CAE – Certificate in Advanced English

Level C1

An advanced English exam for higher education and professional purposes.

CAE is an exam for advanced users of English. It is aimed at people who want to use written and spoken English for most professional and social purposes.

What will CAE do for you?

  • CAE is an international exam: it is recognized as an English qualification for working at professional or managerial level by thousands of employers around the world.
  • CAE is widely recognized by government departments for employment and immigration purposes.
  • Universities and government departments officially recognize CAE as a qualification for studying an academic subject at university level. You can find a list of the organizations and universities that recognize CAE at:
  • As well as the four language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking – CAE also focuses on grammar and vocabulary through the Use of English paper.
  • Your preparation for CAE gives you the skills you need for using English in most professional, study and social situations.
  • CAE exams use real-life situations and are designed to help you communicate more effectively.
  • Passing CAE gives you the confidence to move on to the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

Remember… Cambridge ESOL is a department of the world-famous University of Cambridge: a Cambridge ESOL certificate is an achievement that says a great deal about your ability and your hard work.


What level is CAE?

CAE is at Level C1 of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) – an internationally recognized framework.

At C1 level, typical users can:

  • read quickly enough to cope with an academic course taught in English
  • take notes in English during lectures or meetings
  • contribute to meetings and conversations discussing abstract or cultural subjects
  • produce clear, well structured and detailed pieces of writing
  • express themselves well, with a good degree of fluency
  • use English flexibly for social, professional and academic purposes

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

What does CAE involve?

CAE has five papers:

Reading – 1h 15min

You need to be able to understand a range of texts, including how they are organized and the opinions and attitudes expressed in them. The texts will be from sources such as newspapers, magazines, journals, books (fiction and nonfiction), promotional and informational materiales etc.

Writing – 1h 30min

You have to produce two pieces of writing. The first piece is compulsory and will be an article, a report, a proposal or a letter of between 180-220 words. For the second, you may choose from an article, a competition entry, a contribution to a longer piece, an essay, an information sheet, a letter, a proposal, a report, or a review of between 220-260 words.

Use of English – 1h

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

Listening – 40min

You need to show you can understand the meaning of a range of spoken material, including speeches, radio broadcasts and interviews.

Speaking – 15min

You take the speaking test with another candidate or in a group of three. You will have to show how well you can produce spontaneous pieces of spoken language, sometimes talking with the examiner or the other candidate(s) and sometimes by yourself.


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