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CELPIP, what is it, why should we take CELPIP test

Last updated on April 16, 2021

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  • What is CELPIP?
  • What are differences between CELPIP and IELTS?
  • What are CELPIP formats?
    • Listening
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Speaking
  • COVID-19 Notes
  • Other information
  • Why should we take CELPIP test instead of IELTS?

What is CELPIP?

CELPIP is a Canadian English certificate. This exam format is similar with IELTS including Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. CELPIP is general test which means test content is about daily life, it is not too academic compared with IELTS. There are two kind of CELPIP test:

  • CELPIP General (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking)
  • CELPIP LS (Only Listening and Speaking)

CELPIP testing time is around 3 hours even it is mentioned 5 hours on CELPIP homepage. All sections are progressing on computer including Speaking (no human to talk with). Once start the test, testing time runs unstoppable until time is over.

What are differences between CELPIP and IELTS?

  • CELPIP is Canadian English certificate and valid only on Canada while IELTS is international.
  • CELPIP mainly focuses on Canadian content such as: life, study, news, weather…e.g while IELTS talks about everything on around the world.

Why should we take CELPIP test instead of IELTS?

  • CELPIP is Canadian English certificate so obviously there are many test hosts and test time for us to book.
  • Price is a little bit cheaper CAD$280 compared with CAD$319 for IELTS (Price updated Mar 18, 2021)
  • From my perspective, CELPIP is easier than IELTS.
  • Because the content is all about Canada, so the more understanding about Canada, the more chances to get higher grade on this test. IELTS is too general, I mean it is about everything on around the world so it is difficult to understand all information while taking test.

What are CELPIP formats?

I am not going to copy all information on CELPIP home page, if you want to see official format test, please refer this link: In this post, I am going to share my experience through out all skills.


  • You will listen to everyday conversation, a news and an academic speech.
  • There are some twisted questions that need you to think. For example, A really likes B but at the end, A decided to get C because it’s cheaper. Be careful when you click on the answers.
  • Part 1-3, the questions are verbally, that means you will listen to the conversation as well as questions. Part 4-6, they will write down question on screen, you have to read question and answer by choosing multiple choice answers.
  • Part 1 is easy, there will be 2 people are talking together. My tip to take note in this part is drawing a T and note down Person 1 and Person 2 at head of table’s columns. By doing this, you will be easier to view and compare ideas between two people and give right choice for you answer.
  • Refer this guy, I learned from him:
T note
Drawing T structure and taking note in side
  • Part 2, ,3 are similar to part 1 but they are different about the content and situation, keep your T note and write everything you could hear to valuable paper.
  • Part 4 is about a news, an information announcement, now we are no longer need T note anymore, just write normal note with everything you hear.
  • Part 5 is about a discussion between 3 people. Now we come back to T note but in an enhance form. In this part, you can see an image, a video about them. Note down the position of each of them from left to right, note they are woman or man and also what they are wearing, what their hair or something to recognize them. Sometime, they will mention each person name, write down immediately. If you don’t know how to write their name, just right first letter that you hear or write on your language. For instance, Graham (just Ga). All this information would appear in questions and answers. It might save you 1 or 2 questions that you don’t remember but you understand their viewpoint in the conversation.
double T note
  • Finally, part 6 is about viewpoint, this part is hardest one. It looks like an academic lesson from professor or a study announcement. In this part, the only thing that you can do is practice, practice, learn vocabulary, taking note and good luck.
  • All in all, CELPIP listening is easier than IELTS. Do practice regularly you would get 7+ easily.


  • All you need in reading section are scanning and skimming for finding the answers. Name, time, special situations…
  • 2 first parts are good to get points. The more correct answers you get here, the more chance to reach over band 6.
  • 3 follow up parts are long and are getting harder and harder. You should practice to reading timing pressure and try to get used to read long paragraphs because you are not able to read all paragraphs. At fifth part, your brain will be tired unless you practice to help it has good power.
  • Compare with IETLS, this reading section is showed on PC monitor, all paragraphs and questions are located in same screen so that help you easy to scan and skim to find the answer.


  • There are only 2 parts of writing. The first part is an email, letter about daily life. The second part is a survey.
  • You will completely type all writing task on computer which is disadvantage for someone who is not good at typing.
  • The software where you will do your writing is quite slow. It means when you type a word, it will delay to show on screen. It takes time to type and remove when you want to beautify your sentences.
  • The part which you will write a letter or email is quite easy for people who are usually use English on work. If you know how to write a formal letter that will be your advance. The letter doesn’t need so academic with high-level vocabularies, of course it will be good if any.
  • The survey part is similar with IELTS academic. They will give you a topic and you will choose one of solution or both of them and write sentences to support your main idea. This part I think you should write with high-level grammar and vocabularies to get more point.
  • The most importance thing in this writing is you should write in 150-200 words compared with IELTS (more than 300 words). Don’t overwrite your paragraphs.


  • You will speak to the machine, yes, it is a machine. You will talk to a mic on your headphone, the computer software will automatically counts time and records your speech.
  • The time will run unstoppable until the end. So keep practicing, brainstorming this part because you won’t get enough ideas to say even you are expert in grammar and vocabulary.
  • The key of speaking that is most of parts are conversations which means you need to speak as you are talking to friends, family’s members or colleagues. Don’t use too many academic words like IELTS, you don’t need them.

Taking test in COVID time.

  • If you are in Calgary, there are many center where you can book your test. If you booked at Calgary Tower, you would go to 2nd floor. At this time, most of doors of centre are closed but one will be opened.
  • You should take a look your center a day before because all roads in downtown are oneway roads, so it is difficult to find a parking lot. I recommended you use CTrain, go to Centre Street station and walk to there. (5mins).
  • You have to wear facemask during the test and you are required to wear with also in speaking section.

Other information

  • You can bring your cellphone to centre but you are not allowed to bring into test room and you have to turn it completely off in front of examiners. You can bring a small back bag and put everything into it. Test room staff will give you a plastic bag with the number to put them in and seal it.
  • The test room is big, there are about 20-30 computers but all attenders just use 2/3 of them. However, you still hear quite loud if someone who is close to you are speaking. Just try to focus to your parts.
  • There is one thing that I felt so weird that I am not allowed to drink water during test while I could go to washroom. So you should go washroom and drink enough water before test.
  • After you finish your test, the time will stop, there is a message will be showed on screen that’s telling you have done your test. You will be asked to leave test room immediately and go home.
  • The CELPIP certificate is valid in 2 years for all Canada. Your certificate with your points will shows on your account 2 years. If you want a paper copy, you will need to pay for $20 and your certificate will be mailed to your registered address.
  • You can use digital copy to submit your files for any immigration stream.

This is all information and my personal experience about CELPIP test. Hope it help you to have more information for your test.

Break a leg !!

P/s: I am willing to receive any comment that helps me to correct grammatical and spelling mistakes. However, every aggressive comments will be deleted automatically.

These are some reference links that I used to practice:

Published inπŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Canada in me

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