The Ultimate CELPIP Speaking Exam Resource: A Detailed Breakdown
This guide is an in-depth breakdown of what’s considered an exceptional response in the CELPIP speaking exam. With 30 questions covering a variety of topics, this resource aims to provide comprehensive insights into achieving the best scores.
Here is the first sample:
How’s it going? I heard that life has not been going your way recently. I’ve been there, so I can relate! No worries, here’s what you need to do!
Firstly, try to go out more, my friend! I know you’re a hermit and would rather stay at home than enjoy the outdoors and people, however, you’re just digging yourself a deep hole of stress as well as angst. Don’t do that!
Secondly, and this might be hard for you to hear but… ask for help. Your mom is a psychiatrist. You literally have help at home available to deal with your mood swings! Trust me, competent professionals are the best resources you could use in times like these.
Thirdly, come over! You never meet up! If we were hanging out more often, I can guarantee, your mood swings would be a foregone issue.
I hope you find value in whatever I said because I’m looking out for you, as always.
Take care buddy!
Breakdown – Let’s analyze the answer in detail. What are some points the examiner will appreciate?
Hey Jonathan. (Simple/informal start)
How’s it going? (More unique phrasing than saying ‘how are you’. It’s also more informal) I heard that life has not been going your way recently. (Always try to use idiomatic expressions like these. ‘Life has not been going your way’ means ‘things have not been working out for you’. This is informal, unique, and a good use of an idiomatic expression) I’ve been there, so I can relate! (More idiomatic expressions: ‘I have been there’ and ‘I can relate’. ‘I can relate’ is also more high level phrasing than just saying ‘I understand how you feel’) No worries, here’s what you need to do! (Good lead-in to what we are about to say next)
Firstly, try to go out more, my friend! (Now, we are giving the body a structure by stating our three points with ‘firstly/secondly/thirdly’. Here we also used ‘my friend’ to signify that we are being informal. This is very important in CELPIP since a common mistake is when students become too formal when talking to friends. If you ever use something like ‘I look forward to talking to you’ when you are doing an informal speaking, forget a good mark!) I know you’re a hermit (fancy vocabulary here. Hermit means someone who is aloof from the society. Note that the friend in this story might not be a real hermit but we are using this word as an exaggeration to emphasize just how bad the friend’s condition is) and would rather stay at home than enjoy the outdoors and people, however, (by placing ‘however’ here, you are making this sentence complex. You need complex sentences like these! When you break down a long sentence into two parts, you have achieved this! Using connectors in the middle of sentences is a great way to get this done) you’re just digging yourself a deep hole of stress as well as angst. (Two great things we did here is used a fancy idiomatic expression like ‘digging yourself a deep hole’ and following that up with a fancy word like ‘angst’. You will score more points by using words like ‘angst’ instead of anxiety/depression which are common words). Don’t do that!
Secondly, and this might be hard for you to hear but… (this pause we are using here is a good break and a change of flow from the rest of our descriptive talk. The more variety of expression you use, the better! That’s why, just before this sentence, we said ‘Don’t do that’. This was a very short sentence. We are giving the examiner a range of sentences simple/complex/expressive/short/long. Every time you throw a variety at the CELPIP examiner, your marks go through the roof!) ask for help. Your mom is a psychiatrist. (We always recommend students to show some familiarity in informal questions. By assuming you know what this person’s life is about – in this case, you know his mom’s profession – you make the speaking look very realistic) You literally (use of adverbs like ‘literally’ is very important to have a good range of vocabulary) have help at home available to deal with your mood swings! Trust me, (good informal phrase) competent professionals (instead of just saying ‘professional’, we are saying ‘competent professionals’. By adding ‘competent’, you are adding an adjective. The more adjectives and adverbs you use, the better your range of vocabulary becomes) are the best resources you could use in times like these.
Thirdly, come over! You never meet up! (Very informal tone used and it shows familiarity at the same time by using a real life example) If we were hanging out more often, I can guarantee, your mood swings would be a foregone issue. (‘A forgone issue’ means something that would be put in the past. It’s very unique phrasing and low frequency words like these will score you highly in the vocabulary part).
I hope you find value in whatever I said because I’m looking out for you, as always. (Nice informal conclusion! Short conclusions like these are best when you are running out of time but you need that one sentence to stick the landing! The words used here are also unique compared to something very common like ‘Talk to you soon’ or ‘Let me know what you think’).
Take care buddy! (Good informal finish!)
All 30 answers can be found here: https://hzadeducation.com/product/celpip-39-upgrade-materials-and-feedback/
Importance of Unique Vocabulary & Structure:
A high-scoring answer invariably possesses:
- Unique Vocabulary: Using uncommon and complex words can set your answer apart.
- •Example: Using the term “angst” instead of “anxiety” or “depression”.
- Complex Sentence Structure: Connectors and adverbs help in making sentences complex.
- •Example: “However” can be used to split a sentence, making it complex.
- Flow and Fluency: Transitional words and lead-ins contribute to a smooth flow.
- •Example: Using “Firstly”, “Secondly”, and “Thirdly” to list out points.
Approaching an Informal Topic:
An informal topic necessitates the use of:
- Informal Tone and Vocabulary: Casual words and phrasings suitable for friends.
- •Example: Saying “Hey Jonathan” rather than a formal greeting like “Hello Jonathan”.
- Idiomatic Expressions: They add color to your speech, making it lively.
- •Example: “Life has not been going your way” instead of a literal interpretation.
- Adverbs and Adjectives: Enhance descriptions and detail.
- •Example: “Competent professional” versus just “professional”.
Making your response sound realistic is crucial, especially for informal topics.
- Intimate Knowledge: Displaying close knowledge about the person you’re addressing.
- •Example: Mentioning “your mom is a psychiatrist” implies familiarity.
- Real-life Situations: Referring to common situations between friends.
- •Example: “You never meet up” shows an ongoing concern between friends.
Check out the complete video explanation here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSDLKeI_mNM&t=223s)
Concluding the Response:
While concluding, especially in informal topics:
- Keep It Brief: A short, sweet ending is more effective.
- •Example: “I hope you can find value in whatever I said because I’m looking out for you as always” instead of a lengthy conclusion.
- Avoid Formal Endings: With friends, it’s essential to avoid sounding overly formal.
- •Example: Avoid phrases like “I look forward to talking to you”.
For those interested in further enhancing their skills, there’s a comprehensive PDF available. It not only contains sample questions and answers but also offers insights into different scoring ranges, mock tests that mirror the actual exam, and even a free session with a live tutor. This package, currently at a discounted rate, is designed to fully prepare you for the exam. Access it here: https://hzadeducation.com/product/celpip-39-upgrade-materials-and-feedback/
Achieving the best scores isn’t merely about answering the question but about understanding the nuances of language, tone, and context. It’s about transcending the ordinary and ensuring your response stands out, resonating with both clarity and authenticity. Armed with these insights and resources, you’re well on your way to excelling in CELPIP speaking exam!