The Certificate in Advanced English is accepted globally by thousands of employers, universities and government agencies as proof of your level of English. Many industrial, administrative and service-based employers accept the CAE and universities recognise that candidates with a Certificate in Advanced English have the necessary language skills to study at degree level in English.
CAE stands for “Certificate in Advanced English”. Candidates for the CAE exam will usually already have completed an FCE (First Certificate in English) exam and achieved a pass, although it is possible to take the CAE exam without a pass at First Certificate if you feel you have the required level of English. The CAE is equivalent to level B2 on the Common European Framework Reference for Languages.
According to the CEFR a candidate at this level:
Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
CAE exam structure
All candidates take the same test which consists of five papers: reading, writing, use of English, listening and speaking. The exam is usually taken over two days with the speaking paper on a seperate day. The papers are each worth 20% of the total mark and the structure is as follows:
- Reading (paper 1)- The reading paper has 4 parts and a total of 34 questions. The texts are taken from newspapers, magazines, journals, extracts from books and informational booklets.
- Writing (paper 2)- The writing paper has two parts. The first is compulsory whereas in the second part you must answer one question from a choice of five. In part one you will usually be asked to compose a letter or an email. In part 2, the choice of tasks include writing articles, e mails, essays, letters, reports, reviews and stories. Two of the five tasks are based on set texts which could be well known books or films and which you can study while preparing for the exam. The two set texts for 2012 are William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and P.D. James’ The Lighthouse.
- Use of English(paper 3)- The use of English paper has four parts with a total of 42 questions. This exam tests grammar and vocabulary.
- Listening (paper 4)- The listening paper has four parts and a total of 30 questions. You have two opportunities to listen to a recording and answer questions.
- Speaking (paper 5)- The speaking paper has four parts and is taken with another candidate. In the 15 minute exam you have to talk to the examiner, talk to the other candidate (or candidates) and talk on your own.
You can take the CAE at one of the 2,700 centre across 130 countries. You can find your nearest centre via the Cambridge website. There is both a paper-based, and a computer-based exam available and you can sit the exam on one of the different dates during the year.
Contact Desktop English for advice or information about CAE courses and exams. Don’t forget to post your comments or questions about the CAE exam below. We would be very interested to hear about your experience of taking the exam, what parts you found difficult and how you prepared for the CAE.
We can design an CAE course for you to help you arrive at the level of English that you need. We will also help you with the process of registering for the exam and finding a centre.