The Certificate of Advanced English Exam (CAE exam) is one of the top exams that is used to test the level of aspiring university students, immigration visa requirements for the UK and Australia and is used by businesses in the international business to asses the English skill of prospective employees. The exam tests English at an advanced level. If you pass this test with a passing grade you will be able to study at an English speaking university, using all the English skills of reading, writing and speaking. The test has real world tasks that most English speakers encounter in every day situations.
CAE exam sections
The exam has 5 parts, reading, speaking, use of English, listening and speaking. Each part is 20% of the final grade.
The reading exam consists of reading magazine articles, journals, leaflets, brochures and non-literary books The questions are multiple choice.
The writing exam tests your ability to write formal and informal letters, notes and messages, articles, contributions to leaflets, reviews, competition entries, instructions, memos, reports, and proposals.
The English in use part of the exam tests your ability to use English correctly using grammar. You will have to choose the correct form of a verb, multiple choice cloze, word gap exercises and word formation.
The listening section tests listening comprehension of all types of spoken English, announcements, radio broadcasts, telephone messages, speeches, talks, discussions, interviews and lectures
The final section, which is the speaking section tests your ability to express yourself in English, in a variety of different situations.
CAE exam grades
The final grades are given as letter grades A-E, only A,B, and C are passing grades. An A grade awards you a C2 certificate, and B and C you get a C1 certificate. Once you get a certificate, it never expires.
Taking the CAE exam
The test can be taken three times a year, in March, June and December. Check with the closes testing center which type of test is offered at which time.
You can choose which format to take the test, either a computer based test or on paper. If you choose the computer test, make sure that you have a fast typing speed in English as you want to concentrate on your English Skills. If you take the paper based, practice your handwriting so it is very clear and legible. As an English teacher if I have difficulty in reading the student’s handwriting, I will tend to grade the work lower.
You can prepare for the test on your own by buying a preparation book, but most students find that they get a higher score if they study with an English teacher. In this way they get immediate feedback about their English abilities.