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  7. Passing the CAE: Certificate in Advanced English

C1 level exam: the Cambridge English Advanced (CAE)

The CAE, or Cambridge English Advanced, is a recognized English certification that is part of the exams developed by the University of Cambridge. It certifies an advanced level of language proficiency, essential for admission to prestigious English-speaking universities or for working abroad in sectors where a perfect understanding of the English language is necessary.

Who is the CAE for?

This exam aims to certify a high level of English, corresponding to the C1 English level 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.

Taking the CAE exam is recommended for those who already have a very good level of English and wish to highlight it on their CV. The Cambridge Advanced certification is recognized by 6000 schools, universities, businesses, and government organizations worldwide. Demonstrating an advanced level of English, this diploma provides opportunities to conduct university seminars or participate in professional meetings in English-speaking countries. This English certification may also be required for admission to prestigious universities in the United Kingdom or the United States.

Preparation for Cambridge English Tests

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

The study of the full programme (in both paper and online formats) is taught by a native English-speaking teacher. You can also choose private lessons if you prefer. Each year, multiple dates are offered to join these preparation courses which are specially designed to achieve the best results on the CAE. If you want to improve your skills to reach the C1 Advanced level, extensive preparation will be necessary beforehand. It is worth taking advantage of the recognized expertise of the Wall Street English centres. Contact the Wall Street English centre closest to you to find out more about the courses offered.

Taking the Cambridge Advanced: Exam Procedure

The Cambridge Advanced test lasts for a total of 235 minutes. On the day of the exam, each candidate must present a valid photo ID. The CAE consists of four main sections, which assess candidates' levels of understanding and expression in both oral and written English.

  • The first part, Reading and Use of English (90 minutes), includes 56 multiple-choice questions covering reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar, based on a set of English documents (newspapers, textbooks, magazines, advertisements, etc.).
  • The second part, Writing (also 90 minutes), focuses on writing in English, with two texts of 250 words each on various topics (expression of opinion).
  • The third part, Listening (40 minutes), is based on recordings of native English speakers to be listened to carefully before answering 30 related questions. Each recording is repeated twice.
  • Finally, the fourth and last part, Speaking (15 minutes), is an assessment of your oral proficiency in pairs. However, this part may take place on a different day than the previous ones.

CAE Score and Grading

The Cambridge English Advanced is scored on a scale of 80 to 230 points called the Cambridge English Scale. Established in 2016, it is the same for all Cambridge tests and includes an equivalence with other existing exams. Depending on the Cambridge test taken by students, the obtained score falls either in the lower range of the scale or in its higher range. CAE tests determine your overall English proficiency level.

To pass the CAE, a total of 180 points is required. Any score between 180 and 200 points corresponds to a C1 level (referred to as "Advanced"). Candidates who score above 200 points achieve an excellent score reflecting their language skills, allowing them to receive the C2 level (referred to as "Proficiency"), the highest level of all.

When do I receive my CAE results?

Regardless of your final CAE score, you will receive a result certificate, and in case of success, your certificate as well. For the final diploma, you'll need to be patient and wait for it to be received by the examination center. It may take several weeks for the reception.

How to finance my CAE?

If you wish to take an English certification or undergo English training, you can obtain certain financial help.

If you live in the canton of Geneva, you can receive a Chèque Annuel de Formation (CAF) worth CHF 500. For those in social and professional need, you can apply for social assistance, also known as Hospice. Finally, for individuals with disabilities, disability insurance (AI) is available.

The cost to take the CAE in Switzerland is approximately CHF 410.

How long is the CAE valid for?

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

What are other English certificates?

Each of these certificates has its own characteristics and advantages depending on your situation and goals. However, they have a limited validity period.

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

How to succeed in my CAE?

To succeed in the Cambridge Advanced Exam, it is essential to have a very good level of English.

Wall Street English provides you with all the essentials to obtain this diploma. Thanks to our training centers located in Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, or Neuchâtel, you are close to success.

In any case, intensive training is essential, as well as practice exams to put you in real exam situations. On the day of the exam, adopt a strategic approach and carefully manage your time. Good luck!

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