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The CAPLE Test: 7 Secrets of Success


The CAPLE test is demanding, particularly at the higher proficiency levels. All four of your basic skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) will be tested, and at the higher levels you will also need critical thinking skills and the ability to apply them in a Portuguese context. In addition, you’ll need to be confident applying your Portuguese skills in the context of an exam, and you'll need to know exactly what to expect from the CAPLE test. You will definitely benefit from intensive practice with an expert tutor. Below, we’ll go through seven other important ways of improving your performance in the CAPLE test.


1. Make the Most of Your Tutor

Being able to work directly with a tutor with knowledge of the CAPLE test’s content marking criteria has clear advantages. As well as learning speaking and listening skills, you’ll also be able to hone your reading and writing abilities, as your tutor will set assignments based on the CAPLE test criteria for you to work on between sessions. The feedback of your tutor on your progress will be critical in helping you to assess how prepared you are for the exam, and therefore to decide when to enter and which level to apply for, helping your confidence going into the exam. The more sessions you’re able to have, the more your chances are boosted.


2. Use Sample Exam Papers

The CAPLE center at the University of Lisbon provides sample CAPLE test papers on its website, and you’d be well advised to go through them in your tutoring sessions. The more direct experience you have of the test content, the better your chances of success in the final exam.


3. Don’t Just Play to Your Strengths

Even if you’re a brilliant reader and writer of Portuguese, if you freeze up every time you try to have a conversation, you’ll struggle in the CAPLE test, and the same applies if you’re a dazzling conversationalist but you don’t know how to structure a sentence. You need to know what your weaknesses are and work on them with your tutor to turn them into strengths.


4. Replicate Exam Conditions at Home

Exam conditions can lead even people with a high level of subject knowledge to make mistakes, bringing down their grades. To minimize this risk, you should try to replicate the exam conditions as closely as possible when practicing for the CAPLE test. When practicing for the written test, try to work in silence, without distractions, and preferably not in a comfortable environment like your bedroom. When practicing with your tutor for the oral test, keep it formal and focused on the exam content. Most importantly, always work against the clock to get used to the time pressure.


5. Keep Working on Your General Skills

The CAPLE test has a different set of texts and questions every time it takes place. Don’t focus too narrowly on simply preparing for the exam–keep working with your tutor on all your general Portuguese skills. Then, if something unexpected comes up in the exam, you’ll be better equipped to cope with it.


6. Get a Good Night’s Sleep Before the Exam

If you wake up on the day of the CAPLE test feeling tired, you could jeopardize all your careful preparations. Information recall skills are much sharper when the brain is rested, so don’t stay up the night before doing last-minute cramming–it doesn’t pay off.


7. Have an Exam Day SchedulePlan every detail of your exam day–how long it takes to have breakfast, get dressed, get to the test center, and so on–and leave plenty of extra time in case something unexpected happens. You don’t need the additional stress of being behind schedule on top of the exam pressure!


Try Our CAPLE Service

Here at portuguesetutoring.com we offer a specialized CAPLE tutoring service to help you deal with the demands of exam preparation. If you need to pass the CAPLE at any level then your preparation process, and hence your final result, will be greatly enhanced by working with an expert tutor.

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