Below you will find my tips for each part of the listening paper. Download a practice test and try them out!
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Listening Part 1
- Quickly read the first line above the question to understand the context of the conversation you are about to hear.
- Use the preparation time to identify and underline the most important information in the question stems (not the answers), then quickly read the answer choices.
- Read the underlined information again before the conversation begins.
- The questions may not be answered in order in the conversation, so concentrate on both questions as you listen.
- Select an answer (even if you are not sure) after you hear the recording the first time and then confirm it or change it after the second time.
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Listening Part 2
- Quickly read the introduction at the top of the page to familiarise yourself with the context of the text.
- Use your preparation time not just to read the text, but to guess what word or type of word will fill each gap. Even general guesses like a place, a person, a length of time like 2 weeks or 4 months, a date, a title, a job, some sort of hobby, etc. will help you identify the answer when you hear it.
- The questions will be answered in order by the recording, always try to anticipate the next question.
- The text on the question sheet will be paraphrased in the recording, but the answers will be the words actually used by the speaker.
- Make sure your answers are gramatically correct in the context of the sentences on the question sheet (Does this answer need to be plural? Does it need an article? What tense does this verb have to be in?).
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Listening Part 3
- Quickly read the task introduction to learn the context of the recording.
- Read the question stems carefully (not the answers yet) and underline the most important information. The recording will answer the questions in order, so it is important that you know when the questions are being discussed.
- Skim the answers as quickly as you can, but it is quite likely you won’t have enough time to read them carefully.
- As you listen, identify the question you are waiting to answer and the part of the conversation that contains the information you need.
- Mark possible correct answers as you hear the recording for the first time then listen closely to the relevant sections to confirm your answers the second time.
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Listening Part 4
- Remember that there are two tasks you must complete as you listen to the recording. All five speakers will be heard once before the recording is repeated.
- Quickly read the introduction and the headings of the columns. Context is extremely important in this part so you must clearly understand the situation and the nature of the two tasks. Underline the important expressions in the headings for tasks one and two.
- As you read through the possible answers,don’t focus on those words but try to think of words or expressions which are related to the ones in the columns. It is highly unlikely that you will hear the exact words that are written on the question sheet in the recording. So you should try to think of how those words might be described.
- Don’t be afraid to choose more than one possible answer as you listen to the speakers the first time. Decide between them as you listen again.
Copying your answers to the answer sheet
- Answer every question! No answer gets the same score as an incorrect answer, but with multiple choice questions you can sometimes guess correctly.
- Be careful in Part 2 to check your answers for correct grammar. If your answers are not gramatically correct or are misspelled, they will be marked wrong. Don’t lose points because you are in a hurry. This is the last part of the test, you can relax once the answer sheets are collected.