CELPIP Speaking Tips to Get a Higher Score

CELPIP Speaking Tips: How To Get a Higher Score

This article will walk you through the speaking performance standards used in CELPIP. To illustrate the points, you may see a sample question or a picture.

1. Content/Coherence:

Sample question: Your friend realized he lost his wallet after he got off the bus. Give him advice about what he should do.

Number of ideas
You need to come up with more than just one idea. Having only one idea will make it a lot more difficult for you to create a long response.

Bad example: Contact the lost and found office Better example:

  1. Contact the lost and found office
  2. Call your bank to temporarily deactivate your bank cards or credit cards
  3. Lend him some cash in case he needs money

Quality of ideas
When you come up with ideas, they need to be realistic and relevant to the questions. No need to come up with something unique.

Bad example: You should try to find your wallet.
Better example: You should contact the lost and found office in case someone turned in your wallet.

Organization of ideas
Because you have more than one idea, they need to be organized logically.

Bad example:

  • Request a bank card replacement
  • Contact the lost and found office
  • Report the lost bank card

A better example (more logical):

  • Contact the lost and found office
  • Report the lost bank card
  • Request a bank card replacement

Examples and supporting details
Each idea needs to be supported. You must explain your thoughts clearly. It doesn’t hurt to assume that the other person knows nothing about it. Sometimes, you may think something is obvious to other people when it is actually not the case.

Bad example: You should contact the lost and found office. They can help you find your wallet. I hope they have it.
Better example: You should contact the lost and found office. You should be able to find their contact number on their website. When you call them, you can describe your wallet, when and where you lost it, and ask if anyone has turned it in.

2. Vocabulary:

Word choice
You want to use words that best describe your message. However, this isn’t always easy.

Quit – Fired – Laid off
The words above may have a similar meaning. They all tell us that someone stops working, however, they are not identical.

Quit – stops working by choice
Fired – stops working because of poor performance or violation of law/ policies
Laid off – stops working because the company is downsizing, in financial trouble

Precision and accuracy
You do not want to show much hesitation when speaking, and use words that accurately describe what you want to say.

Bad example: He is going to do something to the balloon using a sharp needle. He is going to destroy the balloon.
Better example: He is about to pop the balloon.

Range of words and phrases
Use idioms, phrases, collocations in your answers. Make sure you use the correct word combinations.
Phrases: turn up, find out, interfere with, take up, take out Collocations: have a drink, make a mess, get a job
Idioms: to make ends meet, to crash a party, to stay in touch

Suitable use of words and phrases
In your response, show that you know which words are suitable in which situation. Let’s look at these two words, sorry and apologize. When I use ‘apologize’, it is more polite and more formal. That’s the word I should use if I am talking to a client. When I am talking to a friend, I can simply use the word ‘sorry’ when I want to apologize for my mistake.

3. Listenability:

Remember that you are not penalized by having an accent. However, you still need to ensure that the examiner can hear what you say.

Rhythm, pronunciation, and intonation
Can you imagine what a robot-like speech sounds like? From old movies that you’ve watched, maybe you would say their speech doesn’t have much rhythm or intonation.
In English, people often group some words in a sentence when they speak. That is rhythm.

The English language may be a bit difficult for people because the pronunciations of words are often different from how they are written. Use the right sounds when you pronounce the words. Be familiar with the ‘schwa’ sound in English.

Sometimes our pitch goes up or goes down. That shows intonation. Let’s look at the word ‘sorry’. When you say sorry to apologize, your pitch goes down, but when you say ‘sorry?’ as a question, the pitch will go up.

Pauses, interjections, and self-correction

Try to speak naturally. In real life people do pause, so it is ok to pause occasionally, not excessively. You shouldn’t show too much hesitation when you speak. It is encouraged that you correct your mistakes when you notice them.
Use interjections to help convey your message or emotion, for instance: Oh, no! Really? This sucks! I’m sorry to hear that! You won’t believe this!

Grammar and sentence structure

Show that you can have a good understanding of English grammar. Your sentence needs to have as a few grammar mistakes as possible.
Do your grammar mistakes make it difficult to understand your sentences? How can the marker give a good score if the person is not able to understand what’s in the audio recording?

Variety of sentence structure

You need to show different sentence structures. Sometimes, you can use simple sentences, but do make some complex and compound sentences too.
Consider the following structures when you speak:

  • Complex and compound sentences
  • Passive voice
  • Causative
  • Conditionals
  • Reported speech
  • Uses of modal verbs

4. Task Fulfillment:

Are you talking about the same topic as the question? Do not go off-topic. Focus on what the main question is. Your main ideas have to be about the question.

Have you done all the things they asked you to do? In one task, the question may ask you to do more than one thing. To illustrate, in task 5, you need to make comparisons and persuade someone else. That means there are two things you need to do.

Did you use the appropriate tone and register when you speak? Does your sentence show that you’re being polite/upset/afraid? That can be shown through your tone. A different question may pose a different situation, and you may need to adjust your tone accordingly.

Is your response long enough? You need to know how much time you have to prepare and how much time you need to speak for. Not all questions have the same requirements, so get to know them and follow the instruction. Sometimes your response may be cut off before you can finish it. That’s ok as long as you have fulfilled the task.

Also Check: CELPIP Writing Task 2 Survey Questions Employees Benefits

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