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Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

March 23, 2017

CISL is proud to have taught intensive Cambridge FCE and CAE  exam preparation classes for the last 25 years (and is equally proud to be a Cambridge Testing Centre)! Would you like some Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II vocabulary and tips? Read on for some of our expertise!

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

Overview: Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II

In Part I, students speak about themselves for one minute (read our CAE and FCE Speaking Part I tips here).

In Part II, the focus turns to a visual prompt. Here’s how it works:

  • The students are given a piece of paper with photos (two photos for FCE and three photos for CAE)
  • Student A is given a task: to answer questions about the photos in one minute. The questions the student has to answer about the photographs are written at the top of the page in case the student forgets.
  • Part of this task is NOT to describe the photos: questions about about what the people in the photos might be feeling/thinking, etc. This is to test the student’s ability to speak on their own (without a partner) about something: it is testing the student’s use of language for comparing, describing, expressing opinions, and speculating.
  • Student A has one minute to speak about the photos.
  • Student B is then asked a question about the photos and has 30 seconds to respond.
  • The students are given new photos and now it’s Student B’s turn to speak for one minute.
  • After, Student A speaks for 30 seconds about the photos.

Example FCE Speaking Part 2

With the FCE Speaking Part 2, students are given two photos.

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

Interlocutor: In this part of the test, I’m going to give you each two photographs. I’d like you to talk about your photographs on your own for about a minute, and also to answer a question about your partner’s photographs.

Student A, here are your photographs. They show people who are playing a board game in different situations. I’d like you to compare these photographs, and say how different the motives for the players might be different in each situation. 

All right?

(Student A speaks for one minute.)

Student B, do you enjoy participating in competitions? Why or why not?

(Student B speaks for 30 seconds.)


Example CAE Speaking Part 2

With the CAE Speaking Part 2, students are given three photos.

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

Interlocutor: In this part of the test, I’m going to give you each two photographs. I’d like you to talk about your photographs on your own for about a minute, and also to answer a question about your partner’s photographs.

Student A, here are your photographs. They show people who are playing a board game in different situations. I’d like you to compare two photographs and say how different the motives for the players might be different in each situation. 

All right?

(Student A speaks for one minute.)

Student B, in which situation do you think the players feel the most pressure? Why?

(Student B speaks for 30 seconds.)


Useful Vocabulary: Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II

Because students are being tested on comparing, describing, expressing opinions, and speculating, it is important that students know the language related to these concepts.

Comparing

We can use the following words for comparing two photos that are similar:

  • as
  • as well as
  • both
  • have in common
  • in the same way
  • like
  • more (adjective) than
  • the most (adjective)
  • similar
  • similarly
  • same
  • the same as

We can use the following words for comparing two photos that are different:

  • although
  • but
  • contrary to
  • even though
  • differ
  • however
  • instead
  • on the contrary
  • on the other hand
  • the reverse
  • unless
  • unlike
  • whereas
  • while
  • yet

Describing

Use the Simple Present and Present Continuous to talk about what is happening in the photos. If you don’t know the vocabulary words, check out our article What How to Answer an IELTS, TOEFL, or Cambridge Question When You Don’t Understand a Vocabulary Word.

Expressing opinions

  • My initial reaction is …
  • I (really) think that …
  • I believe (that) …
  • I’m sure that …
  • In my opinion / My opinion is …
  • For me/ From my point of view, …
  • Frankly, …
  • I do believe/ feel/think …
  • I tend to think that …
  • It seems clear to me that …
  • To the best of my knowledge, …
  • What I think is …
  • It would seem to me that …
  • I can’t help thinking that …
  • I think it’s fair/reasonable to say …
  • I’ve come the conclusion that …

Speculating

  • You could say …
  • I reckon/suppose …
  • It could/might well be that …
  • It could be said that …
  • My best guess is …
  • It’s possible that …
  • Perhaps

Tips: Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II

CISL is a Cambridge Testing Centre and has been providing successful FCE and CAE testing to students for over 25 years. Here are some of our tips for mastering Part 2 of the Cambridge Speaking Module!

  • Speak for the entire time you are given. Students sometimes become nervous and do not use the full minute or 30 seconds.
  • Practice timing yourself by giving yourself impromptu one minute speeches. In time, you will gain a “feel” for how long one minute is and how long 30 seconds is.
  • Remember to fully answer the questions. If you forget what they are, do not worry: they are written on the paper for you.
  • View more tips (and see another Part 2 practice test) in our previous article about Cambridge FCE and CAE Part 2 Tips. You can view the tips here:

 

Academic English Cambridge Exams EAP Featured IELTS TOEFL Writing

Exam Prep Writing: Beginning an Essay with an Effective Hook

December 16, 2016

Many writers (both native English speakers and English learners) agree that beginning the essay is often the most difficult part. For English proficiency exams such as TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge FCE and CAE, this is certainly the case!

Take a look at this sample TOEFL Agree/Disagree statement. How would you begin an essay? (For tips on TOEFL Agree/Disagree, check out our article that contains useful hints.)

Writing.Speaking.Agree.Disagree.TOEFL.CAE.FCE.IELTS

Learn more TOEFL Writing Tips (and how to construct an Agree/Disagree essay) on the CISL Blog.

Writing Prompt:

Do you agree or disagree with the statement below?

There is nothing that younger people can teach older people. 

Use specific examples to support your arguments. 

Would you know how to begin an essay on this topic? Learn how to write a great “hook” (first sentence) and you will not have this problem again!

Students Writing

A strongly written essay will also include conjunctions: learn about how to use them effectively in our article about Coordinating Conjunctions.

Using the hook in writing

A “hook” is given its name because it hooks the reader. It’s the first sentence, and it entices the reader to continue through the paragraph and essay.

There are many types of hooks. Let’s look at a few.

Hook 1: A Question

Begin your essay by posing a question to your reader. It gets them thinking!

Example 1: Have you ever had a teacher who was younger than you?

Example 2: We become wiser as we get older . . . but can we learn from those who have experienced less of life?

Example 3: Have you ever had a teacher who was younger than you?

Hook 2: An anecdote

An anecdote is a personal story. Writing sections of proficiency exams ask you to use specific examples to support your opinion: with an anecdote, you are beginning with one!

Example 1: I will never forget walking into the classroom and seeing Vlad: even with his kind face, I thought to myself, “How can I teach someone who is significantly older than me?.” It turns out, I could.

Example 2: I’ve learned so much from my teachers and professors in elementary school, high school, and college . . . but I may have learned the most from my experience as teaching assistant to small children.

Example 3: Can the students be the teacher? I certainly think so after volunteering at a local elementary school.

Hook 3: A fact

In a test setting, it might be difficult to remember an exact fact or statistic. However, this is useful if you are writing research essays at home and can access a library or a computer. Even without a computer, this can still be a possible hook: check out some of these examples.

Example 1: You must complete four years of college and two years of additional training to become a high school teacher.

Example 2: Most companies ask for “2-5 years experience” from applicants.

CAEwritingtipsCAEclassSanDiego

Familiarize yourself with the many prompts you can get in TOEFL with our article on the Types of TOEFL Writing Prompts.

Hook 4: Set a scene

Grab their attention: tell a story! The reader will continue reading just to hear your ending!

Example 1: Jason watched as George slowly typed on the computer keyboard, carefully pushing one key at a time while looking confused and dismayed. “Can I help you?” Jason asked. “Sure,” George replied. “I’m trying to email my daughter a photo, but I don’t know how to attach it. This email thing is so confusing to me.”

Example 2: Looking around the classroom, Anna completed her lecture. “And that is how you publish your own webpage. Any questions?” A student in the back, a middle-aged gentleman with wire-rimmed glasses, raised his hand. “Just one question,” he said. “How did you learn all of this before learning how to drive?” The class laughed, and so did Anna. “Well,” Anna said, “I studied programming in high school and was well-versed in coding before I entered college last year.”

Hook 5: A quote

Without access to a computer, it might be difficult to remember exact quotes from famous individuals. However, your quote does not have to be from someone famous.

Example: “Yoga until you’re 90,” Sindhu kept saying during our yoga teacher training. With this in mind, we learned the best ways to practice yoga without putting strain on our bodies. Little did I know, in a few months my students would actually be near 90: I was soon to take a volunteer position as a yoga teacher for a retirement community in my town.

Hook 6: Your thesis!

Your thesis is the main idea of your paper. If you don’t feel like writing a catchy or creative hook, then begin your paper with your thesis. This direct approach is often very effective!

To write a powerful and concise thesis, check out our article on How to Write a Thesis with Predictors.

Example 1: I am a firm believer that everyone has something to offer, regardless of age; therefore, it is my opinion that the young have much to offer the elderly in regard to education.

Student Studying Writing Computer

Do you know how to write a thesis? Check out our article Writing a Thesis with Predictors for tips!

Hook 7: A misconception

Example 1: Many believe that the youth of today are misguided, self-centered, and irresponsible, and therefore have little to offer in regard to educating the wiser elderly population.

For more information on CISL’s intensive TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge CAE and FCE classes, check out CISL’s website.

Cambridge Exams

CAE Reading and Use of English, Part 4

October 13, 2016

CISL has been offering intensive Cambridge CAE and FCE classes for over 25 years. We are also a certified testing center, so all CISL students have the advantage of taking their exam in the comfortable CISL setting they are comfortable with! In honor of our intensive classes and dedicated staff, we are looking at each part of the exam in depth. Today we are looking at CAE Reading and Use of English, Part 4.

We have already looked at parts 1-3 on the CISL Blog. To review the other parts of the Reading and Use of English Module, read the following articles:

CAE Reading and Use of English, Part 4

CAE Reading and Use of English, Part 4 is Key Word Formations. In this section, there are 6 questions. Each question has three parts:

  • a “lead-in” sentence
  • a key word
  • a second sentence with a gap in the middle (the beginning and the end of the sentence are given)

Students are asked to complete the second sentence. They must:

  • use the key word
  • use 3-6 words

screenshot-92

screenshot-93

Important things to note

Contractions count as two words.

Students cannot change the key word. It must be kept in the form given (for example, students may not add an “s” to a noun to make it plural).

What’s being tested?

In this section, Cambridge is looking for the student’s ability to:

  • understand a variety of sentence structures
  • express a message in a different way (which shows one’s capability and flexibility with the language)
  • Illustrate awareness of expressions and idioms with similar meanings

Tips and tricks

Follow these tips and tricks to master Part 4 of the Reading and Use of English Module!

  1. Make sure you fully understand the meaning of the lead-in sentence. What exactly is this sentence saying? Be sure you fully understand before you try to complete the second sentence.
  2. Pay close attention to the words before and after the gap in sentence 2. Are they parts of a phrasal verb? Or perhaps part of a tense such as the Present Perfect?
  3. Ask yourself what idioms or expressions you know with the key word. Take a second to brainstorm before trying to complete sentence 2.
  4. Attempt to understand the sentence structure. What’s missing? Is it a noun clause? A participle? A relative clause? Understanding these structures and how to identify them will help tremendously.
  5. Give it your best guess! Never leave a sentence blank! You won’t lose points for guessing, and in this section, you can actually earn 2 points per answer. There’s a chance that you could still earn 1 point, even when you’re not 100% sure of your answer.
Academic English Cambridge Exams Featured Vocabulary

Proficiency Test Practice: CAE Reading and Use of English Part III Tips

August 22, 2016

CISL provides intensive Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English and First Certificate of English courses to prepare students for these rigorous exams; in addition, the CISL Blog provides students activities and tips on each of the test modules. Today we are looking at Reading and Use of English Part III, which is called “Word Formation.”

Before learning the structure of this portion of the exam (and learning some tips to prepare), make sure you understand Part I and Part II of the Reading and Use of English Exam:

WriteReadStudy

Reading and Use of English, Part III

Overview

In this section, students are given a small reading. There are gaps in the reading.

Next to each gap, there is a word.

Students must alter this word and put in the correct form to complete the sentence.

Reading and Use of English part III

This practice test is from Cambridge Online.

 

Reading and Use of English Part III Tips

Tip 1: Identify the part of speech

Read the sentence first and identify what part of speech the missing word could be: the word could be a noun, adjective, verb, adverb, adjective, or preposition (it usually isn’t a preposition since prepositions don’t change form like the other parts of speech).

Look at the example below. What part of speech could the missing word be?

  • According to research, workers were being _________ by fifteen per cent. [PAID]

In this example, we have the construction WERE BEING + ________. This is the Passive form of the Past                   Progressive. Therefore, the missing word must be a past participle form of PAID.

Tip 2: Find synonyms that complete the sentence

Ask yourself what the meaning of the possible missing word could be. (You do not need to look at the base word for this step: just ask yourself what definition would complete the sentence correctly.

  • According to research, workers were being _________ by fifteen per cent. [PAID]

In this example, we know that the missing word must indicate that the workers were paid less than the other                 workers. They are _______ by 15%.

Tip 3: Identify more members of the word family

Look at the base word. What words do you know that are similar to this word?

You probably know some words related to PAID, like PAY, PAYMENT, PAYER, and PAYEE. But for this                         sentence, we need a past participle that means “paid less.” Do you know the answer?

          Answer: UNDERPAID

English.Vocab.Vocabulary.Learn.Study

Word formation practice

Use the tips provided above to complete this practice Reading and Use of English Part III activity.  

Several years ago, the __________ of my community came together to solve a problem. (RESIDE) A factory located near the river of our town was emitting __________ into the air and water, and many people in the community became ill. (POLLUTE)

The community members __________ to solve this problem. (UNITY) First, they held an __________ to choose someone to represent the community and its members. (ELECT) This normal __________ action gave us a chance to  meet, talk about our common goals, and learn a little about each other before voting on a representative. (POLITIC) Of course, the person who lost was __________, but the chosen community representative asked him to be the co-leader, so in the end we had strong and __________ leadership. (DISAPPOINT, UNIFY)

The two leaders held several meetings with the factory and its leaders, and some __________ were, according to our leaders, very intense. (CONVERSE) After many hours of negotiating, the leader persuaded the factory to admit that, because they were __________ next to the river, they were clearly responsible for its ecological problems. (SITUATE) The factory finally agreed to cut its emissions and pay to help restore the local river’s state.

 

Tip One: Identify the missing parts of speech

Look at the sentences below and decide which part of speech each of the missing words could be.

Several years ago, the __________ of my community came together to solve a problem. (RESIDE)

       Part of speech: a noun. The missing word is after the word THE: often, the word next word is a noun. Also, there is no subject of this sentence. Who/what came together? The missing word tells us this.

A factory located near the river of our town was emitting __________ into the air and water, and many people in the community became ill. (POLLUTE)

      Part of speech: a noun. The verb of the sentence is Past Progressive (“was emitting”). Emitting is a transitive verb: it needs an object. This object, a noun, is our missing word.

The community members __________ to solve this problem. (UNITY)

    Part of speech: verb. The subject of the sentence is “the community members.” What is the verb? We do not know.

First, they held an __________ to choose someone to represent the community and its members. (ELECT)

    Part of speech: noun. The word before the missing word is AN: this tells us the next word is probably a noun. Also, the members held “something” in order to choose a representative.

This normal __________ action gave us a chance to  meet, talk about our common goals, and learn a little about each other before voting on a representative. (POLITIC)

    Part of speech: Adjective. The missing word is describing the word “action.”

Of course, the person who lost was __________, but the chosen community representative asked him to be the co-leader, so in the end we had strong and __________ leadership. (DISAPPOINT, UNIFY)

    Part of speech: probably an adjective? We know that WAS, which is a form of the verb TO BE, is also a part of many constructions like the Past Progressive and the Simple Past Passive. But in this case, it seems like the missing word is an adjective to describe the “person who lost.”

    Part of speech: adjective. The missing word, like the word STRONG, will modify the word UNIFY.

The two leaders held several meetings with the factory and its leaders, and some __________ were, according to our leaders, very intense. (CONVERSE)

     Part of speech: a noun. SOME + NOUN is the construction this sentence gives us as a clue. Another hint: this noun is modified by the adjective INTENSE.

After many hours of negotiating, the leader persuaded the factory to admit that, because they were __________ next to the river, they were clearly responsible for its ecological problems. (SITUATE)

     Part of speech: an adjective/past participle. This word comes after WERE, so it’s probably the past participle form of SITUATE in order to form the construction WERE + PAST PARTICIPLE.

Students Writing

Tip Two: Identify other words that complete the sentence

What words do you know that could complete the gap and keep the sentence’s meaning the same?

Several years ago, the __________ of my community came together to solve a problem. (RESIDE)

       Synonyms: people, people who live somewhere, citizens

A factory located near the river of our town was emitting __________ into the air and water, and many people in the community became ill. (POLLUTE)

      Synonyms: things that pollute, the parts of pollution

The community members __________ to solve this problem. (UNITY)

    Synonyms: bring together, come together

First, they held an __________ to choose someone to represent the community and its members. (ELECT)

    Synonyms: the process when we elect a leader/vote

This normal __________ action gave us a chance to  meet, talk about our common goals, and learn a little about each other before voting on a representative. (POLITIC)

    Synonyms: adjective of “politic”

Of course, the person who lost was __________, but the chosen community representative asked him to be the co-leader, so in the end we had strong and __________ leadership. (DISAPPOINT, UNIFY)

    Synonyms: adjective of disappoint; bring together, come together

The two leaders held several meetings with the factory and its leaders, and some __________ were, according to our leaders, very intense. (CONVERSE)

    Synonyms: discussions, talks

After many hours of negotiating, the leader persuaded the factory to admit that, because they were __________ next to the river, they were clearly responsible for its ecological problems. (SITUATE)

    Synonyms: located

 

Study.Learn.Dictionary.Vocab.Definition

Tip Three: Brainstorm word families

What words do you know in these word families? What words can you build adding prefixes and suffixes?

RESIDE

Residential, resided, residing

UNITY

Unite, united, uniting

POLLUTE

Pollution, pollutant, polluting, polluted, non-polluting, non-pollutant

ELECT

Electing, elected, election, re-elect

SITUATE

Situation, situated, situating,

POLITIC

Politician, political, politically, unpolitical, politicize

DISAPPOINT

Disappointing, disappoint, disappointed

CONVERSE

Conversing, converse, conserved, conversational, conversation, conversationally

Vocabulary.Study.Read.Reading.Learn.Study

The last step: put it all together!

Use the tips provided above to complete this practice Reading and Use of English Part III activity.  

Several years ago, the RESIDENTS of my community came together to solve a problem. (RESIDE) A factory located near the river of our town was emitting POLLUTANTS into the air and water, and many people in the community became ill. (POLLUTE)

The community members UNITED to solve this problem. (UNITY) First, they held an ELECTION to choose someone to represent the community and its members. (ELECT) This normal POLITICAL action gave us a chance to  meet, talk about our common goals, and learn a little about each other before voting on a representative. (POLITIC) Of course, the person who lost was DISAPPOINTED, but the chosen community representative asked him to be the co-leader, so in the end we had strong and UNIFIED leadership. (DISAPPOINT, UNIFY)

The two leaders held several meetings with the factory and its leaders, and some CONVERSATIONS were, according to our leaders, very intense. (CONVERSE) After many hours of negotiating, the leader persuaded the factory to admit that, because they were SITUATED next to the river, they were clearly responsible for its ecological problems. (SITUATE) The factory finally agreed to cut its emissions and pay to help restore the local river’s state.

Academic English Cambridge Exams Featured IELTS TOEFL University Pathway

English Test Proficiency: How Your TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge Scores Equate

July 14, 2016

CISL is proud to have 45 years of English test preparation experience, including Cambridge preparation and TOEFL preparation classes at CISL San Diego and CISL San Francisco and IELTS preparation courses at CISL San Diego. Are you taking an exam soon to meet your personal, professional, or academic goals? We can help! Our small class sizes and passionate teachers will provide you with the tools necessary to ace your next exam.

With so many English proficiency test possibilities, it’s easy to get confused. What IS each test, and how do the test scores equate to the scores of other proficiency tests? Use this simple chart to see how your TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge, or TOEIC test scores equate to the scores of other tests, and also see what your approximate CEFR (Common European Framework) level is. For a more detailed chart, check out CISL’s complete English Test Proficiency Equivalency Chart.

Are you not sure which test is right for you? Check out our useful article Choosing the Right English Proficiency Test and make an informed decision regarding which test is best for your academic or career goals.

English-Proficiency-Equivalence-Chart

If you are planning on taking an English proficiency test, make sure that you are prepared! CISL offers intensive TOEFL Preparation Courses, Cambridge Preparation Courses (including CAE, FCE, and PET), and an IELTS Preparation Course. Before you take your test, make sure that you also check out some of our articles on Cambridge, TOEFL, and IELTS. Your writing, reading, and speaking scores will surely improve after implementing these tips and completing these practice activities!