Introduction to CELPIP

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) department, responsible for managing immigration and the arrival of refugees to Canada, uses the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) to qualify English language proficiency for all applicants.

CELPIP measures the applicant’s ability to communicate verbally and through writing in English, using different day-to-day examples.

CELPIP is divided into two tests, which the IRCC recognizes as proof of English proficiency when applying for permanent residency and citizenship.

CELPIP-General (for permanent residency) determines proficiency in all English communication skills in speaking, listening, writing, and reading.

CELPIP-General LS (for citizenship) only measures English proficiency in speaking and listening.

How to ace the speaking module

The more you speak English, the quicker your progress to full proficiency.  Asking for directions, or seeking out information is a great way to engage with spontaneous communication.  Try to use English as much as you can with family and friends too.


CELPIP Tests are facilitated through a computer, so a basic degree of familiarity with a computer is beneficial.

CELPIP’s Speaking Test uses audio so to prepare for the test, practicing talking into a microphone.


Read the CELPIP instructions for all tests carefully to understand requirements and develop content and responses.


If in doubt, provide more content and not less.  This assists CELPIP Assessors to evaluate your oral work accurately.  Stay focused and elaborate on the answer within the assigned time.


Where relevant, use personal experiences to answer questions.  It is more authentic and easier to talk about something you experienced, than trying to invent stories that require time to find the right words and context.


CELPIP allows you to test and practice with the audio device before starting.  Speak clearly and use your natural pace when answering.


Instead of repeating words used in the prompt, draw from your own vocabulary and use a variety of different words to show your speaking ability.


CELPIP does not score your proficiency based on accent, as long as your English speaking ability shows understanding with appropriate and clear responses.


Use the preparation time allocated to understand the structure, requirement, and decide on your content before answering, then track your time where the timer is provided.

Here are some practice speaking tests.




How to ace the Listening module


Note the audio file per question can only be played once therefore avoid any distraction and listen carefully to every file.


Keep focused by taking notes.  This may also prompt more ideas for your response and it’s easier to reference notes than trying to recall from memory while in a stressful test situation.  To prepare for the CELPIP Listening Test, take notes while listening to conversations or news.

If you don’t understand something, stay calm and continue listening to the audio file.  In most cases, you can interpret a recording by noting the main points.


The CELPIP Listening Test requires all questions to be answered.  You are not penalized for wrong answers on the multiple-choice sections, but it is better to make a good guess than to leave a question blank.


In some parts of the CELPIP tests, it’s not possible to edit answers once committed.  The answers are saved once you have moved onto the next question.  Take careful review of your answers before and after, where time allows.

How to ace the reading module

Read English whenever and wherever you can, buy daily newspapers, watch the news, start reading comics, short stories, and novels.

Reading improves vocabulary and understanding of any language, and reading out loud is even better practice.


The CELPIP Reading Test does not test how well you can memorize the words, but rather how you extract information by noting key points and details.  This measures your comprehension of the text.

Each part of the CELPIP Reading Test is structured by providing text which must be read before answering several questions. Track your time and answer all questions.


It is not always necessary to read each and every word in a sentence or paragraph.   After practicing enough reading, you can scan paragraphs and pages to get the gist of the text.

Try different reading strategies and practice to improve your reading proficiency for the CELPIP Reading Test.


If you come across a word or text that you don’t fully understand, then look at the words and context around it to determine the meaning.  Having good comprehension skills helps avoid spending too much attention on one question and is a worthy habit to develop.


You don’t have to be a subject matter expert for any of the CELPIP tests, except to demonstrate English proficiency.  In the CELPIP Reading Test, the answers are in the text through understanding and extracting information.

However, if you are knowledgeable on the subject, take note not to over-indulge on opinions which may take you off-course.

How to ace the writing module

Before starting the CELPIP Reading Test, take careful note of all instructions and develop your content that support your responses.


Prepare and structure your content to be clear and easy to read for the CELPIP assessors, so consider the flow, and introductions and endings. Apply a vocabulary that is descriptive and diverse, but also natural to you. Use good grammar and double check spelling as the test does not have a spell checker tool.


The CELPIP Writing Test is flexible on word count, however your total score is affected if the word count is considerably over or below the limit, so watch the word counter to track the length of the answer.


It is recommended to allocate about 5 minutes to planning your answers before applying them and then leaving up to 7 minutes to review the content at the end.

Here you are some useful CELPIP writing tests with high score responses.




Which module is more challenging for you? write your answer in the comment area so that I can help.



  1. Thanks for the feeback, i would definately do the needful as per the strategy,though i am aware practise makes one perfect

  2. Hi,

    Thank you for your very useful tips but I am looking everywhere for the practice material with the timer while doing it so that it can be a real actual exam. If you can do it then it would be more helpful and I think it’s a very good marketing tool to your website. The different writing answers of yours followers with your feedback and corrections are very useful too.


    • Thanks for your thoughtful suggestion. It would be taken into consideration of course. Meanwhile, try to use your phone stop watch while practicing some of the speaking and writing tests in our website.

  3. Well, the information shared is worth value,,, i noticed that all sample tests are available but it’s quite difficult to find reading test sample… as they are 1 or 2 only i can’t found any reading articles and reading practice tests online,,, if you can please guide about this am as well preparing for the test date; end of this month.. di appreciate your efforts for the benefit of all

  4. Thank you for the article and for practise tests with sample answers. I will try to create my own typical templates for speaking tasks so to use it during the test.

  5. I personally like CELPIP, for many reasons, but the most prominent one is, it’s a computer based exams, which suits me. What makes me a bit conscious is that CELPIP study material is not available widely. If this problem is solved, the test system ll excel rapidly throughout the globe.

  6. Thanks for the tips and guidelines. I have read in one the comment above, IELTS is much easier than CELPIP.
    Is that correct. Do the assessors follow the grammatical errors, fluency etc or they just will asses the natural flow of speaking. Regarding the writing task, most of the questions are to write 150-200 words. What is the maximum and minimum we can go upto.
    Please advise.

    • They do take account of course of those major grammatical mistakes, but they focus more on the way you naturally speak. As to the writing words limit, try not to exceed 230.

        • I think CELPIP writing is almost similar to IELTS writing.However both require equal practice and vocabulary knowledge. What is more difficult in CELPIP speaking ? Can you ellaborate on this point as I am interested in learning more about scoring in CELPIP speaking.
          Also I really appreciate your articles and tips for CELPIP.

          • In general, CELPIP speaking is a bit challenging since you basically talk to a screen. I think that task 1 and 7 are the hardest considering you only have 30 sec to read the prompt and prepare; while you will need to speak for 90 sec. It would be a little bit hard to come up with arguments and ideas and develop them in such a short time.

  7. CELPIP General English Speaking test is really hard to understand the scoring system and the evaluation is not good. Most people not able to clear speaking in CELPIP is able to clear easily in IELTS. No proper materials to improve or guide.

    • I agree that the scoring system of the Speaking module is a bit confusing and unpredictable. I would also agree partially that apart from few tips and practice speaking tests here and there, there isn’t enough material to improve your speaking score, unless you get a tutor. However, I am in the process of making a complete CELPIP speaking video course that would hopefully resolve this issue. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    • Thanks for passing by. Glad you found it helpful. Feel free to answer some tests in our websites. Good luck!

  8. Hello! This is great help for us takers planning for Celpip exam. We have to read carefully and be mindful with all the details that have been said. Hopefully we can pass the exam. Good luck! Thank you for sharing!

  9. hello there,
    i got 9 for listening and reading and 8 for speaking but i need 110 for each. could you give me some tips for it. I would really appreciated if you could help me.

  10. Well I wish I read this before my test. I really enjoy the tips and look forward to get some help more for reading n writing.

  11. Hi
    I am preparing for the Celpip test these days. I read the article completely and I found it useful for test takers.
    But there are some points which are important to be mentioned. First, every kind are tests are divided into two parts. knowledge and skills. for improving these two parts takers need to have enough material to practice with. Unfortunately Celpip does not have enough material and it makes difficult to prepare for takers. I personally want to know if there are sources at least related to and close to celpip material. I think test takers need to practice with a lot of material to improve their skills.

    • I agree that CELPIP study material can be very slim, but improving your English skills through reading daily newspapers, listening to the news, writing regularly, and engaging into day to day conversations can be very helpful.


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