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As you may already know, there are two types of CELPIP tests – the CELPIP-General Test and the CELPIP-General LS Test. While the CELPIP General Test has four components — Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking, the CELPIP-General LS Test has two parts — Listening and Speaking. Most of these sections can be challenging for non-English speakers and joining a CELPIP preparation program can go a long way in reducing exam anxiety. Not only that, but a prep program can also give you the necessary confidence and skills to do well and get your desired score.
In this blog, we will discuss tips for acing the listening part of the test. But instead of going section by section of the test, we will instead focus on the larger goal of becoming a better listener.
There are six parts in the listening component, and it takes about 50 minutes to complete this portion of the test. You only get 30 seconds to answer each question. Moreover, every clip is played only once, so it is essential to pay close attention.
For starters, the parts are listening to problem-solving, a daily life conversation, a news item, a discussion, as well as listening for information and viewpoints.
A great deal of attention is always paid to speaking. From meetings to interviews, to our personal lives, speaking is considered an essential part of it all. If you want to advance your career, get the job you desire, have cool friends, communication skills, especially speaking, is emphasized upon. But, active, attentive listening is an equally important personality trait. Here are some ways how you can get good at it:
1. Be Fully Present
Have you ever been annoyed or irritated by someone who is spacing out or is distracted while you’re still talking to them? We have been guilty of it many times as well. The person talks while our mind wavers, thinking about dinner tonight or a call we have to make.
Although you don’t have another human in front of you during the CELPIP listening section, it is still extremely vital to be fully present in the moment. If you find yourself getting distracted, remind yourself you’re in the midst of a conversation and bring yourself back to the moment.
When listening, pay attention to not only the words but also the tone of voice. This may reveal more information to you than the words themselves.
2. Try and Pick Up Key Information
Make a mental note of all the vital information. At least what you may think is relevant. It could be destinations, bus numbers, time, locations, and so on. You can also take notes on the notepaper and pen you will be provided with at the exam center. You can take notes at any point in the test, but it is especially useful during the listening part.
3. Develop Active Listening Skills
Many times we’re busy thinking of a response even before the person talking to us has finished making their point. That is representative of poor listening. You only catch half the details when you do that. Instead, try and focus entirely on the speaker. A good idea to develop active listening skills is to have a conversation with a friend. You should hear them talk and relay their main points back to them. When you aren’t thinking of a retort or saying something back, you will notice that you’re able to focus on what the other person is saying much better. During your CELPIP test also, only focus on what the person is saying. Don’t think about what you missed or what might be said next.
4. Focus on the content and the context
Often, if you pay attention to the context, you may even understand snatches of a conversation in a foreign language. The tone of voice and body language are also helpful. For instance, if a mother is scolding a child in a language other than yours, from the sternness in her voice and face, the stiffness of her body, you can tell that it isn’t a pleasant conversation. Now, if you add content to all this, the meaning becomes that much clearer. Of course, when you’re listening to an audio clip, you don’t have the advantage of visual cues, but if you pay attention to the context (stories, circumstances, themes): a conductor and a passenger discussing a route; a mother and child talking about dinner, you will be better positioned to answer the questions.
5. Calm Your Mind
Breathe in and out a few times to quieten your mind. It will get easier to focus if you relax. Tell yourself that scoring well in CELPIP is important to you and that you will channel all your energy on the task at hand. Once you have a clear intent, you will fare much better in the test.
To do well in the listening section, you can listen to the radio or a podcast if that interests you. Even an audiobook is an excellent place to start. And the best part is, most passages in the listening test are short and are followed immediately by questions. So you aren’t expected to retain too much information. Practise these simple, yet powerful tips. Not only will it help you do well in CELPIP, but it will also help you in your professional and personal life.
Like mentioned before, if any of this feels like too much work, you can save yourself some headache and join a CELPIP preparation program offered by many colleges and institutes in Canada and get better at all aspects of your English proficiency exam.