The CPE or Cambridge Proficiency in English exam, the most advanced test from Cambridge ESOL is changing from March 2013 so, if you are preparing for the test, be careful when choosing study materials or preparation courses. While the difficulty level of the exam remains the same as before (i.e. level C2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Language), the structure of the exam is quite different, particularly with regard to the Reading and Use of English Papers, which are now to be combined.
In this post, we will detail the changes which take effect from this year, and explain what you can now expect when taking the exam.
CPE Changes 2013
Skype English lessons are convenient, economical, and can be extremely effective. The effectiveness of the classes is, of course, dependent upon the quality of your teacher, the professionalism of the school and the structure of the course.
Choosing a teacher for your Skype English lessons
Skype English lessons are no different to lessons at your local academy in terms of what you should expect from your teacher. Firstly, you should check your teacher’s qualifications. There are basically two internationally recognised qualifications for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language and your English teacher should have one of them. They are:
- Cambridge CELTA – A certificate awarded by Cambridge University, the same organisation that administers the FCE, CAE and CPE exams.
- Trinity Tesol – A certificate offered by Trinity College London, the same organisation that administers the Trinity GESE exams for English learners.
Knowing when to use gerunds in English can be difficult. In this blog, we will explore the occasions when it is necessary to use the gerund form.
When a verb ends in “-ing”, it may be a gerund or a present participle. It is important to understand that they are not the same.
When we use a verb in the “-ing” form more like a noun, it is usually a gerund:
Example: Fishing is fun.
The name Bollywood is a portmanteau that comes from Bombay (the former name for Mumbai) and Hollywood, the centre of the American film industry. Unlike Hollywood, Bollywood does not exist as a physical place.
Many people within Hindi Cinema dislike the name. They feel that the name Bollywood makes the industry look like a poor cousin to Hollywood. In 2005, Bollywood was entered in the English Oxford Dictionnary.
Bombay + Hollywood = Bollywood
Why not invent your own portmanteau in English or tell us about your favourite one? We’d love to hear your ideas!
To take up something (usually a hobby, sport or activity)
see also: to start doing…
This phrasal verb is usually separated by its object only when the object is a pronoun – not a noun. Both parts of the verb remain together.
This phrasal verb follows the structure : to take up + object.
“to take up something” means to begin or start doing something (usually a hobby, sport or activity) regularly. Take a look at the following examples:
To bring about something
see also: to cause, to make happen, to provoke
This phrasal verb is not usually separated by an object. Both parts of the verb must remain together.
This phrasal verb follows the structure : to bring about + object.
“to bring about something” means to make something happen or to to cause something to happen. Take a look at the following examples:
“The current economic crisis has brought about a change in people’s spending habits.”
This means that the economic crisis has caused a change in people’s spending habits.
“The riots in Paris brought about the downfall of the French government”.
This means that the riots provoked the downfall of the French government.
The phrasal verb “to bring about” is often collocated with “change”. Other common collocations include: “downfall”, “rise”,”increase”, “decrease”
Describe a photograph competition
Desktop English has launched a monthly photo competition open to anyone and everyone with the prize being a £20 discount on any of our exam courses.
We want you to send us one of your favourite photos (that you, a friend, or a member of your family has taken) with a description of the photo and what it means to you.
Each month will have a theme which will be announced on our Facebook page on the first Friday of each month
The rules are as follows:
- Find this month’s theme on our Facebook page
- Post your photo on our timeline including a full description of the photo. Don’t forget to say why the photo is special to you.
- Make sure your entry is in by the 28th of the month for it to be considered by our judges
Describing photos for Cambridge exams
Remember, Part 2 of the Cambridge FCE and CAE speaking paper is called the “Long Turn”. Candidates are required to speak uninterrupted for a minute about a pair of photographs. You have to describe the photos, compare them, and answer a question about them so the descriptive systems, i.e. grammar and vocabulary, you need to describe your competition photo are the same as the skills you need to succeed in the Cambridge speaking exam. Entering the photo competition is a great opportunity for you to practice for an exam and have your contribution evaluated by trained Cambridge exam specialists.
All winners will be announced on this page and on our Facebook page.
Winners so far….
Month 1 – June 2012
June’s winner was Greg, from Greece. Greg is currently studying for his IELTS exam with Steve. He is a proud Greek and he sends this photo to illustrate the beauty of his country. Next time it could be you winning a special Desktop English prize!
I live in Greece which is a wonderful country, with many beautiful places. For the funs of swimming there are a lot of places with crystal clear water. Especially, chalkidiki has the most beautiful beaches. Also there are many mountains with a significant biodiversity and amazing picturesque sceneries. My favourite place is mountain Olympos, because it is a really virgin place with the biggest variety of plants in my country and also you can breath fresh air and relax far away of the everyday’s problems. Also, It’s a really fantastic place for walking. It’s a so wooded area and it’s got an amazing atmosphere. Here is a photo of that area
Month 2 – July 2012
This month’s theme is “Around the home”. Your photo can be anything associated with your home, family or daily life. Don’t forget, the closing date for this months competition is the 28th July so get your entries in now,
If you want to see all the other competition entries, visit our Facebook page. Don’t forget to keep a look out for the next competition, especially if you want to practise for your Cambridge Speaking paper.
The CPE speaking test is divided into 3 parts, each testing your speaking ability in distinctive contexts. The speaking test is best viewed as an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of vocabulary and the range of grammatical structures that someone with a C2 level of English is expected to possess.
Preparation for the CPE speaking test
Firstly, consider taking a preparatory course such as the one offered by Desktop English. Cambridge estimate that 80% of CPE candidates complete a preparation course before taking the exam. This should be the first consideration if you are interested in the Proficiency exam. An experienced Cambridge exam teacher will be able to manage your preparation regime and identify weak areas where you need to concentrate your energy during your study. Once you have chosen a course, your teacher will help you to:
- Practise the speaking test with other students preparing for the exam and you get feedback about your performance
- Familiarise yourself with the format of each part of the test, including the interaction patterns (i.e. when you are required to speak alone, with the other candidate, with the examiner, or both).
- Become familiar with the timings of each part of the exam and practise speaking for fully 2 minutes in preparation for the long turn in part 3.
- Practise using an expansive vocabulary and a variety of complex structures that enable you to speculate, talk about perception, discuss abstract concepts and to paraphrase where necessary
- Learn how to listen to the questions in the exam to identify what kind of language is required in your answer
- Recognise opportunities in each part to produce the kind of structures and vocabulary required to prove your level
We at Desktop English offer an online preparation course for the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Take a look at how we can help you pass.
Desktop English CPE Preparation Course
In the second in our series of posts about the true meaning of prepositions in English, we examine the word up and look at how native speakers perceive the word both in isolation or as a particle in a phrasal verb.
Up – It’s real meaning
In this blog, I will demonstrate that the meaning of up is literally a direction (i.e. the opposite of down). Additionally, after hundreds of years of linguistic evolution, it has come to form part of a variety of what are known as phrasal verbs, frequently with a meaning that falls into one of the following categories:
- reconciliation/achieving parity