ILC’s Ultimate (quick) Guide to Cambridge Exam Preparation

Whether you are doing Cambridge First B2(FCE), Advanced C1 (CAE) or Proficiency C2 (CPE), there are some simple ways to ensure that you maximise your chance of passing any of the exams.

1. Know the exam format

Each exam has 4 papers:

- Reading & Use of English

- Writing

- Listening

- Speaking

The time of each paper varies according to the Cambridge exam level you choose. Each paper has sub-sections that focus on different tasks. It is really important to practise each section and learn tips on how best to do it from your teacher or course book.

2. Join an Exam preparation course

Enrolling on an exam preparation course will really help you to focus on passing the exam. Not only will you have an experienced teacher to train, test and motivate you, but you will meet other like-minded students you can practise with. A class will provide structure to your learning and you will be given targeted homework and practice exams to do at home. At ILC International Language Centres, we know how to run preparation courses that will increase your chances of exam success!

3. Do Practice exams

As well as the practise exams your teacher may give you, you may want to buy a book of practice exams for extra study at home. There are many test books available to buy that will give you instant answers as well as model writing pieces for you to learn from. Many of them contain detailed exam tips too.

4. Find a partner for the Speaking exam

It is really good to train for the speaking exam by doing practice interviews with you, another student and someone acting as an interlocutor (interviewer). It is also important to set strict time limits as you would get in the real exam. Another great idea is to record yourself and your partner doing the exam and then listen back afterwards. If you are on a preparation course, your teacher will give you feedback afterwards and guidance on how to improve.

5. Presentation helps!

How you present yourself in an exam can give you an extra advantage. For speaking, dressing up in your favourite formal clothes and looking your best will improve your overall confidence and stress to the examiner how seriously you are taking it all. For the writing paper, it is always best to write as clearly and legibly as possible. This improves the overall impression as well as making the examiner’s job easier.