Content: CAE Listening Paper contains four parts. Each part is heard twice.
Time Allotted: Approximately 40 minutes
Number of Parts: 4
Number of Questions: 30
Task Types: Multiple choice, sentence completion and multiple matching.
Text Types: Monologues: lectures, talks, speeches, anecdotes, radio broadcasts, etc. Interacting speakers: interviews, radio broadcasts, discussions, conversations, etc.
Scoring: Each correct answer receives I mark.
Part 1 includes three unrelated short texts. They are approximately 1 minute in length and feature two or more speakers. The content is taken from a variety of real-life contexts and, therefore, expect a range of topics, voice and style of delivery. There are two 3-option multiple-choice questions on each text.
Tips for CAE Listening Part 1
- Listen to the entire text once before selecting your response and never assume you have heard the right answer. The two questions have a different focus and thus the information relevant to the answers may originate from different parts of the audio recording.
- Avoid selecting a response simply because it features words and phrases heard on the recording. Read through each question before listening to the audio and reflect upon what you are being asked to gather, including the purpose of the talk, the gist of the argument or the speaker’s viewpoint on the matter.
- Most of the questions will require you to draw inferences from what you hear. As a result, mark one answer to each question at the end of the first listening, even if you’re uncertain if it is correct. Use the second listening to confirm whether your choice is correct.
See example Listening Part 1 practice tests:
This part features a monologue of roughly three minutes in the form of a talk, lecture or broadcast. The content is aimed at a general audience and is presented in accessible style. There is one blank per sentence, which is completed by a single word or short phrase from the listening text. The task centres on the retrieval of specific information and opinions expressed from the text. The questions follow the order of information conveyed in the text.
Tips for CAE Listening Part 2
- The task information and the set of notes on the page provide you with a good idea of what you are about to hear, thus make good use of your preparation time. Review the information in the instructions and visualise the speaker and the situation, trying to predict what kind of information will be expressed and the type of language used.
- Read through the set of sentences and think about what type of information is missing. Most questions focus on strong pieces of information like proper names and will be single words of very short noun groups where no more than three words are required.
- Endeavour to write long answers without writing information that is already on the page. it is not advisable to simply paraphrase the information you hear on the audio sample.
- For the sentence completion tasks, use the actual words you hear on the audio without concerning yourself too much with the grammar. Check to be sure you have heard the correct form of the word. If you do not hear clearly whether a word is singular or plural, look at the rest of the sentence to see what is required .
See example Listening Part 2 practice tests:
Part 3 includes interviews and discussions involving two or more speakers. The text is approximately 3-4 minutes long and typically takes the form of a broadcast discussion or interview for a general audience. A set of six four-option multiple choice questions examine the attitude and viewpoints of the speakers. These questions focus on gist understanding, purpose or function and follow the order of the information presented in the text.
Tips for CAE Listening Part 3
- As this is the longest part of the Listening exam, give yourself plenty of time to comprehend the more expansive interviews and discussions. Keep track of the line of development in these texts and recognise when the conversation has transitioned from one point to another.
- For the multiple-choice tasks, focus on the question stems instead of the options in your preparation time, so that you can listen for the answer in the text and then match it to the closest option.
- This section of the test employs language that paraphrases and expresses ideas from the text. As these often focus on the viewpoints and outlooks of the speakers, you need to have a strong command of the meaning and use of the type of language used to communicate these ideas concisely. Make note especially of reporting verbs like admits or resents; adjectives and adverbs that express feelings, such as disappointed or unexpected as well as words used to convey opinions like denies or suggests.
See example Listening Part 3 practice tests:
Part 4 consists of a series of five short monologues on a subject matter. The passage is 3-4 minutes in length with each monologue lasting approximately 30 seconds. The monologues represent spontaneous speech, delivered in an informal spoken style by speakers with a variety of backgrounds and voices. There are two parallel multiple-matching tasks, each with a different focus. In each case, the correct answer must be selected from the eight options. The set of monologues is heard twice, but candidates may approach the tasks in either order.
Tips for CAE Listening Part 4
- Remember the five speakers will be linked thematically. You will hear the set of passages once and then the entire series is repeated.
- Reflect on the themes of the text as well as the ideas and attitudes you expect to hear in connection with the topic in question.
- Be certain to listen for gist meaning rather than detail in these passages. Though you may not be able to understand every single word, you should be able to fathom the speaker’s main idea, attitude or opinion.
- Answer both tasks and note that you will only hear the series of monologues twice. lt is up to your judgment as to how you approach the tasks, but you may find it useful to attempt one item on each listening or by approaching both tasks at the same time by answering the most accessible questions on the first listening and the more difficult questions when the audio repeats.
See example Listening Part 4 practice tests:
- The instructions for each task are provided on the question paper and are also heard on the audio recording, including details about the speakers, the topic and the context of the passage. Before you listen to each passage, you will have time to scan through and reflect on the questions. The length of the preparation time is provided on the tape. Candidates should use this time to familiarise themselves with the task and start to develop predictions about what they are likely to encounter on the recording.
- A variety of voices, accents and styles of delivery will be heard in each Listening exam to underscore various contexts expressed in the audio.
- Embark upon daily learning practices where you listen to English language audio on the Internet or television, for example. Expose yourself to a range of English styles, including speakers of various ages and backgrounds as well as different contexts like lectures, radio programmes, sporting events etc.
- In longer texts, remember that the questions are asked in the same order as the information in the recording reflecting the structure of the text. Identify discourse markers, interview questions and other textual features that construct the text and are often reflected in the organization of the passage.
- Be sure to provide responses to all of the questions, as you will not lose any points for incorrect answers and you may actually score more than you believe.
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