The CPE Exam, or the Certificate of Proficiency in English Exam is an exam that many students need to take in order to prove that they are sufficiently adept at speaking, reading and learning in English. This is an exam that is predominantly taken by South Americans who are looking to continue their education in the United States. It is a similar exam to the TOEFL, which is another English aptitude test.
Studying for the CPE Exam really depends upon each individual person's English proficiency. If you are someone who has studied at a school taught in English for most of your life, then the chances are that you will do great on this test. For someone in this situation, buying a prep book and doing a couple of practice tests is probably the best preparation. That way, you will be familiar with what is being asked and you will be able to see if you have any potential weak areas.
On the other hand, if you are someone who has only recently learned how to converse and write in English, this exam might be slightly more challenging. Even students who have spent four years of high school being taught in English, if English is not your native language this is a hard exam. There are nuances and details that can often be confused and you can end up getting quite a few questions wrong. If you are in this situation, it is probably best for you to buy a few prep books. Kaplan and Barron's typically have the most thorough books if you are serious about preparing for the CPE Exam. Go through each section in detail and answer sample questions to get a hang for the best. Periodically take practice tests to ensure you are making good progress. Take at least a month or two to study for this test. That way you will be adequately prepared and will feel confident about doing well.
The CPE Exam is broken up into a few different sections. There are the Reading, Writing, Use of English, Listening and Speaking Sections. Here is a break down of each section:
- Reading Section
- The reading section consists of various passages, both long and short, that must be read and comprehended in a short space of time. Questions are asked based on the passages to test how well a student can read and analyze in English.
- Writing Section
- There are various questions or topics in this section that must be answered in 250-300 words.
- Use of English Section
- This section tests whether students can complete word, sentence and text level tasks in English. There are comprehension questions, gap filling exercises and other word exercises that must be completed.
- Listening Section
- The listening section is formatted by having different interviews, discussions and lectures played out to you. After each section is played, questions are asked based on what you have just heard. This way, your ability to grasp and remember information in spoken English is assessed.
- Speaking Section
- This is a relatively short section and should not take more than 20 minutes. The test is formatted with an interview section, a collaborative task and a follow up discussion section. The listening section is done in pairs of two. In order to prepare for this section you should seek assistance from a fluent speaker.
As you can see the CPE exam is nothing too daunting once you have the different aspects laid out and a strategy to master all the sections. Howevever, CPE has many definitions and in fact there are other exams in regards to different defintions of CPE. So, lets try to cover one more since that is not the only CPE exam
So, you thought you had the answer to, what is a CPE exam, not quite. Often time when people hear CPE, their first thought is of Continuing Professional Education. Continuing professional education is one of the other definitions of CPE that I referred to previously, and is a very important aspect of a professional's education; as it maintains their ability and knowloedge up to the current mandated standards for their profession. This type of CPE exam varies by profession. From personal experience I can say that accountants are required to obtain an annual quota of credits by taking the CPE exam. Ok, so now you have two answers to the question, what is a cpe exam. In short, one is to test your English language proficiency, and the other is to ensure that profesional's education is up to date while they continue to work within their field.
In closing I will leave you with this, next time you see a sign reading "Exam CPE" and you are wanting to take it because you now know exactly what is a CPE exam. Double check to make sure you are taking the right exam for your profession or not for any profession at all if you are trying to gain your Certificate of Proficiency in English!