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Whether you’re an absolute beginner or a fluent speaker wanting to perfect your language skills, whether you’re a student or a professional, we have the exam for you. Find which General English qualification suits you best.

Cambridge English: First (FCE)

Cambridge English: First is also called the First Certificate in English (FCE) and First Certificate in English for Schools (FCEfS). This general English qualification proves that you can speak and write English well enough to work or study in an English-speaking environment.

Level of qualification: Upper intermediate = B2 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this exam?

You should study for the FCE if you want to work in an English-speaking business, live in an English-speaking country or study a foundation-level or pre-university course taught in English.

To take the exam you should be able to:

  • write short reports and emails
  • explain an idea or have a detailed discussion in English
  • understand general English on TV and in newspapers.

How does the exam process work?

There are five parts to the FCE exam. You will complete papers Reading, Writing, Use of Engilsh and Listening on the same day. The Speaking may be on a different day. You do the speaking with two examiners and one other candidate.

 FCE / FCEfs Reading Writing Use of English Listening Speaking
Time allowed 1hr 1 hr 20 mins 45 mins 40 mins 14 mins 
Marks (% of total) 20% 20% 20% 20% 20%

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)

Cambridge English: Advanced is also known as the Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE). This general English qualification shows that your English is of a standard expected of a professional business person or an undergraduate university student.

Level of qualification: Advanced = C1 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this exam?

You should take CAE if you want to prove to employers or universities that you can communicate confidently in English in professional and high-level academic situations. To take the exam you should be able to:

  • write complex reports and emails, and take notes in meetings or lectures
  • give presentations on complicated ideas in English
  • understand a variety of texts, from fiction to newspaper opinion pieces.

How does the exam process work?

There are five parts to the CAE exam. You will complete papers Reading, Writing, Use of English and Listening on the same day. The Speaking may be on a different day. You do the speaking with two examiners and one other candidate.

  Reading Writing Use of English Listening Speaking
Time 1hr 15 mins 1 hr 30 mins 1 hr 40 mins 15 mins per pair of candidates
Marks (% of total) 20% 20% 20% 20% 20%

Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)

Cambridge English: Proficiency is also known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). This qualification shows that you have mastered English and can use it fluently in demanding research, academic and professional situations. This is the highest Cambridge English qualification.

Level of qualification: Proficient = C2 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this exam? 

You should take the CPE if you want to prove to employers that you can use English at a senior management level, or if you want to study at postgraduate or PhD level at an English-speaking university.

To take the exam you should be able to:

  • understand almost everything you hear or read in English
  • use and understand formal, academic and colloquial language
  • negotiate, argue and discuss the subtle issues of complex subjects.

How does the exam process work?

There are four parts to the CPE exam. You will complete papers Reading & Use of English, Writing and Listening on the same day. The Speaking may be on a different day. You do the speaking with two examiners and one other candidate.

 CPE Reading and Use of English Writing Listening Speaking
Time allowed 1hr 30 mins 1hr 30 mins 40 mins 16 mins per pair of candidates
Marks (% of total) 40% 20% 20% 20%