CELPIP Speaking Task 3

CELPIP Speaking Preparation

As you prepare to describe a picture in CELPIP Speaking Task 3, get ready to use both your present and present perfect tenses to give your response depth.

In this example, I’ve used the present perfect to identify some things that must have happened before the picture was taken. Obviously, the woman has found something to sit on because we can see that she’s sitting.

Unless you’re looking for a score of 5 or less, don’t say, “I can see”!

I can see is a level 2/3 structure, so by using it you’re filling valuable time with phrases that won’t increase your score.

Rather than say, “I can see”, use a dummy pronoun – there is/are.

“…I got my 9, and I’ve completed my PR application!… Thank you Angela …”

If you would like detailed feedback on your speaking responses, please record them on your phone and submit them to our speaking correction service.

CELPIP Speaking Task 3

When you prepare your response to any of the CELPIP Speaking Tasks, your focus should be on speaking well, expressing yourself efficiently, and ticking the examiners boxes.

Your examiner will be looking at your organization, vocabulary, phrasing, sentence variety, grammar, and tenses, so make sure you use variety.

Below, you’ll find some tips help you with the CELPIP Speaking Picture question in Task 3 Sample Answer, but if you need more help please talk to us about tutoring.

Read and Understand the Question

In CELPIP Speaking task 3, you’re describing a picture to someone who can’t see it.

The first thing you need to do is read and internalize the question. Then, look at he picture and identify the 3-4 areas of activity that you have the best vocabulary for. For example, in this picture, I don’t really want to talk about the house in the background, but I do think I may be able to say something about the three people in the picture.

A typical CELPIP picture question looks like this:

Describe some things that are happening in the picture.CELPIP Speaking Picture sample response

How to Organize your Response

Your response should have 4-5 parts.

  • 1 – an overview of the picture
  • 2 – the first area of activity
  • 3 – the second area of activity
  • 4 – the third are of activity
  • 5 – A conclusion

How Long Should my Response Be?

As part of familiarizing yourself with the picture question in CELPIP Speaking Task 3,  you need to know how long your response should be and how much time you have to talk about it.

You have about 30 seconds to prepare your response, and 60 seconds to talk about it. Furthermore, you must finish within those 60 seconds, so it’s a lot easier to get everything in, and get a good score, if you follow a basic format.

How to Start your Response

When preparing for CELPIP Speaking Task 3, it is important that you understand how to formulate your introduction. Your introduction should give an overview of the picture. Think about how you would start your response in your own language, and then use that same type of information in your introduction.

Did they take the picture in a place where it’s always hot, or cold? Is the activity routine or occasional? Is the atmosphere in the scene calm and pleasant, or is it angry and hostile? Do the people show any signs of being exploited?

Your overview might look like this:

This is a scene of an outdoor kitchen in what must be a rural village in a hot country. It’s a very calm scene because no-one seems to be stressed or angry.

How to Approach your First Area of Activity

With your introduction complete, the next thing you need to do is talk about your first area of activity – the woman. 

When I look at this woman, I see someone who routinely grinds grain between two stones so that she can feed her children, but I can also see that she has found something to sit on and some containers to put her grain into once it is ground. Let’s see if I can say all of that in an efficient way!

Your description might sound like this:

In the middle of the picture, an older woman is grinding grain between two stones. She has positioned herself on a small upturned basket in front of a large stone, placed the grain on it, and has started rolling a cylindrically shaped stone to and fro over the grain to crush it.

How to Approach your Second Area of Activity

After your first area of activity, you’ll talk about your second area of activity – the little boy.

Okay, we’re onto the little guy. What can we say about him? Where is he in relation to the woman? What’s he watching? Where are his friends? What’s distracting him is the distance? Is he hungry and waiting for supper? Has mum told him to stay close? Is he upset with mum? Why?

Your description might sound like this:

Behind the woman there is a young boy, wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt, who seems to have been distracted by something outside the picture and is watching this unknown action with great interest.

How to Approach your Third Area of Activity

After your second area of activity, you’ll talk about your third area of activity – the little girl.

Don’t just talk about her clothes! Is she happy, sad, curious, interested? What is she watching? What has caught her attention? Would she love the woman to ask her for help? Is she hot and bothered, or is she comfortable? Has she left her friends to come and watch the woman? Is anything distracting her?

Your third area of activity might sound like this:

To the woman’s left, there is a young girl dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. She’s standing with her hands on her hips watching with great interest as the older woman grinds the grain.

Your final response might sound like this:

For more step-by-step instructions for the CELPIP Speaking Tasks, please check these pages: