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CELPIP: Mastering CELPIP Task 3: Describing a Scene

In this part of the CELPIP Speaking Test, you will be presented with an image and asked to describe the scene. This task tests your ability to observe details, organize your thoughts, and communicate them clearly and effectively. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to excel in Task 3, from understanding what’s expected of you to providing practical tips and strategies for success.

Understanding the Task

Task 3 involves looking at an image and describing what you see. You’ll have 30 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to speak. The image could be anything from a busy street scene to a tranquil park, so being able to quickly identify and articulate key elements is crucial.

Key Elements of a Strong Response

Observation and Detail

To excel in Task 3, you need to observe the image carefully and note as many details as possible. Pay attention to the following elements:

  • People: Who is in the scene? What are they doing? What are their expressions and interactions?

  • Setting: Where is the scene taking place? Describe the environment, such as buildings, nature, weather, and time of day.

  • Activities: What actions are taking place? Are people engaged in specific activities or events?

  • Objects: What objects are present? How do they contribute to the scene?

Structure and Clarity

Your response should be organized logically:

  1. Introduction: Start with a general overview of the scene.

  2. Details: Describe the specific elements you observed, focusing on people, activities, and the setting.

  3. Conclusion: Summarize the scene or give a final thought.

Descriptive Language

Use vivid and varied language to bring the scene to life. Adjectives, adverbs, and specific nouns can make your description more engaging and detailed. For example, instead of saying “There are trees,” you could say, “Tall, lush green trees are swaying gently in the breeze.”

Practical Tips for Preparation

Practice Observing and Describing

Spend time looking at various images and practice describing them within 60 seconds. This will help you get used to the time constraint and improve your observation skills.

Use a Checklist

Develop a mental checklist of elements to look for in any image: people, setting, activities, and objects. This will ensure you don’t miss any important details during your description.

Record and Review

Recording your practice responses and reviewing them can help you identify areas for improvement. Pay attention to your clarity, coherence, and use of descriptive language.

Expand Your Vocabulary

Work on expanding your vocabulary, especially adjectives and verbs that can help you describe scenes more vividly. Reading and listening to descriptive content, such as travel blogs or nature documentaries, can also be beneficial.

Key Elements of a Strong Response

Use of Future Tenses

  • Will: "I think they will..."

  • Going to: "They are going to..."

  • Might/May/Could: "They might..."

Logical Reasoning

Explain why you think something will happen to show your reasoning skills.

Clarity and Structure

  1. Introduction: Restate the situation.

  2. Prediction 1: Make your first prediction and provide reasoning.

  3. Prediction 2: Make your second prediction and provide reasoning.

  4. Conclusion: Summarize your predictions.

Useful Vocabulary for Task 3

Task 3: Describing a Scene

Descriptive Adjectives

  • Colors: bright, dull

  • Size/Shape: large, small

  • Atmosphere: bustling, tranquil

Useful Verbs

  • Actions: walking, talking

  • States: standing, waiting


  • People: "There are several people..."

  • Activities: "They are engaged in..."

  • Setting: "The scene takes place in..."

  • Objects: "In the background, there is..."

Sample Questions

In Task 3 of the CELPIP Speaking Test, you need to describe a picture or scene. You have 30 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to respond. This task tests your ability to observe details, use descriptive language, and organize your thoughts clearly.

Here are some sample images and prompts for CELPIP Task 3:

Sample 1: A Busy Market Scene

  • Describe the people you see in the market.

  • What activities are taking place?

  • How would you describe the atmosphere of the market?

Sample 2: A Park on a Sunny Day

  • Who is in the park and what are they doing?

  • Describe the setting and the weather.

  • What objects or features stand out to you in this scene?

Sample 3: A Classroom

  • Describe the students and the teacher.

  • What activities are occurring in the classroom?

  • How would you describe the mood or tone of the scene?


Mastering CELPIP Task 3 involves keen observation, structured organization, and the use of descriptive language. By practicing regularly and honing your ability to quickly and effectively describe scenes, you can approach this part of the CELPIP Speaking Test with confidence. Stay tuned for more tips and strategies to help you succeed in your CELPIP exam!

By understanding the structure and requirements of Task 3, and by practicing regularly, you can improve your ability to describe scenes accurately and engagingly. Good luck with your CELPIP preparation, and keep honing those observation and speaking skills!

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