Language Proficiency Assessment Tests

and

CLB Conversion Tables

(CLB – Canadian Language Benchmark)

Canada has two official languages; English and French. Most of the applicants for Immigration under different programs need to prove their language skills in one or both of these. These language skills are assessed in four abilities or modules, namely Speaking, Reading, Writing and Listening.

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) to rank English language abilities and Niveaux de Competence Linguistique Canadiens (NCLC) to rank French language abilities.

You will have to take one of the approved tests and submit the results along with your application. The visa officer will assess your skills on the basis of these results and determine your eligibility or grant you points accordingly, whatever the case may be.

The approved tests for English are:

IELTS – International English Language Testing System and

CELPIP – Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program

For immigration purposes you will need to take IELTS – General Training or CELPIP – General Test

The approved test for French is TEF – Test D’Evaluation de Francais

In each of these tests you are tested, evaluated and scored for each ability or module separately. These test scores are valid for two years only. You will have to take the test(s) again if your results are older than two years. Even if your results are about to expire or they will by the time your application processing starts, you should appear in the test again.

Even if you consider your skill level to be very good, you must get familiar with the test format and take practice tests. Knowing the language and acing a test are a little different.

A general thumb rule is that if you can read newspaper and listen to the news on TV or Radio and understand most of it, you are at a good level. Speaking and writing improves with practice.

IELTS:

International English Language Testing System – IELTS is jointly owned and conducted by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. Each of the above organisations have their own testing centres all over the world and it does not make a difference at which centre you take your test. You can apply to the one most convenient to your location.

You can check the nearest test centre and available dates here.

The Listening, Reading and Writing modules are conducted on the same day without any breaks in between and Speaking module normally takes place up to a week before or after the other test.

Listening:

You will be given 30 minutes to complete. You will listen to 4 recordings in total. 2 will be monologues (one person speaking) and 2 will be of a conversation between up to four people. You will have to listen, understand and reply to the questions on the sheet.

Reading:

You will have 60 minutes to answer 40 questions. You will be given extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, handbooks and guidelines. You will have to understand the gist, main idea, detail, argument, opinion and purpose and answer the questions.

Writing:

You will have 60 minutes to write an essay and a letter. The letter will be to explain a situation or request information. The essay will be in response to a point of view, argument or problem.

Speaking:

An examiner will assess you individually. This will take 11-14 minutes and your conversation will be recorded. You will be asked some general and familiar questions about yourself for four to five minutes. Then you will be given a topic to talk about. You will have one minute to prepare and then speak for about two minutes. The examiner will then ask further questions about the topic and discuss for four to five minutes.

Results:

You test results will be available after 13 days of your test. You can ask your test centre to post them to you or collect them personally from your test centre. The scores will also be available online for 28 days only.

IELTS is scored on the scale of 0-9 band for each module.

0 – Did not answer any questions

1 – No ability except a few isolated words

2 – Has great difficulty

3 – Understands only general meaning

4 – Basic competence in similar situations

5 – Able to handle basic communication in own field

6 – Has effective command despite some inaccuracies and misunderstandings

7 – Has operational command with some inaccuracies

8 – Has full operational command with occasional inaccuracies

9 – Has full operational command and full understanding

IELTS to CLB Conversion Table

ListeningReadingWritingSpeakingCLB Level
4.53.54.04.04
5.04.05.05.05
5.55.05.55.56
6.06.06.06.07
7.56.56.56.58
8.07.07.07.09
8.58.07.57.510 and above

CELPIP:

Another test designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for evaluation of English Language Skills is Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program – CELPIP. It is developed by Paragon Testing Enterprises, which is a subsidiary of the University of British Columbia, Canada.

For Immigration purposes one needs to take CELPIP – General Test. Their testing centres are mainly in Canada, so it is most suitable for people applying from within Canada. However, now they have centres in New York, USA and Dubai, UAE as well.

CELPIP test is fully computerized and delivered on a computer with the use of a microphone and headset for Speaking and Listening sections. It takes about 3 hours to complete this test. All 4 modules are tested in one sitting.

Listening:

Time allotted for listening section is 47-55 minutes. You will answer 39 questions while listening to problem solving, daily life conversation, information, news item, discussion and viewpoints.

Reading:

This section is allotted 55-60 minutes. This section contains 39 questions divided among correspondence, apply a diagram, information and viewpoints.

Writing:

This section needs to be completed in 53-60 minutes. You will have to write an email and answer to survey questions.

Speaking:

This section gets 15-20 minutes to complete. You will perform speaking tasks like giving advice, talking about a personal experience, describing a scene, making predictions, comparing and persuading, dealing with a difficult situation, expressing opinions and describing an unusual situation.

Results:

CELPIP test scores are put online in 8 business days after the test date. These can be expedited to 3 business days by opting for Express Rating.

CELPIP is scored as given below:

NA – No questions attempted

M – Insufficient answers to assess

3 – Some proficiency

4 – Adequate Proficiency for daily life

5 – Acquiring proficiency in workplace and community

6 – Developing proficiency in workplace and community

7 – Adequate proficiency in workplace and community

8 – Good proficiency in workplace and community

9 – Effective proficiency in workplace and community

10 – Highly effective proficiency in workplace and community

11 – Advanced proficiency in workplace and community

12 – Advanced proficiency in workplace and community

Here is a link for CELPIP website.

CELPIP to CLB Conversion Table

ListeningReadingWritingSpeakingCLB Level
44444
55555
66666
77777
88888
99999
1010101010

TEF:

For scoring points for your proficiency in French, you will have to take Test D’evaluation de Francais – TEF. This test is designed and conducted by Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris, France. They have testing centres all over the world.

With this test, level of French proficiency is tested in all four modules; listening, reading, writing and speaking. This is a paper-based test, however at some centres e-TEF is available in which reading and listening modules are conducted on a computer.

Listening – Comprehension Orale:

There are four sections of this module comprising of 60 questions in total and scored out of maximum 360 points. You will have 40 minutes to complete this module. You will have to understand an oral message, context and sense of short messages, understand details and opinions of long messages and recognise and differentiate similar sounds.

Reading – Comprehension Ecrite:

There will be 50 questions divided in 4 sections. You will have to understand the information in a simple document, a detailed document, a small text and a phrase and answer accordingly. You will have 60 minutes to answer and this section is scored out of maximum 300 points.

Writing – Expression Ecrite:

There are two sections of this module. First is to write a story in past tense. In the second section you have to write your opinion on the topic and give arguments to defend it. You will have 60 minutes to complete this module and it is scored out of maximum 450 points.

Speaking – Expression Orale:

This section takes around 15 minutes and is scored out of maximum 450 points. You will have to play out a formal situation in first section for 5 minutes and a friendly situation for 10 minutes. You will get 1 minute to prepare in each section.

Results:

You will get your results in 6-8 weeks after the test.

TEF to NCLC Conversion Table

ListeningReadingWritingSpeakingNCLC Level
145-180121-150181-225181-2254
181-216151-180226-270226-2705
217-248181-206271-309271-3096
249-279207-232310-348310-3487
280-297233-247349-370349-3708
298-315248-262371-392371-3929
316+263+393+393+10