Cambridge Tests

A collection of English certification exams, each of these Cambridge English tests delivers a test-specific certificate. Testing you at varying levels of English, first, choose the exam that is most appropriate for you by taking an online placement test. Seekers must know that the results of these tests are valid indefinitely – with no fixed time frame.

Cambridge English test design

Formerly known as Cambridge ESOL, the Cambridge English exam suite and the IELTS were both created by the Cambridge English Language Assessment in conjunction with the British Council.

Cambridge English tests come with a unique design that is appealing to both schools and workplaces. The tests that can be taken at authorised test centres present around the world. Schools and institutions are particularly impressed due to the complete bouquet of certifications offered by Cambridge English. Beginning from the lower levels and gradually going to the highest-level examination near graduation, students get to build their portfolio of certifications as they progress.

Scores

While scoring scales are harmonised (since 2016), each of the exams delivers limited scale scores depending upon the level of the English test. Speak to experts at IEC Abroad Saudi to prepare for your Cambridge English Exams. All exams come with scoring scales aligned with the CEFR.

First Certificate

The FCE or Cambridge First Certificate is the minimum level required by English Speaking countries for their university programmes. It is an extremely popular test and those who pass get a certificate without an expiry date. With a total duration of 209 minutes, the exam can be computer-based online or paper-based.

Structure

FCE tests 4 skills namely, reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Section 1:

  • Lasts for 75 minutes
  • Contains reading comprehension, vocabulary and grammar
  • A total of 52 questions are available comprising of multiple-choice, fill in the blanks and match the questions
  • In this section, you may have to read a total of 2,200 words

Section 2:

  • Duration: 80 minutes
  • Here, FCE tests the individual’s writing abilities
  • Two texts have to be written between 140 and 190 words
  • You have an essay for the first prompt and in the second one, you can choose between article, letter, review and others

Section 3:

  • Duration:40 minutes
  • This is a listening comprehension with a total of 30 questions
  • Students have to listen to conversations, short speeches and other native English speakers
  • Thereafter, questions will be provided on the basis of what you have heard

Section 4:

  • Lasting 14 minutes, this is the last section of the FCE
  • Students may have to complete this part separately on a different day
  • You also have to pair up with a partner for the test
  • Containing 4 short subsections, 2 of them involve you speaking individually, and the other 2 involve you speaking with your test partner

Scoring

  • Using the same scoring scale across its tests, lower tests deliver low score ranges and difficult ones deliver higher scores on similar scales
  • For the FCE, scores range from 140 and to up to 190
  • Students are considered to have passed the test if they score 160 and above
  • You will receive a Cambridge First Certificate equivalent to CEFR’s level B2 in English
  • Students scoring above 180 will receive a level C1 Cambridge First Certificate
  • The first section carries at least 40% of the total score, while the others are 20% each
  • All four skills are broken down in the Cambridge First Certificate and an overall score corresponding to the CEFR level is also presented
  • The Cambridge First Certificate is valid indefinitely

CAE

  • Also known as Cambridge Advanced Certificate, the CAE exam comes right after the FCE. For advanced study programmes, this test is commonly accepted by UK universities.
  • A permanent certificate is issued by the Cambridge English exams for those who pass the test
  • The test can be computer-based or paper-based, which lasts for 235 minutes.

Structure

Once again, the advanced exam evaluates students across four skills: listening, writing, reading and speaking.

Section 1:

  • Lasting for about 90 minutes, the first section is a reading comprehension, where grammar and vocabulary are also tested
  • The section is further divided into 8 sub-sections and contains a total of 56 matching, fill in the blanks, and multiple-choice questions
  • Generally, content is extracted from advertisements, textbooks, magazines, newspapers and other medium that contains legitimate English writing

Section 2:

  • Also lasting for 90 minutes, tests the students’ ability to write
  • Two citations of about 250 words must be written
  • The first one is an essay, where you should be able to outline your opinion about a topic and the second one asks you to respond to certain information – several options are provided to choose from

Section 3:

  • Duration: 40 minutes
  • The third section evaluates the students’ listening abilities
  • Various media such as listening to the radio, television and other native English speeches are involved
  • Thereafter, you have to answer certain questions based on what you have listened to
  • Play each recording twice and answer 4 subsections containing a total of 30 questions

Section 4:

  • The final section lasts for about 15 minutes and just like the FCE, you may take this on a different day.
  • Split into four parts, this is a speaking test where you have to speak first with an examiner and then have to speak with another candidate
  • A second examiner is also present, who takes notes without any participation

Scoring

For the CAE exam, the scores range from 160 to 210 where level C1 is in conjunction with CEFR and those who score 200 and more receive certification for level C2.

CPE

  • The CPE is a proficiency examination and considered as the highest-level testing in the suite of examinations
  • Students who obtain the Cambridge certification of proficiency have mastered the near-native English
  • Which means they can adjust to any type of English against any setting
  • Both paper-based and computer-based tests can be attempted that last for about 236 minutes overall

Structure

Like all other tests, students are tested for four faculties

Section 1:

  • Takes about 90 minutes and requires you to answer 53 questions comprising of fill in the blanks, multiple-choice, and matching
  • Reading comprehension, grammar and vocabulary total up to 3,000 words
  • Matter is extracted from magazine articles, newspapers and much more, as usual

Section 2:

  • Also taking you about 90 minutes the second section has two parts
  • First, you have to read a couple of short texts and then summarize whatever you have read in an essay
  • You should present an argument and present your own opinions and ideas
  • Part 2 provides students with 5 options out of which one option is based on English literature, which should be studied before the exam
  • Books are constantly changed and do not remain the same

Section 3:

  • Answer 30 questions in total across four subsections in a duration of 40 minutes
  • Listen to native English accents and a variety of others extracted from television, radio, etc.
  • All are spoken at native speed

Section 4:

  • This is the final part of the CPE tests and lasts for about 16 minutes
  • Just like the others, it tests your English-speaking abilities
  • The test is divided into three parts where, in one part, students must speak another peer who is also being tested
  • The other two parts involve an examiner during which students have to speak on their own

Scoring

  • CPE exam scores range between 180 and 200
  • Score 200 and above and you will pass the examination
  • A proficiency certificate is issued that is equivalent to Level C2 according to the CEFR
  • All results are broken down clearly across four skills
  • Students must know that CPE is a rigorous high-level test

BULATS

The Business Language Testing Service or BULATS are predominantly meant for business schools. Containing a complete suite of tests, companies accept the test for language certification purposes. The test is available in French, German and Spanish other than English. Both computer-based and paper test versions are available. BULATS is owned by the Cambridge English Assessment organisation, which is also responsible for IELTS and TOEFL. Much like the TOEIC, BULATS is particularly meant for business English users.

Structure

  • The test requires students to listen and read the comprehension section for about one hour
  • Thereafter, optional modules are available that test both writing and speaking
  • This is followed by an adaptive test, which is the listening and reading section – the questions change depending upon your response
  • Encompassing 5 tasks, BULATS speaking test lasts for at least 15 minutes
  • External examiners located elsewhere will evaluate the recorded test
  • Containing two subtasks, writing test lasts for no more than 45 minutes – you have to write an essay or a letter and an e-mail
  • These are not handwritten – but typed and handed over to the examiner for assessment

Scoring

  • Test scores for BULATS are available instantly after completion
  • A BULATS certificate is valid for 2 years
  • The scores are expressed as CEFR levels
  • While the certification is valid for 2 years, scores remain available even at a later time for correction by humans

Benefits of Cambridge tests

  • Prestigious and recognised, Cambridge exams are valued across the globe
  • Provided by the University of Cambridge, there are several preparation centres worldwide
  • Taking the Cambridge English test improves your real-life English skills
  • Develop the kind of communication that you require to get past your everyday tasks of studying and working
  • Enhance your motivation, when you pass each level of English
  • Internationally recognised by universities globally, Cambridge test is an extremely popular examination that helps you stand out in the job market – Stay ahead of the competition when
  • Additionally, Cambridge Exams are valid forever, unlike others

Speak to experts at IEC Abroad Saudi, to make your preparation really fun.