, helping you transition into your new life abroad.

Learn how IELTS can open doors to Canada

Why is IELTS so important, is it just another part of your application?

The short answer is no, IELTS is not only a check box you tick. It measures your level of proficiency in English and, when moving to an English-speaking country, it is important you have confidence to be able to hold conversations, read signs and understand essential information needed to get you around.

You can and should be proud of your IELTS score. It is a trusted demonstration of your ability to communicate in English.

How is IELTS marked?

IELTS is comprised of four different sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. You receive a score for each section, and an overall band score. All of these scores are equally important. Each section of the test is designed to see how you will cope in everyday situations. Whether you choose to take an IELTS Academic test for study reasons, or an IELTS General Training test to allow you to live and work in Canada, the score is attributed in the same way.

Understanding how IELTS is marked is a key step in your preparation, please take the time to understand the marking criteria.

You can read more on the IELTS marking criteria here.

1 The Top 10 Most Welcoming Countries.

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