Tips for the CELPIP Test

“Do I really need to do any preparation for the CELPIP exam or can I just show up and write the test? Are there any tips for the CELPIP test?”

This is the conundrum that most native-English speakers face when considering the CELPIP test and their PR application. And while some people simply show up with no preparation whatsoever, only a handful will achieve the scores they need and move on to the next step in their lives. The majority of people who do zero preparation will not achieve the scores they need because they either run out of time on the test, burn out mid-way through (the CELPIP test is approximately three hours), or fail to completely answer the tasks.

Language tests such as CELPIP are designed to be a stepping stone, not a deterrent, on your road to becoming a Permanent Resident of Canada. But it’s still a test – people get nervous, their minds go blank, and they make errors they wouldn’t normally make in their day-to-day lives. And unfortunately, the results of the test may not accurately represent your English abilities. So to help you wrap your head around the CELPIP test, here are five tips to help maximize your CELPIP scores:


  1. Take the sample test on Go to their homepage, scroll to the bottom of the page, and look for the sample test button. It includes answers for the listening and reading sections and guidelines for writing and speaking. Best case scenario, you breeze through the sample test and feel confident about writing the real test. For some people, that’s all they need.
  2. Visit CELPIP’s YouTube channel for tutorials on each section on the test. There are individual videos for each speaking task, which is one section that most candidates struggle with, and overviews of Reading, Writing, and Listening. On YouTube, you’ll also find tutorials on the writing sections from private tutors.
  3. Attend a free CELPIP workshop. Global Village Vancouver hosts a 90-minute workshop every month in downtown Vancouver. You can also find additional workshops on Eventbrite and complete test overviews on YouTube.
  4. If you don’t read on a regular basis, spend some time reading the news or human-interest pieces every day. 30-60 minutes is usually adequate. Unless your reading is absolute rubbish, you’ll be fine on the reading section.
  5. On the speaking test, you only have 30-45 seconds to consider your answer and then you’re expected to speak for 60 seconds. Granted, you’ve been speaking English all of your life, but how often are you put in a position with a time limit? Find some CELPIP sample speaking questions and drill yourself responding for 60 seconds and/or 90 seconds. Time yourself with your phone. Pay attention to your pace. If you tend to speak quickly, slow it down to be on the safe side. Consider the test from the position of the examiner. He or she doesn’t know who you are, so it’s important that you provide full, well-developed ideas to accurately represent your skill level. Remember to follow these tips for the CELPIP test. Best of luck. If you do feel like you need a CELPIP class, visit our CELPIP page.