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  7. Passing the CAE: Certificate in Advanced English

CAE : Cambridge Advanced

The CAE or Cambridge English Advanced is a recognised English language certification which is one of the examinations developed by the University of Cambridge. It certifies an advanced level of language proficiency, which is essential for entering prestigious English-speaking universities or working abroad in sectors where a perfect understanding of the English language is required.

Who is the CAE for?

This examination aims to certify a high level of English, corresponding to the level of English C1 set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Candidates who can demonstrate such a level are then able to work in academic environments or in complex professional situations abroad.

The CAE is therefore recommended for those who already have a very good level of English and wish to use it on their CV. Cambridge Advanced is recognised by 6,000 schools, universities, companies and government agencies worldwide. Demonstrating an advanced level of English, this diploma is an opportunity to give university seminars or take part in professional meetings in English-speaking countries. This certification can also be applied for to enter prestigious universities in Great Britain or the United States.

Cambridge English Test Preparation

With Wall Street English language schools, a complete preparation for CAE is possible. These 12-week training courses include a free assessment of your language level, weekly lessons and registration for the exam. Cambridge Certificate preparation courses are organised in small classes of 4 to 10 students for two hours per week.

The study of the full programme (paper and online) is taught by a native English-speaking teacher. You can also opt for private tuition if you wish. Each year, several dates are offered to join these preparation courses which are specially designed to achieve the best results at CAE. If you want to improve your skills to qualify for the C1 Advanced level, extensive preparation will be necessary beforehand. It is worth taking advantage of the recognised expertise of the Wall Street English centres. Contact the Wall Street English centre to find out more about the courses offered.

Taking the Cambridge Advanced: How the exam works

The test lasts a total of 235 minutes. On the day of the test, each candidate must present a valid identity document with a photo. The CAE has 4 main sections, which serve to define the candidates' level of understanding and expression in oral and written communication.

The first section (90 minutes) consists of 56 questions on written comprehension, based on a set of documents in English (newspapers, manuals, etc.). The second part (also 90 minutes) is devoted to the writing of two texts of 250 words each on various subjects. The third part (40 minutes) is based on recordings of native speakers to be listened to carefully before answering the 30 related questions. Finally, the fourth and last part (15 minutes) is an assessment of your oral level in groups of two. This part may take place on a different day from the previous ones.

CAE Score and Score Card

Cambridge English Advanced is graded on a score scale ranging from 80 to 230 points called the Cambridge English Scale. Established in 2016, it is the same for all Cambridge tests and incorporates equivalency with other existing examinations. Depending on the Cambridge test taken by students, the score obtained is either in the low range of the scale or in the high range. A total of 180 points is required to pass the CAE. Any score between 180 and 200 points corresponds to a C1 level (known as "Advanced"). Candidates who score more than 200 points will receive an excellent score for their language skills, which will enable them to receive the highest C2 (Proficiency) level of all.

How can I pay for my CAE?

If you wish to improve your English skills or to take an English certification, you can obtain financial help.

If you live in the canton of Geneva, you can apply for a Chèque Annuel de Formation (CAF) worth CHF 500. For those who are socially and professionally in need, a social aid application, also called Hospice, can be submitted. Finally, for people with disabilities, disability insurance (AI) is available.

The cost of obtaining the CAE certificate in Switzerland is approximately CHF 410.

How long is the CAE valid for?

Like all Cambridge exams, the certificate is valid for life. However, after a few years you may be asked to provide additional proof that you have not lost your level.

What other qualifications in English are there?

If you want to take another certification, there are other certifications such as TOEFL, IELTS and Linguaskill. Each of these diplomas has its own characteristics and advantages depending on your situation and goals. However, they have a limited validity period.

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