Cambridge Proficiency Use of English Test

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The Cambridge CPE is celebrating its 100th year in 2013 so they are introducing an updated version of the CPE Advanced Test. This post is an explanation of the Use of English part of the test.

CPE : The Use of English Test

The Use of English Test evaluates your ability to use English in the correct tense, syntax and idioms at the right time in many different situations. It is a long test, one hour and a half and has five parts and has 44 questions.

Part One – Open Cloze

The word “cloze” can be confusing, it really means that you have to choose a word to close the sentence, to make it meaningful. In this section, you read a paragraph, and have to supply the missing word that fits in the blank.  There could be a few words that fit, but usually only one which would make the sentence fit with the rest of the paragraph. There are 14 blanks that you have to type in the right answer.   To do well on this part of the test, do as many of these type of texts that you can.

Part Two – Word Formation

For Part Two, you are given another paragraph, that has blanks for you to fill in, but this time you are given a form of the word that goes into the blank.  Here you need to change  the word to the correct tense so it makes sense with the sentence and the paragraph. There are 10 questions in this part.

Part Three – Gapped Sentences

Gapped Sentences can be easy or difficult. Here you need to think of one word that would fit in all three sentences.  This requires you to know homonyms. Homonyms are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings.  Each of the three sentences uses the word in a slightly different way.  To do well in this part of the test, get a list of homonyms and look up all the meanings of the words.  Use them in different sentences.

Part Four – Key Word Transformations

This part of the test checks whether you know lots of Idioms in English. You are given a sentence, and a word. You have to use the word in a second sentence and add other words to make the second sentence mean the same as the first. In order to do well in this part of the test, you need to practice many different idioms in English. For example, the idiom “in light of” means “to have found out.”

Part 5 – Comprehension Questions and Writing

In this part of the test, you are given a paragraph to read, you need to answer four comprehension questions with a word or two, and then write a summary, that is a short synopsis of the text. In order to do well on this part of the test, you need to read many short texts about many different non-fiction topics. Practice writing a summary of the text.

This test is very long, but it really evaluates your ability to really use English. When you pass this test, you will feel confident to study in English and do business in English.
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