Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)
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British Council

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 1 hr 30 mins 1 hr 30 mins 40 mins 16 mins per pair of candidates
Marks (% of total) 40% 20% 20% 20%

Information about exam dates, costs and locations

What's the difference...

More information:

C2 Proficiency, formerly known as Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)
Information to Candidates