Were speaking about the Cambridge CAE exam today. What is it and should you take it? Do you even have the level to enter for it? We’ll answer those questions and more in this week’s episode of…Aprender Inglés con Reza y Craig.
Email from Juan Carlos from Granada
Thank you for your great podcast. The podcast really help speak (helps me/us to speak) English better. I think I speak ok. Not bad. Sometimes I do not understand when people speak me (speak to me) in English. How I can (how can I) improve this?
- Ask for repetition
- Listen to English more (with, and without, transcriptions)
Voice message from Gabriela from Peru
We touched on the CAE exam, among others, in episode 24 . We also recommended some text books for those exams.
What is the CAE exam?
From the Cambridge website: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/advanced/
A Cambridge English Advanced qualification shows that you can:
– follow an academic course at university level
– communicate effectively at a managerial and professional level
– participate with confidence in workplace meetings or academic tutorials and seminars
– express yourself with a high level of fluency.
CEFR level: C1
Takes about 4 hours
Costs about 218 euros (FCE about 198 euros) in Spain – Price for July, 2017
The exam has four papers developed to test your English language skills; Reading and Use of English, Writing, Listening, Speaking
The Speaking test is taken face to face, with two candidates and two examiners.
Reading and Use of English (1 hour 30 minutes) 8 parts/56 questions – Shows you can deal confidently with different types of text, such as fiction, newspapers and magazines.
Tests your use of English with different types of exercise that show how well you can control your grammar and vocabulary.
Writing (1 hour 30 minutes) 2 parts – You do two different pieces of writing, such as essays, letters/emails, proposals, reports and reviews.
Listening (about 40 minutes) 4 parts/30 questions – Tests your ability to follow and understand a range of spoken materials, such as interviews, radio broadcasts, presentations, talks and everyday conversations.
Speaking (15 minutes per pair of candidates) – 4 parts – Tests your ability to communicate effectively in face–to–face situations. You take the Speaking test with another candidate.
Improve your speaking with an italki teacher
Which part of the exam tends to be the most challenging for Spanish students?
It varies from student to student, depending on their previous knowledge of English and natural strengths and weaknesses. There are people who speak extremely well, for example, but have never had to write a Report or Proposal in their lives, perhaps not even in their own language, and find it very challenging in English.
In the Reading and Use of English paper, many (Spanish-speaking) students frequently find Part 4 (key word sentence transformation) and Part 7 (choosing the missing paragraphs) very tricky.
Part 4 tests your ability to restructure a sentence without changing its meaning. So, practice in identifying grammatical structures and possible synonyms and being able to paraphrase is essential.
Part 7 tests your ability to understand coherence and cohesion in a text. Knowing how referencing words (eg. it, he, that, the younger man, etc.) and linking devices (eg. firstly, however, as mentioned earlier, in addition, etc.) helps you see how the different paragraphs fit together
As mentioned earlier, in the Writing, Reports and Proposals are often a new challenge for some students. Reports must be above all informative, while Proposals need to be persuasive. Reviews can and should give your opinion/evaluation about something. For Letters/Emails one difficulty is using the appropriate register or style (eg. formal, informal, serious, funny, technical, non-technical, business-like, sociable, etc.)
For Listening, the more you listen, the better you get! Many students find Part 4 (double matching task) very tricky, when you have to do two tasks at the same time, ie. looking for two types of info in one audio excerpt among various multiple choice options. Practice is essential. Podcasts are obviously extremely beneficial for your Listening in general!!
The Speaking begins easily, but Part 2 (comparing two photos monologue) can be stressful if you aren’t used to speaking non-stop for a full minute on your own. Language of comparison and contrast is essential here. Part 3 (collaborative task) obliges you to interact with your partner to discuss various options. As well as comparison and contrast, language of agreeing/disagreeing, giving opinion, asking for/giving explanation, cause/effect, etc. is all useful here. Language of speculation/hypothesis is useful throughout the entire Speaking exam.
Is there a big gap between FCE and CAE?
Yes! Students who don’t spend much time in an English-speaking country usually need about 2 academic years, with about 3-4 hours of class/week to progress from FCE level (B2) to CAE level (C1). Those who study extremely hard or live in English-speaking country might be be ready after a year.
What’s the best way to prepare for the CAE exam?
Go to classes and practise outside class. As well as general grammar and vocabulary exercises, you should practise the exam format timed, using CAE exam practice books, so as to be ready for the real thing. See which parts you’re weakest at and work hardest on improving those parts. You might consider an intensive CAE exam preparation class a few months the exam.
Test your English to see if you have the level: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/test-your-english/
Exam English grammar and listening test: http://www.examenglish.com/leveltest/index.php
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English. Do you have a question for us or an idea for a future episode?
Send us a voice message and tell us what you think. https://www.speakpipe.com/inglespodcast
Send us an email with a comment or question to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
If you would like more detailed show notes, go to https://www.patreon.com/inglespodcast
Our lovely sponsors are:
Manuel García Betegón
Maite Palacín Pérez
Zara Heath Picazo
Juan Leyva Galera
Néstor García Mañes http://nestorgm.com/ Luces Extrañas
Juan Carlos (new sponsor) – How to Pass a Job Interview mp3 and pdf
We want to thank Arminda from Madrid, Alberto from Granada and Angélica Bello from Madrid for continuing to transcribe full transcriptions. Alberto has transcribed episodes 132 and 133, so we now have full transcriptions for episodes 131 to 142, and episodes 1 and 2 thanks to Angélica.
On next week’s episode: Old English
The music in this podcast is by Pitx. The track is called ‘See You Later’