CPE Exam Tips (or How to Pass Proficiency)

If you’re studying for the Cambridge C2 Proficiency (Formally known as Certificate of Proficiency in English or CPE), welcome to your guide to the Speaking test. Here’s a synopsis of the oral paper (Paper 4) and advice to help you as you incomparable the interview.

c2 proficient cpe Speaking Test: KEY POINTS
Duration: 19 minutes (28 minutes for sets of three at centres where there’s an odd range of candidates).
Participants: Candidates are interviewed in pairs. You will discover two examiners present: person who asks the questions, the other acts as assessor and doesn’t speak through the interview.
Format: The oral test contains three parts.

Proficiency is Hard
In the event that you thought going from FCE to CAE was hard you’re going to HATE going from CAE to CPE. It’s tough. Open a CPE coursebook – there’s very little grammar in there – you’re likely to pretty much know everything already.

In case your grammar isn’t dependable, go and purchase Destination C1 and work through it. (It is also great for vocabulary, but unless you have six months to prepare just do the grammar units.)

Everything you do get with Objective Proficiency is a great deal of vocabulary exercises. Dependent prepositions, phrasal verbs, idioms – oh, lordy! A huge selection of high-level new words. You’d better buy some flashcards.

As you’d expect, the reading texts are longer, and the listening texts are harder and faster.

That all leads us to the first, most significant tip:

Oh, and important tip 2: Activate new vocab
All those words you’re learning? USE them. Get words from your passive vocabulary into the active vocabulary. Use it or lose it, baby!

Now some tips for each and every section, the most crucial being the speaking test.

c2 proficient cpe Speaking Test Tips

No mystery here – it’s the identical to in CAE but with higher expectations. The questions are a lttle bit more varied, too.

Do you consider people will still go directly to the cinema in 10 years’ time?

If you could afford to, will you vacation in space?

If you execute a CPE course in a school, all the random questions that are in each unit of the coursebook are actually preparation for this area of the exam, so take those ‘chats’ seriously. Unless you intend to go to lessons, consider buying a couple of hours of lessons with a professional English teacher via Skype. You can get lessons with great teachers for 10 to 20 dollars one hour. Affordable and useful.

Click on that box to learn more.

That is like the collaborative task in CAE. So, there are several the same skills needed – speculating, negotiating, comparing, agreeing and disagreeing etc. NOT describing the pictures.

It’s also still important for taking turns, to be always a good listener, and to be sure to follow the task. Phrases like ‘shall we speak about another picture?’ are still relevant. Whatever helps you manage the discussion.

You understand, like you’d do within your own language.

This is somewhat not the same as what you’re used to doing at CAE. You have to talk about a topic – by yourself – for just two MINUTES.


Here’s a good example task. Would you talk intelligently about this for 120 seconds?

What makes something a best seller?


peer pressure



Practice, practice, practice!

Create a strategy that will let you talk for 2 minutes in a coherent way. I created a structure for the BEC Higher exam you could adapt. The (free) PDF is within this link.

Whenever your speaking test partner is talking, don’t speak. DO listen – you need to join the discussion.

You get 10 seconds to assemble your ideas before you have to get started on talking. Utilize them.

You aren’t expected to be a specialist in the topic. Take the example above about why products become best sellers. You don’t have to be familiar with Robert Cialdini’s seminal book Influence, but even if you’ve never considered that topic before you talk about why you as well as your friends buy things. Make it personal and it will be easier.

The duty you are given includes three bullet points. These are to help you get started nevertheless, you need not use them.

Inside the follow-up to the mini-presentations, when the examiner asks you some questions you can and really should discuss them with your lover. The sole time you shouldn’t speak to your partner is when one of you is giving the mini-presentation.
CPE Reading Test Tips
Read as much as you can.

Read as much different kinds of writing as you can – some academic, some informal, some business etc.

Slowly improve the amount of the texts you read.

Stop using your bilingual dictionary – it’s time to start out using English-English dictionaries (if you haven’t already).

You must train your comprehension skills much more than in CAE. You must know very well what writers are trying to communicate. Any activity where you read a text then discuss it’ll be very helpful.

Highlight sections of texts and suggest to them to your English teacher or a native speaker friend. Tell the teacher what you think the writer is trying to achieve. If you’re in Mongolia or somewhere without native English speakers for millions of miles, there are online communities where people can help you. Try r/English on Reddit.

CPE Use of English Tips
You’ll recognise everything as harder versions of what you did at CAE. All of the tips on this web site still apply, though you will have to develop more strategies of your since I don’t really cover C2 stuff here.

The main difference between this and CAE is that part 4 ‘Key Word Transformations’ uses between 3 and 8 words, so it is quite somewhat more sophisticated.

Get one of the teachers with CPE experience on italki to go over your answers to you.

CPE Writing Tips
The main dissimilarities with CAE is the fact you have 90 mins to create 520-600 words – that will be quite exhausting unless you practice. You should write frequently.

After that, it’s quite comparable to CAE. You merely have to be more accurate with your grammar and blow the examiners away with your vocabulary.

If you’re doing a course in a school, take risks in your writing – use all the new phrases you can. A few of them won’t work – you’ll utilize them within an unnatural way. But before the exam is strictly the right time to try. You’ll learn what works in the safety of the language school, and by enough time of the exam you’ll have repertoire of sexy phrases available.

This page is just about the most helpful for the exam generally and writing specifically.