Cambridge Engels

In the first two years at the Praedinius Gymnasium we use English in Mind, another Cambridge publication but not part of the official Cambridge English syllabus, to lay a solid foundation on which we can build from year 3 onwards. We begin with the basics at the start of year 1 and we move at a rapid pace to make sure that pupils are ready to start Cambridge English in year 3.

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In years 3, 4 and 5 all pupils will be taught English using official Cambridge English materials. This will be in addition to other topics that will continue to be taught in these years such as literature and translating. At the end of the third-year pupils will have reached a First Certificate level and in year 4 and 5 pupils will move on to an Advanced level. At the end of year 5 pupils should be ready to take a Cambridge English Advanced Exam.

There is a higher level called Proficiency, and exceptional pupils could try to reach that level through self-study. Of course, help and materials will be provided to the pupils.

History of Cambridge English

Official Cambridge English exams have a long and rich history. The first exam was taken in 1913. At that time only three people took the exam. The exams continued to develop and in the 80s and 90s, the exams as we know them today had begun to take shape. In 1994, the five-level system that is still used today was introduced. The popularity of the exams has grown exponentially over the last few decades. In fact, in 2016 a million more people took one of the Cambridge exams than the year before. It went up from 5 to 6 million people!


The world is becoming smaller every day and English is considered to be the lingua franca in academia as well as business and therefore, a good understanding of English as well as fluency in speaking and writing English is more important than ever. At the Praedinius Gymnasium we have chosen to teach English using Cambridge for various reasons. First of all, Cambridge English Certificates are recognised by most major universities and colleges and having a certificate can give you an edge when you apply to one. Furthermore, Cambridge English focuses on English as it is used by native speakers, for example by teaching idioms such as the one used in the previous sentence. This real-life knowledge of English is extremely useful when communicating with native speakers.

Exam information 

Pupils are able to take Cambridge English exams a few times a year at Cambridge exam centres, which are located all over the country. The costs of the exams vary but are usually around 230 euros. If the exam is taken successfully, certificates are awarded that include extra information about how well the exam has been made. A passing grade can be an A (top mark), B (above average), C (acceptable) and a simple pass at a B2 level.

The CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) is a system to classify levels of English. It is widely used in many countries, not just in Europe, and in Dutch it is called the Europees Referentiekader (ERK). The levels range from A1, beginners, to C2, fully proficient users. The table above shows you which Cambridge Exams correspond with which CEFR level.




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