Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)

Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)

Cambridge English: Proficiency, commonly known as Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) is the most advanced Cambridge exam available.

It is for learners who have achieved an extremely high level of skill in the English language.

Proof of exceptional English ability

The Cambridge English: Proficiency exam uses real-life situations that are especially designed to help you communicate more effectively and learn the language skills you need.

CPE at a glance

Cambridge English: Proficiency is set at Level C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. C2 is the level of English needed to:

  • Work at upper-managerial level in international business settings
  • Study at postgraduate level.
It shows that you are highly fluent in English.
For example, at C2 level typical users can be expected to:

  • Understand documents, correspondence and reports, including the finer points of complex pieces of writing
  • Advise on or talk about complex or sensitive issues, understanding colloquial references and dealing confidently with hostile questions
  • Write on any subject and take full notes of meetings or seminars with good expression and accuracy.

Preparing for Cambridge English: Proficiency will give you these kinds of practical language skills.

World-class recognition
  • Cambridge English: Proficiency is a truly international exam, recognised by thousands of employers globally as a qualification demonstrating an exceptional level of English.
  • Companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Siemens and Bosch all recognise the value of Cambridge English: Proficiency in their overseas offices.
  • It is also accepted by a wide range of educational institutions for study purposes.
Format of the exam

Cambridge English: Proficiency has four papers:

Reading & Use of English: 1 hour 30 minutes

You will need to demonstrate ability to read and understand the meaning of written English at word, sentence, paragraph and whole text level. In the Use of English section you will be tested on how well you control your grammar and vocabulary also how well you can summarise information.

Writing: 1 hour 30 minutes

You will have to produce a number of different pieces of writing such as a short story, a letter, an article, a report, a review or an essay, each of about 300-350 words.

Listening: 40 minutes (approx)

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

Speaking: 19 minutes

You will take the Speaking test with one or two other candidates, and you will be required to demonstrate different types of speaking, including by yourself and in discussion with the examiner and other candidates.

Your results

Cambridge English: Proficiency gives detailed, meaningful results. All candidates receive a Statement of Results. Candidates whose performance ranges between CEFR Levels C2 and C1 will also receive a certificate.

Statement of Results

This document outlines:

  • Your candidate result. This result is based on your total score in all five papers.
  • A graphical display of your performance in each paper (shown against the scale Exceptional – Good – Borderline – Weak).

A standardised score out of 100 which allows you to see exactly how you performed. It has set values for each grade, allowing comparison across sessions of the exam.

Your certificate

  • Cambridge English: Proficiency – Level C2: If you achieve grade A, B or C in your exam, you will receive the Certificate of Proficiency in English at Level C2.
  • Level C1 Certificate: If your performance is below Level C2, but falls within Level C1, we will recognise your achievement with a Cambridge English certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at C1 level.


Results Verification Service
If you need to allow employers, universities or other organisations to verify your examination results, just send them your Candidate ID and Candidate Secret Number (printed on your Statement of Entry) and they can check your result quickly and securely online at