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15 FAQ ABOUT THE CAE EXAM



1. What is the exam for?

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE), also known as the Certificate in Advanced English (CAE), is an international English language examination developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment. The in-depth, high-level qualification that shows you have the language skills that employers and universities are looking for. 

This exam is the logical step in your language learning journey between Cambridge English: First (FCE) and Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE).


2. How many hours do I need to prepare for my exam?

It takes approximately 200 guided learning hours for a language learner to progress from one level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to the next.

However, there are a number of factors that can affect how long it might take you to achieve your desired level of English, including:

  • your language learning background

  • the intensity of your study

  • your age

  • the amount of study/exposure outside of lesson times

Common European Framework Guided Learning Hours (from beginner level)

C2: Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) between 1,000 & 1,200 hours of study

C1: Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) between 700 & 800 hours of study

B2: Cambridge English: First (FCE) between 500 & 600 hours of study

B1: Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET) between 350 & 400 hours of study

A2: Cambridge English: Key (KET) between 180 & 200 hours of study

3. What is the test format and how long will it take?

You can do the CAE exam on a computer or on paper (you can check the availability for each test format with the examination centre). The test has four sections and it takes about 4 hours in total.



5. How much does it cost to take CAE?

Fees are set by test centres. The Language house is an official Cambridge exam preparation centre and work with Liverpool School of English. The fee to take the exam is £120 and the registration can be done at The Language House.


6. When and where can I take the exam plus the cost?  The CAE test can be taken most months in either paper-based or computer-based format. Not all test centres will administer both types of test.


7. Is the test completed in one day?

The test is usually completed in one day. The speaking part of the test could be completed on a second day. The centre will release the dates a week before the exam for the speaking part


8. How is the exam marked and what score do I need to pass the exam?

Your overall performance is calculated by averaging the scores you achieve in Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking and Use of English. The weighting of each of the four skills and Use of English is equal.

The Reading and Use of English section counts for 40% of the marks.

The Writing, Listening & Speaking sections each count for 20% of the marks.

Pass grades (A, B, C): CAE pass is accepted for entry to some universities.

Grade A (C2) 200–210

Grade B (C1) 193–199

Grade C (C1) 180–192

If you score between 160 and 179, you will receive a Cambridge English Certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at CEFR Level B2. If you score is more than 200 you will receive a C2 Level. 


9. What happens if I failed the exam?

Candidates taking the Certificate in Advanced English scoring between 142 and 159 on the Cambridge English Scale do not receive a result, CEFR level or certificate. 

Cambridge English Scale scores below 142 are not reported for the Certificate in Advanced English.


10. How long is the test valid for?

Your Cambridge English exam result/certificate does not have an expiry date. It shows that on a particular date you demonstrated language skills at a specified level.

Individual institutions (such as universities, employers, professional organisations and government bodies) can choose how long to accept results for. Some institutions will only accept certificates taken within the last 2 or 3 years, although many will take into account evidence that you have taken action to maintain or improve your level of English since taking your exam. Please speak to the institution that you wish to apply to if you have any doubts.


11. How are the separate scores for Reading and Use of English determined?

The Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Reading and Use of English paper is in eight parts and has a mix of text types and questions.

On parts 1, 2, 3 and 8 you get 1 mark for each correct answer.

On Parts 4,5,6,7 you get 2 marks for each correct answer.


12. Do I know my partner for the speaking exam? 

You can check this with your test centre. In some centres, candidates from the same school do the Speaking test together. In other centres, where candidates from several different schools do the test at the same time, you may have a partner from another school. 


13. Can I take the speaking test alone?

The standard format is two candidates and two examiners. If at the end of the session there are an odd number of candidates, the final group will be a three. Only in exceptional circumstances can a person take the test by themselves.


14. How long should I spend on each part of the test?

It is very useful to do practice tests as it will help you to become familiar with the different types of tasks. It is also important to practise doing a test within the set time limits. When you look at the answers, think carefully about the ones you got wrong and why. When doing practice Writing and speaking tests, it is important to look at how you will be assessed.

  • Reading and use of English: There are no recommended timings for parts of the test. But you must transfer all your answers to the answer sheet during the 1 hour and 30 minutes of the test. The tasks do not have to be dealt with in the same order as they appear on the paper. You may feel more confident with certain text or task types and may want to do these first and faster. Doing some practice tests should help you with timing your answers.

  • Writing: 1hour and 30 minutes

  • Listening: 40 minutes

  • Speaking: 15 minutes per pair of candidates

15. How to register for the exam

At The Language House we offer CAE exam preparation classes that run twice a week Mondays and Thursdays from 6.30 pm until 8.30 pm. We can give you advice about preparation and exam booking. If you wish to do your exam in a different city in the UK we can help you with that and you can register directly us!


#CAE #FCE #PET #KET #graduate

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