Warning: This is a long
post about my experience with the CAE! It can become rather dull to read through it all, yet I hope it helps those interested in sitting for the exam.
Firstly, I have tried to post the link to the blog where I talk about a bit of my preparation for the CAE but apparently it is not possible to disclose my blog address here (By the way, my apologies to the administrators about it – I am “technologically challenged” and just realised I couldn’t do that by the time I received the 3rd warning in my EE account!
Anyway, I have recently sat for the CAE (Computer-based) version and feel very strongly that I must share a bit of my experience with you guys:
I was a bundle of nerves prior to the exam. I always feel like that prior to any exam.
Regarding the writing paper, I felt somewhat guilty that I had not read the books recommended for 2012: Lord of the Flies and The Lighthouse. However, I promised myself I will be reading them at some point this year. Even though I did not do as I am preaching here, I am sure that reading the set texts give candidates an edge prior to sitting for the test.
The speaking paper took place on the following day. Even though I had prepared myself for the speaking exam and knew I was supposed to follow all those widely known tips such as using discourse markers etc, it felt so unnatural
at the time I ended up being myself and just expressing my opinion whenever asked questions. Note
: I was careful not to use ''I think'' to express my opinion...This is a rule of thumb for this exam!(Even though we all know that natives use "I think" all the time
I sat for the speaking test with two other candidates, one from Colombia and the other from Switzerland. The candidate from Colombia did extremely well. It felt as if he was reading a book...He used all expressions such as However, Nonetheless, On the other hand etc...I was truly impressed!
The examiners kept a straight face at all times and it was nearly impossible to see through them! They left the impression I had "botched it up''. haha
Before the exam, I got into the habit of checking 2 websites on a daily basis.
Flo-Joe - Word bank for CAE and CPE;http://www.flo-joe.co.uk/cae/students/wordbank/pverb.htm
Splendid speaking (only the section daily colloquial expressions) http://www.splendid-speaking.com/products/wotd/index.html
It takes less than 5 minutes and makes a world of difference in your preparation for the exam.
Funny thing is now I can't get out of this habit!
My main study source was “Ready for CAE”
by McMillan (I only used the workbook for exercises)
I also printed some mock tests and other websites but my main component of my preparation was the book mentioned above.
To conclude, I would like to finish this post by drawing attention to the fact that no matter how high we have scored in any exam, we will always be learning and making mistakes.
When I was younger, I thought most people who passed this test “knew it all”.
Nowadays, I thankfully don’t hold such misconception simply because I've become aware that learning another language is a never-ending process
. There is always a new expression, a new idiom, a new word you have never heard of and have to learn how to pronounce it from scratch.
I personally learn more and more every day and on making mistakes I see a golden opportunity to grow my knowledge of the language I love so much.
Hope it helps you guys.
If you have any question about the exam or would like to know more about my preparation for the CAE, please leave a comment or email me and I will be glad to assist.