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Showing posts with label IELTS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IELTS. Show all posts

18 August 2014

Spouse IELTS and CLB in FSW Canada 2014: How to Compute?

To increase the points for the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program in Canada, it's either you have an arranged employment in Canada or have your spouse take the IELTS test.

Applying for a job in Canada when you are outside of the country is difficult to attain, unless your skills or talent is unique and in-demand.

I suggest to have your spouse take the IELTS General Training test.  The band score that he/she can get will have a CLB equivalence, which corresponds to points in the FSW Adaptability factor.

It is stated at the Adaptability factor that you can receive 5 points if you have an evidence of the language skills of your spouse.  The only way to provide such evidence is by producing the IELTS test results.

How to Compute for the Spouse Language Skills Points?
After obtaining the IELTS test results, which is in reading, listening, writing and speaking.  Each type will have its corresponding band scores.

These band scores also have a corresponding FSW points and you need to compute it to know whether you have an additional 5 points.

The requirement states that your spouse should get a Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) level of 4 and above in English or in French.

Since the IELTS are measured by band scores, we will use that to get its equivalent CLB level.

Here are the corresponding IELTS band scores in a CLB level 4.
CLB 4 = IELTS (Reading - 3.5 Writing - 4.0 Listening - 4.0 Speaking - 4.0)
If your spouse can get these scores, you can add 5 points to your FSW Adaptability factor to achieve the minimum total of 67, and submit the IELTS test results together with your full application.

Based on my experience, I decided not to let my wife take the IELTS  for the following reasons:
  • My FSW points are more than 67 even without my wife's IELTS.
  • The fee for taking the test is around US$300,  I'll just add it to my Settlement Fund.
  • It will take time, a month, for me to provide the result and the clock is ticking. 
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21 July 2014

IELTS Test Centers and Locations with Free Practice Materials and My Experience in Singapore

One of the requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program in Canada is to provide a proof of your language skills.  To do this is to take the International English Testing System (IELTS) exam.

The exam is to check your skills in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.  Each skill will be measured by a band score, which is then used to compute for the points at your FSW eligibility under the language skills factor.

There are two types of the exam, one is Academic and the other is the General Training.  If we are taking the test as a proof of our language skills for the FSW in Canada, we only need to take the General Training test.

Where to Take the IELTS?
There are many test centers for IELTS that you can choose from.  For me, I took it with the British Council examiner for the following reasons:
  • The name itself, British Council, is legitimate enough to take the English Test.
  • The website of the British Council is easy to navigate and I found no glitch when I tried it with my IELTS application.
  • They will provide IELTS reviewers once the appointment fee is received.
  • The test center, in Singapore, is organized, no hassles.
  • The results delivered at my doorstep was on time as expected.
IELTS has more than 900 test centers and locations in more than 130 countries.  I made a link for you, so you can select the IELTS test center and locations nearest you.  It's up to you which center would you take your test with.

What to Expect During the IELTS Test? 
There are four assessments for the IELTS exam. These are the reading, listening, writing and speaking.  I'll give you an idea based on my experience taking it at the British Council in Singapore.

The test for reading, speaking and listening were done inside an air-conditioned room at the Civil Service College near the Buona Vista MRT Station.

There were 15-20 applicants inside the room seated in rows.  It was a classroom setup with armchairs and a single space gap between applicants.

We were instructed not to take a toilet break or go out from the room during the testing period.  So, for those who will take this test, do not drink a lot of water and never take a heavy breakfast.

There were two audio speakers, paper board and a projector in front that were used for displaying instructions.  The speakers were used for the listening test.

Each test category was given a time limit and was strictly implemented.

Reading - We were given a booklet, inside were articles and short stories provided.  There were three types of passages and need to respond to related questions in a given time limit.

Here are some examples of the test, take note that this is not the actual.  This is only for your reference.
Listening - The two audio speakers in front of us were used at this time.  It played a conversation between two persons and we need to fill in the blanks at the questions provided.
Writing - We were given an specific topic wherein we need to write about it.
  • Questions for Writing practice test 
  • Answers for Writing practice test 
Speaking - This was taken at a different location, at Napier Road. At the moment I entered the room, the examiner asked me about my personal background.  I never thought that it was part of the exam, so I just answered her questions normally.

The next question that she asked me, the actual test topic, was "Do you read newspapers? What do you think about the future of newspapers in this digital world?".

This time, I was quite nervous thinking that it's the actual test question.  What I did was to say everything that I needed to say, the best that I can in an orderly manner.

I got a good score with each of the test and so with my FSW Canada points for Language Skills.

Source of the sample tests and audio:

Do You Think Your English is Good Enough for the IELTS?
If you're hesitant on your language skills, you need to study more on it.  Below is one of the IELTS Reviewer that you can purchase at a reasonable price.

You can click below to redirect you to website.

What to expect from this book?
Barron's IELTS Superpack, 2nd Ed.

  • Academics and professionals looking to validate their English language proficiency by taking the IELTS get the most comprehensive preparation available anywhere with Barron's IELTS Superpack.
  • It consists of the new 3rd edition of the Barron's brand-new IELTS manual with 2 audio CDs, 
  • IELTS Practice Exams with 2 audio CDs, and
  • Barron's Essential Words for the IELTS
Other Reviewers for more choices: 
Language Skills (CELPIP, IELTS and TEF) Reviewers

Disclosure: Whenever you buy the products at those links, I can get an affiliate commission and I Thank You for doing so.

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If you have any questions regarding this post, you can leave a comment below or email me at

Important: Please read the DISCLAIMER Page

For questions not related to this post, leave a comment at the ASK ME.

If you want to know more about my life in Singapore, visit my blog at

How much you need to prepare for the applications, visit EXPENSES.

Check on what are the documents you need to prepare and more info on RESOURCES.

30 June 2014

Language Skills (CELPIP, IELTS and TEF) Reviewers

To measure your ability to speak in English or in French, you need to provide proof of your Language Skills.

Language Skills are one of the eligibility factors that you need, to earn points to be eligible to the Federal Skilled Worker Program in Canada.

In order to measure your ability in speaking English, you need to take one of this English test:


If you have knowledge on French language, you can also take the the test and provide the result as your proof.

Reviewers for Language Skills (CELPIP, IELTS & TEF)
If you think that your language skills is not enough for the tests, you need to go for a reviewer.  If you fail, you need to take the test again until you get the points required by the FSW Program.

To make sure you have a good result, you can go to the Review Centers to review for you English or French Language and have to pay for the review fees.

On the other hand, you can also review at your own by purchasing the following review materials:

CELPIP Reviewer
CELPIP Preparation Course - CELPIP General with answers is a preparation coursebook, created to help you achieve a higher level of success on your exam. With many activities practicing all areas of the exam ,(writing, reading, listening and speaking) not only will you gain insight into the exam but your overall level of English will improve.  

Topics covered include money, transportation, the environment, working life, food, family and technology. Each unit focuses on a different Canadian city, giving you information and a bit of history while helping you prepare for the exam

With easy to understand brief grammar descriptions, loads of extra activities and helpful tips in the Appendix, this book is all you need! The answers also provide further information and more in-depth instruction and explanation.

IELTS Reviewer
IELTS Official Practice Materials 2 - 

The book contains:

  • Practice tests for Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing (both Academic and General Training); 
  • Listening, Reading and Writing answer sheets; 
  • Listening and Reading practice test answer keys and Listening tapescripts; 
  • Sample candidate Writing responses and examiner comments; 
  • Sample candidate Speaking tests and examiner comments. 
  • The DVD contains a Listening test for candidates to practise and film footage of three students taking the Speaking test.

Cambridge IELTS Reviewer
Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS It contains all you need to succeed in the exam. Skill-building exercises cover all of the question types in the exam for both the General Training and Academic Modules. 

They have researched into real IELTS candidates' exam answers - and the mistakes they make, helps you avoid the same ones! Eight official practice tests and a focus on test-taking strategy help you maximise your score. 

The DVD-ROM includes videos of the Speaking test, and all the listening material, including the tests, as MP3 files. 

IELTS is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

TEF French Language Reviewer

For the French language reviewer, you can purchase this material.

TEF: Test D'Evaluation de Francais - The book helps you to be prepared to the exam measuring your level of knowledge in French.

Ultimate French Reviewer
The Ultimate French Review and Practice - This book gives you a good grasp of grammar so you can build your skills and confidence in communication. 

Each grammatical concept is explained and illustrated with engaging sentence examples; you'll also get extensive exercises offer practice at applying this knowledge in everyday conversation.

This book/CD-ROM package includes:
  • More than 400 exercises, in addition to 200 exercises on the accompanying CD-ROM
  • A Pre-Test that identifies your strengths and weaknesses and a Post-Test that helps you review your progress, both on the CD-ROM
  • Bonus online content, including audio exercises as well as internet-based activities focused on key cultural website across the French-speaking world.
My Experience in Taking IELTS Exam in Singapore
I took my IELTS exam in Singapore, particularly at the British Council.

There are two posts that I made on How to take IELTS in Singapore and When To Take IELTS?. You can also check the IELTS test centers there.

How to Send Your Test Result to Canada?
Once you have completed the test, the test center will send you the results through mail.  This is in a form of a certificate with indicated band scores.  The copy that they are sending at you home is an original.

You will send this ORIGINAL copy with your Full application to Canada.

I hope that this post can help you with your application.  If you like this post or appreciate the author, please tick the LIKE button below.

DISCLOSURE: I am an affiliate with, the items that you will buy from that website when you click from the above links will give me a commission.  Thank you for the help and patronizing my affiliate products.
If you have any questions regarding this post, you can leave a comment below or email me at

Important: Please read the DISCLAIMER Page

For questions not related to this post, leave a comment at the ASK ME.

If you want to know more about my life in Singapore, visit my blog at

How much you need to prepare for the applications, visit EXPENSES.

Check on what are the documents you need to prepare and more info on RESOURCES.

20 October 2013

Do You Still Need an Agent to Immigrate to Canada

On 2003, an agency in Philippines, somewhere in Paranaque invited me to sign up for their service.  They will process my application for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

I then signed up and paid half, which is US$500.00 from the total amount of US$1,000.

The application back then is I think the most difficult process in the history of Canadian Immigration, where you need to submit all your complete original documents with your application.  If one is missing, your application will not be submitted to the Canadian Embassy. 

The problem is that some documents are due to expire and you need to resubmit to the embassy for updates.  Then you can not process some of your application to other organizations since your originals are with the agency waiting for the complete submission.

Even if its the situation, I was still eager to immigrate to Canada at that point in time.   

Waiting Time Took Longer Than Expected
I was working in a manufacturing company in Laguna, Philippines at that time and as we all know that the time in this kind of work environment is to precious. 

Taking a leave is too difficult for me or else I have to invent my Sick Leave.  This is necessary since I have to prepare my documents that were in the list, which the agency had provided.

Even though I have the agent, I still have to do all the homework, which is to prepare my documents like going to the NSO to get my birth certificates, NBI for police clearances, employment certificates, and etc....I also need to fill up all the Canadian forms at the office of the agency and this requires another leave of absence at my company.

Then, I have to submit it to my agent which they will consolidate.  All the hassles and the cost was also charged from my efforts.

After all the efforts, they then asked me to submit my bank certificates to provide the proof of my funds as one of the requirements. 

Young and broke, I have to gather all my resources for this and took me three years to achieve my show money. 

The news came in 2007, there is a new type of application process for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.  The bad news was that I have to renew some of my expired documents again since my documents were dated on 2003.

They call the new process as the SAP, short for Simplified Application Process, where I only need to fill up the SAP forms and the original documents will follow as soon as the embassy asks for an update.

The filling of the forms should be done in the agency's office and I have to take the leave again for it.

We finished the SAP form and the agent submitted it to the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines. 

What Happened After the Submission?
Years run so fast until it was the year 2011.  In between those years, I haven't had any news from the agency regarding the updates of my application.  I was then relying on to the immigration forums.

Until I read the news from the Canadian Immigration website ( that they are no longer continuing the 2007 applications and will return the processing fee to the respective applicant.

My world melted at that time, after the long years of waiting and it ends up like that...What???

I called my agent and it took me five telephone numbers of their office just to talk to the right person in charge of my application.  The reason is that years passed by and the ones handling my applications had already resigned.  Oh well!

The Best Thing That I Did
On 2012, I decided not to update my agent since I feel that they are not doing their job and I thought that they are useless.  I decided to do it on my own.

Canada has again introduced a new process where they will only accept applicants for a certain types of job with a quota.  

I immediately took the IELTS, after some nights of reviewing, so I can submit my new application before the job reaches the quota as my job was included on the list.

Unfortunately, it reaches the quota as soon as I received my IELTS certificate.  I was down again....So, I waited for another year for the new type of application process.

On the first quarter of the year 2013, Canada announced that they will introduce a new set of occupations list that are eligible to apply for the Federal Skilled Workers Program. 

This time, I prepared some of my documents to get ready for the new application process hoping that my occupation is included on the list.

On May 4, 2013, the list was out and I was really glad to know that my current occupation is included.  I started to prepare the documents as listed in the Canadian Immigration application kit.

On July 1, 2013, It was time for me to submit my application and with the help of DHL, it arrived and was received by the Central Intake Office in Nova Scotia.

Waiting For the Decision
On October 8, 2013, I received the positive eligibility response from the Canadian Immigration stating that they are sending my complete application to the Canadian Embassy in Singapore for further processing.

This is now my 80% chance to achieve my dream and hoping to get the decision soon.

Do We Need an Agent to Immigrate to Canada?
For me, as what I had experienced, I recommend not to avail the service from them since everything are in the Canadian Immigration Website ( and the only thing that you need to invest is TIME.

Read all the instructions as what I did and ask questions to people that had already experienced the process and no need to pay for an agent's fee which is usually costly.

But if time is really so important for you, Yes, you can ask them to help you and it comes with fees.

Other Posts:
How Relatives Can Help Your FSW Applications
How to Take IELTS in Singapore

15 July 2013

When to Take IELTS for FSW?

This is just my friendly advice to you, so that one's mistake will only be somebody's lesson...that includes YOU.

What is the Validity of IELTS?
IELTS is only valid for two years.  It's enough to say that once you take the exam, the validity time is now ticking.  After two years, your investment will be gone and you need to take another exam with the corresponding fee.

I took my IELTS last year 2012, knowing that I will submit my application.  But, I was surprised, the job that I was applying for in the Federal Skilled Worker stream was already closed.  I think you feel how I felt at that moment.

That is why I was hoping that Canada will release a new job listing that will include my current job on 2013.  Now, I got lucky because my current job and its description is eligible for Federal Skilled Worker stream, a perfect fit.

Recommendation for Taking the IELTS
This is just one lucky incident, what if my job was not included?  It is just a total waste of time and money because Canada will only release the next rules next year, May 2014.  At that time, my IELTS is already expired.

My recommendation is that you take the IELTS only as soon as you know that you are eligible with the new rules for the Canadian FSW.  Do not take it in advance.

04 July 2013

How to Take IELTS in Singapore

IELTS is one of the requirements for a skilled worker to be eligible to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker(FSW) program in Canada.  This is considered as the measure on how good your English is, the Language Ability.

What is IELTS?
IELTS is the International English Language Test System that measures your ability to speak, listen, read, and write in English.

Based on the score that you get from this test, it has a corresponding points for the FSW program eligibility.  The maximum points you can get for the Language skills is 28 points (24 for English, and 4 for the 2nd language French). The score that you get from the IELTS is what they call the band score.

There are two options for the reading and writing tests, these are the "General Training" and the "Academic. For the application of FSW, you MUST take the General Training option.

Here is the corresponding points from the IELTS band score to the Canadian points system:

LB LevelIELTS test results for each abilityPoints
(per ability)
9 and above7.0 – 9.08.0 – 9.07.0 – 9.07.0 – 9.06
CLB LevelIELTS test results for each abilityPoints (total)
5 and above5.0 – 9.05.0 – 9.04.0 – 9.05.0 – 9.04

Where do I take IELTS in Singapore?
There are two test centres here in Singapore.  They are the British Council and the IDP Education Pty. Ltd Singapore.  You need to set an appointment to them for the exam and pay the fees first.

I took my IELTS at the British Council, they also provided me the online reviewer.

Here are their contact details:

British Council
IELTS Administrator
30 Napier Road
Tel: 65 6470 7148
Fax: 65 6475 3885

IDP Education Pty. LTd Singapore
IELTS Administrator
4th Floor, RELC Building
30 Orange Grove Road
Tel: 6736 7025 / 40 / 41
Fax: 65 67 371 736

Do not forget to scan your passport and your Identification Card (IC), this is one of their requirements.  At the future post, I will discuss my experience in taking the IELTS at the British Council.

Please leave your comment below if you have any questions or clarifications regarding IELTS.
Ben Alagnam - MeMovingToCanada