Jo's advice - Top tips and advice on how to prepare for your Cambridge exam

Jo's advice - Top tips and advice on how to prepare for your Cambridge exam

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We know that one of the most common pressures and challenges for our students is how to prepare for their exams.  We know it’s a stressful time and not only do we want you to do well, we also want YOU to feel confident that you will get the results you deserve and have been working so hard to achieve.

So, here we are to help with some specific Cambridge (First Certificate, Advanced and Proficiency) exam preparation tips and advice.

The speaking part

In this part of the exam, you will need to prepare yourself to:

-          Compare a variety of things and use language confidently and accurately when talking about differences and similarities. 

-          Be prepared to think speculatively and descriptively when making your comparisons.

-          Use language of collaboration, for example ways of agreeing, disagreeing and asking for opinions.

The writing part

The main piece of advice we’d give you here, is to practice practice practice the skill of writing for different purposes, with different styles and across varied genres.  The more varied you are in your exam the better, and these genres can include:

-          Articles

-          Letters

-          Reviews

-          Reports

-          Essays

-          Emails

Whichever exam you take - FCE, CAE or CPE, it will be in two sections.  The first section includes one compulsory question only.  The second section gives you the choice to answer one out of three tasks.  Check out some of the writing work done by previous WSE students on the Cambridge CAE course - this will give you an idea of what's expected of you!

The Reading and Use of English part

Here you will need to be using set phrases, prepositional phrases, idioms and those complicated, yet sophisticated phrasal verbs.  There are a lot of them so we would recommend that you become accustomed to those and confident in how to use them!  Start thinking of some examples now…

Similar to the written exam, you will also need to practice reading across different genres, for example fiction, press and journals

Don’t forget to practice using any new vocabulary that you’ve learnt, plus grammar, synonyms, antonyms – anything that will improve your use of English and vocabulary.   It would also benefit you to read up on subjects that are outside of your interest areas or comfort zone.  So, if you usually like reading fiction, try enhancing your knowledge of English by reading about current affairs.  If you like reading biographies, try reading a journal about air pollution!  Well we did say to read outside of your interest/comfort  zone! 

The Listening part

Last but not the very least is the listening part of the exam and here, we tell you to work on not only your listening, but also on improving your note-taking skills. 

Listen to different types of materials e.g. news reports, everyday conversations, phone calls and lectures.   To get more practise of this, access your eWimbledon account which has a wealth of materials and exercises to support you – from BBC Learning English, BBC podcasts and ListenUp.  You can also speak to Yasmin in the Study Centre who will devise you a study plan that focuses on improving your weaker areas. 

In addition to this – make sure you practice listening for:

-          gist

-          detail

-          specific information

-          feelings and opinions

Wimbledon School of English has the largest open Cambridge Exam Centre in the UK so this is our speciality. All the advice above has been put together for you by our most experienced and qualified teachers who have been teaching Cambridge FCE, CAE and CPE exams for several years.  

To find out where your Cambridge exam qualification can take you in the future, take a look at our blog - http://www.wimbledon-school.ac.uk/blog/where-will-a-cambridge-exam-take-you/ 

And if your interest is more in the legal field, we also offer the Cambridge ILEC exam course.  To find out more, visit http://www.wimbledon-school.ac.uk/blog/ilec-preparation-course/

We hope you’ve found it helpful!  The very best of luck, and remember not to panic!! 

* Thank you to Teacher Jo for her  contribution  |  * Picture designed by Pressfoto - Freepik.com

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