Listening Tips

Pay close attention to the recordings.

Each audio file can be heard only once, so you will need to listen very carefully to the recordings. Make sure that you read all the instructions so that you know when the recording will be starting and what you will need to do when the recording ends.

Take notes.

In any situation, even if you listen very closely, it is difficult to remember everything you hear. This is even more difficult in a stressful situation like a test. Making notes of key points while you listen to the recordings will help you remember information that may be useful. Use some abbreviations or symbols that you think will help you take notes more quickly. You can practice taking notes while listening to the radio or to a news program to help to prepare for the Listening Test.

Relax and listen.

If you can’t understand a word, phrase, or sentence, continue listening and stay focused on what you are hearing. You can still understand many main points even if you cannot understand every word. If you lose track of what you are listening to, don’t worry! Just continue taking notes on the recording. If you concentrate too much on the part that you missed, you might miss even more information.

Move on if you can’t answer a question.

In some sections of the Listening Test, you have a set amount of time to answer a question; when the time runs out, you will automatically be moved forward to the next question. In these test parts, feel free to take the maximum amount of time to figure out the answer for the question. In other test parts, however, you have a set amount of time to answer several questions, so you need to manage your time more carefully. In these sections, if you can’t answer a question, move on. You can always go back to the question that you were unsure about if you still have time left at the end.

When all else fails, make a guess!

Answer all of the Listening Test questions. There is no penalty for incorrect responses on the multiple-choice questions of the CELPIP Test. If you don’t know an answer, try to eliminate the options that you know are wrong. By eliminating some options, your chance of guessing the correct answer becomes even higher.

Manage your time.

Each part of the CELPIP Test has a timer in the corner of your screen, so watch the clock! Make sure that you have enough time to complete all the questions in each part of the Listening Test.

Check your answers.

Before moving on to the next question or section on the Listening Test, make sure that you have clicked on your answer choice. This is especially important on the parts of the Listening Test where there is no opportunity to go back and change your answer.

Reading Tips

Read in English.

On a regular basis, try to read as much as possible in English. Whether it’s English magazines, online articles, or full novels, any English reading will help you improve your overall comfort and speed when reading.

Extract information.

Do not try to memorize information! The CELPIP Test is not a memory test. You will not need to use the information from one section later in another section of the test. Instead of trying to memorize, read the content carefully and try to extract information by identifying key ideas and important details. Also, practice inferring from context.

Use different reading strategies.

You don’t have to read every single word in the article to successfully answer the questions; instead, use reading strategies, such as skimming and scanning, as you move through each section of the Reading Test. First, skim through the text to get the main idea. Then read the questions and find some key words for which you can scan the text.

These reading strategies may help you with some of the simpler questions, leaving more time to spend with the more difficult questions.

Don’t stress the vocabulary.

It’s alright if you can’t understand every word in a text, as you don’t need to understand everything to be able to get the main ideas and answer the questions. If you find a word that you don’t know, try to determine its meaning based on its context in the sentence or in the passage as a whole. If that doesn’t work, skip the problematic word and keep reading.

Anticipate the correct answer.

After reading a question, you may find it useful to think of the correct answer before reading all the answers to that question. If you think that you know the answer already, see if you can find a multiple-choice answer that matches your first impulse.

Provide answers according to the passages.

Although you may not be familiar with the topic of a passage, on the CELPIP Test you can always find all the answers in the passage. Therefore, you don’t need any in-depth knowledge about the topic. If you are familiar with a topic used in the test, be careful! Remember that what you know might be different from the information in the text, so make sure that you still answer the questions based on the passage you read.

When everything else fails, make a guess.

Answer all of the Reading Test questions. There is no penalty for incorrect responses on the CELPIP Reading Test. If you don’t know an answer, try to eliminate the options that you know are wrong, and then your chance of guessing the correct answer becomes even higher.

Manage your time.

Keep track of the time, and make sure you have enough time to complete all the questions in each part. Remember that each part of the Reading Test has a passage to read and several questions based on the reading.  Remember not to spend all your time reading the passage because you also need time to read and understand the questions and answer choices. Make sure you have enough time to answer all the questions.

Check your answers.

Before moving on to the next question on the Reading Test, make sure that you have clicked on your answer choice. This is important because on many parts of the Reading Test, there is no opportunity to go back and change your answer.

Writing Tips

Address all parts of the task.

Follow all instructions and fully develop all parts of the task, supporting your main ideas with relevant details.

Practice using a computer.

The CELPIP Test is fully computer-delivered, so ensuring that you are comfortable with a mouse and computer keyboard will help you on the CELPIP Test.

Organize your writing.

Structure your sentences and paragraphs in a well-planned framework that helps your ideas and arguments flow in a clear and logical way. Making an outline prior to writing is the best way to make sure that all of your ideas fit well into your piece of writing. Ensure that you use the appropriate transitions and that you use greetings and sign-offs if they are required.

Use a wide range of vocabulary and grammatical structures.

Use diverse, rich, and natural vocabulary and ensure that your word choice is appropriate.  Use varied and correct grammatical structures and construct sentences that vary in length and complexity.

Pay attention to the word count.

You do have a little bit of room to be under or over the suggested word count limits on the CELPIP Writing Test tasks. However, your final score will suffer if you are significantly over or under the word count limits. Each task on the Writing Test has a word counter underneath so that you can keep track of the length of your response.

Manage your time.

Use the first 5 minutes to plan your response to the prompt, and leave 5 to 7 minutes at the end to revise your work and make improvements. The rest of the time should be spent writing the response itself.

Reread your responses.

Leave enough time to review your responses. Pay close attention to the types of writing errors you most commonly make. The CELPIP Writing Test does include an automatic spelling checker, but keep in mind that it is sometimes difficult to choose the right word when the spelling checker offers you a choice.

Speaking Tips

Take the time to practice speaking English.

Practice speaking English with your friends, family and  co-workers. Remember that the Speaking Test is delivered through a computer so there is no human examiner. Practice speaking into a recording device so that you can feel confident during your test.

Follow the instructions and address the prompt.

Make sure you read all the instructions and understand them before you begin the first prompt.  Use the preparation time to read and understand the prompt and organize your thoughts before you begin to speak.

Give complete answers.

Give the CELPIP Raters as much content as possible so that they can accurately assess your oral proficiency. This means that you should elaborate on your answers by providing enough relevant details. Do not go off topic, but speak as much as you can in the time allotted for each prompt.

Draw from your own life experiences.

Whenever possible, try to draw from your own life experiences in the Speaking tasks. Talking about something personal and meaningful to you is much easier than making something up.

Speak clearly and at a natural pace.

Speak clearly into the microphone. Before you begin the CELPIP Test, you will be given an opportunity to test the recording device and hear how your voice sounds. Use this opportunity to find the best volume, tone, and pace to use for the Speaking tasks.

Try not to repeat words.

Use your own words to show the CELPIP Raters your full ability, rather than repeating the words in the prompt exactly. During your response, try not to repeat the same words too often, think of synonyms and paraphrases to express your ideas and demonstrate the range of your vocabulary.

Don’t worry about your accent.

Unless your accent prevents you from being understood, do not focus on it. Instead, concentrate on using good grammar, accurate and varied vocabulary, and thoroughly responding to the prompts.

Manage your time.

Use the preparation time to understand the prompt, brainstorm ideas, and organize what you want to say. Use the speaking timer to make sure you say enough and finish your last sentence before the time is up.

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