CPE Study Guide

Here are some materials to help students prepare for the Cambridge CPE exam.

Cambridge CPE Handbook

Download the latest version of the CPE handbook here:

http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/images/168194-cambridge-english-proficiency-teachers-handbook.pdf

It contains explanations of each part of the exam and practice tests with answers.

Quizlet sets:

Here are loads of different quizlet sets on different parts of the exam:

http://quizlet.com/20934139/cpe-use-of-english-2-open-cloze-flash-cards/

http://quizlet.com/15560940/cae-cpe-inversion-transformations-flash-cards/

http://quizlet.com/56144162/cpe-describing-feelings-flash-cards/

http://quizlet.com/16987300/cae-cpe-use-of-english-practice-part-5-flash-cards/

http://quizlet.com/2150978/cpe-idioms-flash-cards/

Join this class for more:

http://quizlet.com/join/gkF6yKCg8

Recommended websites:

These websites have great materials for self-study:

http://www.flo-joe.com/cpe/students/

http://www.examenglish.com/cpe/ – old exam format but still useful.

http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/proficiency/how-to-prepare/

Writing Handouts

Here are a selection of documents to help prepare students for the writing paper:

CPE Writing part 1 (2)

CAE CPE Writing part 2 plan handout

cae-writing-useful-language-1

CPE Report

CPE Review

CPE speaking writing phrases

CPE writing essay 2nd plan

CPE Writing Part 1 walkthrough

Letter of Complaint tim

Narrative Letter

Paragraph Structure

Writing Expressions

Prezis

Here are links to various prezis on types of writing and grammar points:

Relative clauses: 

http://prezi.com/inqmfkuikbbt/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Inversion: 

http://prezi.com/wxy3-yvm3osw/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Inversion 2: 

http://prezi.com/mhabu89gv8-7/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Conditionals: 

http://prezi.com/r8peruvmq8nf/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Academic Writing: 

http://prezi.com/x1qhxvkwahez/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Report: 

http://prezi.com/cc55ukdsa3rk/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Planning Writing:

http://prezi.com/vmxjibrjz3lt/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Narrative/Descriptive writing: 

http://prezi.com/zvhgk3raimei/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Letter of Complaint: 

http://prezi.com/dxsaxacxoquv/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Book review: 

http://prezi.com/tvjva9mynbsj/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Proposal: 

http://prezi.com/faz_7zanfvvb/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Article: 

http://prezi.com/nwmmfijnmrlv/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Letter of application: 

http://prezi.com/dmwaid3cj4ql/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Speaking Materials:

Agreeingand disagreeing

CPE Speaking part 1

CPE long turn examples

Speaking Long Turn (1)

CAE Speaking Part 2 speculation

CAE Speaking Part 2

Food Idioms

This is an activity to teach some common idioms and expressions related to food.

You will need the handout below, which contains photos of various food items.

food idioms pics

You will also need this quizlet set:

http://quizlet.com/72332476/food-idioms-2-flash-cards/

  • Divide the class into pairs or teams of 3.
  • Give each team a set of the 10 food pictures.
  • Project the quizlet set onto the board.
  • Give students a few seconds to decide which food item completes the expression, then countdown from 3 to 0 on zero all the groups hold up the card they think completes the sentence (this way they can’t copy each other) award 1 point to each team that guesses correctly.
  • Award extra points for teams that can correctly define the expression.
  • Winning team is the one with the most points.
  • Then challenge students to write a story containing as many of the idioms as possible in 5 minutes.

Expressions:

A piece of cake – very easy

A couch potato – a lazy person who watches too much tv

The apple never falls far from the tree – like father/mother like son/daughter

To bring home the bacon – support a family financially

….is not my cup of tea – not my thing/something I like

Salt of the Earth – a genuine, charitable, down-to-earth person

As cool as a cucumber – very calm and relaxed

Spill the beans – reveal a secret/sensitive information

There’s no point crying over spilt milk – a problem has happened and there’s nothing you can do, so don’t worry

To butter somebody up – to compliment/treat someone nicely in order to get something

The Perfect Date – So/Neither do I

This is an activity to practice short answers of agreement “So/neither do I”

Download the handout here:

so neither do I

Introduction

We use the short answers “So do I/Neither do I” to express agreement or something in common that we have with another person.

We use “So do I” to respond to positive sentences and “Neither do I” for negative sentences.

A: I love Spanish wine. B: So do I!

A: I don’t like fast food. B: Neither do I.

Auxiliary Verbs

The auxiliary verb we use depends on the sentence we are responding to.

Present Simple: DO

A: I love Spanish wine. B: So do I!

A: I don’t like fast food. B: Neither do I.

Past Simple: DID

A: I went to the cinema last weekend. B: So did I.

A: I didn’t like the film though. B: Neither did I.

Or if another auxiliary verb is present we repeat it.

A: I can run the hundred metres in under 11 seconds. B: So ______ I.

A: I wouldn’t like to go there at night. B: ________ _________ __________.

Write the short answer responses in the first person for the following sentences:

  1. I’ve always wanted to visit Hong Kong. __________________________
  2. I’m not a big fan of basketball. _______________________
  3. I’d quite like to try to scuba diving. ___________________
  4. I shouldn’t smoke so much. _____________________
  5. I work in a bank. ______________________
  6. I can’t stand karaoke. _________________
  7. I had seen the film 3 times before. ____________________
  8. I couldn’t believe my eyes! _________________________

We can also use this structure with a possessive pronoun (mine/his/hers etc.)

A: My husband works in finance. B: So does mine.

A: My children go to St. Peter’s school. B: So do mine.

Role-play the perfect date

You go on date with someone you met on tinder. First, complete the following sentences about yourself, and then read them to your date. You discover that you are a match made in heaven!

Student 1:

I’ve always dreamed of_____________________

I’m crazy about_______________________

I can’t bear____________________________

I’m petrified of ___________________________

I will never forget___________________________

I really should _____________________________

Tomorrow I have to_________________________

When I was I child I used to_______________________

When I was little I couldn’t________________________

I’ve been ______ing ________________ for___________________.

My ex was a_______________________

My sister ________________________________

Student 2:

I will always remember________________________

If I wasn’t so ___________________, I would_________________

I must remember to_______________________

I can’t_____________________________

My grandparents__________________________

I should_____________________________

I’d love to________________________

When I was a student I used to_________________________

If I could go back in time, I would______________________

Before last week I had never___________________________

I couldn’t live without ___________________________

I’m a huge fan of__________________________

Disagreeing – A date from hell

If we disagree or don’t share the same taste or opinion as the person we can talk to we can simply repeat the auxiliary verb in affirmative/negative:

A: I love Woody Allen films. B: I don’t.

A: I wouldn’t like to try sky-diving. B: I would. – Repeat the date role play but disagree with everything!

Key 1st exercise:

  1. So have I
  2. Neither am I
  3. So would I
  4. Neither should I
  5. So do I
  6. Neither can I
  7. So had I
  8. Neither could I

Photo rights: http://adoniszone.blogspot.com.es/2014/11/5-ways-to-make-your-date-perfect.html

Requests and Offers – Shall/could/can etc.

This is an activity to practice various ways of making offers and requests.

First go over the language on the handout for making offers and requests then cut up the situation cards and have students role-play them, simple as that. Here are the handouts:

Offers and Requests Situations

Making Offers and Requests language

Making Offers and Requests

It is common that English speakers make offers in conversations in order to be polite and helpful. When they do so they use these expressions:

Can I… ?
Shall I… ?
Would you like … ?
How about …?

English learner must be able to make offers as well as accept or reject them. The following are useful expressions to do so.

Can I help you?
Shall get you some juice?
Would you like a glass of water ?
How about some pizza?

 

Examples:

·         “Can I help you?”

·         “Shall I open the window for you?”

·         “Would you like another cup of coffee?”

·         “Would you like me to clean the board?”

·         “How about a juice? “

Remember:

·         Shall, can and will are followed by the verb without to.
Example:
“Can I help you?”
“Shall I bring you the mobile phone?

·         Shall is more formal than can.

·         Would you like… is followed either by a noun, or by the verb with to.
Example:
“Would you like some tea ?”
“Would you like to drink some coffee?

 

 

 

 

Responding to offers

Accepting Declining
Yes please. I’d like to.
That would be very kind of you.
Yes please, that would be lovely.
Yes please, I’d love to.
If you wouldn’t mind.
If you could.
Thank you, that would be great.
It’s OK, I can do it myself.
Don’t worry, I’ll do it.
No, thanks
No, thank you

Examples:

·         “Can I help you?”
No thanks, I’m just having a look.” (With a shop assistant.)

·         “Can I help you?”
“Do you know where the post office is.”

·         “Shall I help you with your maths problem?”
“Yes, please. That would be very nice of you.”

·         “Would you like a cup of tea?”
No thanks.” Or, “No thank you.”

·         “Would you like another piece of cake?”
Yes please, that would be nice .”
Yes please, I’d love one.”

·         “Would you like me to do the the ironing for you?”
If you wouldn’t mind.”
If you could.”

·         “I’ll do the washing, if you like.”
It’s OK, I can do it.”
Don’t worry, I’ll do it.
Thank you, that would be great.”

Asking others to do things – making requests

Asking Saying Yes Saying No
Can you…? Yes, sure. Well, I’m afraid + reason
Could you…?
Is it all right if you…?
Do you think you could…?
Will you…?
Would you…?
Yes, of course.
Certainly.
Well, the problem is
Sorry, but…
Do you mind -ing…?
Would you mind -ing…?
No, not at all.
Of course not.

Situation cards:

Offers and Requests Situations

You have just broken your leg. You have to stay in bed for 2 months. You have 3 children and 2 dogs. Ask your friends for help. You have to go away for the weekend for a business trip. You have lots of plants in your house and 3 cats. Your house is in a bad state: the walls need painting, one window is broken and the front door doesn’t close properly. You have no money for repairs. Ask your friends for help.
You have an important job interview tomorrow morning but your car is at the mechanics being fixed. You also need to take your children to school at the same time as the interview. You are organising a cocktail dinner party but you can’t cook or make cocktails and you don’t have any CDs or records to play. You had a big party last night and your house is a complete mess, the carpet is stained with red wine, all the dishes are dirty, there are cans and bottles everywhere and the toilet is broken. Ask your friends (who were also at the party) for help.
You are a little old lady. You have just been to the supermarket, you are carrying a lot of heavy bags and you want to cross the road. Ask a group of teenagers for help. You are in an expensive restaurant with friends. There is a group of loud football players at the table next to you singing and shouting. The restaurant is also too cold and smells bad. Ask the waiter for help. You had an accident at work and you have to wear two patches over your eyes for 2 weeks. Ask your friends for help with your daily activities.
You are moving house. You have to transport everything in your old house to your new one. You don’t have a van, ask your friends for help. You have a new boss at work. You want to impress him/her because you want a promotion. Offer to do some extra work. You are an old man, you have come to visit your children, you have arthritis and you need help with lots of things.

Credits for the language explanations to:

http://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/polite-requests

and

http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/communication-lesson-offers.php#.VOM_5vnF8k1

and the photo:

https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/microsites/guide-dogs-in-school/puppy-resources/guide-dogs-in-the-community/sighted-guiding/

Conversation Lesson: Agony Aunts

This is a conversation class based on the topic of agony aunts for advanced adult students (C1+) in which students learn some expressions and structures for giving advice. Here is the language handout and the situations for advice:

Agony Aunt + Agony Aunt Language

Start by trying to elicit what an agony aunt is. You could show the this link to the Sun’s Dear Deidre column (be warn it has some partial nudity)

Ask students if they have similar columns/websites in their country.

Tell students that they are going to become agony aunts for the class.

Give out the handout and go through the language Then cut up the agony aunt situations and have students take it in turns to read a situation as if it were their own. Other students then give advice on the situation.

Giving advice

Present:

You should/shouldn’t…

You ought to/ought not to…

You had better/had better not…

If I were in your shoes/position, I would…

I’ll tell you what, why don’t you…?

What you can do is…

I suggest/recommend that you + infinitive – to

I suggest/recommend + gerund

Have you tried + gerund?

It’s vital that you…

You simply have to…

Past:

You should/shouldn’t have + past participle.

You ought (not) to have + past participle.

Expressions

Woah! That’s a tough one.

That’s a delicate/tricky situation.

A minefield.

You have to tread carefully.

Be subtle/tactful/diplomatic.

Bring it up casually.

Who is in the wrong?

Don’t think twice about + gerund (definitely do it)

Don’t even think about + gerund (definitely don’t do it)

Put your foot down.

Don’t take any crap/bullshit.

You have to nip this problem in the bud.

I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

It’s just a storm in a teacup.

It’ll blow over.

Don’t make any hasty/rash decisions.

You have to face the problem head on.

Put yourself in his/her shoes.

What would you do if the shoe was on the other foot?

Don’t put up with it.

Stay strong.

Go with your gut instinct.

Agony Aunt – Situations

My partner has to go away on a business trip with his/her ex, they will be staying in the same hotel. He/she has assured me that /he/she has no feelings for the ex. My partner’s personal hygiene standards have slipped. My partner’s parents are always dropping hints about wedding bells and the pitter patter of tiny feet.
My best friend always flirts with my partner, I don’t want to make a big deal of it but it bothers me. My partner called out the wrong name during sex! My partner used to be really romantic but has stopped making the effort.
My partner told me he/she didn’t want anything for valentine’s day so I didn’t get him/her anything. He/she is now giving me the silent treatment. I’ve been with my partner for 5 months; I have to move out of my house because my landlord is selling it. My partner has invited me to move in with him/her but I’m not sure. Is it too soon? I don’t want to hurt his/her feelings. My partner doesn’t want to have kids and I’ve always said the same but now I’m starting to get broody.
My partner doesn’t help out around the house. He/she doesn’t cook, clean or help fix anything. I lent my partner €1000 and he/she hasn’t paid me back yet and he/she hasn’t brought it up for months. I get the feeling that my partner’s parents don’t approve of my line of work. I’m a professional musician. My partner used to go out with a lawyer.
My partner is still on good terms with all of his/her exes; he/she chats with them regularly on facebook. My best friend told me that my partner came on to him/her when he/she was really drunk. My partner’s mother won’t leave him/her alone. She insists on doing all his/her laundry and that they go out together, just the two of them, every Friday night. How do I make her back off?
I’ve fallen in love with my best friend but he/she isn’t interested. I’m 19 years old and my partner has just proposed to me. I love him/her but is this too big a step? I’m getting married in 2 weeks but I think my fiancé is getting cold feet about wedding. He/she goes really quiet when I start talking about it and he/she doesn’t seem to be sleeping much.
I’m single, I kissed a colleague at the work Christmas party and now he/she has asked me out on a date. My boss at work keeps giving me the eye and dropping hints about us going on a date. He’s invited me to a conference next weekend. I’ve just come out of a long-term relationship. I met a great guy/girl in a bar the other day. I told him/her that it was just a bit of fun but I think he/she is falling for me.

CAE use of English useful language

This is a handout for CAE exam students. It contains a selection of the collocations, expressions, phrasal verbs and grammatical structures that can come up in the exam.

Download the hand out here:

CAE expressions collocations etc

Phrasal Verbs

Carry out (do/perform) tests/experiments/studies/orders.

End up – We ended up sleeping in a doorway.

Run out (none left) – We’ve run out of milk.

Run short/low on (not have much left) – we’re running short on milk.

Lead to (cause) – The accident led to huge traffic jams on the main road.

Meet up with (people) – We always meet up at the same café on Sunday afternoon.

Take up space/time – We threw our old sofa out because it took up too much space. I can’t do yoga anymore; it takes up too much of my time.

Stand out (be obviously different) – Alan is 185cm at 14 so he really stands out in his class.

Take after (a parent) (inherit their traits/characteristics) – Neil really takes after his Dad, their mannerisms are exactly the same.

Call for (require) – This job calls for a good head for numbers.

Meet with (encounter) problems/reactions – Joe’s plans for the company met with angry reactions from the employees.

To wear out (to be damaged with use/tired) – The two kids wear me out so much at the weekend. My tires are completely worn out; I need to buy new ones.

Put in (effort/time) – I put a lot of time and effort into the project.

Cut down on (consume less) – I’m going to cut down on cigarettes.

Collocations

A head for figures/numbers (talent)

On an annual/daily basis (every year/day)

An error of judgement

Loose clothes, a loose tooth, the animals got loose (escaped)

Run a business (manage)

A spot of rain, a spot for a picnic, To spot something (see)

Put something to use

Make use of something

Have a vast impact on st

A fall/drop/rise in the number of…

River bank

Sea shore

Clearly distinguishable

Come to light

Animal behaviour

Herds of dinosaurs/cows

Operate machinery

Operate on a person

Raw materials

Disposal of waste/waste disposal

The state of the environment

A pressing problem

Confront/face a problem/be confronted/faced with a problem

Life support systems

Set fire to st

A risk of fire

It soon became clear

Keep an area clear

Short space of time

parking space

release a film/CD/album

Release fumes into the atmosphere

A great deal of + uncountable noun (a lot of)

Snow-capped mountains

A point of interest

Pursue a hobby/leisure activity

A small/large sum of money

Expressions

A metre/day/etc. or so (approx.)

I think of him as a father figure

As much (noun) as possible

Upside-down

Back-to-front

Inside-out

Run into trouble (encounter problems)

Take somebody on a tour

… will be followed by…

It follows that (therefore/so)

Even the (superlative) bravest person would be scared.

Contrary to popular belief…

Behind/ahead of schedule

What do you make of this? (think about)

To make (quite) a name for oneself

I’d be grateful if you could…

This belongs to me

… is nowhere near…

… isn’t anywhere near…

… proved to be… (turned out)

Well over + number (there were well over 100 people at the event)

…is/are considered to be

… would make an excellent/terrible… (doctor/parent etc.)

It’s hard to believe that…

Prevent something from happening

At the height of his fame/success

In (his/its etc.) heyday

At its height (the height of its success/fame)

Common Key Word Transformation Expressions and Grammar

Would rather (not) do something (no to)

Would prefer (not) to do something

Deny + gerund – She denied having stolen/stealing the money

Accuse sb of + gerund

Spend time doing st

It took me (10 mins) to do ….

In spite of/Despite never having done st….

In spite of/Despite + noun

Get something done – I need to get my passport renewed

Were to + inf in conditionals. If I were to win the lottery, I would…

In the process of doing st – the house is in the process of being rebuilt

We wasted little time (in) starting the game.

There wasn’t a single… left.

Have great difficulty (in) doing st – he had great difficulty opening the box.

I can’t make it (come) to the meeting.

On no account/under no circumstances + should/must/to be – On no account should this door be opened. Under no circumstances am I to be disturbed.

As far as… Is concerned… is… – As far as computers are concerned, John is a real expert.

It was only when …. That …. – It was only when I arrived home that I realised I had been robbed.

Just about to do st

To be on the point of doing st – I was just about to open the door when the phone rang.

The lack/absence of … caused…