Strong English language skills are essential for new Canadians to succeed in Canada. Except for Quebec and New Brunswick where English is the primary language, most Canadian provinces have an English proficiency requirement. This ensures that newcomers to Canada are able to thrive in Canada from both a settlement and employment perspective.
To prove your English proficiency, you will need to take the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program or International English Language Testing System tests. These are the only English language exams that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), has approved for immigration applications.
Many newcomers don’t speak English as their first language. This can make it difficult to prepare for the CELPIP exam. With some practice and advanced preparation, you can ease your anxiety and pass the exam. This guide will give you tips to increase your CELPIP score, and improve your chances of obtaining Canadian citizenship.
- What’s CELPIP?
- What CELPIP exam should I take?
- Is CELPIP more effective than IELTS?
- What does CELPIP score work?
- What is the cost of the CELPIP test?
- For how long does my CELPIP score remain valid?
- Where do I take the CELPIP exam?
- 10 tips to improve your CELPIP
- CELPIP resources and practice tests
What is CELPIP?
CELPIP is one the two English exams that Canadian immigrants must pass. A high score on CELPIP is essential for your immigration application. The more points you have, the better. These are the institutions that accept CELPIP:
- IRCC for Permanent residence (PR). This includes Express Entry programs like the Federal Skilled Workers Program and Federal Skilled Trades Program. CEC, Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and start-up visas. Most Provincial Nominee Programs.
- There are many Canadian colleges and universities that offer admission to study programs in Canada.
- There are many professional associations that offer professional certification and licensure.
What CELPIP exam should I take?
Two versions of the CELPIP General test are available: CELPIP General LS and CELPIP General. Depending on your immigration path, which version you choose will determine what version to take. Before you register, confirm which version you need to take.
CELPIP General Test Format
The CELPIP General test assesses your English reading, speaking, and listening skills. The test takes about three hours and can be completed in one sitting. The test will be taken online. It will consist of four sections.
- Listening is where you listen to passages and ask questions. (47-55 minutes)
- Reading is where you will read passages, and answer questions. (55-60 minutes)
- Writing is where you respond to written questions. (53-60 minutes)
- Speaking is where you will verbally respond to prompts on the screen. (15-20 minutes)
International students and permanent residents who are interested in the CELPIP General exam. Some professional organizations have also approved it for licensing and certification purposes.
CELPIP General LS Test Format
CELPIP General LS or CELPIP – LS is a test that evaluates your English speaking and listening skills. The online test takes about one hour and ten seconds to complete. There are two parts to the test:
- Listening is where you listen and answer questions about passages. (47-55 minutes)
- Talking, where you respond verbally to prompts on-screen (15-20 minutes).
The IRCC approves the CELPIP General LS for Canadian citizenship application. Some professional organizations accept it for professional certification.
Is CELPIP more valuable than IELTS?
Both English language tests have similar structure and ease, but there are important differences.
- CELPIP is computer-based while IELTS is paper-based or computer-based.
- CELPIP has a listening section that features North American accents, while IELTS might have Australian, British, or South American accents.
- CELPIP scores are available online within four to five business days. IELTS results can take approximately 13 business days.
- CELPIP fees may be slightly higher than IELTS fees.
There is no better or more difficult test than any other. When you apply for PR, both test scores will be compared against the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB). It is unlikely that one test will give you more advantage than the other. It is important to choose the test that you are most comfortable with and not stress about which one. You should spend more time studying for and practicing for the exam.
What does CELPIP score mean?
Each section of the CELPIP test is assigned a score. CELPIP scores range between Level 0 and Level 12. Levels 0 and 2 indicate minimal English language proficiency, or insufficient information to evaluate (for example, if a section has not been attempted). Level 12 indicates advanced English proficiency in work and community contexts.
CLB levels directly correlate with CELPIP scores. This means that if you have a CELPIP reading score of 9, your CLB reading score is also 9.
What is the cost of the CELPIP exam?
The type of test you take will determine the fee for the CELPIP test. The fee for the CELPIP General test is $280CAD. The CELPIP General LS test fee is $195 CAD.
What is the validity of my CELPIP score?
CELPIP scores are available for up to two years from the date you took the test. This is the same time IRCC considers them valid.
Where can I take CELPIP?
The CELPIP test can be taken at designated test centers in ten countries, including the U.S.A., U.K., India, Canada and China. It is also administered in Australia, Korea, Singapore, Australia, Korea and the U.A.E.
The CELPIP test can be taken online, but you will need to take it at a test center. To find the best location and date for you, visit the CELPIP webpage. The test cannot be given remotely from your home.
Here are 10 ways to improve your CELPIP score
Although it may seem daunting to prepare for the CELPIP exam, we can help you improve your score with these tips:
- Get familiar with the test structure, and the types of questions that you will be asked. It will reduce anxiety and help you focus on the task at hand.
- Practice tests under controlled conditions in a setting that is similar to the actual test. It is important to be familiar with how CELPIP works before you go to the actual test. You should feel comfortable answering questions and keeping track of your time. Also, be prepared to concentrate in a noisy environment.
- Practice reading, listening and writing on a computer using digital sample tests or other exercises. You should feel confident using a computer or laptop. It is also important to be able to type under time constraints. You will be required to read passages and give answers. It is important that you have good speakers, headphones and a microphone for practice sessions. Practice speaking with a friend to get feedback.
- You can sign up to take preparatory courses, enroll in online study programs or attend webinars that will help you prepare for CELPIP. These can be found on the CELPIP website. It offers paid study materials and workshop and webinar .
- Before you attempt to answer questions, make sure that you read all instructions. While it is understandable to feel pressured by time, it would be a mistake to rush to answer questions without reading the entire instructions. This can lead to mistakes, especially if English doesn’t speak your native language. Be patient and ensure you fully understand the question before you answer.
- Do not leave any question unanswered. There is no negative marking given for incorrect answers. If you are unsure, remove the obvious wrong choices and make your best guess. It’s worth trying, you never know when you might be lucky.
- Writing and speaking sections are about your English language comprehension, not subject matter knowledge. These sections don’t have any wrong answers, so be as honest and open-minded as possible.
- You cannot return to sections that you have already completed during the test. It is important that you practice answering questions under time constraints prior to taking the CELPIP. Don’t spend too much time on one answer. Just try your best guess and move along. There is no penalty for incorrect answers. You can always go back to the question later if you have extra time in that section.
- Use words and phrases you are familiar with. It’s okay to add advanced vocabulary. However, you should only do this if the meaning of the word is clear and the context is right. It is better to stay with what you know, rather than making unnecessary mistakes by expanding your knowledge.
- Before the exam, take some time to relax. Make sure you get enough sleep the night before the exam to ensure that you are well rested and ready to take the test. You should also make sure you go to the toilet, eat a nutritious meal, and drink enough water before taking the test. You can meditate, close your eyes, and take deep breathes if you feel anxious.
Resources and practice tests for CELPIP
- CELPIP’s webinar provides a great way to learn about CELPIP. This free session, which is held once per month, is available live on YouTube. It also includes information about the test format, study material, and other details. During the live session, you can ask questions.
- CELPIP reading Pro and CELPIP speaking Pro are free interactive webinars that will help you prepare for the speaking and reading parts of the test. Each seminar will cover the format of each section, test preparation, and test-taking strategies. You’ll also walk through sample questions and receive instructor guidance.
- The International Language Academy of Canada offers CELPIP preparation courses that are paid. Each module is divided into four skills modules that correspond to the sections of the test. A practice exam will be given at the end of each module. The courses last between two to eight weeks and students will be required to take a placement exam before they can begin to assess their skills.
- Presto English offers YouTube guides free of charge and samples for CELPIP students. Presto English also offers paid courses if you need additional preparation. Take notes while you watch the videos to get the most from them.
Your language proficiency score is an important part of your permanent residency application. If English is not your first language, it can be stressful trying to pass the CELPIP exam. These tips will help you improve your performance, and get a higher Canadian Language Benchmark score. If your score is not as high as you would like, you can take the CELPIP again within four business days. Try again if you fail the first time.