CELPIP Speaking Task 4 Tips

CELPIP Speaking Preparation

A Word about Tempering

In CELPIP Speaking Task 4, as well as in the other tasks, it’s important to temper your statements.

What is Tempering?

‘Tempering’ is a technique we use to leave an escape route when we make a statement. It makes our statements sound less unequivocal and dogmatic. Someone, somewhere, always seems to be able to think of an exception to pretty much any statement.

Why we use Tempering

I’m sure you’ve noticed that Canadians say ‘eh’ at the end of almost every statement! It’s because they want to be able to escape and switch viewpoints if you don’t agree with what they’re saying.

A Tempering Example

If you’re not sure what I mean by ‘wiggle room’, consider this scenario.

You say, “That’s a great movie.”

You’re friend replies ” No, I hated it”.

You think, Oh S*** what do I say now?

If you say ‘eh’, that Oh S*** moment doesn’t happen because you’ve already set up an escape route. So in the same scenario:

You say, “That’s a great movie, eh?”

You’re friend replies ” No, I hated it”.

You reply, yeah, there were some pretty rough patches, eh?

You’re friend replies, yeah, I really hated that….

The advantages of tempering

Tempering allows you to switch sides and escape so that the conversation can continue seamlessly!

How to Temper a statement

Modals like could, may, might, should can be used to temper statements, but you can also use words like ‘tend to’, ‘seem to’, ‘I think’, and ‘probably’. Look at how they’re used in this responses and see if you can work any of them into your spoken responses.

“…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 submit your responses to our speaking correction service.

CELPIP Speaking Task 4 Tips

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.

Below, you’ll find some CELPIP Speaking Task 4 tips, but if you need more help please talk to us about tutoring.

Read and Understand the Question

Use the right future tense

In task 4, you’re predicting what might happen in a picture. Tasks 3 and 4 use the same picture.

When you respond to this prompt, you should use the future of prediction! That means you should use ‘will probably’, ‘may’, or ‘might’ to make your prediction.


A typical prediction question looks like this:

Predict what might happen in the picture.

CELPIP Speaking Picture sample response

How to Organize your Response

Your response should focus on the same 3-4 areas of activity that you spoke about in question 3 when you were describing the picture.

For each area of activity, identify the activity and then say what will probably happen next and why you think that.

  • Introduction
  • First activity – identify -> predict -> explain
  • Second activity– identify -> predict -> explain
  • Third activity – identify -> predict -> explain
  • Conclusion

How Long Should my Response Be?

As part of familiarizing yourself with the prediction question in CELPIP Speaking Task 4,  you need to know how long your response should be and how much time you have to make your predictions. You have about 30 seconds to prepare your response, and 60 seconds to talk.

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 you start your response, you’re really just clueing the person listening to you into what you’re going to be talking about; so, your introduction can be very simple…, but it absolutely MUST be there for you to get full marks for your ‘organization’.

For example, Your introduction might look like this:

I suspect that a couple of things are about to happen in this picture.

How to Approach your First Centre of Activity

With your introduction complete, the next thing you need to do is talk about your first area of activity. You’ll notice that we’ve tempered our ‘will’ with ‘I think’.

For example, when predicting what might happen in your first area of activity, you might say something like this:

During the next hour, I think that the older woman will finish grinding the grain, carry it over to a cooking area outside the picture, and start cooking supper.

How to Approach your Second Centre of Activity

After your first centre of activity, you’ll talk about your second centre of activity.

Here we’ll used ‘probably’ to temper our ‘will’ and leave ourselves some escape room in case he does something other than what we’re predicting! For all we know, he might just lie down on the grass and go to sleep!

For example, you might say something like this:

The young boy will probably move closer to the captivating action that hasn’t been included in the picture. He will probably stay and watch, or participate, until the action comes to an end.

How to Approach your Third Centre of Activity

After your second centre of activity, you’ll talk about your third centre of activity.

In this prediction, I’ve used ‘may’ to temper my prediction. It leaves me some escape room, just in case the little girl is mad at her mum and about to throw a massive tantrum!

For instance, you might say something like this:

And the young girl may help the older woman gather up the grain and move it to the cooking area. As they work, they’ll talk to each other a little, but it will probably mostly be the older woman who speaks and issues instructions.

How to Approach your Conclusion

Once you’ve finished talking about the centres of activity, you need to make a concluding remark. It’s critical that you finish this before your time runs out!

For example, your conclusion might sound like this:

By the end of the day, I think the people will have eaten the meal, and the preparation areas will have been cleaned and restored to order ready for tomorrow.

Your final response to CELPIP Speaking Task 4 might sound like this:

For more step-by-step instructions for CELPIP Speaking Tasks 1 to 8, please check these pages: