Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) or Certificate in Advanced English is a language exam that confirms your knowledge of English at C1 level (Advanced). CAE certificate is recognised worldwide and can be used to study or work abroad. This exam has been revised in 2015 and this page covers the most up-to-date version.

CAE Test Structure

Below you can see a basic description of each part of the CAE exam. For more details, click on each part.

  • Reading and Use of English: this aspect contains 8 parts with 56 questions total. It is 1 hour 30 minutes long. Use of English tests your knowledge of grammar, word formation, paraphrasing skills and vocabulary. Reading tests your ability to understand texts, find information relevant to the questions, and how well you can understand texts where some context is missing.
  • Writing: 2 pieces of writing, one mandatory and one to choose from three different tasks. It lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Part 1 is always an essay that has to include two of the three suggested points. Part 2 offers a selection from a review (sharing your opinion on a film/play/concert etc), a proposal (suggesting some changes relating to some social issue, e.g. student extracurricular activities), a report (similar to a proposal, but you talk about the current state of some issue) or a letter/email (can be either formal or informal depending on the potential reader).
  • Listening: 4 parts, 30 questions total. This part is around 40 minutes long. This task tests your ability to listen for gist (general information) as well as for detail, understand speakers’ opinions and attitudes and how well you can catch several parts of information at once (Part 4 of CAE Listening).
  • Speaking: 4 parts. Lasts for 15 minutes per two candidates (there can be more than two). It tests your ability to talk about topics of general interest (Part 1), your ability to describe, compare and speculate (Part 2), how well you can maintain a discussion or an argument (Part 3) and your ability to discuss more abstract topics (Part 4). CAE Speaking may take place before or after the written part of the exam on a different day.

There is a mandatory break of 15 minutes between each part of the exam.

CAE Score

CAE exam score ranges from 180 to 210. Each of the five test aspects has an independent score and the total test score is the average of the five aspects (Reading, Use of English, Listening, Writing and Speaking). If your average score is below 180, you do not get a CAE certificate. If you score within the 160-179 mark you get a Cambridge Certificate that confirms your level as B2 (Cambridge First, otherwise known as FCE).

CAE ScoreCAE GradeCEFR Level% of takers, 2022
200-210Grade AC214.4
193-199Grade BC122.7
180-192Grade CC141.7
<159 (Did not pass, no certificate given)Below B22.6

The percentage data is the average figure for all countries. Click for information on each country for 2014, 2015 or 2016.

Below is an example of a CAE Statement of Result form that you receive via email

CAE Statement of Result
As you see your score is the average of five aspects

In order to get a 210 score for an aspect, you need to get at least 92% of points in it, not 100%.
To get Grade A (200-209 score), you require 80-91% of points, respectively. For Grade B (193-199 score), you will have to get 75-79% of points. Finally, for Grade C (180-192) 60 to 74% is needed. CAE practice tests calculate your score and grade, try them out!

You can check your CAE test results online. The results are posted one month after all four sections are completed. You will also get them via the e-mail you put in your exam registration form. You get your physical certificate in about two months after completing all parts of your test.

16 thoughts on “CAE”

  1. I found this website to be exceptionally helpful and useful for CAE and IELTS preparation. I’m CAE/IELTS/TOEFL and OET trainer here in Pakistan and I use and recommend this website to my students for practice and enhance their knowledge.
    Well done.
    Thank you for your sincere efforts

    Sajjad Amin Khan

  2. I came across your site and I must say it is dramatically useful ! It s exactly what I was looking for: detailed and thorough tests, loads of helpful explanations and tips. Good job ! I ‘ll recommend this website to all my fellow students who are struggling with the CAE preparation.

  3. Hi, so if I get an overall score of 195 points on CAE, but my reading score is 170 (the passing score is 180) will I still be given a C1 certificate or only a B2, because of the reading. Thank You in advance for an answer.

  4. Hello, Kevin
    The answer is yes – your overall score is the average of five aspects – Reading, Use of English, Listening, Writing and Speaking. Even if you score below 170 in one of the aspects, but score considerably higher in the other(s), you’re good!

  5. Hello,
    I would like to congratulate on this fabulous site. It has certainly been very helpful as far as preparing for the CAE exam is concerned.
    With that being said, could you share where and how you discovered that one needs 80% of the maximum points in a component in order to pass it with an A? I read another article, whose author I too would consider reputable, that implied you’d need 86% (aka 43/50) in order to achieve an A in the Reading component. While the difference might seem miniscule, I opine that it is nevertheless important that examinees undertand which one is actually true. It might also be a matter of them merely not being up to date, as said article was written in July 2015 and I am unaware of what possible changes might have occurred since then.

    Thanks in advance and I hope you will cast some light upon the aforementioned issue.

  6. Hello there!
    There’s a formula on the web, in fact it’s an excel spreadsheet that was leaked by a Cambridge official. I’m not sure whether it can still be found anywhere, but we’ve tested it with a number of test-takers at the actual exam. Of course, these findings can’t be gauged with any degree of precision as we never get detailed analysis of our mistakes from Cambridge, but it’s as much as we can have realistically. Ultimately, there is no way of knowing how true and accurate those numbers are today.

  7. Hi,
    Thanks a lot of your response. It appears that the way Cambridge grade their exams is based upon the the so called “grade boundaries”, where they take into account some contestants’ results and then create a formula. Having said that, they have indicated that there are only slight variations from year to year, so if you have indeed confirmed with actual examiners that the formula on your site is reflective on the truth, there’s every likelihood it’s the case. Coincidentally, I also found an Excel file where it was stated that one needs 43/50 (aka 86%) in order to pass the Reading component with an A, but that one was made in 2015, meaning it could well be outdated.

    P.S: I know it’s not at all relevant to the discussion, but I noticed that I’ve accidentally used the verb “cast” instead of “shed”, so I’d rather correct that now! 😀

  8. Hi There,

    I’ve been preparing for the CAE exam which will be next Friday. ( wish me luck ) and I’ve been using this site a lot to help me on that preparation. I just waned to say that I consider it to be a great tool and recomend it to everyone that is thinking about getting any of these qualifications. Huge congratulations to the team that owns it as well!

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