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Everything you need to know about Cambridge exams 2 – FCE and CAE

With our final FCE and CAE courses of the year starting next month, we decided to look at some useful tips and hints for students planning on taking one of our exam courses. Our trainer Laura shares her insights into teaching FCE and CAE and gives us the lowdown on getting the most out of your course.

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When I come to the end of teaching FCE and CAE courses and my students are taking their exams, I have my fingers crossed for them and I also have a little time to reflect on how exam students can best maximize their chances of success. Over our eight-week course students learn the best exam techniques, as well as fine-tuning their grammar, expanding their vocabulary and improving their skills in English.

Of course, you can find lots of useful tips on the Cambridge exam website or on the website Flo-Joe, but there are some more holistic ways to make the most of an exam course and, fingers crossed, to pass with flying colours. Here are my top three tips.

1)  Stay healthy

Ok, it sounds like something your mum would say but I think it’s great advice.  I noticed that my students often make the effort to sit down and have a proper lunch together in our Westcroft Square restaurant.  Not only does this give them plenty of energy, it also means they can practise speaking together between lessons!  Another sensible habit is to wrap up in warm clothes and accessories, especially as not all of them will be used to the British winter.  Having said that, I think most classes could always do with more sleep!

2)  Make friends

It’s crucial not to fall behind in an exam class, as so much ground is covered each day.  For that reason you need a ‘study buddy’ who can collect any work for you if you really can’t avoid missing a session.  This advice is especially important for FCE courses, where students have to work in pairs and threes for their speaking test.

3)  Enjoy it!

The traditional view is that exam courses should be a hard slog and deadly serious. They are hard work and of course you should take them seriously but many students find that, actually, they enjoy the challenge of working towards the goal represented by the exam.  And all of the latest educational research shows that if you foster a positive outlook which enables you to enjoy your learning, you actually learn and retain more.  It’s a win-win situation

The next FCE and CAE course start on 20th October. To find out more details or to book this course, please visit our website.

lowdown (n) – the true facts or relevant information about something
to fine-tune stg (v) – to perfect something, to get rid of small errors
holistic (adj.) – any situation which considers the ‘whole picture’
fingers crossed (fixed expression) – to wish someone luck
to pass (an exam) with flying colours (idiom) – to pass an exam with high marks
wrap up (phr v) – to wear warm clothes
study buddy (adj+n) – a schoolmate with whom schoolwork is completed, often somebody one sits next to in a classroom
a hard slog (n) – a difficult struggle
deadly serious (adv+adj) – very serious
a win-win situation (n) – a situation which only has advantages

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