Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English: useful information

The Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is a certification that recognises an advanced level of English knowledge. The CAE is accepted internationally from educational institutions, businesses, and public offices and provides proof of a high level of English language proficiency. Like other language exams from Cambridge, the CAE is divided into different portions: Reading, Writing, Use of English, Listening, and Speaking. This is the second to highest level offered by Cambridge (the highest is Cambridge Proficiency) and therefore requires lots of diligent preparation if you want to pass. Here are a few practical tips for how to pass the Speaking portion, which is one of the more complicated parts:

How the CAE works

It lasts about 15 minutes. The exam usually takes place with two other test-takers maximum. There are two proctors: one who asks you questions, and the other who observes quietly.

The first part of the exam consists of a few “getting-to-know-you” questions, followed by answers where you’ll introduce yourself. This article is centred on this first part. Looking for some more practical examples? Here are a few listed below:

Usually the proctor will break the ice (DISCLAIMER: the questions will obviously be in English!):

  • (E) Hello, my name is […] and this is my colleague, […]
  • (E) What are your names?
  • (E) Where are you from?
  • (E) What do you like about studying English?

Tips

1. You can get a higher score for giving full answers that completely satisfy the question that was asked. Here’s an example in detail:

When asked why you like studying English, it’s better to answer with something like, ‘ever since I was little I’ve loved how English sounds and I enjoy speaking it and listening to it. Also, the English language is valuable on a practical level as it enables you to speak all over the world’, rather than something like ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’m not sure’.

2. You can provide examples to better illustrate your answer. For example:

To […] additionally, the English language is valuable on a practical level that enables you to speak all over the world and can I give an example? When I went to Warsaw, in Poland, I didn’t know Polish. But I still didn’t have any problems communicating with the people there, because lots of them spoke English.

3. Do these tips seem useful? You can find other, similar ones in the book CAE practice tests. With key and CD Audio. by Mark Harrison, also available on www.amazon.it.

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