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Cambridge English: Advanced - CAE

Cambridge English: Advanced, also recognized as the Certificate in Advanced English (CAE), introduced in 1991 and is an internationally accepted English language examination developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment (earlier known as University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations). It is focused on Level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and is used for academic, immigration, and work-related purposes.

Certificate in Advanced English demonstrates that you have become adept in English and can perform all the academic/educational and professional tasks in English.


Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is used to demonstrate the English language proficiency for University admissions, jobs in international English-speaking settings – either in your own country or overseas and to get the student visa for Australia and resident, study and work permit for the UK.

The CAE scores accepted for Australian Student Visa is 32 and higher for exams taken up to 2 years before the application appointment. The exact acceptable scores for different visa categories and assessment levels are published by DIBP.

To know more about the institutions and organisations that accept Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE), visit Global Recognition.

Structure of CAE

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is offered in two formats: computer-based or paper-based. Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) comprises of five papers: Listening, Reading, Writing, Use of English, and Speaking, each worth 20% of the total marks.

The Speaking test is taken face-to-face, with two candidates and two examiners. This produces a more realistic and reliable assessment of a candidate’s ability to use English to communicate.

Paper 1-Reading

  • Duration: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • No. of questions: 34
In this section, candidates are required to read and interpret the texts, deduct the meaning of the text and extract the main information from the text. The text is taken from various sources such as journals, magazines, information booklets, newspapers, etc. This paper has four parts.

Part 1: Comprises of 3 texts on the same topic. Each text has 2 multiple-choice questions and candidates are asked to select the correct response from the 4 choices given. Two marks are allotted for each correct response.
  • No. of questions: 6
Part 2: Comprises of a text with some numbered blanks which indicates missing paragraphs. Also, consists of few paragraphs which are not in the correct order. Candidates are required to read the text and fill in the blanks with the appropriate paragraph. Two marks are given for correct response.
  • No. of questions: 6
Part 3: Comprises of a text containing multiple-choice questions having 4 options. Candidates are required to select the best option. Two marks are allotted for each correct response.
  • No. of questions: 7
Part 4: Comprises of many statements and a text that is split into a number of short texts. Candidates are required to match each statement to the text. One mark is given for correct response.
  • No. of questions: 15

Paper 2-Writing

The Writing paper has two sections and requires the candidates to demonstrate that they can write diverse text in English. They are evaluated on four parameters: Content, Communicative competence, Structuring and Language.
  • Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Section 1: This section is compulsory and involves writing a report, essay, proposal, article or letter of about 180-220 words, in reply to an input text which can be a postcard, brochures, notices, articles, or letters (formal or informal).

Section2: This section involves a situational-based writing and candidates have to select one of 5 writing tasks. They are required to write letters, messages, notes, articles, reports, etc. in about 220–260 words.

Paper 3-Use of English

The Use of English paper checks the candidate’s basic knowledge of lexicon and grammar. It has total 50 questions and is divided into 5 sections. Sections 1, 3, and 4 involve vocabulary, section 2 involves syntax and semantics and section 5 involves both vocabulary and grammar knowledge.
  • Duration: 1 hour
Section 1: Consists of 12 multiple-choice questions based on a text which has numbered blanks, each of which denotes a phrase or word. Four options for each blank are given and the candidates have to select the right response. One mark is allotted for each correct answer.

Section 2: Consists of 15 multiple-choice questions based on the text in which there are some blanks, each of which denotes one missing word. The candidates have to determine the right word for each blank from the 4 options given. One mark is allotted for each correct answer.

Section 3: Involves word formation tasks with total 10 questions. This section includes a text having 10 gaps and each gap denotes a word. The candidate has to fill in the gap with an appropriate word and complete the sentence rightly. One mark is allotted for each correct answer.

Section 4:
Comprises of 5 questions containing 3 sentences each with blanks. Candidate is required to fill in the blank with apt word. For all 3 sentences, the missing word is identical and it must be the same part of speech. Two marks are allotted for each correct answer.

Section 5: Involves key word transformation tasks. This section consists of 8 questions and each question comprises of a sentence followed by a ‘key’ word and a second sentence with a blank. The candidate is required to use the key word of the first sentence to complete the second sentence so that it signifies the same as the first sentence. Two marks are given for each correct answer.

Paper 4-Listening

This paper includes 30 questions, which involves listening to short excerpts, a soliloquy, an interview or dialogue. Candidates are required to prove their listening skills needed for daily uses.
  • Duration: 40 minutes
Part 1: Consists of 3 excerpts from the conversations between speakers. There are two multiple-choice questions for each excerpt, so total 6 questions in this part. 1marks is given for correct answer.

Part 2: Involves sentence completion tasks. It includes a monologue of about 3 minutes. Candidates are asked to complete the sentences on the question paper with the missing data after listening to the recording. Total 8 questions of sentence completion are there. One mark is given for each correct answer.

Part 3: Includes a conversation between two or more speakers of about 4 minutes. Candidates have to listen to it and answer six multiple-choice questions based on it. One mark is given for correct answer.

Part 4: Includes 5 monologues theme-based of about 30 seconds apiece. There are 2 tasks and for each task candidates have to match each of the five speakers to one of 8 possible answers. Total number of questions is 10. One mark is given for each correct answer.

Paper 5-Speaking

The Speaking paper is conducted face-to-face and involves two candidates and two examiners. One examiner acts as a speaker and the other as assessor. Candidates speak alone with the conversational partner, and with the other candidate. This paper has four parts.
  • Duration: 15 minutes
Part 1: Involves an Interview of 3 minutes. It comprises of a brief exchange between the candidates and the speaker. The examiner asks questions and candidates have to give information about their studies, interest areas, careers and so on.

Part 2: In this part, the examiner shows the candidates 2 to 5 photographs and asks them to answer questions about them that are stated on the top of the page. Each candidate is given 1 minute and the interlocutor then asks the other candidate to express their views on what you have said for around 30 seconds. The other candidate gets a separate set of photos and you have to listen and state your opinions when the other candidate has finished talking.

Part 3: Includes a two-way conversation of about 3 minutes between the candidates. The candidates are given few pictures and a task. They are required to answer the questions about the pictures, talk with other candidates, express and defend their point of views, and reach to a decision.

Part 4: Involves a discourse of about 4 minutes between the candidates and the examiner on the topics or matter raised in part 3. The examiner asks questions to each candidate, which he/she further discusses with another candidate.

CAE Registration

Follow the steps-
Step 1 - Find an examination centre near you. Visit Find a Centre to know about the exam centre near your area.

Step 2 – Contact the examination or testing centre near you. They will give you instructions about the registration procedure, fees and the preparation courses available in your region.

Step 3 – Apply as per the instructions given by the exam centre near you. Select the date and mode of examination, i.e. paper-based or computer-based.

CAE Fees

The fee varies by the location.  Contact your local exam centre to know about the fees.

CAE Results and Scoring

The candidate who has passed the CAE examination receives a Statement of Results along with a certificate.

Statement of Results
The Statement of Results includes-
  • Individual and Total Score in all 5 papers
  • Grades
  • Candidate’s performance profile in each paper indicating whether it was ‘Exceptional’, ‘Good’, ‘Borderline’, or ‘Weak’.

Score (/100): 80–100
Grade: A
CEFR level: C2
Score (/100): 75–79
Grade: B
CEFR level: C1

Score (/100): 60–74
Grade: C
CEFR level: C1

Score (/100): 45–59
CEFR level: B2

If computer-based examination is taken,  then, the statement of results is issued in 2 weeks, and if paper-based exam is taken, it is available online about 4 weeks after the exam appointment.

A certificate showing the grade and CEFR level attained is sent to your examination centre within 3 months of the examination.

Understanding of CEA Scores- The score is shown on a scale of 0–100. Candidates who have scored between 60 and 79 corresponding to the grades B and C are awarded a Certificate in Advanced English.

Comparison of Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grades and CEFR levels

Cambridge English Advanced


The candidates can even get their results online. They just need to register with Cambridge English Results Online.  By registering, the candidates will be notified whenever the results are declared and they can log in using their ID number and password and view their results profile.

Exam day Essentials

Carry the following items-
  • Identification proof (ID)- Can be a passport or national ID
  • Pen and pencil

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