C2 Proficiency Exam - Information & Structure Of The Exam

Go to C2 Proficiency section to find exercises to help you prepare for the exam.

1. C2 Proficiency Exam: Overview

The C2 Proficiency exam, formerly known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, represents the pinnacle of achievement in English language proficiency. As the highest-level qualification provided by Cambridge Assessment English, it serves as a testament to a candidate's exceptional command of the language. The exam is recognised globally by universities, employers, and government agencies, making it an invaluable asset for those seeking to work or study in an English-speaking environment or to stand out in competitive professional fields.

Paper Content Duration
Paper 1
(Reading and Use of English)
Advanced grammar and vocabulary tasks; deep comprehension and critical reading across a variety of text types. 1 hour 30 minutes
Paper 2
Production of complex texts such as essays, reports, reviews, and proposals that demonstrate a high level of English writing proficiency. 1 hour 30 minutes
Paper 3
Understanding and analysis of various spoken contexts, including lectures, speeches, and conversational dialogues. About 40 minutes
Paper 4
Exhibiting advanced speaking skills through discussions, long turns, and collaborative tasks, demonstrating clear and effective communication. 16 minutes per pair of candidates

2. Who Takes The Exam?

This exam is tailored for individuals who have reached a level of English that is close to that of a native speaker. It is ideal for those who wish to pursue advanced academic studies, professional careers, or are keen on living in an English-speaking country.

The C2 Proficiency is also suitable for teachers of English who need a high-level qualification or for anyone wishing to achieve an outstanding certification that showcases an elite level of fluency in English.

3. Summary of the Exam Structure

3. Summary of the Exam Structure

The C2 Proficiency exam tests a candidate's mastery of reading, writing, listening, and speaking at the highest level. It assesses the ability to understand highly challenging English material, produce sophisticated and polished written work, comprehend nuanced spoken language even in the fastest native speech, and express oneself with precision, subtlety, and sophistication in any conversation or discussion.

Marks (as % of total)

4. C2 Proficiency Exam Format

Paper One: Reading and Use of English

Part Task Questions Marks
1. Multiple-choice cloze A text with multiple-choice questions. 8 1 mark each
2. Open cloze A text with gaps for one word each. 8 1 mark each
3. Word formation A text with gaps for modified words based on prompts. 8 1 mark each
4. Key word transformations Sentences to rewrite using a key word. 6 Up to 2 marks each
5. Multiple choice A long text followed by multiple-choice questions. 6 2 marks each
6. Gapped text A text with gaps to be filled from a choice of paragraphs. 7 2 marks each
7. Multiple matching Multiple-matching questions based on one or more texts. 10 1 mark each

Paper Two: Writing

Part Task Length Format
1. Compulsory question Essay based on two texts. 240–280 words Compulsory task
2. Choice of four questions Article, letter, report, review, or other text types. 280–320 words Choice of task

Paper Three: Listening

Part Task Questions Marks
1. Multiple choice Short recordings with multiple-choice questions. 6 1 mark each
2. Sentence completion Longer monologue with sentence completion tasks. 9 1 mark each
3. Multiple choice Longer recording with multiple-choice questions. 5 1 mark each
4. Multiple matching Series of short monologues with multiple matching tasks. 10 1 mark each

Paper Four: Speaking

Part Task Duration
1. Interview Conversation with the interlocutor. Candidates may have to give information about themselves and express opinions on various topics. 2 minutes
2. Collaborative task Interaction with another candidate based on pictures and spoken instructions. Includes personal reactions and a decision-making task. 4 minutes
3. Long turn and discussion Speaking individually on a given topic with prompts for 2 minutes, followed by a discussion with the other candidate on related topics. 10 minutes (2-minute long turn for each candidate, followed by approximately 6 minutes of discussion)

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 Level
220–230 Grade A C2
213–219 Grade B C2
200–212 Grade C C2
180–199 Level C1 C1
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