How to prepare for the Cambridge exams?

What are the Cambridge Exams?

The Cambridge Exams are English language exams that officially demonstrate your level of ability with the English language. They are accredited by Cambridge English Language Assessment, part of the University of Cambridge. This means that they are internationally recognised, very high quality, and accepted by a wide range of organisations – one of the best ways of proving your English level. 

How do they work?


The Cambridge English language exams test the four skills of language –reading, writing, speaking and listening. There is also a smaller section that deals with “Use of English”, which is basically like a grammar test. This means they are focused on how you use English, rather than just how much you know about grammar! The exams are a series of different types of tasks that require you to use your understanding of English and apply this understanding in different contexts. 


How can I prepare for the Cambridge exams?


Before you do a Cambridge exam, you absolutely need to know how they work and become familiar with the tasks involved. The best way to do this is by practising each task type several times. Ideally, you will also get feedback on your performance each time you try, to make sure you know how well you did. This is almost impossible to do without a teacher guiding you, especially for the writing and speaking sections of the exams. A teacher can also give you great tips on how to make the most of the time you have for the exam and how best to tackle each task.


Are Cambridge exams difficult?

 This really depends! Each exam is linked to a particular level on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR):

The language in the exams is adjusted to each level. So, if you are taking the First, for example, the language will be typical of B2 level. If you have studied at B2 level, then the First will be the exam for you, but the Key exam will obviously be really easy. Of course, practising the exam a lot and being familiar with how it works will also make your life a lot easier!

How do they decide my result?


With the listening and reading/use of English sections, you get marked on giving the correct answers. With speaking and writing, it’s a little more complicated – that’s why it’s so important to attend a Cambridge Exam preparation course and get feedback on your performance.
During the speaking exam (which you do with another candidate), the examiner is listening for:
· Language – the grammar and vocabulary you’re using
· Pronunciation – how well you can be understood
· How much you can speak without hesitating and link your ideas together
· How well you’re interacting and responding to your partner

For the writing, you need to show:
· Your excellent grammar and vocabulary
· That you can complete the task properly
· That your organisation is logical and ordered
· The correct style for the task


How do I prepare for my first English Language Cambridge Exam?

If you’re doing a Cambridge Exam for the first time, make sure you do the following things:
· Find a good course – a Cambridge Exam preparation course is essential to get you ready
· Make sure you practise every task type for every part of the exam
· Get feedback on your writing
· Find out how well you do with the speaking section
· Most importantly - practise, practise, practise!


Where can I do a Cambridge Exam preparation course?

At and of our International Language Centres (ILC) centres around the south of England: you can choose from Britain’s second biggest city, Birmingham, to the historic, pretty city of Colchester. There’s a historic centre of education, Cambridge, or the super popular city of Bristol, bubbling with artistic energy. If you prefer being by the sea, the port cities of Southampton or Portsmouth are for you. Whichever ILC location you choose, you can be confident in your choice of English course.

Our Cambridge Exam preparation courses are run in the evenings, which means you can conveniently fit them around working or other commitments you might have during the day.