CAE (the Certificate in Advanced English) — is an examination at Cambridge set at C1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference scale.
There are 4 papers, each representing 25% of the total mark.
- Paper 1 Reading and Use of English (8 parts, 56 questions, 1 hour 30 minutes)
- Paper 2 Writing (2 tasks, 1 hour 30 minutes)
- Paper 3 Listening (4 tasks, 40 minutes)
- Paper 4 Speaking (4 parts, 15 minutes)
Books for preparation can be found here.
Sample papers can be downloaded here.
How is writing marked? –
Marks are awarded for appropriate
- content (Is it relevant? Is the topic fully covered?)
- vocabulary (Is a vide range of vocabulary used? Is it used appropriately?)
- grammar (Is a wide range of structures used? Are grammar structures used accurately?)
- register (Is the register (formal, neutral, informal) chosen appropriately?)
- coherence and cohesion (Are ideas linked logically? Are linking words used appropriately?)
- general impression (Does the candidate’s writing have a positive effect on the target reader?)
Sample writing papers
Last Sunday I visited the annual festival Zolotaya Cherepaha (The Golden Tortoise), which has been held in Moscow for about seven years, and it impressed me deeply. It is much more than an ordinary exhibition of photographs displaying nature, it is an event that will make you laugh and cry at the same time, and, what is more important, it carries a clear message for every person: Take care of our wonderful planet!
At the festival you will see hundreds of photos of wildlife, in different styles and using various techniques: funny, even comical, and wistful; displaying everyday scenes and spectacular views; with clear images or splashes of colours; each photo drawing your attention, making you see the world from a different angle, even feel some special bond with the photographer.
I, personally, was mostly touched by the portrayal of wild animals: a skinny sad fox, feeding her five plump cubs; two little bears, hugging each other gently, in search of their mother; a tiny penguin, looking so lonely against the background of endless icy blocks…All those images made my heart ache.
For others it will be exciting to see amazingly weird insects in close-up photos, so that an insect looks like a magical dragon. Others will admire the picturesque views of fields, streams and valleys of their homeland, or stare in disbelief at a picture of an erupting volcano complete with lava streams, wondering how courageous the photographer must have been to approach it so closely.
While contemplating the images, one can’t help thinking how fragile nature is, how powerful, and at the same time vulnerable it is. For people of all ages attendance at the festival will not only be a most entertaining event, but the best possible lesson in ecology which will enrich them enormously.
“When Harry Met Sally” is both hilarious and thought-provoking. Can a man and a woman be friends? What if you fall in love with your friend? – sometimes we rack our brains trying to figure out the answer to these questions. Charming Meg Ryan and Bill Crystal starring the main roles offer us their vision of the situation. Their portrayal of two soulmates in pursuit of happiness and understanding is totally convincing and is bound to make you sympathise with the young people. Thanks to the witty disputes and warm sparkling humour the film stands out among conventional melodramas. Besides, it conveys a clear message for young people: relationship is not a gift, it requires effort and patience.
Conversely, the melodrama “The Notebook’’ is nothing to write home about. Despite the attempts to portray touching and weepy story of eternal love, the film fails to provoke any strong emotions. The plot is far-fetched, and may only impress naïve little girls. The sufferings of parted lovers seem to be feigned, while obstacles which they were not able to overcome don’t actually impress. On top of that, the message of the film appears to convey the idea that if two people are destined to be together they may just swim with the current waiting for a happy end, an idea which I, personally, find ridiculous.
To sum it up, I would strongly advise you to watch “When Harry Met Sally”, it will certainly entertain you and provide some food for thought.
Part 1 (3 minutes)
The interlocutor asks candidates questions in turn.
- Where are you from?
- How long have you been studying English?
- Apart from English, what other languages have you studied?
- What is your happiest memory of childhood?
- Do you prefer going out with friends or family?
Part 2 (4 minutes)
Candidates compare and contrast pictures for 1 minute.
Part 3 (4 minutes)
Candidates talk about several pictures for 4 minutes
Part 4 (4 minutes)
Candidates answer questions related to the visuals used in Part 3
- Which is more important in any job: qualifications, personality or practical experience?
- What type of jobs should be most highly-valued? Why?
- Should there be a compulsory retirement age or should people be allowed to work as long as they like? Why?
- Do you think that people can be taught to be good leaders? Why/why not?
- Some people say it doesn’t matter what job you do – the most important thing is to enjoy doing it. What do you think?