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CELPIP – A Guide for Test Takers (New in Dubai )

The CELPIP test comes in two forms, the CELPIP General Test and the CELPIP General Listening and Speaking. Notably, there is no academic form of the CELPIP test, but some of the sections require the knowledge of advanced or specialist vocabulary. Most CELPIP test takers in Dubai need the full CELPIP General Test, and this is because most applicants are applying for permanent residence or a student visa.

CELPIP was developed in Canada as a multiuse English proficiency test, and CELPIP stands for Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program.

The test takes approximately three hours and assesses functional listening, reading, writing, and speaking proficiency. Interestingly, the test is relatively new in Dubai with the first CELPIP test being held in January 2017.

CELPIP is completed on a computer at a test centre. In addition, the test taker is given a pencil and paper to take notes during the test, and marking of the listening and reading tests is done by the computer whereas the speaking and writing sections are marked by a human examiner in Canada.

The following table gives a breakdown of the structure of the CELPIP general test.

Listening

 

  PART AND TYPE           DESCRIPTION QUESTIONS    TIMING Strategy/Tips
   

Practice Task

Practice listening and answering a question.

 

 

 

1

 

 

1 minute

This is just to familiarize the test-taker

with the structure and interface.

 

 

1

 

Listening to Problem Solving

(11 audio clips)

Listen to a dialogue and answer 8 questions. The dialogue and questions are divided into 3 sections.

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

8 minutes

Take notes of the key points that you

think might come up in the questions.

Times, dates, decisions, and main issues mentioned in the dialogue are particularly

worth noting down.

 

2

Listening to a Daily Life Conversation

(6 audio clips)

 

 

Listen to a dialogue and answer 5 questions.

 

 

5

 

 

5 minutes

Good general English conversation

listening skills will help you with this task. Idiomatic language and phrasal verbs are common.

 

3

 

Listening for Information

(7 audio clips)

 

Listen to a longer dialogue and answer 6 questions.  

 

6

 

 

6 minutes

These four sections are longer sections

and require good notetaking skills and

an understanding of more advanced,

often academic, vocabulary.

 

They seem to focus mainly on issues

and stories which affect Canadians

or appear in the Canadian news.

Revising the Academic Word List (AWL)

and keeping up to date with Canadian

news are some of the best ways

to prepare.

 

Listening to Canadian news or

social podcasts on a daily basis

should really give your scores a

boost in these sections (https://player.fm/countries/canada).

 

4

Listening to a News Item

(1 audio clip)

 

Listen to a news item and answer 5 questions.  

5

 

5 minutes

 

 

5

 

Listening to a Discussion

(1 video clip)

 

Listen to and watch a discussion between three people and answer 8 questions.

 

 

 

8

 

 

6 minutes

 

6

Listening to Viewpoints

(1 audio clip)

 

Listen to a report and answer 6 questions.  

6

 

8 minutes

  Unscored Items* Unknown      

Reading

  PART AND TYPE DESCRIPTION QUESTIONS SUGGESTED TIME Strategy/Tips
   

Practice Task

Practice reading and answering a question.  

1

 

1 minute

This is just to familiarize the test-taker

with the structure and interface.

 

 

1

 

Reading Correspondence (2 passages)

First read a message and answer 6 questions; then read a response message and fill in 5 blanks by selecting the best choice.  

 

11

 

 

11 minutes

The passages are letters or emails and are either personal (informal general English) or business/organizational (formal business English). A general/business English course would be the best way to prepare for this section.
 

2

Reading to Apply a Diagram (1 passage

and 1 image)

Read a message, refer to the diagram, and find the best answers for the questions.  

8

 

9 minutes

The ability to read quickly for details, or scanning, is most useful here.
 

3

Reading for Information (1 passage) Read a text and decide which paragraph (if any) supports each statement.  

9

 

10 minutes

Skimming and scanning skills are helpful here. First, skimming to assess the most likely paragraph to read first. Second, scanning to confirm that the supporting evidence is there.
 

 

4

 

Reading for Viewpoints (2 passages)

First, read an opinion report and answer 5 questions; then read a response and fill in the 5 blanks by selecting the best choice.  

 

10

 

 

13 minutes

This section requires advanced academic vocabulary and the ability to use the context to predict the meaning of unknown words.
  Unscored Items* Unknown Unscored items will be a repetition of one of the other sections. Candidates will not know which items are scored and unscored so should work equally hard on all sections.

 

Writing

   

Task And Type

 

Description

 

Word Count

 

Timing

 

Strategy/Tips

 

1

 

Writing an Email

 

Write an email regarding day-to-day matters.

 

 

150–200

words

 

27 minutes

A good business English course focused on email writing will help improve scores for both of these sections. Students should also make sure they can write well in an informal style with the use of idioms and phrasal verbs. Grammar, structure, and coherence seem to be marked fairly strictly, so revision of these areas is important before taking the test. Thankfully, there is a spellcheck so this is a bonus for students with issues in this area.
 

2

 

Responding to Survey Questions

 

Respond to an opinion survey regarding commonly encountered issues and justify your choice.

 

 

150–200

words

 

26 minutes

 

Speaking

   

TASK AND TYPE

 

DESCRIPTION

 

PREPARATION TIME (seconds)

 

SPEAKING TIME*(seconds)

 

Strategy/Tips

   

Practice Task

Practice speaking into the microphone.  

30

 

60

This is just to familiarize the test-taker

with the structure and interface.

 

1

 

Giving Advice

Help someone to either make a decision or prepare for something.  

30

 

90

Revise language for advice including modal verbs.
 

2

Talking about a Personal Experience  

Tell a story about a past experience.

 

30

 

60

Learn the narrative tenses (past simple, past continuous, and past perfect).
 

3

Describing a Scene Look at an illustration and describe what is happening.  

30

 

60

Review the use of the present continuous.
 

4

 

Making Predictions

Look at the same illustration and describe what you think will happen.  

30

 

60

Language for predicting the uncertain near future is needed here (simple future and other expressions for predictions).
 

5

 

Comparing and Persuading

First, choose which option you wish to promote. Then, persuade someone to agree with the choice you have made.  

60 to choose

60 to prepare

 

60

Comparative and superlative adjectives are useful here.
 

6

Dealing with a

Difficult Situation

Explain a decision to a friend, family member, or colleague.  

60

 

60

Revising language for apologizing and diplomatically and politely explaining reasons will help candidates in this section.
 

7

Expressing Opinions Explain why you agree or disagree with a statement.  

30

 

90

Keeping up to date with the Canadian news will help test-takers feel prepared to speak about the likely topics in this section.
 

 

8

 

Describing an Unusual Situation

Describe a picture of an unusual item or situation to someone who cannot see the picture.  

 

30

 

 

60

Knowing a good range of descriptive adjectives will help candidates to describe what frequently seem to be images of obscure objects.

 

Tips for the Test

General

Time management is essential in the CELPIP test. There is a countdown timer in the top corner of each section of the test, so keep an eye on the time to avoid losing marks.

Listening

A good way to prepare for the CELPIP listening test is to listen to Canadian news broadcasts. Most of the accents in the CELPIP test are Canadian, so the best way to practice is by listening to native speakers. Listening to British or American speakers will help but listening to native Canadians is the most authentic practice. Students can find Canadian podcasts and news broadcasts online. Your CELPIP tutor should be able to help you find some useful sources, and there are some useful links included below:

button_canada-news-podcasts

Reading

Some sections of the reading test involve the ability to quickly understand the overall gist of the passage. Being able to recognise the flow of meaning and changes in topic through the text is also important in CELPIP reading. Students should practice their skimming skills in order to save time and maximise their scores.

Other sections are more focused on the ability to pick out specific details quickly. The reading texts in the CELPIP test are reasonably long, and test takers will need good scanning skills to master these sections. Students will need lots of practice of the scanning activities during their CELPIP preparation.

The third and fourth parts of the CELPIP reading test include specialist vocabulary which can often seem quite academic. Students targeting a 9+ band score should try to expand their academic vocabulary by looking at the Academic Word List (AWL). Any good preparation course should include vocabulary building activities. Alternatively, the test publisher, Paragon, have released a useful vocabulary book which focuses on words likely to appear in the test. The text claims to focus more on specifically Canadian terms. One of the best ways to build your reading skills is to make sure you’re getting some passive English reading practice on a daily basis. The test frequently includes articles and questions related to items which appear in the Canadian news. This means that the best passive CELPIP reading practice involves reading the Canadian newspapers online or listening to Canadian news broadcasts.

Speaking

CELPIP speaking preparation involves focusing on the structure of your recordings. A good CELPIP preparation course should advise students on how best to organise their responses. All the responses should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Most students will need to practice each question type a number of times to be able to organise their response well.

Each speaking question type focuses on a particular language function or grammatical construct. Students should be aware of this before taking the test. Thus, practising the specific tenses (e.g. present continuous for task 3) or functions (apologising and explaining for task 6) will help improve the band score.

Lastly, a good way to practice is to record yourself completing tasks on a smart phone. Next, listen back to the recordings critically, and try to assess your grammar, pronunciation, and structure. Listening to yourself in a foreign language can help you identify the phonemes or sounds you are mispronouncing.

Writing

CELPIP writing test focuses mainly on business and general English.

Each of the two tasks has an advised paragraph structure, and it is really important to learn the structure and follow it during the CELPIP writing test. Furthermore, leave a full empty line between each paragraph and follow accepted word processing conventions.

In addition, brushing up on grammar before the writing test is also a good idea. Only use sentences you feel confident are grammatically correct. It is important to use a mixture of simple, compound, and complex sentences. This will improve your score in the Readability section.

Make sure you pay attention to the question prompt. Analysing the question fully will help you decide on the appropriate level of formality. Tone and register are very important in the CELPIP writing test. For example, business emails require a much more formal tone and register than those to friends or family.

Scoring

Reading and Listening

Due to the straightforward nature of the reading and listening questions, marking is carried out entirely by the computer. All the question types are multiple-choice or choosing options from a drop-down menu.

A useful table for calculating CELPIP reading and listening band scores* can be found below:

LISTENING SCORE /38 READING SCORE /38 CELPIP LEVEL
35-38 33-38 10-12
33-34 31-32 9
30-32 28-30 8
27-29 24-27 7
22-26 19-23 6
17-21 15-18 5
11-16 10-14 4
7-10 8-9 3
0-6 0-7 M

*Scoring for the actual exams may vary and this table is meant only as a guide.

Writing and Speaking

The CELPIP writing and speaking tests are marked by CELPIP examiners in Canada and according to 4 criteria, details of which can be found on the official CELPIP website. Once the writing has been marked by two separate examiners, the scores are averaged to provide the final band score.

Scoring

The following table compares CELPIP levels and descriptors to that of the IELTS and PTE exams:

 

CELPIP LEVEL

 

CELPIP DESCRIPTOR

 

CLB DESCRIPTOR

 

CLB LEVEL

 

PTE

EQUIVALENT

 

 

IELTS EQUIVALENT

11, 12 Advanced proficiency in workplace

and community contexts

Fluent advanced proficiency 12 86+ 9
11, 12 Advanced proficiency in workplace

and community contexts

Adequate advanced

proficiency

11 83+ 8.5
10 Highly effective proficiency in

workplace and community contexts

Developing advanced

proficiency

10 79+ 8
9 Effective proficiency in workplace

and community contexts

Initial advanced proficiency 9 73+ 7.5
8 Good proficiency in workplace

and community contexts

Fluent intermediate proficiency 8 65+ 7.0
7 Adequate proficiency in workplace

and community contexts

Adequate intermediate

proficiency

7 58+ 6
6 Developing proficiency in workplace

and community contexts

Developing intermediate

proficiency

6 54+ 5.5
5 Acquiring proficiency in workplace

and community contexts

Initial intermediate proficiency 5 50+ 5
4 Adequate proficiency for

basic daily life activities

Fluent basic proficiency 4 28+ 4
3 Some proficiency in limited contexts Adequate basic proficiency 3 N/A 3
M Minimal proficiency or insufficient

information to assess

Initial or developing basic proficiency 0, 1, 2 N/A 1-2

 

Don’t Miss Reading:
The Ultimate Guide to IELTS
PTE Preparation guide: Tips and Tricks to Pass the PTE Test
The Best Way to Learn English (General English)

December 20, 2018

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