What is the CELC Exam format?

The CELC exam tests students writing, listening, reading and speaking skills. Grammar is considered in part with the written section of the exam.

25 points are assigned to each of the four sections making for a total possible score of 100. Candidates need to score an aggregate minimum of 65 in order to receive a passing grade.

The CELC exam utilizes two examiners for both the written and spoken sections of the test.


Candidates choose one of two topics and have 35 minutes to complete the task. The topics are said to be ‘current topics of interest’ for young adults.

Each essay is graded according to 5 categories. Grammar, vocabulary, organization, development and language use. 5 points are available for each category for a total of 25 possible points. Test scorers are looking for a well thought out paper that includes some elaboration and a variety of structures.

Next, students have 20 minutes to complete a 40 multiple choice fill in the blank grammar section.


There are 3 sections to the listening portion of the test containing a total of 40 questions. The sections include short conversations, longer conversations (with 3-5 questions) and extended passages lasting 2-3 minutes. The extended passages are heard twice.


The reading section of the CELC contains 4 passages of general interest subjects with 8-12 questions each. There will be some testing of vocabulary and phrases in context with highlighted words from the text.


The speaking task includes a non graded warm-up and then 6 tasks. Each task can receive up to 4 points for a total of 24 points. 1 point is awarded or not (to make the 25) on a holistic basis. What’s that you ask? Well, the examiner answers a yes or no question of whether they think the candidate has the speaking level of a B2 user.

Tasks include descriptions, narration, supported opinion and elaboration. B2 users should show signs of mistake awareness and intelligibility.

For more information about MSU exams click on CELC exam.

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