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CPE Speaking Test Preparation

The CPE speaking test is divided into 3 parts, each testing your speaking ability in distinctive contexts. The speaking test is best viewed as an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of vocabulary and the range of grammatical structures that someone with a C2 level of English is expected to possess.

Preparation for the CPE speaking test

Firstly, consider taking a preparatory course. Cambridge estimate that 80% of CPE candidates complete a preparation course before taking the exam. This should be the first consideration if you are interested in the Proficiency exam. An experienced Cambridge exam teacher will be able to manage your preparation regime and identify weak areas where you need to concentrate your energy during your study. Once you have chosen a course, your teacher will help you to:

  • Practise the speaking test with other students preparing for the exam and you get feedback about your performance
  • Familiarise yourself with the format of each part of the test, including the interaction patterns (i.e. when you are required to speak alone, with the other candidate, with the examiner, or both).
  • Become familiar with the timings of each part of the exam and practise speaking for fully 2 minutes in preparation for the long turn.
  • Practise using an expansive vocabulary and a variety of complex structures that enable you to speculate, talk about perception, discuss abstract concepts and to paraphrase where necessary
  • Learn how to listen to the questions in the exam to identify what kind of language is required in your answer
  • Recognise opportunities in each part to produce the kind of structures and vocabulary required to prove your level

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