C1 Advanced Exam - Information & Structure Of The Exam

Go to C1 Advanced section to find exercises to help you prepare for the exam.

1. C1 Advanced Exam: Overview

The C1 Advanced exam, also known as Certificate in Advanced English (CAE), is a high-level qualification that demonstrates a candidate's ability to communicate with fluency and sophistication in English. The exam has been setting a standard for English excellence since its inception, reflecting a longstanding tradition in evaluating English proficiency.

Constantly updated to reflect the latest methods in language teaching and assessment, the C1 Advanced is recognised internationally by educational institutions, corporations, and government agencies as evidence of advanced skills in English necessary for professional and academic success. Its worldwide acceptance highlights the exam's significant role in language certification.

Paper Content Duration
Paper 1
(Reading and Use of English)
Grammar, vocabulary tasks, and reading for depth and understanding of various text types and nuances. 1 hour 30 minutes
Paper 2
Composing different text formats such as essays, proposals, and reports with an emphasis on advanced writing skills. 1 hour 30 minutes
Paper 3
Interpreting a range of spoken materials, from lectures and speeches to interviews and discussions. About 40 minutes
Paper 4
Engaging in discussions, expressing opinions, and performing collaborative tasks with a high degree of linguistic competence. Approximately 15 minutes per pair of candidates

2. Who Takes The Exam?

The C1 Advanced exam is typically taken by individuals who have reached a high level of English proficiency and wish to further their academic or professional careers. It's suited for those aspiring to attend university in English-speaking countries, professionals requiring advanced English in their workplace, or learners desiring to achieve a significant milestone in their English language journey.

3. Summary of the Exam Structure

The C1 Advanced exam offers an in-depth evaluation of high-level English proficiency across four essential language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. It gauges a candidate's capacity to deal with complex, detailed English content, articulate ideas and arguments in writing, comprehend advanced spoken language, and express themselves spontaneously and fluently in a range of communicative contexts.

Marks (as % of total)

4. C1 Advanced Exam Format

Paper One: Reading and Use of English

Part Task Questions Marks
1. Multiple-choice cloze A text with multiple-choice questions to assess vocabulary. 8 1 per correct answer
2. Open cloze A text with gaps, where candidates fill in the missing words. 8 1 per correct answer
3. Word formation A text with gaps, where candidates form a correct word from given prompts. 8 1 per correct answer
4. Key word transformations Given sentences must be rewritten to keep the same meaning using a key word. 6 Up to 2 marks for each correct answer
5. Multiple choice A text followed by questions to test understanding of detail and opinion. 6 2 marks for each correct answer
6. Cross-text multiple matching Multiple short texts with questions to assess understanding across texts. 4 2 marks for each correct answer
7. Gapped text A text with missing paragraphs that candidates need to correctly insert. 6 2 marks for each correct answer
8. Multiple matching Questions that require matching prompts to elements within a text. 10 1 mark for each correct answer

Paper Two: Writing

Part Task Length Format
1. Compulsory question An essay based on reading texts. 220–260 words Compulsory task
2. Situationally based writing task Choice of text types: letter/email, proposal, report, review based on given content points. 220–260 words Choice of task

Paper Three: Listening

Part Task Questions Marks
1. Multiple choice Short conversations with multiple-choice questions. 6 1 mark for each correct answer
2. Sentence completion Filling in missing information from a monologue. 8 1 mark for each correct answer
3. Multiple choice Longer conversation with multiple-choice questions. 6 1 mark for each correct answer
4. Multiple matching Themed monologues with matching tasks. 10 1 mark for each correct answer

Paper Four: Speaking

Part Task Duration
1. Interview Converse with the examiner about personal interests, studies, careers, etc. 2 minutes
2. Long turn Discuss two photographs out of three, with no interruption. 1 minute per candidate, plus a 30-second response from the second candidate
3. Collaborative task Engage in a discussion with another candidate based on written prompts. 4 minutes (2-minute discussion plus 2-minute decision-making)
4. Discussion Discuss topics related to the task in Part 3 with the other candidate. Approximately 5 minutes

5. Scoring/Grading

Each of the four papers carries an equal weight of 20% towards the final score, ensuring a balanced assessment of all language skills. The Reading and Use of English papers are taken together, giving 40% of the overall score.

Cambridge English Scale Score Grade/CEFR CEFR Level
200–210 Grade A C2
193–199 Grade B C1
180–192 Grade C C1
160–179 Level B2 B2
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