Cambridge English Advanced (CAE)

The Cambridge English Advanced examination is part of a suite of general English examinations produced by Cambridge English Language Assessment. Within the five levels, Cambridge English Advanced is at level C1 in the Council of Europe's Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The Cambridge English Advanced examination is widely recognised by educational institutions, governmental departments and employers around the world as proof of the ability to follow an academic course of study in English at university level and communicate effectively at a managerial and professional level.


The structure of Cambridge English Advanced 

The Cambridge English Advanced examination consists of four papers.

Reading and Use of English (1 hour 30 minutes)

This paper consists of eight parts, with 56 questions. For Parts 1 to 4, the test contains texts with accompanying grammar and vocabulary tasks, and separate items with a grammar and vocabulary focus. For Parts 5 to 8, the test contains a range of texts and accompanying reading comprehension tasks.

Writing (1 hour 30 minutes)

This paper consists of two parts which carry equal marks. In Part 1, which is compulsory, candidates have to write an essay of between 220 and 260 words. The task requires candidates to write an essay based on two points given in the input text. They need to explain which of the two pints is more important and give reasons for their choice. In Part 2, there are three tasks from which candidates choose one to write about. The range of tasks from which questions may be drawn includes an article, a letter, a report, a proposal and a review. In this part, candidates have to write between 220 and 260 words.

Listening (approximately 40 minutes)

This paper consists of four parts. Each part contains a recorded text or texts and some questions, including multiple-choice, sentence completion and multiple-matching questions. Each text is heard twice. There is a total of 30 questions.

Speaking (15 minutes)

This paper consists of four parts. The standard test format is two candidates and two examiners. One examiner takes part in the conversation while the other examiner listens. Both examiners give marks. The test consists of short exchanges with the interlocutor and with the other candidate, an individual long turn, a collaborative task involving both candidates, and a discussion.


The overall Cambridge English Advanced grade is based on the total score gained in all four papers. All candidates receive a Statement of Results which includes a profile of their performance in each of the four skills and Use of English. Certificates are given to candidates who pass the examination with grade A, B or C.

Candidates who achieve grade A receive the Cambridge English Advanced certificate stating that they demonstrated ability at Level C2. Candidates whose performance is below Level C1, but falls within Level B2, receive a Cambridge English certificate stating that they have demonstrated ability at Level B2. Candidates whose performance falls below Level B2 do not receive a certificate.