What is the Cambridge Proficiency Exam?

The Cambridge Proficiency exam or CPE is an international exam which tests skills of candidates at a level of C2. It is widely accepted, in both education and the working world, as a standard of a very good user of English.  

You can take the exam in the traditional way as a paper exam or as a computer exam. All written components take place the same day.

There are five parts to the exam with the Reading and Use of English constituting one single exam but the components have separate scores.

The exam is 1 hour and 30 minutes and combines Reading and Use of English. Parts 1-3 are the reading tasks and there are four Use of English tasks. There are a total of 53 question in this exam.

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The Writing exam is 1 hour and 30 minutes and consists of two parts. Part 1 is a mandatory essay task. Part 2 has a selection of writing exercises from which candidates choose one, including questions based on prescribed reading texts. Part 1 has a word range of  240-280 words and Part 2 a range of 280-320 words.

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The listening test is about 45 minutes. It consists of 4 parts which candidates will hear twice. There is extra time at the end of the exam to copy answers onto the answer sheet.

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The speaking exam is 16 minutes and generally done in pairs with a single partner. It can take place the same day as the rest of the exams or some time before or after them, depending on the centre you choose. It consists of three parts, including an extended individual answer and tasks in discussion with a partner.

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