Burma Study Abroad Website
CPE - Certificate of Proficiency in English
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Description of the Test
This is an examination at an advanced level, which is recognised as fulfilling English language requirements by British universities and for business and academic purposes overseas.
In most places, the test can be taken in December and June.
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The CPE has five components: reading comprehension, composition, use of English, listening comprehension, and an interview.
Reading Comprehension: Candidates are expected to show comprehension of gist, detailed content, tone and register. They are also tested on their wider knowledge of vocabulary, usage and grammatical control.
There are two sections. In the first section there are twenty-five multiple-choice items. In the second section there are three texts, each between 350 and 550 words in length, with a total of fifteen items. Candidates must demonstrate comprehension of the text by completing a number of multiple choice items.
Composition: Candidates must be able to write non-specialised texts of a descriptive, narrative and discursive nature covering a range of topics.
There are five tasks from which the candidate chooses two. One of the five is based on an optional reading of one of three books. Responses should be approximately 300 or 350 words, as specified. One or more texts may be read as background preparation for optional tasks in Paper 2. See the website.
Use of English: Candidates are expected to demonstrate their knowledge and control of the language system by completing various tasks at text and sentence level. They are also required to read a text and answer comprehension questions and to summarise specified information from the text.
There are two sections. The first section consists of forty-two items of the following four types: one-word gap filling, transformation, word or phrase level gap filling and rewriting. The second section is a reading comprehension task with twelve to fifteen items and a summary writing task (approximately 80 words).
Listening Comprehension: Candidates are expected to extract information, interpret speakers attitudes and recognise the implications of stress and intonation. Texts take the form of announcements, dialogues, extracts from radio programmes, etc.
There are usually three or four texts, each lasting between 1 and 4 minutes, with approximately thirty items of the following types: multiple choice, true/false, matching information, gap filling. All parts are repeated.
Interview: Candidates may be tested either individually, in pairs or in groups of three. They must be able to discuss and comment on issues and express opinions. The first task involves describing and comparing a set of thematically linked photographs. Candidates are then required to read a passage silently and to comment on, for example, its source, its intended audience, etc. The final part consists of one or more communicative activities (discussion, planning, problem-solving, etc.). One or more texts may be read as background preparation for optional tasks in Paper 5. See the website.
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Each component is equally weighted and carries 22% of the total marks, except listening which carries 12%. There are 3 pass grades (A, B and C). Candidates who achieve a great D, E or U are judged not to have reached the required standards of the CPE.
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