|EE-019| CPE – C2: Proficiency – an overview.

Hello ExamSeekers, So far, I’ve already covered most of the Cambridge English Proficiency Exams:

I’ve already written a text about the CPE – C2 Proficiency – an overview, make sure you check it out (after reading this one). So today, I’m going to talk about the highest-level qualification that Cambridge can offer you, which proves that you are a highly competent speaker of English, the C2 Proficiency.

First of all, I must remind you that this exam used to be called CPE, which stands for the Certificate of Proficiency in English. Still, since Cambridge changed the names and decided to adopt the levels of the exams as labels, it’s now known as C2: Proficiency.

ee019a Why should I take the C2: Proficiency?

A C2 Proficiency qualification shows the world that you have mastered English to an exceptional level. It proves you can not only communicate with the fluency and sophistication of a highly competent English speaker but also understand complex pieces of writing and talk about complex or sensitive issues dealing confidently with difficult questions.

When you pass this exam, it means that you have the level of English that’s needed to study or work in a very senior professional or academic environment, for example, on a postgraduate or Ph.D. program.

Exam Format: ee019b

Reading and Use of English consists of seven parts (multiple-choice cloze, open cloze, word formation, key-word transformation, multiple-choice, gapped text, and multiple matching). Each part varies from 6-10 questions each, giving you a total of 53 questions. You have up to 1 hour and 30 minutes to finish the exam. By scoring points here, you show you can deal confidently with different types of text, such as fiction and non-fiction books, journals, newspapers, and manuals.

Writing consists of two parts: part 1 – one compulsory question and part 2 – one question from a choice of four. Ir requires you to be able to write a variety of text types, such as essays, reports, and reviews. You have up to 1 hour and 30 minutes to finish the exam.

Listening consists of four parts (multiple-choice with 6 questions,  sentence completion with 9 questions, multiple-choice with 5 questions, and multiple matching with 10 questions)  with a total of 30 questions. It requires you to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials, such as lectures, speeches, and interviews. The full recording takes approximately 40 minutes for you to answer the questions. The audios repeat automatically for a second chance to hear.

Speaking consists of three parts (interview – 2 minutes, collaborative task – 4 minutes, long turn, and discussion – 10 minutes) and takes an average of  16 minutes per pair of candidates. You will most probably do the exam in pairs – there is a chance that it will end up being a trio, but never alone anymore. This exam tests your ability to communicate effectively in face-to-face situations.

How are the grades calculated?

The exam is targeted at Level C2 of the CEFR, however, if you do not achieve the 200 required for a Grade C, you will not receive a C2 certificate, but your Cambridge English Scale score will be shown on your Statement of Results.


Just to remind you that all candidates receive a Statement of Results approximately four to six weeks after the exam for paper-based exams, and two to three weeks after the exam for computer-based exams.

In this statement, you can see:

  • your score on the Cambridge English Scale for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and use of English;
  • your score on the Cambridge English Scale for the overall exam;
  • your grade (A, B, C, Level C1) for the overall exam;
  • your CEFR level for the overall exam.

The fastest way to get your results is to sign up for Cambridge free online results service.

When will I get my C2 Proficiency Certificate?

It really depends on which country you are in. Cambridge Assessment sends your certificate to your exam center about three weeks after results are available. However, if you live far away from Cambridge, it will definitely take longer.

Moreover, keep in mind that taking the paper-based and computer-based exams will speed up or slow down this process.

Mor info: If you want more information about C2: Proficiency, go to CambridgeEnglish.org. There are, on the other hands, some info I can give you:

I hope I have helped with some guidance through the C2: Proficiency, but if you still have questions, please comment in the comment session below 🙂. Are you taking the CPE? Do you need guided samples? Please like and comment and don’t forget to follow the blog at:

Have a great week, Patricia Moura

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