Once you’ve decided to establish yourself in Canada with either Permanent Resident Status or Canadian citizenship, the big decisions may be behind you… but there is still work to be done! Your first step may be to meet the language proficiency requirement. Are you ready?
In order to achieve the language proficiency requirements established by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) you must pass one of the two officially accepted language proficiency tests – either the CELPIP test or the IELTS test. You can learn more about each test in our blog post called CELPIP versus IELTS: Which One Should You Take?
Learn More about the CELPIP Test
The CELPIP exam was developed by Paragon Testing Enterprises, a subsidiary of the University of British Columbia (UBC) to meet the need for a secure and reliable English language proficiency test. The test is done entirely on the computer.
CELPIP tests are not “pass” or “fail”, but are instead score-based. This means you want to achieve the highest CELPIP score possible for the best chances of being accepted into Canada.
If you decide that CELPIP is the right option for you, then you need to take the right one! There are two tests available: the CELPIP-General Test for permanent resident applications, and the CELPIP General LS Test for Canadian citizenship applications.
Regardless of which one fits your needs, this is one test you definitely want to study for in order to do well. Don’t know where to start your preparation? We’ve put together a few tips to help you study. These tips are especially applicable to the CELPIP General LS test for Canadian Citizenship – which is based primarily on language skills like listening and speaking to gauge your language proficiency index.
CELPIP Preparation Tips
1. We have already mentioned that CELPIP tests are done electronically. This leads to our first CELPIP test tip: be comfortable on a computer.
- Know how to use a keyboard, a mouse and be familiar with listening through headphones and speaking into a microphone. Become familiar with reading from a computer screen. If you’re struggling to be comfortable with the computer, this will slow you down during the test and make it harder.
2. Once you’re used to wearing headphones to listen to information, the next tip is to learn to listen carefully and take notes.
- Download a variety of English-speaking news and current event recordings. During the test, you will only be able to listen to each section once, so you must get good at understanding the important pieces of information as you listen. Use a notebook (a notebook is provided in the CELPIP exam) and write down brief details from what you hear. Don’t write too much as it will take up more time – a keyword or phrase will remind you of what you heard. Listen to each recording only once, then practice with a different one so you become used to the format of the test.
3. Did you know that the CELPIP test is timed? Practice your language skills with a timer.
- Your English test for Canadian citizenship requires you to answer questions with a limited amount of time. Practice speaking into your computer in a noisy environment, like a coffee shop (to help you learn to not be distracted by voices or noises: others will be taking the test at the same time as you and will also be speaking into their computers) and limiting your thoughts to 40 seconds. This tip works well with the second tip. You might want to listen to a news report and then tell the computer (in less than 40 seconds) what the recording was about.
4. There will be words or phrases that you won’t be familiar with yet. Don’t stop to consider or overthink these phrases.
- Focus on the words and phrases you know in order to understand the information you are reading or listening to. Many people who have taken the CELPIP test have missed important information by trying too hard to understand something they weren’t familiar with. Skip over the portions you don’t understand and stay aware of the information in the words and phrases you do understand in order to respond to the questions.
5. Use the tools available to you!
- Consider accessing the free practice test from the CELPIP website, video information through the CELPIP YouTube channel, and the practice materials available through the CELPIP website. Do a practice test to understand the basic format of the test, the speed of the information and the time allowed to respond. Sample tests are the best way to know what the actual CELPIP exam will be like. Purchasing study materials from the CELPIP website will also give you an idea of your CELPIP score. This helps a great deal to know which sections of the test you need to do more studying on in order to get your highest possible score. If you are really looking for that extra preparation – take the CELPIP preparation courses to help you get your desired language proficiency score.
6. The CELPIP test is about conversational and day-to-day English. It is not about academic English or complex concepts in English. To achieve a higher CELPIP score, focus on everyday English used in conversation between friends, family and co-workers and the English used in the broadcast media like radio, television and newspapers.
- Practice with others who know English, or are learning English, to share concepts (and how you’re feeling about the upcoming CELPIP test dates!). Share resources, tips and tricks to getting better at listening to and speaking English. When it’s time to book your CELPIP exam, it may help to have others you know taking the test at the same time.
7. Finally, we know taking a test as important to your future as the CELPIP test can be stressful, but do your best to find techniques to help you relax before, during and after the exam.
- You may find it comforting to know that you can retake the CELPIP test again to achieve a better CELPIP score. The English test for Canadian citizenship isn’t easy, but with practice, you can achieve a good CELPIP score. Being calm during the exam will help you speak more clearly during the speaking portions and will also help you better manage your time.
What to Keep in Mind
- See how the language proficiency index scoring works with the CELPIP score calculator. If you need to retake the exam, knowing how you ranked in the different test areas will help.
- If you need additional help getting prepared for the exam, there are a number of courses to assist with both the CELPIP General and CELPIP General LS tests led by people who understand that learning English can be complex. The guidance sometimes makes the difference between a low CELPIP score and one that can allow for the IRCC Express Entry.
- There are also many organizations that offer the test, which gives you flexibility in times and locations. Look for an exam that is close to home and at a time when you are most alert to help keep your stress levels down and abilities high.