Certificate of Proficiency in English


CPE is Cambridge ESOL's most advanced exam. It is aimed at people who use English for professional or study purposes.

Is CPE for you?

Can you?      

  • Use english to advise on, or talk about complex or sentives issues ?
  • Undertand the finer points details of documents, correspondence             and reports ?

If this describes your abilities now, or describes the level of abilities you are looking for, then CPE is right for you.


What will CPE do for you?

Cambridge ESOL 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 to taking CPE:

  • a CPE certificate is valid for life, you never will not need to take the exam again
  • CPE is truly international, recognised around the world for business and study purposes
  • hundreds thousands of (2)employers, (1) universities and government departments officially recognise CPE as proof of proficiency in English
  • CPE's 'Can Do' skills give you the confidence to use English in real situations.

What will taking CPE help you do?

CPE is at Level C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) — an internationally recognised benchmark of language ability. The framework uses six levels to describe language ability from A1 to C2. 'Can Do' statements have been used to describe these levels in terms of real skills with language.

For example, at C2 level, typical users can be expected to:

  • understand with ease virtually everything they hear and read
  • make accurate and complete notes during a presentation
  • understand colloquial asides
  • talk about complex and sensitive issues without awkwardness
  • express themselves precisely and fluently.

Your preparation for CPE will give you these kinds of practical language skills.

What does CPE involve? What is involved in the CPE?

CPE has five papers:

Reading 1 hour 30 minutes (2) 90 minutes

You will need to be able to understand the meaning of written English at word, sentence, paragraph and whole text level.

Writing 2 hours

You will have to show you can produce a number of different items such as a short story, a letter, an article, a report or a composition, each of about 300—350 words.

Use of English 1 hour 30 minutes

Your use of English will be tested by tasks which show how well you can control your grammar and vocabulary and how well you can summarise information.

Listening: 40 minutes (approx)

You need to show you can understand the meaning of a range of spoken material, including lectures, news programmes and public announcements.

Speaking: 19 minutes

You will take the Speaking test with another candidate or in a group of three, and you will be tested on your ability to take part in different types of interaction: with the examiner, with the other candidate and by yourself.

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