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CELPIP: All to Know About the Test Format

    The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), is basically the assessment tool that the Canadian Government uses to test the language competence in English of all potential immigrants and foreign nationals to Canada.

    READ ALSO: Which Test Should You Take Between CELPIP and IELTS?

    Versions of CELPIP Exam

    CELPIP exam has two basic versions:

    The CELPIP General Test and the CELPIP-General LS.

    For those who are already settled in Canada and need to apply for a permanent residence permit, the test they will need to take is the CELPIP General Test. This test checks the skill of the candidate in four different sections namely:

    • Listening
    • Writing
    • Reading
    • Speaking

    This test is to proof your level of knowledge of the English language.

    The second version called CELPIP-General LS is compulsory for all refugees and immigrants who wish to settle in Canada. This version is rather basic, and it is targeted at only assessing their speaking and listening skills, which are essential for their initial integration into Canada’s English-speaking communities.

    People who are applying for Canadian citizenship ends up sitting for the easier version called the CELPIP-General LS.

    READ ALSO: How to write an IELTS essay

    CELPIP General Test Format

    Now let’s take a look at the sections of the CELPIP General Test which bothers on Listening, Speaking Reading and Writing. We’ll stress on the specific tasks the candidate has to complete in each section and the required skills to come out successful.

    1. Listening

    The Listening section of CELPIP is the most stressful part of all English language competency assessment tests. It always comes first because the examiners want you to complete it while your brain is still fresh with full concentration.

    The Listening section, which takes about 50 minutes to complete, is divided into sub-sections as follows:

    • Listen to Solve a Particular Problem
    • Listening to an Everyday Conversation
    • Listening for Specific Information
    • Listening to a Piece of News
    • Listening to a Discussion
    • Listening to Different Opinions
    • Unscored Items

    There are different number of questions in each section, and they all assess the listening comprehension skills of the candidate in different real-life situations. Your answer is being recorded once you answer a specific question, meaning you can go back to edit it.

    1. Reading

    The Reading section of the CELPIP General Test is planned to assess the candidate’s skills in coping with various kinds of texts in English and removing the exact information required to properly answer a number of specific questions.

    In the first sub-section of the Reading part of the CELPIP General Test, the candidate is expected to read some correspondence between two or more people and extract the needed information to acceptably answer the eleven subsequent questions.

    In the next sub-section, the candidate is presented with a pie chart or a diagram which they have to interpret and answer the eight questions that follows.

    In next three subsections of the Reading part, the candidate is expected to read for specific information, read through different viewpoints, and read through unscored items. After reading, the candidate is to answer 30 questions in about one hour.

    1. Speaking

    The Speaking section of The CELPIP General Test is intended to test the speaking abilities of the candidate in a number of different real-life situations.

    In the first subsection of this test, the candidate is expected to offer advice in a specific situation, and also discuss a related personal experience they had in the past, while giving details.

    In the third subsection, the candidate is asked to describe a picture or scene that they will be presented with, while also providing many details. The candidates will be asked to make certain predictions based on present evidence or not.

    The fifth subsection is targeted at evaluating the candidate’s aptitudes in comparing in English, while the next one is aimed at assessing the candidate’s abilities to talk their way out of a difficult situation.

    Also, the candidate will be expected to express their individual opinion on different issues. They will be asked to give details of an unusual situation that they found themselves in. It takes about twenty minutes to complete the Speaking section.

    1. Writing

    Most people think the Writing section of the CELPIP General Test is simple because it has only two questions:

    • Write an email
    • Answer a number of survey questions

    On the contrary, this section tests the candidate’s knowledge of the English syntax and grammar. It requires detailed and comprehensive preparation to pass. The Writing is given a maximum of one hour to complete.

    CELPIP – General LS Test Format

    This version of CELPIP test has only two parts.

    • It evaluates only the candidate’s listening comprehension
    • It evaluates the speaking skills

    The time taken to complete the CELPIP – General LS Test Format is also the same time taken to complete the CELPIP General Test. There are unscored items and the questions here are slightly more practicable.

    What is the cost to sit for the CELPIP General Test and the CELPIP – General LS Test?

    • For the CELPIP General Test, it costs about $280 plus taxes to take the test.
    • For the CELPIP-General LS, it costs about $195 plus taxes to take the lighter version.

    Note that the lighter and the cheaper version of CELPIP can only be taken in Canada. The testing locations are listed on the official website of Canada. The more comprehensive CELPIP General Test can be taken in Canada, USA, Philippines, India, and UAE.


    Both the Listening and the Reading section of the CELPIP General Test contain unscored items. Note that there are questions for which you really will not receive points, irrespective of how correctly or wrongly you answer them. A candidate will not know which questions are scored, and which are not.

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