C1 Advanced (CAE)

About C1 Advanced (CAE)

C1 Advanced, formerly known as Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE), is one of our Cambridge English Qualifications. It is the in-depth, high-level qualification that shows you have the language skills that employers and universities are looking for.

More than 9,000 educational institutions, businesses and government departments around the world accept C1 Advanced as proof of high-level achievement in learning English.

Preparing for C1 Advanced helps learners develop the skills to make the most of studying, working and living in English-speaking countries.

This exam is the logical step in your language learning journey between B2 First and C2 Proficiency.

C1 Advanced (CAE) exam format

C1 Advanced is a thorough test of all areas of language ability.

The updated exam (for exam sessions from January 2015) is made up of four papers developed to test your English language skills. You can see exactly what’s in each paper below.

The Speaking test is taken face to face, with two candidates and two examiners. This creates a more realistic and reliable measure of your ability to use English to communicate.

Paper Content Purpose
Reading and Use of English
(1 hour 30 minutes)
See sample paper
8 parts/
56 questions
Shows you can deal confidently with different types of text, such as fiction, newspapers and magazines. Tests your use of English with different types of exercise that show how well you can control your grammar and vocabulary.
(1 hour 30 minutes)
See sample paper
2 parts You create two different pieces of writing, such as essays, letters/emails, proposals, reports and reviews.
(about 40 minutes)
See sample paper
4 parts/
30 questions
Tests your ability to follow and understand a range of spoken materials, such as interviews, radio broadcasts, presentations, talks and everyday conversations.
(15 minutes per pair of candidates)
See sample paper
4 parts Tests your ability to communicate effectively in face–to–face situations. You will take the Speaking test with another candidate.

Reading and Use of English

The C1 Advanced Reading and Use of English paper is in eight parts and has a mix of text types and questions.

Time allowed: 1 hour 30 minutes
Number of parts: 8
Number of questions: 56
Lengths of texts: 3,000–3,500 words to read in total.
Texts may be from: Newspapers and magazines, journals, books (fiction and non-fiction), promotional and informational materials.


Section What’s in the part? What do I have to practise? How many questions are there? How many marks are there?
Part 1

(Multiple-choice cloze)


A text in which there are some numbered gaps, each of which represents a word or phrase. After the text there are four possible answers for each gap and you have to choose the correct answer (A, B, C or D). Vocabulary – idioms, collocations, shades of meaning, phrasal verbs, fixed phrases etc. 8 1 mark for each correct answer.
Part 2

(Open cloze)


A text in which there are some gaps, each of which represents one missing word. You have to find the correct word for each gap. Grammar and vocabulary. 8 1 mark for each correct answer.
Part 3

(Word formation)


A text containing eight gaps. Each gap represents a word. At the end of the line is a ‘prompt’ word which you have to change in some way to complete the sentence correctly.mà thí sinh cần thay đổi để điền vào chỗ trống sao cho đúng. Vocabulary. 8 1 mark for each correct answer.
Part 4

(Key word transformations)


Each question consists of a sentence followed by a ‘key’ word and a second sentence with a gap in the middle. You have to use this key word to complete the second sentence, in three to six words, so that it means the same as the first sentence. Grammar, vocabulary and collocation. 6 Up to 2 marks for each correct answer.
Part 5

(Multiple choice)


A text with some multiple-choice questions. For each question, there are four options and you have to choose A, B, C or D. Reading for detail, opinion, tone, purpose, main idea, implication, attitude. 6 2 marks for each correct answer.
Part 6

(Cross-text multiple matching)


Four short texts with multiple-matching questions. You must read across all of the texts to match a prompt to elements in the texts. Understanding and comparing opinions and attitudes across texts. 4 2 marks for each correct answer.
Part 7

(Gapped text)


A single page of text with some numbered gaps which represent missing paragraphs. After the text there are some paragraphs which are not in the right order. You have to read the text and the paragraphs and decide which paragraph best fits each gap. How to understand the structure and development of a text. 6 2 marks for each correct answer.
Part 8

(Multiple matching)


A series of multiple-matching questions followed by a text or several short texts. You have to match a prompt to elements in the text. Reading for specific information, detail, opinion and attitude. 10 1 mark for each correct answer.


In the two parts of the C1 Advanced Writing paper, you have to show that you can write different types of text in English.

Time allowed: 1 hour 30 minutes
Number of parts: 2
Number of questions: Part 1: one compulsory question
Part 2: one question from a choice of three
Task types: A range from: essay, letter/email, proposal, report, review.


Section What’s in the Part? What do I have to practise? How many questions are there? How much do I have to write?
Part 1 (Compulsory question)


You read a text, then write an essay based on points included in the text. You’ll be asked to explain which of the two points is more important, and to give reasons for your opinion. Developing points as fully as possible in order to demonstrate a range of structures, vocabulary and language functions, such as evaluating, expressing opinions, hypothesising, justifying, persuading. One compulsory question. 220–260 words.
Part 2 (Situationally based writing task)


You write a text from a choice of text types – letter/email, proposal, report or review. To guide your writing, you’ll be given information about context, topic purpose and target reader. Writing the different types of text that could be included in the exam. Three tasks, from which you must choose one. 220–260 words.


The C1 Advanced Listening paper has four parts. For each part you have to listen to a recorded text or texts and answer some questions. You hear each recording twice.

Time allowed: About 40 minutes
Number of parts: 4
Number of questions: 30
Recordings may be from: Monologues: radio broadcasts, speeches, talks, lectures, anecdotes, etc.; or interacting speakers: radio broadcasts, interviews, discussions, conversations, etc.


Section What’s in the part? What do I have to practise? How many questions are there? How many marks are there?
Part 1 (Multiple choice)


Three short extracts from conversations between interacting speakers. There are two multiple-choice questions for each extract and you have to choose A, B or C. Listening for feeling, attitude, opinion, purpose, function, agreement, course of action, gist, detail, etc. 6 1 mark for each correct answer.
Part 2 (Sentence completion)


A monologue lasting approximately 3 minutes. You have to complete the sentences on the question paper with the missing information which you hear on the recording. Listening for specific information, stated opinion. 8 1 mark for each correct answer.
Part 3 (Multiple choice)


A conversation between two or more speakers of approximately 4 minutes. You have to answer some multiple-choice questions by choosing the correct answer from four options (A, B C or D). Listening for attitude, opinion, agreement, gist, feeling, speaker purpose, function and detail. 6 1 mark for each correct answer.
Part 4 (Multiple matching) A series of five themed monologues of approximately 30 seconds each. On the question paper, there are two tasks and for each task you have to match each of the five speakers to one of eight possible answers. Listening for gist, attitude, opinion, main points, speaker purpose and feeling; interpreting context. 10 1 mark for each correct answer.


The C1 Advanced Speaking test has four parts and you take it together with another candidate.

There are two examiners. One of the examiners conducts the test (asks you questions, gives you the paper with things to talk about, and so on). The other examiner listens to what you say and takes notes.

Time allowed: 15 minutes per pair of candidates
Number of parts: 4
You have to talk: with the examiner
with the other candidate
on your own


Section What’s in the part? What do I have to practise? How long do I have to speak?
Part 1 (Interview)


Conversation between the candidates and the interlocutor. The examiner asks questions and you may have to give information about your interests, studies, careers, etc.


Giving information about yourself and expressing your opinion about various topics. 2 minutes
Part 2 (Long turn)


The interlocutor gives you three pictures and asks you to talk about two of them. You have to speak for 1 minute without interruption and the interlocutor then asks the other candidate to comment on what you have said for about 30 seconds. The other candidate receives a different set of photographs and you have to listen and comment when they have finished speaking. The questions you have to answer about your photographs are written at the top of the page to remind you what you should talk about. Talking on your own about something: comparing, describing, expressing opinions, speculating. 1 minute per candidate, plus a 30-second response from the second candidate.
Part 3 (Collaborative task)


Conversation with the other candidate. The examiner gives you spoken instructions with written prompts which are used in a discussion. You have to talk with the other candidate for about 2 minutes (3 minutes for groups of three) about the written prompts. After the discussion time, the examiner will ask you another question which requires you to make a decision. You have 1 minute to talk together and make the decision (2 minutes for groups of three). Exchanging ideas, expressing and justifying opinions, agreeing and/or disagreeing, suggesting, speculating, evaluating, reaching a decision through negotiation, etc. 3 minutes (a 2-minute discussion followed by a 1-minute decision-making task)
Part 4 (Discussion) Further discussion with the other candidate based on the topics or issues raised in the task in Part 3. The interlocutor asks each of you some questions and you discuss them with the other candidate. Expressing and justifying opinions, agreeing and/or disagreeing. 5 minutes

C1 Advanced (CAE) results

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

The test measures level C1 according to the CEFR Framework. The test is reliable at the upper level C1 (Level C2) and the lower level (Level B2).

Scores between 142 and 159 are also reported at the C1 Advanced level. Candidates will not receive a certificate, but the Cambridge English Scale is shown on the Test Results Report.

C1 Advanced (CAE) computer-based sample test

C1 Advanced computer-based sample exam- Reading&UoE


C1 Advanced computer-based sample exam- Listening


C1 Advanced computer-based sample exam- Writing


C1 Advanced sample exam- Speaking