Hi everyone! It’s lovely to see people from around the world here! 🙂 As you have probably read, my list of CAE strategies is practically finished, but I’d like to start a new project here. I can see that although my students know how important it is to read and listen to English sources (especially the ones useful for the exam), they rarely do it. After all, it seems like yet another chore instead of some well-deserved entertainment. To give them a hand, every Sunday I’m going to publish some links with recommended reading and listening matter – articles and podcasts that should enrich your vocabulary, as well as widen your horizons for the writing and speaking exam. Enjoy!
Reading (transport, ecology, start-ups, aps):
Reading (social media):
Listening (diet, health, British society):
Of course you can lodge a complaint either during or after a Cambridge exam. It’s even encouraged during the sound test before the Listening Paper, especially as you can’t interrupt the listening. In other cases, the best idea is to complain immediately – in writing if it’s really important and needs t reach the authorities. If you “remember” that the room was too noisy on seeing your exam result, your complaint is not going to sound too well, isn’t it?
If anything objective occurs (the sound system doesn’t work, a bird flies into the room, an invigilator dies of a heart attack), Cambridge is sure to give you another chance or some extra minutes, depending on the situation, so don’t worry.
Also, if you have any special needs that are documented, let your centre know while signing up for the exam, so that they can help you. The help ranges from wearing headphones during the listening exam to being in a separate room to being able to write your writing exam on a computer.
Let’s have a look at the exam itself. Here are its parts:
A very important detail is how much time you’ve actually got. Reading and Use of English takes 1 hour 30 minutes. That’s 90 minutes for reading four long, advanced texts and doing the exercises that accompany them, as well as for further four long grammar&vocab exercises. That’s why it’s essential that you know the exam format very well not to waste any of that time on reading the instructions. You need a clear strategy for each task type. The same goes for Writing – after the break you get another 1 hour 30 minutes to write (and possibly copy) two pieces of writing. here you not only need to know how to create texts quickly – you also need to be able to write quickly in pen, which is something many people are not good at these days!
The Internet overwhelms with English resources. Here are some of them:
Exam specific exercises and tips:
An English-English dictionary:
A bilingual dictionary:
General advanced exercises:
Learning through filling in songs lyrics:
For more grammar and vocabulary exercises, google
Vince Advanced Language Practice.
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Do you need to take the advanced exam? Personally, I think it’s not always necessary. Of course it’s worth being able to speak English that well, but you can prove your level in other ways. For example, you can spend some time working in your field in an English-speaking country or finish a Master’s degree in English. You could also ask for your job interview to be conducted in English. The advanced exam is expensive, it takes almost all day (so you might just be too tired to show your real level of English) and to pass it you need to practice doing specific exam exercises rather than the type of English that you may really need.