Summer 2013 Study Ideas – Advanced and Proficiency (C1 and C2)

Some ideas for summer study for higher levels.  Keep your English fresh for the next academic year at International House Santa Clara!

Reading and writing

Advanced and Proficiency Set Texts – Reading and Films

Advanced: Set text for 2013 and 2014 exams

Proficiency: set texts until December 2014

Reading these texts and watching the film versions will give you the option of writing about them in Part 2 of Paper 2 (Writing).  Typical questions ask you to:

  • Write reviews of them
  • Write essays on the relationships between characters in a story
  • Write essays on a main character’s development through the story
  • Write reports on the key themes that the text deals with

Other texts:

  • Read the examples of the genre of texts the exam asks you to write.  For example, you can find articles and reviews on the net at newspaper and magazine sites.
  • What magazines do you normally ready in Portuguese?  Find out if there is an English language equivalent and see if its website has anything that grabs your interest.

Grammar, vocabulary and Use of English

Speaking and Pronunciation

  • New English File Advanced Pronunciation activities
  • Stress Monsters (advanced) – a game to practice word stress
  • Splendid Speaking – build up your speaking skills for Cambridge Exams with activities at this site:
  • For Proficiency students, practice speaking on a particular topic related to things you read, watch and listen to in English during the summer.  Build up the time you speak for from 30 seconds to a minute and then a minute and a half before reaching the two minutes that you’ll speak for in the exam.  Try incorporating a range of linking words into your speaking (refer to handouts from our course to date for ideas).  To get some feedback, you can record your talk on to a website like and send the link to us at  To practise with typical exam questions, refer to handouts from our course related to Part 3 of Paper 4 (Speaking).  There are also example tasks on our edmodo group page.  Remember, don’t prepare these too much – you need practice in being able to respond to a question about a topic without much planning time!
  • Spoken Skills is a website which allows you to practise pronunciation by listening and recording sentences including particular vowel or consonant sounds, functional language for presentations, telephone dialogues, and intonation.  This menu page has links to various things.  Browse, find something you’re interested in practising and give it a try (to record, allow the page to access the mirophone on your computer).


  • BBC World Service Documentaries: Topical programmes on a wide variety of subjects – there’s a huge archive of programmes to stream or download.
  • BBC Dessert Island Disks:  Interviews with influential people from the 1940s to the present day.  Guests talk about their lives in frank detail and reveal the songs they would want with them if they were shipwrecked on a dessert island.  Explore the archive, find someone you’re interested in listening to, stream or download the audio.
  • Need to learn a new skill over the summer?  Why not pick up tips on this in English?  Videojug has 1000s of video guides to help you.  Exposure to different accents and vocabulary.  Try recording new vocabulary from the recordings in your notebook as you go.  For something more intensive, check out – a site where you can take free online courses of varying lengths and difficulties in many disciplines.
  • Curiosities of everyday life analysed and explained in accessible, fascinating and entertaining podcasts and broadcasts.  Explore the site, find something interesting, listen and read about it on their blogs at :  When you’ve listened you could write a summary of what you learned from the programme or what you felt were the key points.  You can also leave comments on the page.
  • You’ll need to create a free account to use this site but when you have you access a lot of listening texts with accompanying activities: full dictation, first letter of a word dictation and complete the gaps.  Useful for building language awareness and practising note taking skills.  Try any of the activities from level 11 and above.
  • is an English Listening text library with activities.  Find something you’re interested in and practise your listening skills with a variety of accents.
  • Follow news stories in English with BBC News: One-minute World News video.

Exam Practice

  • We have a wealth of resources within the school available for our students to use.  Why not take advantage of our summer opening hours in July and September to come in and do some practice with our extra resource books and CDs?
  • Full exam papers are available to download on the Cambridge English website.  Click on “Where can I find sample papers?” on the following pages. Advanced  Proficiency
  • Flo-joe provides online practice for Cambridge Exams:
  • If your study group has an online group set up on edmodo ( remember to check the page for any quizzes, assignments, posts that you may have missed during the year and anything we post during the summer months.  Let us know if you need your password resetting or if you don’t have the group code to access the site:

Pages to follow on Facebook



Filed under C1 - Cambridge English: Advanced, C2 - Cambridge English: Proficiency

2 responses to “Summer 2013 Study Ideas – Advanced and Proficiency (C1 and C2)

  1. Hi everyone,

    Enjoying the July heat?

    A few things you might be interested in listening to.

    1) The BBC radio show From Our Own Correspondent consists of reports and observations from BBC journalists based around the world. There have recently been some reports featuring Portugal. (1) Copy and paste this link ( to hear Marie Keyworth, reflecting on the economic situation here on the day of the strike (Broadcast 27th June 2013. Report starts at 11 mins 25 and ends at 16 mins 45). (2) On this link (, Emma Jane Kirby reports on the many Portuguese people moving abroad in search of work (Report starts at 7 mins 15, first broadcast Saturday, 6th July)

    2) Great suggestion for a wide range of topical listening texts from one of our C2 level students: The Economist on Soundcloud. Browse the page to find something you’re interested in: Thanks for the tip Marta! (C2 students can also follow a link that Marta has set up on our edmodo page).

    Please feel free to leave any ideas with anything you come across that might be interesting to other people in the comments boxes. Thanks a lot!

  2. Check how well you can use high frequency words like “away”, “same” and “well” with the tests on the OUP page for Natural English. Copy and paste this link:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s