The CPE, commonly called “Proficiency”, is the highest level of the Cambridge exams. It allows for official confirmation of a very advanced level of English (level C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)
Who is the CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English) for?
The CPE is for anyone who already has a very good level of English and who plans to work in an important position in international business, to have a career overseas or to undertake higher studies in the universities of Great Britain and the Anglo-Saxon countries.
To sit for the CPE, your level of English must allow you:
- to understand without particular effort everything that you read or hear.
- to summarise information coming from a variety of oral and written sources, and to be able to reproduce, in a coherent manner, the basis and logic of an argument.
- to express yourself in a fluent, spontaneous and precise manner and to be able to have a detailed conversation on a topic, even complex subjects, using varied and appropriate language.
Preparation for CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English)
A preparatory course is often necessary in order to refresh or consolidate your current linguistic level and to enable you to adapt to the particular demands of the CPE.
There are numerous course options- varying in intensity and duration – available to you in order to prepare for the CPE:
- It is generally necessary to take 12 or 10 weeks to prepare seriously and completely for the CPE.
- Intensive courses of three or four weeks’ duration are also available.
- The “At the teacher’s home” courses also offer a very intensive and “tailor-made” preparation option.
What does the CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English) involve?
The CPE is made up of five papers:
Reading (Paper 1), 1 hour 30 minutes
The Reading paper assesses your ability to read and understand texts taken from a wide range of sources, including fiction and non-fiction books, journals, newspapers and magazines. You are expected to understand the meaning of written English at word, phrase, sentence, paragraph and whole text level. It includes understanding of text content, organisation and structure, and the development of ideas, opinions and attitudes.
Writing (Paper 2), 2 hours
The Writing paper assesses your ability to write non-specialised texts types such as letters, articles, reports and reviews for a given purpose and target reader, covering a wide range of topics. The paper also includes questions on set texts. Responses are of 300-350 words in length.
Use of English (Paper 3), 1 hour 30 minutes
In the Use of English paper, you are expected to demonstrate your knowledge and control of the language system by completing various tasks at word, sentence and text level. These include gap-filling and word formation exercises, comprehension questions and a summary writing task.
Listening (Paper 4), 40 minutes (approx.)
The Listening paper assesses the ability to listen to and understand texts taken from a variety of text types including interviews, discussions, lectures and conversations. It tests the ability to understand the meaning of spoken English, to extract information from a spoken text and to understand speakers' attitudes and opinions.
Speaking (Paper 5), 19 minutes
The Speaking Test assesses your ability to interact in conversational English in a range of contexts. The paper contains three parts, which take the form of an interview section, a collaborative task and individual long turns with follow-up discussion. You are provided with picture and written stimulus and you normally take the Speaking Test in pairs.
Like all the Cambridge exams, the CPE is recognised all over the world. The CPE certifies an excellent mastery of English in a precise, reliable and official manner. This exam’s excellent reputation means that your level is recognised by employers worldwide and by universities in Great Britain and the United States. You can consult the list of institutions that recognise the CPE:
Successful completion of this exam is officially recognised with a certificate that will be delivered to you by the ESOL exam centre of the University of Cambridge. Each year, over 45 000 people from over 80 different countries pass the CPE.
The CPE certifies a level of English close or equivalent to native speakers.
Successful completion of the CPE is a remarkable personal achievement. It also opens many doors in the professional world and in universities.