CPE Exam Overview

C2 Proficiency, formerly Certificate of Proficiency in English, is one of the most popular English language tests accepted in the USA, UK, Canada and a few other countries. 

CPE is similar to CAE (C1 Advanced), except it is considered more advanced. CAE is marked on a score scale of 180-199, whereas CPE is marked on a score scale of 200-230. 

A good score in CPE indicates that you have exceptional English language skills. The test demands a higher level of preparation. Taking CPE is the best option if you’re applying for advanced courses on a postgraduate or PhD level. 

CPE tests the same four skills as CAE, which are: 


  • Reading and use of English
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking 


CPE is offered in two modes: Paper-based and Computer-based. The test has to be taken at the designated test centre. You can find the nearest test centre on the official website. 

At a glance: 


CPE Full formCambridge English Proficiency (C2 Proficiency) 
CPE FeeVaries
CPE Exam ModesPaper-based and computer-based
Countries accepting CPEUSA, UK, Canada, Australia
CPE Duration4 hours 
CPE Score Range 200-230


CPE Syllabus 


CPE (C2 Proficiency) is designed to assess four skills: Reading and use of English, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Each skill is designed to test a unique ability and provides insight to the universities about how well you can blend in. 

To score well in CPE, you must practice Idioms, collocations, fixed phrases, complementation, phrasal verbs, semantic precision, stating opinions, interpreting contexts and more.

Below is an overview of all four sections. 

CPE SectionsDescription
Reading and use of English Evaluates your ability to understand texts in various contexts. It also measures your vocabulary and understanding of grammar.
SpeakingMeasures your ability to voice your thoughts and opinions, with an emphasis on your language fluency
WritingEvaluates how well you can produce well-structured essays with an emphasis on coherence, structure and clarity
ListeningMeasures your capacity to understand and respond to spoken English in various contexts 


CPE Format


CPE (C2 Proficiency) lasts for a total duration of 4 hours. All sections are mandatory. Each answer gets one point later scaled to meet the score range. There is no negative marking.


Here is a breakdown of CPE sections.


CPE SectionQuestion numberDuration
Reading and Use of English7 parts, 53 questions1 hour 30 minutes
Writing2 parts1 hour 30 minutes
Listening4 parts, 30 questionsabout 40 minutes
Speaking3 parts16 minutes per pair of candidates, 24 minutes per group of three



Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What questions are asked in the CPE Reading and Use of English section? 

A. The question types in Reading and use of English contain missing words and text gaps. Some parts have stems of missing words next to the gap, and you must identify which word it leads to. You also have a long text followed by multiple-choice questions and jumbled paragraphs which need to be ordered. 

Q. What types of writing tasks are included in the CPE Writing section?

A. The CPE writing section consists of two parts. The idea is to display that you can write different text formats. Below is an overview. 

Part 1One compulsory question/prompt
Part 2Answer one out of 4 questions/prompts


Q. How long is the CPE exam? 

A. CPE is about four hours long. You get about one and a half hours to 40 minutes to answer each section. Below is a breakdown.

CPE SectionDuration
Reading and Use of English1 hour 30 minutes
Writing1 hour 30 minutes
Listeningabout 40 minutes
Speaking16 minutes per pair of candidates, 24 minutes per group of three


CPE Dates


CPE dates vary for computer-based tests and paper-based tests. Cambridge has revealed the dates for the upcoming exams. 

Before settling on a date, check if slots are available with your nearest test centre. 

Below are the dates for CPE (C2 Proficiency) 2023. 


CPE Dates 2023 (Computer-Based)


November 30th, Thursday
December2nd, Saturday


CPE Dates 2023 (Paper-Based)


November 18th, Saturday
December11th, Monday


Click here to learn more about CPE dates.

CPE Test Centres


The CPE test has to be taken at the designated test centre. There is no online test version you can take from home. 

Around 15 CPE test centres are available for CPE paper-based, and about 10 centres deliver CPE computer-based tests.


CPE Registration


Registration for the CPE exam can be done by contacting the test centre. You will have to follow their procedure, state your details, choose a slot and make the payment to complete your registration. 



CPE fee depends on the test centre. The fee is not officially revealed on the official website. To get an accurate price, contact your nearest test centre.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. How often are CPE exams conducted in India?

A. CPE exam is conducted at least once every month in India. Though, the dates may vary. Below are the CPE dates for 2023. 


MonthComputer-Based DatesPaper-Based Dates
November 30th, Thursday18th, Saturday
December2nd, Saturday11th, Monday


Q. How to register for the CPE exam? 

A. Follow these steps to register for the CPE exam

  • Visit the official website of Cambridge English and visit the C2 Proficiency page
  • Find the nearest centre, and contact them
  • You will receive all the instructions from the centre
  • You can complete your registration and pay the dedicated fee

Q. How many CPE Test Centres are in India? 

A. The test centres differ for paper-based and computer-based dates. 15 paper-based test centres for CPE, and 10 centres deliver the CPE computer-based tests. These include major cities such as Chennai, Bangalore, Jalandhar, New Delhi, and Ahmedabad. 

CPE Results


CPE (C2 Proficiency) results are similar to CAE results, except for the score range. CPE is scored on a scale of 200-230. CPE results are announced within a few weeks of the test date, but the date varies depending on your exam mode. 

You will get an accurate result announcement date from the test centre after you complete the exam. The tentative dates are as follows. 


CPE Computer-based results2-3 weeks
CPE Paper-based results4-6 weeks


CPE is assessed at the C2 Level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). 


How is CPE Scored?


The CPE Statement of Results will contain your overall scaled and individual scores for all five skills (including the Use of English). You also get an overall grade and CEFR level.

Your overall scores will coincide with an overall grade and CEFR level. You must score above 200 to receive a C2 in CEFR Level. 

If you score below 179-162, your score will be reported as C1. However, you will not receive a certificate for this score. 

Here is a breakdown of CPE scores.


Cambridge English Scale ScoreGradeCEFR level
220–230Grade AC2
213–219Grade BC2
200–212Grade CC2
180–199Level C1C1


How to view my CAE results?


The fastest way to view your CPE results is online. You can do so by registering for the free online results service at the test centre. 


How to send your CPE scores to universities?


According to the official Cambridge website, Universities can see their CPE results online at www.cambridgeenglish.org/verifiers

You must share your valid registration number and date of birth with the universities to enable this. 

Click here to learn more about CPE results. 

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is the passing mark in the CPE exam? 

A. There is no pass-and-fail in CPE. However, to get a C2 level certificate, you must score over 200. If you receive a score below 180, your score will be reported in the statement of results. However, you will not receive any certificate to validate it. Besides, you must also consider the minimum requirements set by the university. 

Q. How long is my CPE (C2 Proficiency) certificate valid?

A. CPE (C2 Proficiency) is valid for a lifetime. It does not expire. But, it is best to retake the test if your scores are older than five years. It is important to update your language skills and produce the most relevant reflection of your English proficiency. Universities have their own validity requirements, so make you you check before you apply. 

Q. How long does it take to get the results of the CPE exam?

A. The results date varies depending on the mode of the exam. Once you complete your exam, you will receive the exact date from the test centre. Here are the tentative dates. 


CPE Computer-based results2-3 weeks
CPE Paper-based results4-6 weeks


CPE Eligibility


Cambridge has no age limits for the CPE (C2 Proficiency) exam. This means anyone can take the test regardless of their age or qualifications. However, if you want to use your CPE results for university admission, check the admission requirements of the universities you're interested in. 


Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Can non-native English speakers take the CPE (C2 Proficiency) exam?

A. Yes. Non-native English speakers can take the CPE exam. It's open to everyone who wants to display their English skills. Scoring well on the CPE demonstrates your ability to thrive in an English-speaking environment. It can be highly beneficial if you plan to move abroad for studies or employment. 

Q.  Is there a minimum age requirement for the CPE exam?

A. No, there's no minimum age requirement for the CPE exam. It's open to individuals of all ages. But remember that CPE is a highly advanced exam, and it's generally easier if you're over 16. If you plan to use it for admissions, you must check the specific age requirements of the universities you're applying to.

Q. Are any specific qualifications needed to take the CPE exam?

A. No specific qualifications are required to take the CPE (C2 Proficiency) exam. Although, If you're considering it for university admission, you must confirm with the university's website for their specific entry requirements. Typically, universities expect a high school diploma or a relevant undergraduate degree, depending on your course.

Frequently asked questions
Q. How long is the CPE (C2 Proficiency) exam?

The CPE exam takes approximately four hours to complete. The duration for each section varies as follows:

  • Reading and Use of English: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Writing: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Listening: About 40 minutes
  • Speaking: 16 minutes per pair of candidates, 24 minutes per group of three
Q. What is C2 Proficiency equivalent to?

C2 is a level of proficiency in the CEFR scale. This can be easily converted to different score ranges of other English language exams. Below is a conversion table. 

English Proficiency Test ScaleScores
IELTS8.0 - 9.0
Global Scale of Pearson85 - 90
Cambridge English Scale200 - 230
Q. What does it mean to be C2 proficient user?

C2 proficiency indicates that you speak and understand English exceptionally well. If you are awarded as a C2 proficiency user, you will have no trouble communicating with the English locals in an English-speaking country. It indicates that you can comprehend various contexts in-depth, a quality of a native-English speaker.

Q. How much does the CPE exam cost?

CPE exam cost is not officially disclosed. To get accurate fee information, contact your nearest test centre. Prices may vary from centre to centre and can change over time, so verify the fee before registering.

Q. Is CPE C1 or C2 on the CEFR level?

CPE or C2 Proficiency exam falls on the C2 level of CEFR. Here is a breakdown. 


Cambridge English Scale ScoreCEFR level
Q. Is C2 Proficiency better than IELTS?

CPE and IELTS serve the same purpose: testing English skills for visa and admission requirements. The two exams cover similar skills (Writing, Reading, Speaking, and Listening). C2 Proficiency is equivalent to scoring 8.0+ in IELTS, considered a tough band score.

Q. What happens if I miss my CPE (C2 Proficiency) exam date?

If you cannot attend the exam on your scheduled date, contact your test centre as soon as possible to explore options. However, you must note that a refund is not guaranteed. The test centre may assist you in rescheduling or cancelling based on your circumstances. You may also be required to submit additional documents or fees.

Q. Are any preparation materials available for CPE?

Cambridge has released many sample papers and test materials. It can be downloaded for free from the official Cambridge website. We recommend referring to other language books, videos and materials to aid your preparation, as CPE is considered an advanced examination.

Q. Is C2 Proficiency difficult?

Yes. C2 Proficiency, or CPE, is among the most advanced English proficiency tests available. To get a C2-level proficiency, you must score above 200 on the Cambridge english test. This proficiency is also equal to getting an 8.0+ in IELTS. That being said, the test is not impossible to crack. All you need is a good preparation strategy.

Q. How to prepare for the CPE exam?

Here are some tips to prepare for the CPE exam. 

  • Read various kinds of text
  • Read regularly 
  • Watch English videos and listen to English audio 
  • Improve your vocabulary 
  • Practice speaking
Q. When is the CPE exam conducted in 2023?

Below are the dates for the CPE exam 2023. 

MonthComputer-Based DatesPaper-Based Dates
November 30th, Thursday18th, Saturday
December2nd, Saturday11th, Monday