Saturday, March 20, 2010

studying for CPE

My CPE prep classes have already started and I am pretty happy with them. However, no matter how good the teacher is, it is inevitable to always be haunted by that know that voice inside your head which tells you: it's so hard and you are not even close to be prepared for this test. And actually, by now, I'm wondering if it is ever possible to really feel like you are prepared for the test. Each part of the test brings about obstacles almost impossible to overcome: what if I exceed the 2 minutes time in the speaking part? what if the writing is about something I know nothing about? what if the Use of English test is full of those texts on business and biology which I simply don't understand? groan...I'm starting to feel depressed already, and I'm going to take the test only in December!!
However, this is not the time for despair: something can still be done - namely, exercise!
Luckily people in cambridge are fully aware that they are preparing a very difficult (impossible?) test, and they are willing to help us. Of course, I know they write books which are meant to help us getting prepared - and they sell it at a high price, knowing that it is almost impossible to pass the test without these books. However - strange as it may sound - they are also willing to help us for free!! yeah, you got it: no costs whatsoever! Isn't it very solidary of them?
  • The first website I recommend is ExamEnglish, which is good not only for the exercises it provides, but also because it helps getting a better/bigger picture of what all of these Cambridge and Toefl tests are about. This way you can find out if the test you want to take will actually help you in achieving your goals.
  • The second website, very familiar among Cultura Inglesa students and teachers, is Flo-Joe. The website describes itself as "the place on the web for Cambridge exam preparation". If you are taking the Toefl, some exercises might still be helpful, but the test is really different. Flo-Joe can be very helpful if you are planning to take FCE, CAE or CPE as it provides many many many exercises. It is specially useful to prepare for the reading, writing or Use of English parts of the test.
  • ETS, which is the organization that oversees the major American tests (GRE, SAT, G-Mat, etc.), is also responsible for Toefl. The new Toefl is now IBT, which stands dor Internet Based Test. The ETS website provides some helpful tips and question samples for you to get prepared for free. However, if you really intend to take the test, it is advisable that you either buy the book with the Cd-Rom (which gives you a better idea of how the test will look like) or pay for the online preparation. The cost will be pretty much the same.
If you do as much exercise as you can, I think you have good chances to get a B in the test :)