How to prepare for CAE

Nowadays, everyone speaks English. English is no longer an asset in the CV, but a must-have. This is one of the benefits (from my point of view) of globalization, the fact that there is a universal language, with which (more or less) you can get along with anyone on this planet. Okay, maybe except the Spaniards. Hehe.

There are three major companies that offer language certificates: ETS, which offers TOEFL, IELTS, which offers well … IELTS, and Cambridge, which offers a multitude of exams, including CAE, CPE, FCE, PET and so on. TOEFL and CAE are the most popular (at least in my part of Europe), especially because these exams show that you have a good enough level of English to handle almost any situation. That’s why having a TOEFL or CAE certificate in your bag is definitely an asset. An expensive asset, because an exam costs about 200$! Here are some tips on how to prepare for CAE:

1. Buy and go through some textbooks especially made for CAE.

Have you ever looked at ‘official’ CAE textbooks on Amazon and wondered how a textbook can cost so much? Well, it’s a very good reason why they cost so much. Because they are effective. When it comes to certificates for the German language, the thing is simple. There are indeed many types of certificates (TestDaF, Goethe, ÖSD, DSH, telc, DTZ, etc.), but their structure is very similar. So similar that it doesn’t make much sense to prepare for a particular exam. When it comes to English, things are different. Each exam is unique in its own way, which is why it is especially important to prepare precisely for the exam you want to take. And I was surprised when I found out that in order to prepare for CAE I don’t have to learn new words. The vocabulary is about the same as for FCE, so you won’t have to learn anything new. But you have to improve your writing skills and know the grammar perfectly, in order to get a high score at CAE.

2. Speaking

A great humiliation of mine was my performance in the speaking section. Although I did many speaking simulations before, during the exam I started to stutter. I don’t have an English accent, so when I left the room, I was sure I wouldn’t pass that part. For the speaking part, I received 196 points, that is, in the upper limit of grade B. Impressive, considering the performance that I consider to have had.

3. Stress management

When I was little, my parents dragged me to all kinds of private math competitions, which cost quite a lot and had no prestige at all. The diplomas and medals I received had 0 value, but these competitions offered me something: experience with exams. The moment I take an exam, I concentrate and I don’t have any stress. Try to simulate CAE exams at home. Turn off your phone during the mock exam, so you don’t get distracted by notifications.

By the way, this is what my CAE score looks like: 196 points (total). Pretty good, I think.

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