Canada has two official languages: English and French.
So, it is fair that it asks for future immigrants to speak at least one of them. And this is not one of those things that you need to have just move on the process. These languages will be extremely important for you to integrate the society, get a job, etc.
Of course, just saying you have a good English or French won't be enough. You must prove your language skills. For that, you can choose one of the 4 accepted tests.
All these tests evaluate 4 main skills: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing.
Doesn't matter which test you choose to do, there is a minimum score required to be eligible on the Express Entry.
If you didn't go as well as expected on a test, you can do it again - bad part is you'll need to pay necessary fees and wait for another test availability.
These are the minimums for each test, according to IRCC :
All four tests have a different scales for scores, so the minimum score absolute values should not be compared among them.
You can choose whichever exam you prefer, as long as you score the minimum points on it. The dificulty is about the same for all, so your criteria should be something else (like price, availability, etc). Here are some differences between the two English exams:
|Test environment||Paper or Computer||Computer|
|Listening||30 min||47-55 min|
|Reading||60 min||55-60 min|
|Writing||60 min||53-60 min|
|Speaking||11-14 min||15-20 min|
|Time for results||
13 days (paper)
5-7 days (computer)
So your decision must be made based on personal preferences. Ashton College has a good article comparing IELTS and CELPIP.
You will need to check availiability in a place near you, pay the fees, and attend on the scheduled day.
Price and availability change according to the location. Visit their official websites for more information:
What if I don't get the minimum results?
You won't be eligible and will need to redo the test.
If I take 2 different English tests, will it improve my score?
No. But if you take one English and one French, you do get more points for it. More details here.
I did one of these tests, but a long time ago, is it still valid?
The test must be less than 2 years old by the time you apply for Permanent Residency, so if you think it will be expired by then, you should do another one now.
Does my spouse need to do a language test too?
Not necessarely, but you might get more points if you both do it. More details here.