Tips for getting top marks in the Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) Exam - Quynh Huong Center for Foreign Language Translation & Education

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10 May 2020

Tips for getting top marks in the Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) Exam

This exam is proof of the wide range of English language knowledge and confirms the language skills required by foreign universities and international employers. This is the next step after the First Certificate (FCE), the next is English Proficiency. This certificate is recognized by over 6000 institutions worldwide. Below you will find advice on preparing for the CAE exam as well as materials you can use.

Reading and use of English 

In the text, there will be so-called distractors, which are synonymous or similar to the words in the question or the wrong answers. This is a deliberate distraction to check your understanding of the text. To avoid this trap, first, read the text quickly to make the text more general and only then read the text in order to answer the questions. Read the questions and answers carefully. When you think you already know the answer to a question, read the question and answer again, then read the text that led you to the chosen answer before making a final decision. 

If you come across words that you don't know, try to know their meaning from the context of the sentence, but remember the time that is running out. 

Consider the order in which you will perform the tasks, leave multiple-choice tasks at the end and focus on those that require more attention. 

Manage your time! Leave the answers you are unsure about at the end while having enough time for those you can answer. 

Always read the titles and instructions. They can give you tips and make it easier for you to answer questions. 

Remember that some exercises have examples with the correct answers given! Never waste time on questions marked with zero (0). Check your spelling carefully. 


To do well in the written part of the exam you must know what is expected of you. The examiner will focus on four aspects of your text - content (whether you have done what you were asked to do), style (whether you have applied the right style and correct tone of the text), organisation (whether you have planned the text properly and it is constructed logically), whether you have used advanced vocabulary and whether you have made many grammatical mistakes. 

Start by making a plan and write down what you want to include in each text and what you write in each paragraph. You can also write down the vocabulary you intend to use. 

Manage the time - both texts are approximately the same length and are scoring the same, so split the time equally. 

Remember the word limit and practice writing within the limit. 

Include all the points listed in the command and use your words instead of repeating those in the command. 


The easiest way to prepare for listening is... yes, you guessed it - listening! Listen to different types of recordings such as interviews, speeches, monologues, lectures, daily conversations and more. 

Get ready to listen to a wide range of accents and practice understanding of people, from different parts of the country and different English speaking countries. You can listen to podcasts, radio, interviews, watch YouTube videos, series and movies. As with reading, watch out for distractors. 

Try to predict what word you will be listening to. Read the question and highlight the most important phrases or words and try to identify the most likely answer. Whether it is an adjective, a verb, a number, an activity, a person, or a time. 


Speaking consists of four parts - interview, picture discussion, joint task and discussion. In the interview, you can expect questions about you, your interests, family, job or school, etc. Remember to give comprehensive answers and to include advanced vocabulary. 

The next part will require you to discuss two of the three pictures in one minute. Focus only on the two you choose and don't say anything about the third one. Compare the pictures with each other. Use all your time and don't let the silence come. The examiner will tell you what to do, but the instructions are also on the picture page. Use words like 'while', 'whereas' and 'both'. If there is the word 'might' in the command, the examiner will expect you to speculate, so use words or phrases like: perhaps, seems like, might have, it could be that. 

The third part focuses on communication. You and your partner (the second candidate) receive a thought map that will form the basis of your conversation. Remember that the other person is as stressed as you are and is in the same situation. Let the other person talk and leave them time for that. 

The fourth part is a discussion which is a continuation of part 3. Ask your partner questions, give comprehensive answers, use connectors to structure your statements. This is your opportunity to show how you can develop the topics from the previous part. 

How to prepare online? 

This is where Engxam (English Exams) come in. We are a dedicated online-only exam revision platform for the mastery of English. We help you to feel more confident with the language, though crucially pass these Cambridge exams and succeed. 

Engxam was born of the pragmatic understanding that people are expected to do more – improve themselves to give themselves a competitive edge -- with an ever-squeezed amount of personal time. As you will know, some people do not have time to go to language school after work or on weekends. They need something that slots comfortably into the gaps in their schedules. 

The platform has more than 100 number versions of these exams: 

C2 Proficient (CPE) 
C1 Advanced CAE 
B2 (FCE) 
B1 Preliminary (PET) 
A2 Key (KET) 
A1 Movers (YLE) 

Re-test yourself in a bright, familiar and trusted online location and succeed at any time and any place. No teachers and no stress, you just need a secure internet connection. Just because there’s no teacher next to you we will support you every step of the way.

Published by Amazing Languages

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