Comparing and preparing for the CAEL Exam

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Simpler exam questions which make it easier to receive high scores! Shorter test periods to help you quickly reach a satisfactory score!

Why Choose CAEL?

Focuses exclusively on academic topics and situations fond in Canadian post-secondary institutions

Completely computerized and the exam can be taken at a testing centre or remotely from home

The exam topics and language are very close to academic English used in Canada, to simulate post-secondary environments.

The exam is 3 hours long and can be done in a single setting.




IELTS Reading

IELTS uses advanced vocabulary and focuses on a wide range of topics that cannot be predicted ahead of time.

CAEL Reading

Reading topics only pertain to post-secondary situations, which makes them predictable and easier to prepare for.



IELTS Writing

All written components are done by hand, so candidates must be aware of their own spelling, grammar, and punctuation, as well as keep track of their own word count.

CAEL Writing (Academic Units A & B)

All written components are done on a computer, which provides a spellcheck and word counter. Responses must be typed out so penmanship does not matter.



IELTS Listening

These sections are recorded with international accents, which can be difficult to understand if the candidate does not have a solid grasp over English.

CAEL Listening

The CAEL exam uses standardized Canadian accents for easy comprehension.



IELTS Speaking

Candidates must perform the speaking portion in front of a test official, and may feel more nervous when facing someone.

CAEL Speaking

Candidates speak into a microphone and do not need to face a test official.

Why is the CAEL Exam better?

  1. Completely computerized and capable of being taken remotely.
  2. Focused exclusively on post-secondary environments and situations.
  3. Practical and more closely related to real-life situations.

CAEL is designed solely for international students to prove their English proficiency to attend Canadian post-secondary institutions, and is meant to test students’’ fundamental skills while in a Canadian education environment. Whereas IELTS is more focused on general comprehension, CAEL is only concerned with academic settings and ensuring students have the right level of comprehension to succeed in their studies.

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Not used to CAEL's computerized test? Still want to take IELTS?

IELTS Test Prep will be your best choice!

The most direct class for IELTS A/G. Register for 3 sessions, and you can enjoy:

  • Unlimited renewal at ultra-low membership price
  • IELTS & CAEL course interoperability

Suitable for long-term students and those who wish to try IELTS and CAEL at the same time.

No risk, no conditions, no restrictions. Whether it is IELTS or CAEL, we can help you succeed!

CAEL Grading

The CELPIP exam consists of 4 components (with writing split into 2), with a maximum band score of 90 points each component.


7-10 mins.
Reply to on-screen prompts verbally

Integrated Reading

35-50 mins.
Read passages and answer questions

Integrated Listening

25-35 mins.
Listen to passages and answer questions

Academic Unit A

60-70 mins.
Answer comphrehension questions and write a reply

Academic Unit B

40-45 mins.
Answer comphrehension questions and write a reply

More Test Resources for You

CAEL Listening Sample

We provide professional in-house practice materials for our students, as well as provide workshops with our close partners for students to get additional help. We ensure you are completely prepared with a variety of resources, only available for our students.

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Frequently Asked Questions about CAEL vs IELTS

The CAEL exam is new, and the difficulty of the exam is relatively low. CAEL is strictly focused on Canadian post-secondary topics and scenarios that you would find in a university or other institution. IELTS is more focused on general English comprehension and tests your technical English skills instead of social awareness and understanding of a Canadian learning environment. We recommend CAEL for students who hope to study in Canada to receive a better impression of how education is like and what to expect.

Both our CAEL and IELTS classes are four weeks long. Please refer to our CAEL Classes and IELTS Classes pages for more information.

Yes, we offer IELTS tutoring from professional and certified IELTS instructors. We provide two classes - an online training class designed for 1-on-1 instruction between student and instructor, and an online group class. In a group setting, students will learn more about the main points and difficulties encountered during the exam and instructors will focus on whether test-takers can use English logically and accurately.

We recommend students who fail either exam to take our guaranteed class, which will ensure you will pass the exam with your desired marks. We encourage students to keep up with their studies and practice and actively participate in class to be able to achieve the scores that they aim for.

When taken in Canada, CAEL costs around $280, whereas IELTS costs around $310.

If you seek a CLB 7+, it may be easier to score higher on a longer exam like IELTS than CAEL. To score CLB 7+ on CAEL requires you to score nearly perfect in every category, whereas in ILETS, there is slightly more room for error because the exam is longer and the writing and speaking sections require more information. IELTS is often recognized across post-secondary institutions to test immigrants’ English proficiency.

The grading criteria for both IELTS and CAEL are nearly identical, in that both exams assess the test-takers’ English proficiency and mastery over the language. Whereas several sections of CAEL are graded by computer because of the multiple-choice questions and only the writing and speaking sections are assessed by markers, IELTS markers use detailed descriptions of band scores to mark the entire exams.

You can find testing centres for both exams on their official websites to find exam dates and locations. You can take the CAEL exam remotely, but you must take IELTS at a testing centre.


I had lots of CAEL practice tests to help me prepare. I also got a lot of CAEL study materials and finished the exam. Thank you for your help!
Sherry Yinxing L.
The CAEL test was easy after I practiced CAEL writing and took sample tests. The tutors were very helpful. I also learned CAEL test tips I recommend the class.
Nicky Abigail P.
CAEL preparation course helped me become more confident and the CAEL writing topics. I learned a lot of CAEL vocabulary and speaking topics. It was a very helpful class!
Wang Terry W.
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