There is a saying that a student’s college life isn’t finished until he or she takes the CET. Short for College English Test, the large-scale standardized language test examines the English proficiency of undergraduate students. The CET is supervised by the National College English Testing Committee.

The committee said recently that the CET Band 4 and 6 (CET-4 and CET-6) exams are going to change in terms of their structure and format. Apart from taking out the cloze test, changes have been made in the following three aspects, namely, listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and translation.

Listening comprehension

In the new version of the CET, compound dictation is going to be replaced by dictation of words and phrases. In this part, students will hear a passage three times. They should get a general idea of the passage first, and then fill in the blanks with the exact words they’ve just heard.

Though the length and difficulty of the passage will not change, many students believe that this alteration requires better listening skills.

Judging from the sample tests provided by the National College English Testing Committee, students will also need to work on their spelling, as words like “appropriately” appear in CET-4 and “statistically” in CET-6.

Reading comprehension

Reading a long passage will replace fast reading in Section B. The length and difficulty of the passage are still the same, but it is followed by 10 statements.

Each statement contains information given in one of the paragraphs in the passage and students need to identify the paragraph with that information.

What makes this part tricky is that some of the paragraphs may contain similar statements, which increases the difficulty of making the right choice.


It’s easier to translate a sentence than a passage. That’s why students taking CET-4 will have to translate a passage of 140-160 words, and those taking band 6 a passage of 180-200 words.

Such changes make students nervous, because they may make passing the CET more difficult. In a recent poll being conducted by Sina Weibo, more than 80 percent of the participants, now exceeding 30,000, expressed such concerns.

Apart from translating an entire passage, the passage’s content will vary greatly, making it difficult to prepare for this part.

In general, however, the passages will relate to China’s history, culture, economy and social development.