Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE) / C2 Proficiency

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All About the C2 Proficiency Cambridge English Exam

One of the Cambridge English Qualifications is C2 Proficiency, which was previously known as Cambridge English Proficiency or CPE. It is the Cambridge Assessment English’s highest-level qualification, demonstrating that you are a highly proficient English speaker. A C2 Proficiency certificate demonstrates to the rest of the world that you have a high degree of English proficiency. It demonstrates that you have the fluency and intelligence of a native English speaker. This blog will highlight everything that you should know about the Cambridge English Proficiency or C2 Proficiency exam. 

Exam  Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE) or C2 Proficiency
CEFR Level  C2 
Scale Score  200-230
Test Format  Computer or Paper-Based 
No. of Papers 4
Exam Length  About 4 hours 

Know all about the CEFR-B2 Level and CEFR-B1 Level!

C2 Proficiency Qualification

A C2 Proficiency credential verifies that you are capable of:

  • Studying difficult subjects at the highest level, such as postgraduate and PhD programmes.
  • Negotiating and convincing successfully at the top management level or in international commercial environments.
  • Comprehending the key points of long works of literature.
  • Discuss complex or delicate topics and boldly answer challenging inquiries.
  • Making accurate and complete notes during a lecture, seminar or tutorial.

Note: The most compelling reason to take C2 Proficiency is that it is the highest-level test available and passing it demonstrates that you have a high degree of English proficiency. It will also assist you in developing the abilities that are necessary to excel in highly competitive academic or professional settings.

C2 Proficiency Exam Format

The C2 Proficiency exam consists of 4 papers designed to assess your English proficiency. We will be discussing the contents of each paper in the later sections of the blog. Let’s first look at the exam format of the C2 Proficiency exam: 

Paper Duration Number of Parts  Number of Questions 
Reading and Use of English 1 hour 30 minutes 7 parts 53 questions
Writing 1 hour 30 minutes 2 parts Part 1: one compulsory question
Part 2: one question from a choice of four
Listening About 40 minutes 4 parts 30 questions
Speaking 16 minutes per pair of candidates 3 parts The candidate has to talk with the examiner and with the other candidate also

KET Exam: Cambridge English A2 Key Test

CPE Exam Content and Parts

After getting familiar with the C2 Proficiency exam pattern, let’s now discuss each of the 4 components separately to gain a more clear understanding.

Reading and Use of English 

The C2 Proficiency  Reading and Use of English paper contains different types of text and questions. In one section, you may be required to read one big text or three or shorter, connected writings. This component demonstrates your ability to cope confidently with many genres of literature, including fiction and nonfiction books, journals, newspapers, and manuals. The section has 7 different parts that include: 

Parts  Description  Number of Questions  Marks for Correct Answer 
Part 1 A single piece of text with eight spaces. To fill each gap, candidates must select one word or phrase from a list of four. 8 1
Part 2  A modified cloze exam consisting of an eight-gap paragraph. Candidates consider the term that best matches each gap. 8 1
Part 3  A text with eight blanks. Each gap represents a word. The missing word stems are provided beside the text and must be modified to produce the missing word. 8 1
Part 4  Six discrete tasks, each with a lead-in sentence and a gapped answer, to be completed in 3–8 words, containing a specific keyword. 6 2
Part 5  A lengthy paragraph is followed by multiple-choice questions each with four options (A, B, C or D). 6 2
Part 6  A text in which paragraphs have been eliminated and rearranged in a chaotic sequence after the material has been written. Candidates must decide where the paragraphs were omitted from the text. 7 2
Part 7  A text, or a series of brief texts, is preceded by a series of multiple-choice questions. Candidates must match prompts to text elements. 10 1

Know about the Importance of Reading Skills & Benefits

CPE Writing Test

You must demonstrate that you can write diverse forms of text in English in both parts of the C2 Proficiency Writing paper. You must be able to write a range of writing formats, including essays, reports, and reviews, for this section or component. The section includes 2 parts that are:

Parts  Description  Number of Questions  Word Limit 
Part 1  Some reading material (two texts, each approximately 100 words). You must compose an essay using the knowledge in this part of the exam One compulsory question 240–280 words
Part 2 There are four questions to choose from (2–5). You may be required to produce an article, a letter, a report, or a review in response to Questions 2–4 One question from a choice of four 280–320 words

Here are some Tips to Improve your Technical Writing

CPE Listening Test 

You must be able to follow and understand a variety of spoken materials, such as lectures, speeches, and interviews, in order to pass the C2 Proficiency Listening paper. It is divided into four sections, each of which requires you to listen to a recorded text or texts and answer questions. Each recording is played twice.

Parts  Description  Number of Questions  Marks for Correct Answer 
Part 1 There will be 5 short, themed monologues, each lasting around 35 seconds. There will be two tasks in which you must match several items. In each multiple-matching exercise, you must choose 5 accurate answers from an array of 8. 6 1
Part 2  There will be a 3–4 minute audio recording with engaging speakers. You must listen to the tape and respond to a series of four-option multiple-choice questions (A, B, C or D). 9 1
Part 3  There will be a 3-4 minutes monologue or prompted monologue. The questions will be made up of a sequence of unfinished phrases. To complete each gap, you must listen to the tape and determine the information you require (one to three syllables). 5 1
Part 4  There will be 5 brief, themed monologues, each lasting around 35 seconds. There will be 2 tasks that need multiple matching. In each multiple-matching exercise, you must choose five accurate answers from an array of 8. 10 2

Your best guide to Improve your English Speaking and Listening Skills

CPE Speaking Test

The C2 Proficiency Speaking exam assesses your ability to communicate successfully in person. It consists of three parts, which you must complete with another contestant. There are two examiners in the room. The test is conducted by one of the examiners (the interlocutor), while the other examiner (the assessor) listens to you and makes notes.

Parts  Description  Duration 
Part 1 The interlocutor and the candidate will have a conversation. The examiner will ask each of you a series of questions, one after the other, to offer you an opportunity to speak about yourself. 2 minutes 
Part 2  The interlocutor will offer you some verbal instructions as well as one or more photographs to study. First, you must respond to a question about your reaction to certain characteristics of one or more photos (1 minute). The second section will consist of a decision-making exercise that you must complete with the other applicant. 4 minutes 
Part 3  The interlocutor will provide you with a card with a question and some suggestions on it, and you will have around 2 minutes to speak on your own. After you’ve finished, your partner must make a reply, and the interlocutor then asks both of you a question about the same subject. The interlocutor repeats the process with your partner before leading a conversation with both of you. 10 minutes
Credits: Cambridge English

Communication Skills For Professionals

CPE Exam Calendar

Mentioned below are the upcoming dates when candidates and aspirants can give the computer-based C2 Proficiency exam:

13th November, Saturday 
26th February, Saturday 
20th May, Friday 
9th July, Saturday
12th November, Saturday

C2 Proficiency Results

The Cambridge English Scale is used to report C2 Proficiency results. You’ll get a distinct score for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) as well as your use of English, so you’ll know exactly how you performed. The exam’s overall score is calculated by averaging these five scores. You’ll also be granted a grade and a CEFR level (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

C2 Proficiency Scale Scores

You may be required to attain a specified score or grade, either overall or for a specific talent, depending on which institution, college, or organisation you are applying to. The following scores will be used to report results for C2 Proficiency:

Cambridge English Scale Score Grade CEFR level
220–230 Grade A C2
213–219 Grade B C2
200–212 Grade C C2
180–199 Level C1 C1

The C2 Proficiency exam is targeted at the CEFR-C2 level. The exam also gives a credible evaluation at levels lower than C2 (Level C1). C2 Proficiency is also recorded with scores ranging from 162 to 179. Although you will not receive a certificate, your Cambridge English Scale score will be displayed on your Statement of Results. The following diagram depicts the link between the CEFR levels, the Cambridge English Scale, and the grades earned in C2 Proficiency:

C2 Proficiency scale

TOEIC: Test of English for International Communication

Best Books for C2 Proficiency

Credits: To The Point English with Ben.

We hope you now understand what the C2 Proficiency exam is, its exam pattern, format, and how it is evaluated. We understand that preparing and executing a study abroad plan can be time demanding at times. Hence, our Leverage Edu experts are here to provide you with end-to-end mentorship and advice to kickstart your study abroad experience. Call us at 1800572000 to book a FREE session with us today! 

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