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Beat the TIMER on your CELPIP speaking test πŸ•—

It’s just you, a computer, and a timer.

Just kidding! The CELPIP speaking test doesn’t have to be so scary! But there is one aspect of the test that is challenging, and that’s using the timer.

Let’s face it. Speaking with a timer ticking in front of you is definitely not natural, but if you practice at home with one, you’ll find that it’s not impossible!

So let’s first breakdown the CELPIP speaking test format for you so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

The CELPIP speaking test is broken down into 8 speaking tasks. The question types and their durations will always be the same, but the topics will change on each test (of course). Check out the chart below for a helpful breakdown!

Task 1 Giving Advice30 seconds90 seconds
Task 2 Talking about a Personal Experience30 seconds60 seconds
Task 3 Describing a Scene30 seconds60 seconds
Task 4 Making Predictions30 seconds60 seconds
Task 5 – Part 1 Comparing & Persuading60 seconds60 seconds
Task 5 – Part 260 seconds60 seconds
Task 6 Dealing with a Difficult Situation60 seconds60 seconds
Task 7 Expressing Opinions30 seconds90 seconds
Task 8 Describing an Unusual Situation30 seconds60 seconds

Now let’s take a look at aspects of the timer that you’ll want to pay close attention to.

Notice that there are two tasks (1 & 7) in which you’ll have to speak for 90 seconds instead of 60 seconds, BUT, you only have 30 seconds to prepare! These are tough, so it’s worth it to practice these tasks a lot in your exam prep.

Most students find Task 7 the hardest, but many actually find Tasks 3&4 challenging. It really depends!

Also, notice that Task 5 has two parts to it. In the first part, you’ll be given two pictures that you’ll have to choose from, but you won’t have to speak. You’ll only have to speak in Part 2, but the good news is you’ll be given another 60 seconds to prepare again.

Important tips for your CELPIP Speaking Test


You won’t have much time to prepare for your response, and unfortunately, most of that time will get taken up as you actually read and understand the question! In other words, if you only have 30 seconds to prepare for your response, you might spend 10-15 seconds reading and understanding the question. This is totally normal!

So how can you maximize your preparation time? 

Think of at least 2-3 different ideas that you can talk about in your response. If you can only think of 1, that’s better than nothing! But expand on it with reasons and examples while you’re speaking.


A lot of our students say they can’t think of ideas. But hey! The ideas are right in front of you! Use the question and the context as a guide. Remember that the CELPIP test is about daily life situations. You won’t have to talk about neuroscience!

You’ll always be able to put yourself in the situation and think of some examples or personal experiences that you can talk about. In fact, you’ll do better if your answers sound real and authentic. Coming up with fake examples is hard to do on the spot, and it might make you sound like a robot.

Instead, use real-life stories from your personal life and give your personal opinion throughout your responses.

You’ll find you’ve actually got tons of ideas!!


Be prepared for a noisy test environment! Everyone complains about this. While you’re speaking or trying to think of ideas, someone next to you will be speaking loudly…and oh boy, that sure is distracting! Due to the pandemic, there is more space now to allow for social distancing, so you’ll at least have a computer between you and the candidate next to you. However, hearing somebody else do their test while you’re trying to think can still be distracting.

Knowing what to expect on your test day will set you up for success. We suggest contacting your exam centre to familiarize yourself with your test environment and the latest safety protocols such as what you can bring with you so that you’re fully prepared.


Test coming up soon? Busy schedule? Are you freaking out? Don’t panic! We’ve got the perfect solution for you

We know that lots of you have very busy schedules and since our agendas fill up quickly, we want to remind you of our amazing premium self-study course!

In this exclusive English for Canada program you’ll get immediate access to high-quality videos, sample questions and answers for both the Speaking and Writing tests with clear explanations of HOW the CELPIP examiners will be testing you. You’ll also get 54 MP3’s with sample responses for all 8 speaking tasks with an authentic Canadian accent, and our exclusive toolkits full of our top tips and vocabulary banks for each question type! 

Pass your exam once and for all! Because Canada wants you to stay here too!

Our premium self-study course even includes a bonus session with our Canadian founder Maria, so check out what’s included by clicking here

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