CELBAN Review: Test Format, Test Preparation, Registration and Practice Materials

CELBAN just like IELTS is a four module English proficiency test that is required for International nurses to upgrade their nursing degree or diploma in Canada. It is accepted by all licensing bodies all over Canada. It is especially designed in Canada. The CELBAN Test is entirely from the medical background nurses take this test as it requires the test of English for medical report writing, medical vocabulary and interaction with patients for treatment. All the modules of the test are based on medical topics.The assessment test is taken in 4 parts. These are as follows:
1. Speaking
2. Listening
3. Reading
4. Writing

Listening, Reading and writing are taken together as a group test whereas, speaking test is taken separately one by one. The English language levels required for nurses entering in Canadian Nursing Profession are

*Speaking: CLB Level 8
*Listening: CLB Level 10
* Reading: CLB Level 8
*Writing: CLB Level 7

Listening, Reading and Writing sections are assessed together as a group test, whereas speaking test is taken separately. Both parts of the test may fall on the same day and speaking test may fall a day after. Group test is taken first. To pass the test you have to get pass bands from each section and if you do not qualify any one section of the group test, you have to take the whole group test again.

Listening is one of the modules of CELBAN Testing. There are multiple choice questions. You have 30 seconds to read the questions and 30 seconds to check the answers. You are not given headphones, so make practice without headphones. There are a lot of people in the room so be prepared.
1. There are five video scenarios
2. There are four audio scenarios
Time: 45 Minutes
Listening section includes scenes in a clinic, home, hospital or medical office in different settings. The scenes include communication between nurses and the patient, doctor and patient, phone call between family members and nurse, nurse shift to shift report or nurse reporting the doctor.
You will be given 30 seconds to preview the questions. Read the questions thoroughly during that time and if time permits, read the answer choices. In listening multiple choice questions are given. Each question has 4 choices.
In listening tests the conversation is very fast and all nationalities, sex and age people are included. So in order to pass the test you need to pay a lot of attention.
You need to relax and listen wholeheartedly with full concentration. Do not let the thoughts interrupt.


Reading test in CELBAN is also very important part of the test. The Reading test consist of 2 parts:

Skimming and scanning(5-8 minutes).
Reading comprehensions and gap fills.

In skimming and scanning you are given a patient’s transfer/referral/admission from which you need to scan thoroughly and skim the information given in the text booklet. In this section only 5-8 minutes are given and the main objective is to take out accurate information at a given time. (Limited time)

In the second part of reading you get 2 reading comprehension and one paragraph for gap fills. From the reading comprehension, you have some multiple choice statement question answers and you are required to mark the correct answer. Please use your time wisely and do not spend more than 15 minutes in solving any passage.

In the passage with gap fills you have 4 answer choices for each gap and you are required to fill them with the correct word.


Writing plays a very important part of day-to-day activities in healthcare industry in Canada.
The writing test consists of 2 parts

Part 1:-
Form filling: 10 minutes.
There will be an interview – Doctor – Patient or Nurse – Patient or a related clinic scene.
You will be given a Nurses record sheet and a video scene regarding talk between a Patient and a Nurse or Doctor and Nurse in a hospital setting.
You will have a minute to preview the assessment record sheet.
You have to record whatever is asked with supporting details in the point form.

Part 2:-
Part 2 in writing sections incident report writing. You have to write a report taking the information provided in the question. The incident report is a record of incident, problems and events at the time of admission of patients and afterwards.

In this test we have to be very focused on grammar, spelling, word choice and other communication vocabulary. You must include information precisely answering questions like who, what, when, why and how. You need some efforts and practice to write good reports.


Speaking module of CELBAN is conducted individually and takes approximately 20-30 minutes. There are 2 assessors who carry out assessments. It is always recorded and you are assessed on the basis of your use of language (word choice), grammatical accuracy, narrating, supporting the opinion, the use of strategies for synthesizing, stating and describing.

Your language proficiency is judged from your interaction with the patient. Most importantly your confidence is judged from your fluency in asking questions and answering the patient’s queries. In speaking, you should make use of paraphrasing, self-correcting, confirming and maintaining rapport with the patient.

Speak in, simple as well as complex sentences and accomplish the task of introducing and concluding the topic. Your language should be easily understood and you should answer the patient’s queries and satisfy him. You should have a proper flow of language and correct pronunciation in a comfortable manner.

There is no assessment of the general questions regarding your introduction.

Describing questions:

The examiner asks you 3-4 questions in order to judge your language for describing the facts.They may ask you the questions to compare and contrast from general topics like Canadian culture, transport, weather, problems attached with immigration, your role as a nurse or any other topic of their choice and so on.

Role play:

In role play one of the examiners enacts as a patient and you as a nurse. You are given a form and are required to fill the information on that form by asking question a given topic. They assess your language proficiency for your response to the queries of the patient and your ability to ask proper, relevant and correct questions on the given points.

At the end you are given a sheet of some clues and you are asked to give teachings to the patient at the time of discharge (discharge instructions)


GRAMMAR- It plays an eminent role to pass the test. So, Practice extra grammar exercises
REVISE Thoroughly:
All tenses, Parts of speech as Noun, Pronoun, Verb, Forms of verbs, Adverb, Adjective, Prepositions, Conjunctions, Punctuations, Clauses, articles and active passive voice.
• Study 3 hrs. /Day minimum of three months.
• Listen & watch English news daily.
• Go through the details of all common diseases.
• Revise medical vocabulary.
• Make short notes on all disease.


Listening is training your ears, so, do not watch native programs on TV. Listen & watch English programs all time
• Daily practice listening for 3 months minimum to pass the test.
• Prepare well in advance. Take some professional guidance.
• Please do not get nervous.
Great listeners are strong receivers, so try to recollect and write whatever you watch & listen at the same time during practice sessions.Watch English movies (American English Movies)Listen to English music and try to understand the lyrics. Make native English speakers as friends.Give thoughtful attention to the speaker in a curious, open minded and non-judgmental manner. Pay full attention to the speaker.Watch body language.Create your interest in the scenery and enjoy it.

Just before the test:
Relax and think positive. Always remember the motto “You can win”. Drink water and stay calm. Arrive early before the exam and do not get nervous.Take a deep breath before the exam.
While taking tests:
Before listening video or audio starts, read all questions thoroughly in giving time for question reading. If time permits then read the answer choices.Four answer choices are given for each question, from which two answer choices are always wrong, look for the exact answer from other two choices. If you don’t find any answer, or you distract your attention, move on.Don’t get panic, otherwise you will lose your concentration and miss many questions.Do not lose your confidence at any cost. Believe in yourself.
Work quickly and take care of the spellings. Always read the questions thoroughly and look for the possible answer. Read each blank or phrase. Read the whole sentence and look for the missing part of speech and tense used in the sentence.
For comprehension, first of all read the heading and subheading properly to know what the topic is about.DO not read the whole passage otherwise you will not finish on time. Skim and scan the passages to find main information. Go back and forth, try to get most important concept given in passage in your mind. Scan and read first, middle & last sentence of each stanza.

Note and flag keywords in the passage. Then read the questions properly one by one and pick the answer from answer choices. Try to answer the easier questions first.Timing is very essential. Don’t spend more than 15 minutes on any passage

For gap fills you are required to read every sentence and look for the missing word from answer choices. The best way to get the answer is taking into consideration the tense used in the given sentence and looking for the missing part of speech in the sentence.
Reading tips
1. Read without pronouncing each word (quiet reading)it increases the rate of skimming.
2. Determine what you need to know from the content. So knowing the heading is most important. It makes reading purposeful.
3. Do not read the whole content & read with understanding.
4. Do close reading to focus your mind.
Practice under testing conditions of timing (40minutes).


1.There is a video scenario from which you have to fill up a form. Don’t miss any point
2. Take care of spellings and make points.
3. Look for the main points and supporting details in a precise way.
4. Write in short phrases, don’t make sentences and write in boxes only.

Writing 2
1. Read the topic carefully and include all given points in your report.
2. Look for your grammar, structure and tenses & punctuation.Use good vocabulary, synonyms and don’t repeat words.
3. Write the report in proper sequence and make use of simple as well as compound sentences.
1. Write report in past tense & passive speech.
2. Mention location, time address and date.
3. Answer all the questions like who, what, when,where and how in the report.
4. Don’t use awkward phrases and don’t make stories. Mention condition of the patient at last in present tense.
Good knowledge of grammar is the key to pass the test.DO take out some time for proof reading for sure. Do not exceed the word limit and do not make a rough draft.Practice at least 20 incident reports at various situations. Handwriting should be readable and make proper sentences. Good vocabulary, correct use of tense, correct spellings, right sequence of events is very important.

Good speakers are good listeners. Listen the question. Speak in a rich and full voice. Stay calm and relaxed. Be careful of your body language. Make eye contact with the patient and speak with confidence.Be comfortable with the patient. Give your introduction impressively
Rehearse and make your video recording. Watch it. Be confident. The First impression is the last impression.Face is the index of your mind so, keep smiling.Use good vocabulary. Smile and make a good rapport with the patient. Use correct pronunciation and correct use of verb tense is very important. Do thank the patient for his co-operation. Do not forget to say “Thanks for your time” at the end.
How to take a test?
• Language is a great barrier when an individual moves from one place to another. In these cases. Most people give up before difficulties. Language learning is a time taking process. Conversation with local residents of that area helps a lot to overcome the language barrier along with learning through books or television shows. These language proficiency tests need perfecting and learning is a slow process. Prepare yourself to face challenges and believe in yourself.

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