Best CELPIP Tips and Tricks for 9+

14 CELPIP Tips and Tricks: How to prepare, how your mind should be the day before and what should your overall approach be to the exam questions!

Improve Your CELPIP Score With These 14 Tips and Tricks!

In today’s world, speaking English fluently is an invaluable skill that can open the door to many opportunities. For those who are interested in moving to Canada, the importance of English proficiency cannot be overstated. Canada has the ninth-highest English-speaking population in the world, with over 20 million native speakers, so it goes without saying that Canadian newcomers need to have robust, proven English skills. These skills are crucial for everyday tasks, such as shopping and getting around, as well as employment opportunities and accessing various government services. These 14 tips and tricks will help you excel in those areas and in the CELPIP exam, but first…

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CELPIP and IELTS – Key Differences 

Two exams are used by the Canadian government to assess proficiency: The CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program), and the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Both exams are similar, as they are both standardized assessments for testing English language ability, but there are some notable differences. For one, the IELTS exam is administered both online and on paper, while CELPIP is exclusively online. The IELTS exam includes a variety of English accents, such as North American, British, and Australia, while the CELPIP exam includes only on North American accents. CELPIP scores are also available more quickly, with a 4-5 day turnaround time, versus 13 days for IELTS. The CELPIP fees are also slightly lower than those for IELTS. Neither exam is better or easier – they are just different. 

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Preparation – What’s Involved?

Preparing for these exams can be stressful and overwhelming, especially for newcomers who do not speak English natively. However, there are a number of tips, tricks, and strategies for studying and preparing for these exams. In this post, we will focus on how to hack the CELPIP exam so you can study efficiently and effectively to get the score you need.

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Tip #1 – Know What to Expect!

The first thing you should do to prepare for the CELPIP exam is to learn the test structure. Making sure you understand the requirements and expectations for each section will ensure there are no surprises on the exam day. But what should you expect? Let’s review some of the most important information and answer the most frequently asked questions about the exam. 

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Q. What is CELPIP?

A. CELPIP is an exam that Canadian newcomers must take if they are seeking Canadian residency or citizenship. It is a comprehensive exam that tests your English proficiency across all domains, including listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Canada wants to ensure that newcomers will be comfortable and successful in their new home, so the assessment makes sure speakers are fluent enough to communicate with their coworkers, read the news, chat with their friends, and understand English media, from TV to radio to magazines and newspapers. 

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Q. Is there just one kind of CELPIP exam?

A. Nope! There are actually two versions of the CELPIP exam – CELPIP General and CELPIP General LS.
The CELPIP General test takes about three hours, and covers four sections: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. The test is online, and it is taken all at once. The CELPIP General exam is used by permanent residency applications and international students. It costs $280 CAD (plus taxes).

The CELPIP General LS test takes just over an hour to complete, and covers two sections: Listening and Speaking. This test is also taken online. The CELPIP General LS exam is used by Canadian citizenship applications. As you can see, different immigration programs require different exams, so double-check which exam format you need for your application. It costs $195 CAD (plus taxes).

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Q. So it’s online – can I take the CELPIP exam at home?

A. While the CELPIP exams are computer-based, you must take the exam at a dedicated CELPIP test center. There are test centers around the world in ten different countries, including Canada, the USA, the UK, India, China, Australia, the Philippines, Singapore, UAE, and Korea. You can find a list of test centers with locations and availability on the official CELPIP website. 

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Q. I’ve found a testing center near me. Can I apply for the CELPIP exam in-person?


A.
Test centers do not accept or process any registration applications. The fastest and easiest way to apply for the exam is to register online. 

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Q. It’s the day of my exam! What should I expect?

A. Be sure to arrive early for your exam – you are required to arrive 45 minutes before your scheduled test start time. If you come late, you will not be allowed to take the test, and you will not be refunded – so make sure to set two alarms in the morning! Besides that, because the CELPIP exam is administered on the computer, you will have access to features like spell-check, a personal timer, and a word counter. 

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Q. I took my exam and I am eagerly awaiting my results. When are CELPIP results available?

A. Your CELPIP test results will be available online 4-5 days after you take the exam. Your results are valid for two years after you take the exam. Plus, you can retake the CELPIP exam if your score is not what you hoped for – in fact, you can take it as soon as four days after your last test! Keep in mind that you will have to pay the fee each time you retake the exam. You can also cancel or change your test date, but be aware that this may also incur fees, and you will not be refunded the cost of a cancelled exam.

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Q. I got my results! What now?


A.
A good CELPIP score is required for your immigration application; it is not enough to simply take the test. A high score is a good score, and the better your score, the better your application will look. Each section of the CELPIP exam is scored separately, and scores range from Level 0 to Level 12. Level 0 indicates low proficiency, while Level 12 conveys advanced proficiency. A score of 4 or higher is required for the CELPIP General LS test. For the CELPIP General test, a score of 5 or higher is required for permanent residency. Obviously, the higher the score, the better – keep reading for tips and tricks to improve your score!

 

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Tip #2 – Practice in Realistic Conditions!

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and preparation for your CELPIP exam is no different! You’ll want to mimic the actual testing conditions while you are studying to prepare your brain for the situation. Now that you know the CELPIP exam is given on the computer, you should be preparing on the computer using online resources. Make sure you are comfortable navigating the test pages, keeping track of time while you answer questions, and working in a setting that has some distractions – sometimes the testing room can be a bit noisy! 

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Tip #3– Practice Each Section!

This goes without saying, but you want to be prepared for every section! If you are taking the CELPIP General test, be sure to practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Practice listening, reading, and writing digitally, as these sections are on the computer. Practice the speaking section by using sample questions to have conversations with a friend, family member, colleague, or tutor. Be sure to ask for feedback, and take note of any comments or critiques! 

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Tip #4 – Challenge Yourself!

This tip goes hand in hand with Tip #2. Once you have mastered the realistic conditions, try challenging yourself with more difficult exam material, noisier or more chaotic testing environments, answering questions with less time, or more nerve-wracking questions or situations. Get comfortable keeping track of variables such as time management and question progression, and keeping cool under pressure. If you want to handle anything that comes your way, you have to practice everything that could come your way. 

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Tip #5– Get Extra Help!

 

Maybe preparing on your own feels like an overwhelming task – because it is! Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. There are tons of online study programs, exam prep classes, webinars, workshops, teachers and tutors that can help you get organized and facilitate your studying. Research resources near you, or explore online options for help – our website here at HZAD Education offers numerous courses to help you prepare by yourself or with a highly skilled tutor to guide your preparation. 

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Tip #6 – Take Advantage of Free Resources!


Preparation doesn’t have to be expensive! In addition to paid classes, tutors, or workshops, there are a plethora of free materials available across the web. Check out the HZAD Education website and YouTube channel for free resources and study guides to streamline your studying experience! 

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One of these free resources is the examiner marking scheme. How do CELPIP examiners mark you? Check it out here: https://hzadeducation.com/2022/11/27/celpip-marking-criteria/ 

How CELPIP Examiners Mark You?

 

Tip #7 – Read the Instructions!

This might seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes things can get hectic in that exam room! Take a deep breath, and don’t rush yourself. Always make the time to read the full instructions and make sure you understand the task before you proceed. You wouldn’t want to waste your time answering a question they didn’t ask! 

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Tip #8 – Manage Your Time!

“Don’t rush” is easier said than done, but good time management is key to a stress-free exam experience. You cannot return to previous sections once your time is up, so this element is crucial. Be sure to time yourself while you are practicing in order to prepare for the time constraints, and remain conscious of the timer while you take practice exams. The rhythm and flow of each exam section should be familiar to you by the time you are taking the real deal. 

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Tip #9 – Work Smarter AND Harder!

Of course, you were already planning to work hard (after all, you’re here reading these tips!), but did you know you can work smarter, too? The CELPIP exam is just as much about strategy as it is about fluency and proficiency. There are a number of techniques and approaches to the questions in each section that will help you answer more efficiently and more accurately. Check out the other posts on this blog, or head over to the HZAD Education YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/@hzadeducation-coachingcent986) to learn these methods for free!

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Tip #10 – Answer Every Question!

No matter how much you study, or how many tricks you learn, sometimes you just don’t know the answer. Or, maybe you lost track of time, and now you’re scrambling to finish the section before your time is up. Wrong answers will not negatively impact your score – they will simply count as a zero, rather than points deducted. So, a guess is better than nothing! Use your critical thinking and reasoning skills to eliminate some of the options on the multiple-choice questions to increase the likelihood of a correct answer. A guess is good, but an educated guess is always better. 

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Tip #11 – Expression Over Expertise!

In the writing and speaking sections, you may be asked questions you are unfamiliar with, or about situations you have limited knowledge of. This does not matter – answer the question as best as you can, expressing yourself fully and clearly. You are not expected to be an expert in the subject, but rather an expert in English. Use these sections to showcase your English ability, because there are no right or wrong answers here.

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Tip #12 – Stick to the Stuff You Know! 

The speaking and writing sections of the CELPIP exam are not the place to test out the new vocab words you picked up at work the other day. While it’s good to include some advanced or sophisticated vocabulary, it’s better to use words you know for sure and language you are comfortable using. Only used advanced or specialized words you are absolutely sure of – and that includes correct definitions as well as proper contextual usage. 

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Tip #13 – Prepare Your Body!

This is probably the tip that is taken for granted the most often, but it is arguably one of the most important – take care of your body. You have put so much effort into studying and learning for this exam. Do yourself a favor and make sure your body has what it needs to carry you through the exam successfully! Make sure to get a full night of sleep in the days leading up to your exam. You want to be well-rested so your mind is sharp when it’s time to perform. You also want to eat a nutritious meal before the exam. Be sure to include plenty of protein and whole grain so you have a steady stream of energy throughout the exam. Avoid foods high in sugar before your exam – you might have a lot of energy in the moment, but having an energy crash in the middle of the exam could prove disastrous. And don’t forget to stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water in the days leading up to your exam.

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Tip #14 – Prepare Your Mind!

I know what you’re probably thinking with this one – “My mind? I’ve spent all this time studying! Didn’t that prepare my mind?” – and you’re totally right! You know the material inside and out, you know how to manage your time, and you’re comfortable answering questions on the computer. But you may still be nervous! On the day of, you may still doubt yourself. You may still feel jittery and nervous. Prepare your mind the night before by picturing success before you fall asleep. Envision yourself excelling in your CELPIP exam and fulfilling your application requirements. And if you feel nervous or overwhelmed during your exam, pause and take some deep breaths – you’ve got this! 

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Conclusion

High English proficiency is vital as a Canadian newcomer. The CELPIP exam is required for many immigration applications in Canada, and the exam will assess your English ability in a variety of situations you will encounter in your day-to-day life as a Canadian. Preparing for the CELPIP test can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Understand the structure and requirements of the exam, and make use of the tips, tricks, and resources outlined here to become a CELPIP test-taking pro. You’ll be acing your exam in no time!