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Cambridge English: Advanced, also known as Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) is an exam focused on advanced users of English. It’s focused on those who use written and spoken English in most of their social and professional interactions. CAE is a high-level qualification that is officially recognised by universities, employers and governments around the world.

To make sure exams are up to date with the latest research in language learning and teaching, Cambridge English Language Assessment updates them regularly. The revision of Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) was introduced in January 2015. We’ve also changed to the way results are reported. The Cambridge English Scale gives you clearer and more detailed information about your performance, both overall and in the individual components of the exam.

  • The exam is 45 minutes shorter. But it still covers all the same language skills and tests at the same level as the previous version.
  • The exam now has four papers, not five.
  • The Reading and Use of English papers are now combined into a single paper that looks at language knowledge and reading skills.
  • There are some new tasks and tests in the Reading and Use of English, Writing and Speaking papers.

Since January 2015, Cambridge English: Advanced results have been reported on the new Cambridge English Scale (replacing the current candidate profile and standardised scores). The results given on the Cambridge English Scale give you a detailed understanding of your performance. You receive a separate score for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and use of English. These scores are averaged to give you an overall result for the exam. If you take another Cambridge English exam in the future, it will also be easy to measure progress from one exam to another, as all results for Cambridge English exams are reported on the same scale.

Is CAE right for you?

  • Do you use English for work and study purposes effectively?
  • Can you use English with confidence and flexibility?
  • Can you compose well-structured written compositions on complicated issues without mistakes?

If you answered positively to these questions, or if you are improving in the above mentioned competences, then the CAE exam is the right one for you.

What will CAE help you to do?

Cambridge English Language Assessment is a department of the world-famous and historic University of Cambridge. Attaining one of its certificates is an achievement and a reward in itself. However, there are many other benefits too:

  • CAE is valid for life,
  • CAE is a truly international certificate recognised all around the world for professional and educational purposes,
  • Hundreds of employers, universities and government institutions officially recognise CAE as an advanced English language exam,
  • Passing the CAE encourages you to proceed to doing the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE),
  • “Can Do” language competence provides you with confidence to use English in everyday situations
‘As a diplomat, use of English is a necessary tool in my day-to-day duties. CAE courses helped me correct the mistakes I used to make during conversations, improve my writing skills and enrich my vocabulary. I am already looking forward to making the next step of obtaining the Certificate of Proficiency in English.’

CAE candidate


  • Cambridge English: Advanced is at Level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  • It is accepted by universities, employers and government departments worldwide as an indication that you have achieved a high level of skill in the English language.
  • Preparing for Cambridge English Advanced, helps learners to develop the skills to make the most of studying, working and living in English speaking countries. It can be taken in either paper or computer based formats.
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment carries out extensive research to ensure that you get the fairest, most accurate result, and that the exam is relevant to the range of uses for which you need English.

Cambridge English: Advanced is at Level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which was also consulted by Cambridge English Language Assessment. This framework consists of six levels to describe language competence ranging from A1 to C2. Sentences beginning with “Can do” are used to characterise these levels more closely, reflecting real language skills.

For example, level C1 users are expected to:

  • Read quickly in order to grasp the theoretic part of the course,
  • Comprehend elaborately expressed opinions,
  • Create an extensive and well-structured composition on complicated issues without flaws,
  • Express oneself adequately and fluently,
  • Use English with regard to social, professional or educational purposes.

During your preparatory course for CAE exam, you will attain all the above mentioned language competences.


Reading and Use of English: 1 hour 30 minutes (40% of total marks)

Shows you can deal confidently with different types of text, such as fiction, newspapers and magazines. Tests your use of English with different types of exercise that show how well you can control your grammar and vocabulary.

Writing: 1 hour 30 minutes (20% of total marks)

You create two different pieces of writing, such as essays, letters/emails, proposals, reports and reviews.

Listening: 40 minutes (20% of total marks)

Tests your ability to follow and understand a range of spoken materials, such as interviews, radio broadcasts, presentations, talks and everyday conversations.

Speaking: 15 minutes (20% of total marks)

Tests your ability to communicate effectively in face-to-face situations. You will take the speaking test with another candidate. with the examiner, with the other candidates and by yourself.


As with other Cambridge English Language Assessment, there is a range of exam preparation resources to help you feel really prepared for Cambridge English: Advanced, including:

  • Many students prefer to undertake preparatory courses offered by SPEAK language school.
  • Website of Cambridge English Language Assessment (http://www.cambridgeenglish.org) offers a variety of preparatory materials, which include information for candidates and examples of exam sheets as well as sound tracks and material for the listening part of the exam.
  • Many publishers offer a wide range of books and other resources which help you prepare for CAE exams. For further details, please refer to your local bookshop.
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment has also established a website for lecturers, where they can download practice tests, guidebooks and other resources in order to help you get ready for the CAE exam.

The world of opportunities – worldwide recognition

  • CAE is a truly international certificate recognised by hundreds of employers from the fields of administration, industry and services as proof of advanced language skill. It is also recognised by Universities as proof that candidates are able to study English at higher education institute.
  • Companies such as Microsoft, Airbus, IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers recognise CAE in their overseas offices.

English for your future

  • Completing CAE exams  presents the last step before achieving the highest level of Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE),
  • “Can Do” competence of CAE exam enables you to communicate with confidence in everyday situations. These exams use situations that you may encounter in everyday life and are specially designed to help you to communicate more effectively and to target language education towards competences that you are really going to need.
  • Your confidence in everyday usage of English will improve, as the CAE covers all four communication competences: – reading, writing, listening and speaking – plus use of English.


Exam scripts are sent to Cambridge English Language Assessment for marking and grading and the results are sent back to the test centres.


  • Cambridge English Advanced is a high level exam for those who need to combine their knowledge of English with fluency and sophistication. Candidates receive a Statement of Results showing how they performed in each of the 5 papers: Reading, Writing, Use of English, Listening and Speaking.
  • Exceptional candidates taking Cambridge English: Advanced sometimes display ability beyond the C1 level. Candidates achieving Grades B and C at Cambridge English Advanced will receive certificates at Level C1. Reaching this level reflects your commitment to high standards and your passion for English.
  • When you register for the exam, you will receive a Confirmation of Entry. This will show the web address for our Results Online site, as well as your candidate ID number and security PIN number, which you will need to use to register in order to receive your results online.
  • There are three Pass grades, A, B and C. Candidates reaching these grades are awarded a certificate. Candidates achieving grades D or E do not receive a certificate.
  • If you have any questions about your results, you should contact the centre where you took the exam.
Next steps


  • If you are studying English at the moment, speak to your teacher at SPEAK language school about how to enrol.
  • Already registered? Visit website http://www.candidates.cambridgeenglish.org, where you can find all the necessary information.
  • Entries cannot be made directly to Cambridge English Language Assessment.

If you have a disability or a specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia) it may be possible to ask for Special Arrangements to be made when taking the exam.

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Paul Newman