Proof of exceptional English ability

Cambridge English: Proficiency, also known as Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE), is our most advanced qualification. It proves that you have mastered English to an exceptional level. Use it to show you can:

  • study or work at the very highest level of professional and academic life
  • communicate with fluency and sophistication similar to the level of a native speaker.

What level is Cambridge English: Proficiency?

Cambridge English: Proficiency is set at Level C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Reaching this level means you can:

  • 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
  • talk about complex or sensitive issues
  • write confidently on any subject.

What is assessed in Cambridge English: Proficiency?

Cambridge English: Proficiency is made up of four papers developed to test your English skills. Your overall performance is calculated by averaging the scores you achieve in Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking and Use of English. The weighting of each of the four skills and Use of English is equal.


Reading and Use of English 





1 hour 30 min.

1 hour 30 min.

About 40 minutes

16 min. per pair of candidates


7 parts / 53 questions

2 parts

4 parts / 30 questions

3 parts


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

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

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

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

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