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Express Entry Step 2: Language Test


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This is the continuation of the Canada Immigration Series: Express Entry.

Previous Post: Express Entry Step 1: Check your Eligibility

The Language Test is on e of the eligibility requirements in Express Entry. Since Canada is a bilingual country, you need to have a language test in either English or French. Most of applicants will definitely take the English exam. It  is also the most important step in Express Entry because your CRS score will greatly depend on the result of your Language Test.

Types of Language Tests

For English:

  • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program – CELPIP-General 2014 (You can only take this test if you are presently in Canada.)
  • IELTS: International English Language Testing System – General Training

For French

TEF: Test d’évaluation de français

Where to take an IELTS Exam?

There are 2 most common organizations who administer IELTS exam: British Council and IDP.

British Council – current price is at PHP 9,780. Check test dates, fees and locations here.

IDP – current price is at PHP 9,780. Check test dates, fees and locations here.

Note: There is an announcement in British Council website that the IELTS exam fee will increase to  PHP10,270 by September 1, 2017.

Results of your language exam will be posted 13 days after your exam date.

Which is better? British Council or IDP?

When it comes to the exam itself, there is no difference. Cambridge is the organization which prepares the IELTS exam and distribute it to both British Coouncil and IDP. The difference would be on test execution. For example, according to many, Speaking exam evaluators from British council usually give better scores than IDP. While for Listening exam, IDP provides headsets while British Council only uses loud speakers.

What score do I need?

To be eligible in the Federal Skilled Worker program (which is a requirement of Express Entry), you need at least a CLB 7 in English.

What is CLB?

CLB stands for Canadian Language Benchmark. Your language exam result is converted to it’s corresponding CLB. See table below for conversion.

Your score should meet the minimum score on each area for that CLB Level.

Scenario 1: Reading 7.0  Writing 7.5 Listening: 8.5 Speaking 7.0, your CLB Level is 9 (you meet all the minimun scores of this CLB Level).

Scenario 2: Reading 7.5  Writing 7.5 Listening: 7.5 Speaking 8.0, your CLB Level is 8 (although your Reading, Writing and Speaking meets CLB9, your Listening score is only CLB 8, therefore you will get a CLB Level 8).

Why is it important to get a CLB Level 9?

Let’s discuss the tables below one by one

The scores above will be multiplied by 4 (representing the different areas on the language exam – Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking).

Scenario 1 (CLB9): 31 points x 4 = 124 points

Scenario 2 (CLB8): 23 points x 4 = 92 points

On this factor alone, if your score is CLB 8, you will already lose 32 points which is a huge disadvantage in Express Entry.

On your education part, if example you have a Bachelor’s Degree (which will fall under Post-secondary program credential of one year or more), CLB9 will give you 25 points while CLB8 will yield to 13 points. Again, a difference of 12 points.

For foreign work experience, assuming you have 3+ years work experience, CLB9 will give you 50 points while CLB8 will yield to 25 points. A difference of 25 points!

If we compute these 3 factors, you will lose a total of  69 points if you are only on CLB Level 8! Note that there are still other factors which assigns higher points for CLB9. I only picked the factors above because the difference in scores are huge.

How can I achieve CLB Level 9?

  • Prepare for your IELTS exam, do not take it lightly. Yes, we Filipinos are good in English but IELTS is systematic. They follow set of guidelines in assessing your English ability.
  • Always remember your target score, this will help you focus more on the areas where you need better scores.
  • Review IELTS materials. Upon signing up with either British Council or IDP, they will give you some practice materials. You can also search for materials online or watch videos in Youtube.

Remember, IELTS is not a cheap exam. You have to pay the same amount everytime you take the test. Aim for a one try! Aim for CLB Level 9!

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