CELBAN TEST-TAKING STRATEGIES
Adopted from Canadian English Language Assessment Services (CELAS) Centre
CELBAN Group Test (Listening, Writing, Reading) Format:
Each part of the CELBAN Group Test (Listening, Writing and Reading) has a Test Booklet and an Answer Booklet. You are permitted to write only in the Answer Booklet. On CELBAN, different tasks require a different format to answer the questions. Read and/or listen to the instructions for each task carefully. You will be asked to respond in the following ways:
1. CELBAN Listening
On the CELBAN Listening you will answer multiple-choice questions. In some cases, the questions will appear in the Test Booklet, with multiple options appearing in the Answer Booklet. In other cases, the multiple choice options will appear on a chart in the Answer Booklet.
2. CELBAN Writing
In CELBAN Writing, you will be asked to respond in two different ways. In Task A, you will be required to record information in point form in a chart format (filling out a form). In Task B, you will be required to write using complete sentences in paragraphs (descriptive writing).
3. CELBAN Reading
In CELBAN Skimming & Scanning, you will be provided with questions in the Test Booklet. You will be asked to provide short answers (word or phrase) to these questions in the Answer Booklet.
In CELBAN Reading Comprehension, you will be asked to respond in two different ways. In the first three tasks, you will be given questions or statements with multiple choice options in the Test Booklet. You will be asked to choose the best multiple choice option for each item in the Answer Booklet.
In the fourth task in CELBAN Reading Comprehension, you will be provided with a text which has fill-in-the-blank options. In the Answer Booklet, four options will be provided for each blank. You will be asked to choose the best option for each blank, and to mark that choice in the Answer Booklet.
Answering Multiple-Choice Questions:
• Choose an answer, even if you have to guess. If no answer is indicated, the item will
be marked wrong.
• Do not choose two answers for one item. If two answers are indicated, the item will be
• If you change you mind about an answer, make sure that you erase the first answer
• If you think your original answer is incorrect, but are not sure whether or not to
change it, leave the original answer. (Research has shown that your first answer is
more likely to be right if you are not sure.)
Answering Short Answer Questions:
• Make sure that you use correct spelling. Copy accurately from the text when
• Make sure that you include the full name if the text gives the full name. (e.g., If the
text refers to “John Doe”, and the answer requests that name, your answer should be
“John Doe”, not just “John” or “Doe”.)
• Do not include extra information in your answer. (e.g., If the question only asks for the
street address, do not include the city.) Extra information will be marked wrong.
• Make sure you include the full information requested. (e.g., If the question asks for
the birth date, make sure you include month, date and year; do not omit one of these.)
• Make sure that your handwriting is legible (easy to read).
Strategies for Specific Sections of CELBAN Group Test (Listening, Writing and Reading)
• You will be given time before viewing/listening to the scenarios to pre-read the
questions. Use the time wisely.
• During the listening exercise, mark your answer to the question in the Answer Booklet when you hear the information you need. Do not wait until the scenario ends to mark your answers. You will be viewing the video, reading the questions, and selecting your answers at the same time. Some candidates find that it is difficult to watch the video and concentrate on the questions and answers at the same time. You may find it more helpful to listen to the video and occasionally look at the video, but focus more on reading and answering the questions.
• It is important to note that all listening scenarios are played only once.
• At the end of each scenario you will have time to check your answers. Use the time
• Make sure to finish checking your answers at the end of each scenario when the time
is up. Don’t ‘borrow’ time from the pre-reading time allowed at the beginning of the
• Please note the two different formats of questioning in CELBAN Listening.
• Be sure that your hand-writing is legible (easy to read).
• Follow the instructions carefully regarding the format of your answers. Task A and
Task B require different formats.
• Practice for Task A by filling out forms, and for Task B by writing descriptive
paragraphs. Use the Criteria listed below to self-assess your writing.
Criteria for Self-Assessment of Task A: Filling out a Form
1. Spelling: Do spelling problems make it difficult to understand your writing?
2. Legibility: Does the legibility of your handwriting make it difficult to understand your
3. Point Form: Did you use point form effectively, omitting unnecessary words and
including necessary words to convey information?
4. Main Points: Did you include the important main points when you filled in the form?
5. Supporting Details: Did you include important supporting details when you filled in
Criteria for Self-Assessment of Task B: Descriptive Writing
1. Effectiveness: Is key information accurate and clear?
2. Grammar: Is the language you use generally correct grammatically?
Are you able to use complex structures correctly?
3. Fluency: Are ideas organized well?
Have you used language appropriately to connect ideas?
4. Vocabulary for Purpose: Have you used vocabulary that is appropriate and relevant?
Have you used word forms correctly?
5. Content: Have you included main ideas and supporting details?
Skimming and Scanning
Skimming is reading quickly to determine the main idea of a text. Scanning is reading quickly to find specific details. There is a short amount of time provided to complete this task; therefore, it is important to use your time wisely. Look at the text quickly (skimming) to determine the purpose of the text. Then read each question and quickly find the information required (scanning). If you have difficulty answering one question, go on to the next question. You can always go back to the unanswered question later if you have time. Be careful when copying information from the text. If information is copied incorrectly, it will be marked wrong.
There are four reading comprehension tasks. For the first three tasks, a range of comprehension skills will be required. These may include finding main ideas, finding supporting details, making inferences, etc. In order to answer the questions you will need to read the texts thoroughly, (not just skim and scan).
The last task is a cloze exercise (fill in the blanks). Read the entire passage once through quickly, ignoring the blanks to get the gist (the general content of the text). Then read again for meaning line by line to select the best option from the multiple choices provided to fill in the blanks.
Reading Comprehension Strategies
Reading is one of the most important academic tasks faced by students. Strategies designed to improve reading comprehension may have for different purposes.
•To enhance understanding of the content information presented in a text
•To improve understanding of the organization of information in a text
•To improve attention and concentration while reading
•To make reading a more active process
•To increase personal involvement in the reading material
•To promote critical thinking and evaluation of reading material
•To enhance registration and recall of text information in memory
A "strategy" is a plan developed by a reader to assist in comprehending and thinking about texts, when reading the words alone does not give the reader a sense of the meaning of a text. In recent years, reading comprehension strategy instruction has come to the front in reading instruction at all age and grade levels. By helping students understand how these flexible tools work, teachers enable readers to tackle challenging texts with greater independence. While there is debate about the relative importance of different strategies, most experts agree about a core set of seven strategies:
1. Activating background knowledge to make connections between new and known information. In many classrooms, this instruction is divided into three categories of connection as defined by Colleen Buddy -- text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world.
2. Questioning the text. Proficient readers are always asking questions while they read. Sticky notes (post-its) have become ubiquitous in classrooms in part because they are such a useful tool for teaching students to stop, mark text, and note questions as they read.
3. Drawing inferences. Proficient readers use their prior knowledge about a topic and the information they have gleaned in the text thus far to make predictions about what might happen next. When teachers demonstrate or model their reading processes for students through think-alouds, they often stop and predict what will happen next to show how inferring is essential for comprehending text.
4. Determining importance. In the sea of words that is any text, readers must continually sort through and prioritize information. Teachers often assist readers in analyzing everything from text features in nonfiction text like bullets and headings, to verbal cues in novels like strong verbs. Looking for these clues can help readers sift through the relative value of different bits of information in texts.
5. Creating mental images. Readers are constantly creating mind pictures as they read, visualizing action, characters, or themes. Teachers are using picture books with students of all ages, not necessarily because they are easy to read, but because the lush and sophisticated art in these books can be a great bridge for helping students see how words and images connect in meaning-making.
6. Repairing understanding when meaning breaks down. Proficient readers don't just plow ahead through text when it doesn't make sense -- they stop and use "fix-up" strategies to restore their understanding. One of the most important fix-up tools is rereading, with teachers demonstrating to students a variety of ways to reread text in order to repair meaning.
7. Synthesizing information. Synthesis is the most sophisticated of the comprehension strategies, combining elements of connecting, questioning, and inferring. With this strategy, students move from making meaning of the text, to integrating their new understanding into their lives and world view. You may also consider the Reading Comprehension Strategies given below.
What connections do I make as I read?
Good readers notice pieces of text that relate to or remind them of:
. Their lives, past experiences, and prior knowledge
. Other books, articles, movies, songs or pieces of writing
. Events, people, or issues
. That reminds me of…
. This made me think of…
. I read another book that…
. This is different from…
. I remember when…
Good readers create pictures in their minds while they read.
While reading, note places where you get a clear picture in your mind that helps you understand the text:
. I can picture…
. I can see the…
. I can visualize…
. The movie in my head shows…
Use your senses to connect the characters, events, and ideas to clarify the picture in your head.
. I can taste/hear/smell the …
. I can feel the…
Good readers ask questions before, during, and after reading to better understand the author and the meaning of the text.
Ask questions of the author, yourself, and the text:
. What is the author trying to say?
. What is the message of this piece?
. Do I know something about this topic?
. What do I think I will learn from this text?
. How could this be explained to someone else?
. What predictions do I have about this reading?
How do I read between the lines?
When the answers are “right there,” good readers draw conclusions based on background knowledge and clues in the text.
. I wonder why…
. I wonder how…
. I wonder if…
Find information from the text that might be clues to the answers and use these with your background knowledge for possible answers.Determine Importance
What’s the big idea?
Good readers look for things that help them identify big ideas and why they are important.
Look at text features for clues:
. Titles and headings
. Bold print
. Pictures and captions
. Graphs and charts
. Chapter objectives and questions
. The big idea is…
. Most important information is...
. So far I’ve learned…
. The author is saying…
. This idea is similar to…
How do I use what I’ve read to create my own ideas?
Good readers combine new information from their reading with existing knowledge in order to form new ideas or interpretations. Synthesis is creating a single understanding from a variety of sources.
. Compare and contrast what I’m reading with what I already know or other sources of
. Think of new ways to use this information.
. Can connections I make across this text help me to create new generalizations or
Information and Strategies for CELBAN Speaking:
CELBAN Speaking is an oral interview conducted by two trained assessors with one individual candidate.
• If you normally use reading glasses, bring them to CELBAN Speaking assessment,
since there will be some written instructions for you to read during the interview.
• Speak in your normal voice, but be sure that your volume is loud enough to be easily
heard by the assessors.
• Be sure to listen to directions and follow them closely.
• Do not worry about making mistakes in medical knowledge. In this interview it is your
language proficiency, not your medical knowledge, that is being assessed.
During the CELBAN Speaking Assessment you will be interviewed in person by two trained CELBAN Speaking assessors. It will take about 30 minutes. The assessment will be audio-taped so that assessors can review the interview in order to determine your score.
The CELBAN Speaking Assessment has three parts:
1) Opening and introductory questions
2) Two role plays
3) Further questions and conclusion
During the CELBAN Speaking Assessment, you might be asked to carry out any of the following speaking tasks:
• Tell a story.
• Report an incident.
• Provide a description.
• Ask for information in a role play in which you are the nurse and one of the assessors
is the client.
• Give instructions in a role play in which you are the nurse and one of the assessors is
• Present a comparison.
• Explain a problem.
• Discuss an issue.
• State and support an opinion.
• Convince someone of something.
Preparing for CELBAN Speaking
The speaking tasks on the CELBAN Speaking Assessment were designed to represent authentic tasks based on an in-depth analysis of the language demands of the nursing profession across Canada. Use the formt we praractice in the class.
Criteria for Self-Assessment of Your Speaking:
. General Use of Language: Are you able to communicate effectively in carrying out the
tasks required of you? Are you able to take initiative for an interaction with some
. Intelligibility: Do other people usually understand your speech without much effort?
. Organization: Do you present main ideas and supporting ideas clearly?
. Fluency: How much do you hesitate and pause when you are speaking? Is the tempo
of your speech fairly even?
. Connecting Ideas: Do you introduce and conclude topics appropriately? Do you use
sentences and phrases to connect ideas?
. Use of Vocabulary: Do you use appropriate vocabulary to discuss both concrete and
. Grammar: Do you use correct grammar?
. Use of Strategies: Do you use good speaking strategies?
Examples of good strategies include:
• asking for clarification
• correcting yourself
• asking further questions to make sure you understand
• affirming the person you are speaking to
• using appropriate tone and level of formality for the context
• establishing rapport
Required scores for Nursing in the Canadian Nursing Context
The required Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) scores for nursing in the Canadian nursing context are:
Speaking CLB 8
Listening CLB 10
Reading CLB 8
Writing CLB 7