As part of the CELPIP English language test, you will be asked to prove your proficiency in English through the Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking sections. The ultimate aim of the test is to assess your fitness for using English in all contexts, from academic to work to everyday life. In this article, we will be discussing the CELPIP Listening section as well as some helpful tips to prepare for this section.

CELPIP Listening Section Overview

In the Listening section, the questions address your ability to interpret audio material with various content from a series of recordings which you will listen to only once during the test. You will be timed, and the whole section is meant to take approximately 47-55 minutes (including the time you take to answer the questions which follow the recordings). The entire test will take place on a computer and you will be able to see the timer throughout so you can check how you are progressing

There are several themes that will be addressed in this section:

  • Practice Task
  • Listening to Problem Solving
  • Listening to a Daily Life Conversation
  • Listening for Information
  • Listening to a News Item
  • Listening to a Discussion
  • Listening to Viewpoints

You can prepare for the CELPIP Listening by purchasing study materials online from the test’s official website and you can also enroll in preparation courses through this website. There are some free resources such as a Guidebook and an Overview file which you can download, as well as webinars and workshops. Finally, you can take Listening Sample Tests online to replicate the exact order of the sections and the overall feel of the test.

The CELPIP Online store also sells other useful materials that can be used for preparing for the test in general.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Tips on the CELPIP Listening Section

After you have used these materials, below are some tips on how to approach the CELPIP Listening test:

Tip 1: Practice listening in everyday life and taking notes

  • You can listen to a news bulletin or radio program and take notes in preparation – this can help speed up your note-taking
  • Practice, in general, is invaluable in preparing for an auditory examination, because this is the one part of the test where you cannot go back and re-read the content your question is about or find out more information; therefore, practicing with any type of material, and as often as possible, is the best way to prepare for the Listening test
  • Even if you routinely speak to people in English and think you have a very good grasp of the skills required for the CELPIP Listening, it is a good idea to practice the style of the test; i.e., listen to short snippets of information (this is where the news bulletin is very useful), write down notes, and ask yourself questions. Better yet, try and practice with a friend who can ask you questions afterward so you get the benefit of a third-party

Tip 2: If you have difficulties with accents or are aware of any other weaknesses regarding listening comprehension, this is what you should focus on in your practice as well

Tip 3: There will be different numbers of questions depending on which section of the CELPIP Listening test you are in, so remember to expect the most questions for Problem Solving (8) and Discussion (8) sections

  • Information and Viewpoints have 6 questions each
  • Daily Life Conversation and the News Item have 5 questions each
  • You have 1 Practice Task at the start

Tip 4: Use the Practice Task to warm up and reduce any anxiety you may be feeling before the full questions begin to appear on screen and recordings start

Tip 5: Pay very close attention to the recordings – you can only listen to each audio file once, so make sure you read the instructions beforehand and make notes while you listen

  • When you work through the questions, focus on the actual meaning and not on minute details; remember that the test is assessing your ability to understand spoken content in English, so the questions are not likely to pick up on small aspects of the content you heard

Tip 6: Taking notes is essential for retaining details; even if you are paying attention, you may find you miss some details unless you make notes as you go along

Tip 7: Some sections give you a limited amount of time to answer a question; here, if you run out of time, the test automatically moves on, so take your time / use it all up

Tip 8: Some other sections don’t have a time limit for each question, but for the whole section; be aware of these and time yourself so you are always conscious of how long you are taking. If you feel that you are getting stuck on a question, move on and come back to it later if you still have time in the section; this will increase your chances of getting more questions right

Tip 9: Don’t be afraid to guess – your aim should be to answer every question. There is no penalty for incorrect responses on the multiple-choice sections so try to eliminate the options you are sure are wrong, and pick an educated guess from what is left

Tip 10: Manage your time – you can always see the timer in the top right-hand corner of the screen so watch it and ensure you don’t run out of time to answer all the questions

Tip 11: Always check over your answers – before you move on to the next section, or even from what question to the next, take care that you’ve selected an answer. It’s better to have an answer than none at all, and once you’ve passed a question, you cannot go back to it.

Hint: The CELPIP Listening section may also contain some unscored questions used for test development. These can be found anywhere within the Listening section and will look the same as the scored questions. You will not be able to identify these questions, but it is good to be aware that they are in the test. However, treat every question with the same amount of care and attention.


We hope that this article in the CELPIP Listening section was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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