Is it better to do the paper-based or the computer-based exam?

We recommend the computer-based exam to our students for many reasons. Here are just a few:

– The computer-based exams are held more frequently compared to the paper-based exams. You receive your results back faster and you also don’t need to sign up so much in advance. The registration deadline for the computer-based exam is usually only 3 weeks before the official exam date, whereas in the paper-based exam it is up to 6 weeks.

– In the listening paper you have your own headset to listen to the tracks, guaranteeing perfect sound quality without any echo or background noises that might occur when an audio file is played in a room.

– The writing tasks can be edited much quicker and easier using a computer. Besides, most of us are much more used to typing on a keyboard compared to writing by hand. You can correct any mistakes and add or delete words and phrases without creating a mess on the exam paper.

– In the Reading paper the ‘gapped text’ task is made easier on a computer due to the fact that the removed sentences (FCE) or paragraphs (CAE/ CPE) actually move into the correct place in the text, allowing you to read the completed text in one go when checking.

– And don’t worry, you will still get scrap paper to take notes and there is a highlighter option – just like in Microsoft Word – in case you want to highlight parts of the text.

Click here to watch a video summarizing the main benefits.

What happens if I fail the exam?

Failing an exam is never a good experience and our experienced teachers at Oxford House will discuss your progress with you throughout the course and especially after the mock exam to ensure that you only sign up for the official exam once you are ready and have a good chance of passing it. In case you are not ready yet, your teacher will recommend a suitable next course to help you improve your level and exam scores further.

Can I also just re-sit the part of the exam that I failed, or do I have to retake the whole exam?

No, you cannot just re-sit part of the exam. You will have to take the whole exam again with all 4 parts.

Do I have to pass the FCE (Cambridge First) before I can take the CAE (Cambridge Advanced) exam?

No, you don’t need to have passed the FCE exam before you can sit the CAE, and equally you do not have to pass the CAE before taking the CPE. However, you will need to have the required level and familiarize yourself with all 4 papers in the exam before you sit it. The level requirements are:
– A strong B2 Upper-intermediate level for FCE
– A strong C1 Advanced level for CAE
– A strong C2 Proficiency level for CPE

If you are unsure about your level why not come and visit us at Oxford House Barcelona to do a written level test and speaking test with one of our teachers?

Do I have to pass the CAE (Cambridge Advanced) before I can take the CPE (Cambridge Proficiency) exam?

See answer to question 4.

Why do I have to do a level test?

The level test helps us to ensure we help you choose the correct course which is appropriate for your level and for the goals you want to achieve. This is obviously very important and we want to make sure we help you as best as we can.

Before you sign up to one of our courses we ask you to complete a level test. The level test includes a multiple-choice test, a written task and a speaking test. After that a teacher will discuss your results and your goals with you to help you choose the correct course type.

Do I have to follow the recommendation of the level test?

All of our level testers have been specially trained and are experienced teaching Cambridge exams. Therefore, you will only be able to sign up for exam which they recommend for you. If you are still unhappy with their decision you can arrange a meeting with the Director of Studies to discuss it further.

Will I definitely pass the exam after I completed an intensive course?

Our intensive courses are excellent courses to prepare candidates for the official exam. Apart from attending the course you will also have to complete homework regularly and study several hours per week outside class. Your work in class and also outside class is essential and will help you to improve your English to get ready for the exam. However, every student is different and some make quicker progress than others. The Oxford House mock exam is one way of finding out if you are ready and your teacher will discuss your results with you in detail afterwards. There is no guarantee that you will pass the official exam but our teachers only recommend you sit the exam if they think you have a good chance of passing it. If they think you are not ready yet, they will show you want you can do to improve your level further.

Why do you have a mock exam?

We feel that a mock exam allows students to experience what the real exam is like in a safe environment and without the added pressure of having to pay an exam fee. We try and ensure that our mock exams are as similar as possible to the official exam.

Mock exams are held on Saturdays. Here is an example of what the CAE mock exam timetable might look like:
8:45 – 9:00 Registration
9:00 – 10:30 Reading & Use of English
10:30 – 10:40 Break
10:40 – 11:20 Listening
11:20 – 12:55 Writing Part 1 and Part 2
Lunch Break
13:15 – 16:00 In the afternoon you will get a 15 minute slot for your speaking exam with a partner.

All intensives and extensive Cambridge students are invited to take part in our mock exam completely free of charge.

Is it necessary to do the mock exam at Oxford House?

It is not compulsory to sit the mock exam but we strongly recommend you do take advantage of this excellent opportunity in order to experience what the real exam is like before sitting for it. Remember, the mock exam is an extra free feature of our Cambridge courses and open to all our Cambridge students.

Can I also do the mock exam on a different day? Are there alternative days for the mock exam?

We offer one mock exam date per term for the different Cambridge exams (FCE, CAE and CPE). The mock exams usually take place on a Saturday morning with a speaking exam time in the afternoon. You will be informed about this date when you sign up for your Cambridge course. Please ensure that you give priority to this date because we only offer one date per exam type. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to offer an alternative date to you because we need to ensure we have enough time to mark the exam papers and allow our teachers to make recommendations so we can sign students up for the exam before the official deadline passes.

Can I be recommended for the official exam without sitting the mock exam?

In general, we only recommend students for the official exam if they have taken the Oxford House mock exam and have passed it with a score of at least 55% or higher. We only make exceptions in very rare cases and these have to be approved by the Director of Studies and/ or the Cambridge Coordinator.

Can I be recommended for the official exam if I have failed the mock exam?

You should pass the mock exam or have a score in the ‘borderline’ range (= 55 – 65%) in order to be recommended for the official exam by one of our teachers. If your score is higher than 65% – or within 55-65% and you have agreed with your teacher to sit the exam, Oxford House will contact you to register you for the official exam. However, students who do not sit the mock exam or who have not been recommended by their teacher, can still sign up for the official exam by themselves through the Exams Catalunya website .

How much does the official Cambridge exam cost?

In November 2015, the fee for an official Cambridge exam is around 200 EUR and is not included in your course fee. Please be aware that the price might change in the future.

How can I prepare for the exam outside of class?

There are many ways to improve your English outside class and to help you prepare for the exam. We regularly post study ideas and tips on our Facebook page and Oxford House Blog, so make sure you connect with us so as not to miss out.

Do you have any other questions?

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