CAE – Reading Part 8

No matter who we are and where we are from, we can all agree on one thing – we all had to start our careers from zero. Whether your students are fresh graduates or looking for a career change, you can use this CAE exam preparation lesson to read and discuss advice given by career consultants.

I felt like I have been neglecting C1 level students for quite some time and put most of my effort into B1 classes and Preply group courses. Thanks to the influx of C1 students in recent months, I can once again focus on this group and their needs. As per usual, I looked for inspiration in the Cambridge Sample Papers which always provide me with quality materials that can be easily adapted to the needs of my students.

The following lesson plan and presentation, available at the end of the post, were based on a real practice test which you can find in Sample Paper 1 for C1 Advanced.

Ask students about their current careers and where they are heading. Do they remember their humble beginnings? Discuss their career aspirations and goals, and also think about the skills and knowledge needed to achieve their career goals. The lesson objective is to talk about career consultants and their valuable advice for starting a new career, therefore introduce the topic of consultants and the role they play in finding a good job. Talk about students’ past experiences and see how many of them used the services of career consultants and if so, did they find them helpful.

Show five pieces of advice from career consultants talking about starting out a new career. Students read the texts quickly and match them with five statements they could hear from each consultant during their meeting. This activity serves as a reading for gist and allows students to understand the texts without dissecting them. Check the answers and justify them by showing the proof in each extract. Look at the phrases again, discuss which one you agree with and explain the reasons why.

  1. ‘Don’t change your jobs too often.’
  2. ‘Ask the interviewer for the reasons they didn’t hire you.’
  3. ‘Write down the reasons which stop you from getting a job.’
  4. ‘It’s not a bad idea to go from one job to another within reason.’
  5. ‘You’re the only one responsible for your professional development.’

I’ve been trying to focus more on vocabulary in my most recent lesson plans, as I feel like I’ve been skipping this part in the past. That’s why before moving on to the main part of the CAE Reading Part 8, concentrate on eight vocabulary items from the text and match them with the synonyms. It will give students a chance to read the extracts quickly once again and understand them a bit more.

The next part looks at ten sentences which describe something mentioned in one of the five extracts. This should make students more aware of paraphrasing, thinking of synonyms and identifying distractors. Read each sentence and think how it could be paraphrased, for example, Keep your final objective in mind when you are planning to change jobs. >> Focus on your goals when you are planning a career change. Students work individually and write down the sentences. Read them aloud and collect any keywords that may be useful in completing this task.

It’s time to combine the two tasks as it is what CAE Reading Part 8 looks like. If it’s the first time doing this type of activity, explain its purpose and strategies which can be implemented to be successful. Students work individually and match the sentence with one of the extracts. Remind them they can use each extract more than once, but there is only one answer per question, so they need to be careful to choose the right one. Advise them to underline the answers in the text to discuss them at the end of this activity.


The class was quite heavy on reading, so finish it with some pairwork. Read about three people who are in pivotal moments in their lives. One person is a recent graduate, the other is a man looking for a career change, and the last one is a woman who wants to start her own company. Students work together and think of the best career advice for each one. Discuss the answers and decide what each person should do.

If you have some spare time, you can ask students to give advice to their past (or maybe even future) selves.

Click below to download the presentation and the worksheet with the teacher’s notes.

Have you ever been to a career consultant? What would you advise your past self?


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