๐ŸŒŽ Is it possible to take CELBAN test … prior to NNAS application

Updated 2023

Hi Kim,

Thanks for the welcome message. Iโ€™d like to ask if its possible to take celban test and pass first prior to NNAS application. Iโ€™m not pretty confident to pass the english test and registering for NNAS is very expensive and it has an expiration. Financial resources is very limited as well. Please advise.
Thank you,


Dear K,

This is a great question.
From my perspective, having worked with hundreds of IENs over the ten years I have been teaching…

BEFORE January 2021

Prior to January 2021, my advice was to take the CELBAN exam first, then register for NNAS.
What I had seen happen for people who register with NNAS, was that they had one year to submit the required score.
  1. Some people are able to submit their score with that deadline. (People with a 7 in IELTS. People who have lived in Canada and know the culture well. People with a background in the medical system in Canada.)
  2. Most people can not obtain that in the amount of time. (People with 5s and 6s in the IELTS. People who are busy people. People who become Disillusioned Dreamers.) They experience extreem added stress as the deadlined approaches, which decreases their scores tremendously. Then, they end up having to pay the additional fee to keep their file open.
So, yes, at that time I recommended that IENs take their time.

SINCE January 2021

Now, the timing of taking the CELBAN exam doesn’t really matter for several reasons:
  1. As of January 2021 the CELBAN-CBT, computer-based test, has been available internationally.
  2. The number of attempts used to be limited to 3, and has subsequently been lifted so that you can take the CELBAN numerous times.ย 
  3. As of October 2022, NNAS no longer requires CELBAN or IELTS scores!
The CELBAN or IELTS score may still be required by various Colleges of Nursing across Canada, but that is at a later stage, after your documents have been submitted, translated, reviewed, and authenticated.ย 
Because the CELBAN was created as a way of easing your transition into your career as a licenced healthcare professional in Canada, you can take the CELBAN at any time.ย 
This is what I recommend:
  • TAKE the exam first. See how you do.
  • RECEIVE the feedback for speaking and writing.
  • DETERMINE if you want to engage in training to increase your scores.
When you sit for the CELBAN exam, they will send you a report with feedback about your weaknesses in writing and speaking so that you will know where you have to improve. And you are then empowered to find qualified teachers, quality training, and quality CELBAN materials.ย 
  1. When you know your ability to write an essay (Task 1) and a medical report (Task 2) within the 15-minute time limit, with very few errors, and
  2. When you can obtain a 9 or 10 in listening.
Mind you, take the exam the first time so that you know, understand and experience the format of the exam. Then focus on your identified weaknesses with CELBANPrep Silver.

What would I do?

I am not a person who works well under pressure. I would rather be prepared. That is why I created what I did with and for my nurses. I pushed them hard so that they could learn to turn their weaknesses into strengths. They didn’t know that what they learned would help them throughout the process of becoming licenced in Canada and throughout their careers. But I did. And many of them, looking back, knew that their success in life was because of what I taught them.

Your first step was reaching out to me; for that I know you are on a good path! Keep making wise choices, and you will make it one day!

I am also someone who enjoys the process of personal development when it comes to skills, abilities, and competencies that are required not only in the workplace but also at home and in the community. That is why I created CELBANPrep GOLD.


  • SELF-DIRECTED Training Material
  • For people who have taken the CELBAN and have feedback from Writing and Speaking so they know what they need to improve upon.
  • IMPROVE your SKILLS in reading, writing, listening, and speaking by focusing-on grammar, sentence structure and more!


  • Online CELBAN Courses
  • For people who have taken the CELBAN and/or are willing and able to invest time, energy, and money in PREPARING for a career in Health Care in Canada.

2 responses to “๐ŸŒŽ Is it possible to take CELBAN test … prior to NNAS application

  1. Hi Kim, I just read this message and I’d like to say that based from my experience, it is not wise to openย  ย NNASย  application without taking the english exam first. This was actually the only reason that delayed me from starting my applicationย  with NNAS. As I’ve mentioned before, I took IELTS twice and failed in the writing section and that took away 4 months of my time before I took my shot with Celban. However, I do not regret taking the IELTS first before celban because in celban a person only gets 3 chances every 2 yearsย  so that’s quite limited. Also, by attempting IELTS, I was able to have an experience howย  a formal english exam was being done so that gave me an idea when I was reviewing for celban. It kinda helped me in the listening, reading and speaking parts of celban but still Celban is very different from IELTS especially in terms of the format. I agree with you thatย  an english exam must be completed first prior to NNAS application to save the span of time(months) that the registration is considered valid and to avoid reactivation fees in the future.

    Again, I am not saying that everyone should take the IELTS first before resorting to CELBAN. It is just that people should keep in mind that they only have 3 shots in 2 years to pass the exam. If you want to take Celban first then why not, just give your best and aim to pass it the first time you take it so you don’t have to get through it again and be pressured that you are alreadyย  out of chances remaining.

    Regards, Jill

    • Thanks for the comment, Jill! What wonderful support you have given, from your own experience. I so appreciate you taking the time. And I agree, yes taking the IELTS gives an idea of what an English exam may be like; but, the format of the CELBAN is quite different. And it is also true that the number of times one can take the CELBAN is limited. Wisdom is what we learn from experience. Thank you for sharing yours! Kim

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