IELTS: Prepare for life in Canada beyond the test

Published: November 1, 2021

When your English test ends, the real test of your English begins.

Life in Canada will constantly challenge and develop your English skills, from the chats you have at work, to the headlines you read on the way home, to the information you need to read or provide in everyday life.

IELTS General Training prepares you for those challenges—because it’s one test that’s designed with them in mind.

The test

Just as the IELTS Academic test focuses on the academic language students need to thrive in higher education, IELTS General Training specialises in the language and formats that occur most frequently in everyday life. c

IELTS General Training focuses on everyday scenarios, situations and topics to ‘keep it real’.

Understand the difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training


Understanding what’s being said to us is crucial to fitting in to any new environment. These aren’t usually controlled test environments—no, they belong to a less predictable world of rushed bus drivers and impatient shopkeepers, or new bosses and fast-talking newsreaders.

So, the Listening section of IELTS General Training asks test takers to understand, and respond to, conversations and monologues. These extracts are in a range of accents, and across a range of social contexts, to better replicate real life.


We all read every day, whether it’s for fun, for information or for work. Reading is a very ‘safe’ way to absorb information without being rushed or forced to respond, and without that information being coloured by accents. The better we are at it, the easier it gets.

But reading isn’t just one skill: it’s several. When we read, we’re usually either skim-reading, mentally summarising the information, digging for details, or trying to grasp an author’s viewpoint. The IELTS General Training Reading test probes all these skills across the kind of formats you encounter in daily life: books, magazines, newspapers, notice, adverts, company handbooks and guidelines. By engaging with these sorts of texts, you can get ready for reading in the real world.


Often, life in Canada demands that you express yourself in writing. You might need to apologise for missing a party, complain about a bad experience, or give someone advice. Perhaps you’ll need to write a cover letter for a new job. Whenever you do write, it’s important to get the tone and structure right—you’re more likely to get the reaction you’re looking for.

These are precisely the kind of situations that IELTS General Training presents you with in Task 1 of the Writing test. Task 2, meanwhile, gets you to understand how to argue in writing—including all the forms and conventions of getting your point across on issues like school, mobile phone usage, and how to create a fairer society. In a progressive country like Canada, you’re never too far away from a debate on these matters, so it’s a great skill to master.


Perhaps the skill you’ll use most often in Canada is your speaking. Communities in Canada tend to be welcoming and friendly, so speaking is probably the skill you’ll require the most. What’s more, talking fluently and accurately is vital to the speed at which people integrate into any new society, forming the foundations of mutual understanding and respect.

The IELTS Speaking test is almost legendary for its face-to-face element, which has long been respected around the world as a true test of conversational ability. Just preparing for this human interaction develops a clearer, more natural speaking style that is proven to help people adapt better into English-speaking environments.

Understand the test format

Accepted around the world

Immigration authorities are particular about which tests they accept as proof of English proficiency, because they recognise the importance of language to integration. They also recognise that not all tests are created equal: some are more thorough than others, some more accurately marked, and some more geared to the kind of real-world situations they expect you to face.

All of which means that there’s only one test accepted by every immigration authority that asks for one, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom. That test is IELTS General Training.

Book your IELTS test today

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at
Related articles
Express Entry: IRCC invites 1,499 candidates in latest draw
Candidates have received ITAs in that latest Express Entry draw
Category-based Express Entry draws: A year in review
people in nature and smile with grandparents, parents and children bonding.
Speed Up Your Canadian Study Permit through the Student Direct Stream: Tips for International Students
International students aiming to study in Canada can expedite their study permit application process through a specialized program offered by the Canadian government.
Watch the Webinar: A Clear Path to Academic Achievement in Canada Redefined
Attain a great score on your language assessment and increase your chances of admission to a Canadian university.
Top Stories
Report: Approval, processing rates drop after IRCC’s student cap
IRCC ends flagpoling services for PGWP applicants
British Columbia makes Entrepreneur Regional Pilot Program permanent
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Provinces
British Columbia makes Entrepreneur Regional Pilot Program permanent
A scenic view of a lake and boats parked in the foreground of a mountain.
Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan invite candidates for nomination in latest draws
Aerial view of Toronto Financial District at sunset, Ontario, Canada.
Three provinces select candidates in latest provincial immigration results
B.C., Quebec and Manitoba have invited candidates in the latest provincial immigration draws.
British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec issue provincial immigration nominations in latest draws
Skytrain bridge in British Columbia connecting Surrey and New Westminster over the Fraser River.
Link copied to clipboard