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CIPRE - A2 language test


Posts: 9
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(@annach)
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Hi everyone, has anyone done the A2 level langage exam (CIPRE)? I'd like to know more in detail how much knowledge is required. E.g. for them moment I'm just in the present tense :), not sure if that's enough. Many thanks for any feedback!

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(@tartntiny)
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Hi,

I did the exam two years ago at Faculdade de Letras in Lisbon.  I had taken lessons off and on prior and never fully finished the A2 level student book and at the end of it they do two types of past tenses. And this hurt me in the end for the writing.  I passed the exam by the skin of my teeth.  

Here is the link for the sample exam:  https://caple.letras.ulisboa.pt/exame/2/ciple

Page 6 of the sample has the writing.  The first text is in present tenses but the second is always in the past.  And believe me, there is NOTHING in the previous part of the exam that will help you, no vocab or grammar, because I checked when I realised I didn't have the grammar needed.  I failed the writing, I only got 40.  

The reading comprehension I found easy.  They even had a reading on it that was in the sample exam! I couldn't believe it.  I got an 85. 

The listening was an absolute nightmare.  It was at native speed which shocked me because I teach English and listenings are always slower and have graded language to match the level. The entire room gasped, no lie!  I even checked the top of the booklet to make sure they gave us the right level.  It was also totally different from the sample test and from other practice tests I had done. In the sample test you answer a few questions about one short dialogue.  In the exam I did, it was two conversations in busy places and you had to answer about 8 multiple choice questions. They were speaking at the speed of light. Part 2 listening was the same as the practice and I felt confident with that one. I got 40. Probably part 2 is where I got the marks as I was totally guessing for the long dialogues. 

The speaking....  First of all I had a partner who had NO Portuguese.  The examiner asked me to talk about myself.  No guided questions at all.  I just said basic things about myself and then she asked follow up questions.  When she found out I teach English she asked how many students at my school, how long I had worked there etc.  And I did need to use the past simple for part 1.  My partner said almost nothing and then started crying. 

Part 2 of the speaking was supposed to be a discussion with your partner about a topic given to us by the examiner.  She wanted us to talk about England but she was from South Africa and I'm Canadian.  So she said just talk about Portugal.  Luckily I had had lunch with my partner and knew her story.  So it ended up being me asking her questions about her time in Portugal that I already knew what her answer was supposed to be and then I answered my own question.  

Part 3 is where you are given an event and you make plans with your partner.  We didn't do that at all.  We were just told it was over and to go home. Not sure if it was because she had enough language from both of us to make her decision or not.  I ended up with a 75 here. 

My overall grade was 59 and I think you need a 55 to pass.  

I know you only asked about the grammar but I decided to write a novel here because I knew nothing going in, just what the test was supposed to be like and that was it.  But it wasn't how they said it would be! 

Anyway, I hope that helps 😀 

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Premium Member
(@annach)
Joined: 12 months ago

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@tartntiny Hi Tania,

Thank you so much for the detailed reply, I could not find such info anywhere, very grateful!! OMG, definitely shows that I have to wait with the exam (luckily no huge rush), but I will tell my classmate still in Porto who will attempt it in November, so she's forewarned ;)! Congratulations on passing! It seems a lot more complex than the "basic" general description... Agree the listening comprehension seems really hard, with a lot of background noise too. And are you just listening to a loudspeaker or do you have individual headphones at least during the exam?

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(@tartntiny)
Joined: 7 years ago

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@annach Good morning,

It was a loudspeaker for the listening.  We were in a big classroom and it was full but it was easy to hear and really loud in a good way. But maybe depending on the venue it could be different, I am not sure. 

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(@annach)
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@tartntiny Thank you Tania! I found the listening test really fast, hardly had time to read the questions and options before each dialogue was played. And the little snippets in the end that you had to place in the right setting were half guess work :D! So clearly some more study needed, hopefully I can find something online.

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(@tartntiny)
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@annach The listening is tough.  Just try underlining the important bits in the questions and options, trying to read every word is impossible in the time given.  While listening try to focus on the key words from the questions.  Easier said then done though lol!  It was impossible to find any listening practice exams online. 

I know that Lidel sells an exam practice book and it includes the listenings but it only has two A2 level exams and that is why I never bought it: https://www.lidel.pt/pt/catalogo/portugues-europeu-lingua-estrangeira/avaliacao-certificacao/exames-de-portugues-caple-ul-2/

For listening try these pages on youtube:  

Practice Portuguese

Portuguese with Carla

Portuguese Lab

Anyway, keep me posted on your exam. I hope your experience will be better than mine!

Tania

 
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Premium Member
(@annach)
Joined: 12 months ago

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@tartntiny Thank you again Tania!! Yes, you're right, that must be the only way to figure it out as at my current reading speed of Portuguese I could not get through all the options before the text was playing. Then you just need to know which the key words are :D!! The multiple choice ones were better, but the little snippets to match with the right setting were mostly really hard apart from the very obvious like the airport :).
Thank you for the tips, I will look up those pages on youtube! And also see if I can find the book on amazon - I probably can't go back to Portugal early Nov like I wanted, am currently in quarantine here in the CH after the last trip, and it's not something I want to do every month :). I will tell my friends over there who will attempt the exam in Nov (apparently it won't be done in Porto but they have to go to Aveiro for it). Are you based in Lisbon?
All the best and thank you again!
Anna

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(@saosimao)
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@tartntiny Hi Tania! Thanks for posting this. I want to take the test in November and I am about to start some more intensive lessons online. My choice of exam centres are from Porto & Leiria, I'm guessing that Leiria will be a bit quieter. What time of day do the exams take place? Cheers!

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(@tartntiny)
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@saosimao Hi, you are probably right about Leiria. 

Unless they changed the exam since I've taken it, it takes all day.   In the morning we did the reading and writing first.  I think there was a short break after that.  Then it was the listening. 

We had a lunch break and speaking was in the afternoon.  They posted the list of candidates with your partner's name and the time of your speaking exam.  It was arranged by the number they give you when enrolling.  It's done by order of enrolment and your partner is the the person who enrolled just before or after you.

There were at least 100 people if not more when I did my exam.  I know it was at the maximum.  My speaking was really late in the day so at lunch I had left the University and went to the mall, I only returned about an hour before my time in case I could get it done sooner.  But my speaking ended up being done 30 minutes or more after my scheduled time. 

I would check their website for the times.  And maybe it depends too on how many people are doing the exam that day.

I would love to hear how it goes for you, good luck!

Tania

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(@saosimao)
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@tartntiny Hi Tania! Thanks for taking the time to reply. I looked closer and it all starts at 1500 hours.

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Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@thomasribatejo)
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@saosimao as @TaniaC says, the elements are spread across the day, regardless of centre, partly because they run a couple of levels on the same day. You'll get the full schedule (minus a specific time for the oral) a little while after registering, but should assume you need to be ready to start at 9, and that you'll be there the whole day. Some lucky people are done by early afternoon, others not until early evening, depending on oral time. You're probably right about Leiria being quieter, so that might help slightly on timing.

Good luck with it!

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(@annach)
Joined: 12 months ago

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@thomasribatejo, @TaniaC, I did the exam here in Switzerland in Bern in May. We were not very many, it started in the morning with the written exam, then a really short break before the listening comprehension (which was a bit of a mess and not quite like the ones you can practice on in the book), then the first couple candidates went in directly for the speaking part with the two examiners, and as we were so few, only had to wait about half an hour. So all done by 1pm! It probably varies depending on the examiners, but for the oral test the level was not "beginner" (A2), but they expected pretty much fluency :D.
A friend last year was based in Porto and did the exam, but had to go to Aveiro, no centre back then in Porto.

Good luck whichever centre you go to!

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(@saosimao)
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@thomasribatejo Thanks Thomas! the Leiria timetable looks like its a 1500 hours start..

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(@thomasribatejo)
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@saosimao Great if it can avoid the early start 🙂

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(@saosimao)
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@thomasribatejo If it's a 9am start, sleeping the night before will be tricky. 😐

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(@longhornlady)
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I heard that if one has passed both A1 and A2 with certificates at an accredited school, the test is waived. Is this true?

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Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@pamalcobaca)
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@longhornlady I believe so, and from my experience it is easier!

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(@pamalcobaca)
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Hi, do you mean the CIPLE? I did it in 2017, so don't know if it has changed since then. I had just completed a 150 hour A1/A2 course when I took it (in Leiria Politecnic), and had already had other lessons prior to that. I was fine at the reading, writing and listening (90+% in all) but the speaking part was the most difficult. I was paired with a man from Ukraine who was a bit difficult to understand (mumbly). I passed, but just about. I think people who have done the standard A2 class in schools receive a certificate which is equivalent to this but I really think they would struggle to pass this exam unless they had fully understood everything in the course.

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(@saosimao)
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@pamalcobaca Hi! I am going to do my A2 at the Leiria Politecnic. Was there many other students doing it at the same time? I think for me it'll be the listening that will be tricky.

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Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@pamalcobaca)
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@saosimao Hi, yes there were about 30-40 people in the classroom for the written exam (a lot were young - overseas students at the politecnic I think) Very well organised though, you get a time slot for your speaking exam

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(@saosimao)
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@pamalcobaca I'm brushing up on my A1 level group online (I am trying to get on top of my A2 with private lessons) and the other students are much younger than me, a lovely bunch they are.

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