Know You Are Prepared: 10 Essential Strategies for Success on CELPIP – the Only Canadian Test Designated by IRCC

Published: May 13, 2024

If you’re applying to become a permanent resident or citizen of Canada, taking the CELPIP Test is an essential step toward your goal because it is one of the approved language tests and the only Canadian functional language assessment designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

If you’re applying to become a permanent resident or citizen of Canada, taking the CELPIP Test is an essential step toward your goal because it is one of the approved language tests and the only Canadian functional language assessment designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Those applying for permanent residency can take the CELPIP-General Test, which assesses functional listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. On the other hand, for citizenship applications, candidates can take the CELPIP-General LS Test, which assesses functional listening and speaking proficiency.

Book a CELPIP Test Date

What is CELPIP?

CELPIP stands for the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program, developed by language experts at the University of British Columbia. It allows test takers to demonstrate their ability to function in English. The CELPIP Test is:

  • Completely computer-delivered
  • Divided into 4 components: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking
  • Approximately 3 hours long but done in one sitting

Plus, choosing CELPIP means quick online results – within 3 – 4 days.

Unlike other English proficiency tests, the CELPIP speaking component does not involve talking to a person. Instead, candidates reply to on-screen prompts, which are then assessed by multiple expert raters.

Learn more about the test day experience in this video.

Where to Take the Test

With over 80 testing locations in Canada and around the world, the CELPIP Test is available at a location near you. Visit the CELPIP website to learn more and check out available test dates.

How to Prepare

With over 10 hours of free webinars, a free sample test, a free practice test available with every new account registration, and a wide range of study materials to help candidates prepare for test day:

  • Free Sample Test: Available on the CELPIP website, the free sample test includes sample test questions and answers to help test takers understand what to expect on each component of the CELPIP Test.
  • Free Practice Test: Available for free when test takers register for a CELPIP Account, this is a complete practice test, covering each component of the CELPIP Test, including detailed answer keys for each section.
  • Free Webinars and Workshops: Each week, a free CELPIP information session is hosted online. It gives test takers an overview of the CELPIP Test components and includes an informal question-and-answer session. Recorded webinars and workshops are also available on the CELPIP YouTube page.
  • CELPIP Podcast: Listen along as our CELPIP experts help you prepare for your CELPIP Test. The Official CELPIP Podcast is a great way to build your study plan for CELPIP success.
  • Paid Study Materials: A wide range of practice tests, online learning programs, study guides, and more are available for purchase.
  • Visit the CELPIP website for more information about preparing for your CELPIP Test or to learn about the test itself.

10 strategies for use before and during the test

Candidates can do many things to prepare and improve their chances of success. The CELPIP instructional products and programs team has compiled the most essential strategies below.

  1. Practice using a computer

The CELPIP Test is fully computer-delivered, so ensure you are comfortable with a mouse and keyboard. Practicing with CELPIP’s free online sample test and free online practice test is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with this format.

  1. Remember that CELPIP is a test of general English proficiency

CELPIP assesses your ability to use English in everyday situations. It’s not a test of business or academic English. One of the best ways to prepare is to use English as much as possible in your daily life.

  1. Use a wide range of vocabulary and grammatical structures

Try to show the range of your vocabulary in your writing and speaking. Avoid using the same words repeatedly. You don’t need to memorize the dictionary— use words that would be natural in daily life. Remember to use varied grammatical structures and construct sentences that differ in length and complexity.

  1. Manage your time during the test

The CELPIP Test is entirely computer-based, and a timer on each screen tells you how much time you have left for each section. Keeping an eye on these timers can help you gauge how to pace yourself throughout the test.

  1. Check your work

If you have any time left while completing the Reading, Listening, or Writing components of the test, read over your answers and ensure you have attempted to answer all questions as well as you can. Try to spend a few minutes reviewing your writing, ensuring that you have no typos that could impact the clarity of your response.

  1. Speak clearly and at a natural pace

During the Speaking portion of the test, speak clearly into the microphone, which should be close to your lips but not touching them. Speaking quickly when you’re nervous is natural— try to slow down and speak at a normal pace.

  1. Don’t worry about your accent

The test raters are trained to disregard accents. Please do not focus on it unless your accent prevents you from being understood. Instead, concentrate on using good grammar and accurate and varied vocabulary and providing complete answers.

  1. Take notes

While taking the CELPIP test, you will be provided with a notepaper and a pen. You may use these to take notes during any point in the test, though you may find it especially useful to outline some ideas for your Speaking or Writing responses. It’s also a good idea to take notes about the main ideas and specific details during the Listening Test.

  1. Focus on what you know

You may encounter some difficult words in a Reading or Listening passage. Don’t get stuck worrying about words you don’t understand. Focus on the general meaning and the parts of the passage you understand. Sometimes, it is possible to figure out a new word based on your knowledge of the words around it.

  1. Use a variety of reading strategies

You don’t have to read every single word in a passage to answer questions on the Reading Test successfully; instead, use reading strategies such as skimming and scanning. These may help you with some more straightforward questions, leaving more time to spend on the more difficult questions.

Preparation Resources for CELPIP

Taking the CELPIP Test

The CELPIP Test is available at over 80 locations across Canada and internationally. Find out more about test centres, study materials, fees, and how to register at

New CELPIP Testing Centres


  • São Paulo, Brazil: Take the CELPIP Test at CTC - Centro De Treinamento CertificacoesClick here to register!
  • Curitiba, Brazil: Take the CELPIP Test at Associaçao Cultura Inglesa de CuritibaClick here to register!
  • Quito, Ecuador: Take the CELPIP Test at the English House Testing CentreClick here to register!
  • Mexico City, Mexico: Take the CELPIP Test at CDOMO, SC Prometric Test Center! Click here to register!
  • Chengdu, Sichuan, China: Chengdu Milkyway Information Technical School is now offering the CELPIP Test. Registration is filling out fast. For more information or to register, click here.
  • Guangzhou, Guangdong, China: Take the CELPIP Test at Guangzhou Yiben Enterprise Management Consulting! For more information or to register, click here.
  • Shenzhen, Guangdong, China: Shenzhen SEG Personnel Training Centre is now offering the CELPIP Test. To register for an upcoming test, click here.
  • Beirut, Lebanon: ConnecMe - Horizon Lab 1 is now offering the CELPIP Test. To register for an upcoming test, click here.

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