What is Cambridge Proficiency English Certificate (C2)

International Exams

What is CPE? Guide to Cambridge Proficiency English Test

Posted 15 November

Application to Cambridge Proficiency English Test

Preparing for the Cambridge CPE exam can be a daunting task, but with the right strategies and resources, you can achieve success. This guide provides helpful tips and resources to help you prepare for the English Proficiency Certificate (CPE) exam.

You can book your CPE exam preparation course directly on our website here. When you book the Cambridge Proficiency exam preparation course with us, we will take care of the registration process for the actual CPE Cambridge exam so you don’t have to worry about deadlines and add further burden to an already demanding and significant examination.

GCI is a registered Cambridge Test Centre and you can find the details of pour school on the official Cambridge website.

Cambridge Proficiency English Test Preparation: Grammar, writing, speaking and listening

The CPE exam is divided into four papers:

  • Reading: This paper consists of four parts that test your ability to understand a variety of written texts, including articles, reports, and literary extracts.
  • Writing: This paper consists of two parts that test your ability to write different types of texts, including essays, letters, and reports.
  • Listening: This paper consists of four parts that test your ability to understand a variety of spoken texts, including lectures, conversations, and news broadcasts.
  • Speaking: This paper consists of four parts that test your ability to communicate in English in a variety of situations, including face-to-face conversations and role-plays.

CPE Exam Preparation Course

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Why should I take a CPE Cambridge exam?

Taking the Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) Exam can offer several benefits, depending on your personal and professional goals. Successfully completing the CPE is a significant achievement due to its advanced level of difficulty. It can boost your confidence and serve as a tangible measure of your language proficiency. Here are some reasons why individuals choose to take the CPE exam:

Academic and professional recognition

The CPE is a globally recognized certification of English proficiency at the highest level. Achieving a high score on the CPE demonstrates a mastery of English that is often required or highly valued by academic institutions and employers

University admission

The CPE is widely accepted as proof of an advanced level of English for academic purposes.

Employment opportunities

Some employers, particularly in fields where strong English communication skills are crucial, may require or prefer candidates with a CPE certification.

Career advancements

English language as a must skill across many job descriptions, and the CPE Cambridge certificate may be especially relevant for roles that involve international communication, negotiation, and collaboration.

Personal development

Preparing for and taking the CPE can be a challenging and rewarding process. It provides an opportunity to enhance your language skills, including advanced vocabulary, sophisticated grammar, and refined communication abilities

Travel and global mobility

If you plan to travel extensively or work in different countries, having a CPE certification can be advantageous.

When obtaining an English proficiency certificate, it's important to consider the specific requirements of the institution or organization for which the certificate is intended. Different institutions may have preferences for certain English proficiency exams or certificates. Additionally, some institutions may accept a range of English proficiency certificates, while others may specify a particular test or assessment.

Useful information about Cambridge Proficiency English Test

To prepare for the CPE exam, you can:

  • Take a Cambridge English Proficiency exam preparation course
  • Use Cambridge English Proficiency practice materials, such as sample papers and online practice tests
  • Get feedback on your writing from a qualified English teacher such as GCI teachers
  • Practice speaking English with other learners or native speakers

Exam Structure

4 Papers: Reading and Use of English, Writing, Listening, Speaking


The CPE exam typically takes around 4 hours.


A Pass at CPE level is awarded to candidates who achieve a score of 200–230. A Grade A is given for scores of 232 and above.


Preparation for the CPE typically involves developing advanced language skills, extensive vocabulary, and a strong command of grammar.

GCI Exam Preparation course

6 weeks, 20 lessons per week


Lifetime qualification

Does Cambridge Proficiency Certificate expires?

The CPE certificate does not expire. Once obtained, it is a lifetime qualification.

The CPE is widely recognized by universities, employers, and governments globally as evidence of high-level English proficiency.

When are the dates for the next CPE Test?

The CPE exam is offered several times a year at authorized Cambridge English exam centers worldwide and GCI is an authorised Cambridge test centre. It's essential to check specific test dates and registration deadlines.

The CPE exam is offered in two formats: paper-based and computer-based. The paper-based exam is offered six times a year while the computer-based in avialble all year around. In GCI, we offer the paper-based format and we have two exam dates per year. You can check the exam dates for Cambridge Proficiency in Galway Cultural Institute Cambridge exam centre here.

Where to find useful resources or official information

For more information about the CPE exam, please visit the Cambridge English website: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-tests/proficiency/

You might also be interested in reading more information about our other exam preparation courses:

Other useful links to exam preparation courses available in GCI:

Cambridge English Proficiency Exam Preparation course
First Certificate Exam Preparation Course B2
Cambridge English Advanced Exam Preparation course CAE