OK. As I understand it, the rules for applying for permanent residency (at least for the Canadian Experience Class, which is the one I'm targetting) changed a couple of weeks ago, so that now a letter is no longer sufficient to prove proficiency in English, even for native English speakers. Every applicant must now sit for an IELTS exam. Should be a breeze for native English speakers, right? (Except for the added $300 or so to the cost of applying for PR status.) But as I've been doing some research about the IELTS exams, I'm starting to get a little concerned. As one poster on another forum wrote: "The IELTS exams were never designed to test native speakers – they are designed to demonstrate how closely an applicant’s English is to that of a native speaker." I'm starting to wonder whether I should be presuming that I will get the "expert speaker" scores that I would naturally expect, if indeed the exam is not really geared to be administered to those who are native English speakers. Of course I'll study up on the test so that I'll know what to expect before I take it. But other than that, I wonder if there are any other native English speakers who have taken the IELTS exam, and what their experiences were. Too -- it's my understanding that that IELTS exams are geared toward British English, and that the recordings and reading passages may include speakers with British dialects and use British idioms. As an American citizen, I'm concerned that this may prove a difficulty for me, even though I am a native English speaker. I also wonder if the IELTS exam markers expect only British/Canadian spellings. In other words, does anyone know if I will be marked lower if I spell the word "center" rather than "centre" on the exam? Should I be boning up on my "-re"s and "-our"s? Much thanks for anyone's help and advice.