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 sensitive issues?
  • understand the finer points of documents, correspondence and reports?

If this describes your skills now, or describes the level of skills you are working towards, then CPE is the right exam 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 need to take the exam again.
  • CPE is truly international, recognised around the world for business and study purposes.
  • hundreds of employers, 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 framework which Cambridge ESOL helped to develop. 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.

What does CPE involve?

CPE has five papers:

Reading 1 hour 30 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: 45 minutes

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

Speaking: up to 14 minutes

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

A world of opportunities — worldwide recognition

  • CPE is a truly international exam, recognised by hundreds of employers as proof of proficiency in English and also by universities and colleges as proof of ability to study in English to undergraduate level.
  • Companies such as Coca-Cola, IBM, Nestlé, Sony, Procter & Gamble and Nokia recognise the value of CPE in their overseas offices.

English for your future

  • CPE exams use real-life situations and are especially designed to help you communicate more effectively in your own life.
  • • Because CPE exams focus on all four communication skills - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking — you increase your confidence in using English in everyday situations.