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CELPIP Test for Canadian Immigration

By: Ronda Payne

Published On: December 19, 2019

If you’re considering immigration to Canada, you likely already know that you have to complete a language proficiency exam as part of your application. There are only two tests accepted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for English language proficiency, with one of them being the CELPIP test. The other option is the IELTS. Both tests include sections in reading, writing, speaking and listening and there is no benefit to doing one or the other when it comes to your immigration chances. You may select either test based on personal preference.

Regardless of which test you choose, you’ll want to achieve the best score possible as there is no pass or fail, only a score that will go into a range of proficiency levels which will result in language score. Therefore, if you’ll be taking the CELPIP exam, you’ll want to start your CELPIP preparation early to be sure to get a great score. While the results of your CELPIP exam only contribute to part of your overall immigration score, a language proficiency test is mandatory for anyone applying to immigrate to Canada.

Booking a CELPIP Test

Part of CELPIP preparation includes booking the test so that you know what date you need to be ready as you are studying. You can book your exam on the CELPIP site at In the drop-down menus in the bar just below the heading pictures, you can select your test type, country, region, city and date range for taking the test. There are many test centres throughout BC, so it’s easy to find one near you and select a date that you can work towards with confidence in your English language abilities. Tests are offered on both weekdays and weekends for your convenience.

You will want to select the CELPIP General test in “test-type” as this is for those seeking permanent residence in Canada. The cost to take a CELPIP is currently $280 which is payable at the time you register. Once you have paid for your test spot, it becomes even more important to do as much CELPIP test preparation as possible.

How the Test Works

The CELPIP includes four sections. Listening is 47 to 55 minutes and involves a variety of spoken segments; Reading is 55 to 60 minutes and includes reading a range of correspondence and information; Writing is 53 to 60 minutes and includes writing an email as well as responding to questions; and Speaking is 15 to 20 minutes and includes describing a scene, expressing opinions, talking about personal experiences or other forms of speaking.

Results for the CELPIP are linked to your online account and will be available within eight business days of taking the exam. You will receive an email to advise when the scores have been posted to your account and they will be available for up to two years after the test date.

If those results aren’t what you had hoped for, you can take the exam again and use the results from the best overall test score for your immigration application.

CELPIP Test Preparation Tips

There are some important details you need to know prior to taking the test to ensure the most positive experience and results. Knowing these facts can make the difference between a poor score and a good one.

The CELPIP is completely computerized. The benefits of this are:
– Spell-check options to assist you with words you know but are unfamiliar with the spelling
– All four sections of the test (speaking, listening, reading and writing) are performed in one sitting at the computer – you will be using a keyboard, mouse, microphone and headphones during the exam
– The computer marks the multiple-choice reading and listening sections and a human CELPIP Rater provides the scores for the writing and speaking sections.

Other things to know are that the test is developed specifically for the needs of the immigration process, so questions are based on everyday, conversational English. There are no complex or academic concepts within the exam. As one of the best known English language tests, there are many dates and locations to choose from for your CELPIP to make it easier for you to find a test time that fits your schedule.

CELPIP Preparation

This is a test that will have an impact on your future. No matter how good you feel your English skills are, you should study so that you are as prepared as much as possible and feel confident going into the exam.

Some people find self-study doesn’t give them the structure and foundation they need to properly prepare. If this is the case for you, you might want to consider taking a CELPIP preparation course. These courses can help you by ensuring you know the format of the exam, how it will move from section to section and the areas where you need to apply the most amount of your study time. The other benefit of prep courses is the exposure to sample tests and the ability to work through them as if they were the real thing.

Because the exam is fully-computerize, you need to be comfortable reading, writing, listening and speaking with a computer. It can be challenging to review new information in a room with others doing the same thing, so it is advisable to practice these skills with a computer in a busy location like a coffee shop, restaurant or public transit.

Practice your English skills regularly by reviewing the news and other current media online. Videos, magazines and blogs can be helpful resources to assist you in better understanding and using the English language. It is also a good idea to find someone who is a native English speaker who can converse with you on a regular basis and help with your skills.

Remember to relax. You need proper sleep before the exam and you also need to eat so that your brain is fully fueled. Exams are stressful for everyone and it is important to keep the stress in check both prior to and during the exam. You want to do well of course, but knowing you can retake the test often helps people to relax enough that they can actually do a better job during their exam.

English is a complex language and taking a test as important as the CELPIP can be intimidating. Take your time to prepare so that you’re at your best.


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