A Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) qualification shows the world that you have mastered your English to an exceptional level.

Reasons to choose Cambridge English: Proficiency

  • This is our highest-level exam. Passing it proves that you have mastered English to an exceptional level and 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 PhD programme.
  • A Cambridge English: Proficiency qualification shows that you can talk about complex or sensitive issues, and deal confidently with difficult questions; study demanding subjects at the highest level, including postgraduate and PhD programmes; negotiate and persuade effectively at senior management level in international business settings; understand the main ideas of complex pieces of writing.
  • It proves you can communicate with the fluency and sophistication of a highly competent English speaker. It helps you to develop the English skills needed to succeed in very high level academic or professional environments.
  • You will receive a Statement of Results contains the following information:
  • 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 CPE certificate has lifetime validity.


Cambridge English: Proficiency is made up of four papers developed to test your English skills. You can see exactly what is in each paper below.




Reading and Use of English 
(1 hour 30 minutes) 
See sample paper

7 parts/ 
53 questions

Shows you can deal confidently with different types of text, such as fiction and non-fiction books, journals, newspapers and manuals.

(1 hour 30 minutes) 
See sample paper

2 parts

Requires you to be able to write a variety of text types, such as essays, reports and reviews.

(about 40 minutes) 
See sample paper

4 parts/ 
30 questions

Requires you to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials, such as lectures, speeches and interviews.

(16 minutes per pair of candidates) 
See sample paper

3 parts

Tests your ability to communicate effectively in face-to-face situations.



From January 2015, Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) results will be reported on the new Cambridge English Scale (replacing the candidate profile and standardised scores used before 2015).

You will receive a separate score for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and use of English, giving you a clear understanding of your performance. These five scores are averaged to give you an overall result for the exam. You will also be given a grade and Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level.

All candidates receive a Statement of Results, and if you are successful in the exam you will also receive a certificate.

For more information about the Cambridge English Scale, download our factsheet

For Cambridge English: Proficiency, the following scores will be used to report results:

Cambridge English Scale Score


CEFR level


Grade A



Grade B



Grade C



Level C1


The exam is targeted at Level C2 of the CEFR. The examination also provides reliable assessment at the level below C2 (Level C1).

Scores between 162 and 179 are also reported for Cambridge English: Proficiency. You will not receive a certificate, but your Cambridge English Scale score will be shown on your Statement of Results.

Find out how to understand your Statement of Results (for exams taken in January 2015 and after)


Register now for Cambridge English: C2 Proficiency


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