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Unlocking Global Opportunities with Cambridge English Exams

Updated: Sep 7, 2023


In today's interconnected world, proficiency in English has become an essential skill for individuals seeking to unlock new opportunities and excel in various domains.


Cambridge English exams provide a standardized framework for assessing English language skills, offering you a range of certifications that validate your abilities. Students often feel overwhelmed by the number of English exams on the market, and need guidance in choosing an exam that reflects their abilities and suits their future needs.


In this blog post, we will explore the different levels of Cambridge English exams and highlight the benefits of obtaining each certificate. Whether you're a student, a professional, or would like to take the exam as a personal accomplishment, these certifications can open doors and broaden horizons.


I have included a few sample questions, from preparation websites, so you can have a very general idea of the levels. These are just examples and don't represent the entire exams.


The Levels of Cambridge English Exams



Young man pointing to Cambridge A2 KET exam sign and smiling

Cambridge English: Key (KET): The Cambridge English: Key exam, also known as KET, is the first step on the ladder of Cambridge English exams. It assesses basic English language skills and is ideal for individuals with elementary proficiency. Achieving the KET certificate demonstrates the ability to understand and use everyday English in simple situations.



Example KET question:


We are driving from Dublin to Belfast on the 12th of May in our new van. If you are going there too, join us and save on travel costs.

Call Liam on 605778924


1) The text was written by a person who


A) wants to borrow a van.

B) offers a ride in a van.

C) has a van for sale.


KET Answer:

B



Young girl smiling and wearing a backpack


Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET): The next level up is the Cambridge English: Preliminary exam, or PET. It measures an individual's intermediate-level English language skills, indicating their capability to communicate effectively in a variety of real-life situations. A PET certificate signifies the ability to understand straightforward information and engage in basic conversations.


Example PET question:


To: Maria

From: David

I know you asked me to fix your laptop on Saturday, but I completely forgot about a meeting I have to go to - terribly sorry.


2) Why is David apologizing to Maria?


A) He cannot do the favour he had promised.

B) He hasn't had time to fix her laptop.

C) He won't be able to go to the meeting with her.


PET Answer:

A


Smiling young woman holding her hand out to display Cambridge B2 First certificate description


Cambridge English: First B2 (FCE): Moving further up the proficiency ladder, we encounter the Cambridge English: First exam, commonly referred to as FCE or First Certificate. This test assesses upper-intermediate language skills and confirms a solid foundation in English. Obtaining an FCE certificate demonstrates the ability to understand complex texts, express opinions, and participate in discussions effectively.


FCE Example open cloze test:


For questions 1-8, read the text below and think of the word which fits each gap. Use only one word in each gap.


Cats of all kinds are present in the legends, religion, mythology, and history of (1) ... different cultures. Cave paintings created by early humans display different types of wild cats (2) ... are now extinct, or no longer around. Many of these great beasts saw humans as food, but were hunted by humans in return. Cats similar (3) ... the ones kept as pets today started showing up in artwork thousands of years ago. For example, the ancient Egyptians believed cats were the sacred, or special, animal of a goddess named Bast. They believed that Bast often appeared as a cat, so many ancient Egyptians respected and honoured cats and kittens. (4) ..., other cultures feared cats or thought that they brought illnesses and bad luck. Today, with millions kept as pets in homes around the world, cats have become important members of many families. No one knows for sure when or (5) ... cats became very popular household pets. It's possible that people noticed how cats hunted mice and rats, (6) ... they set food and milk out to keep the cats near their homes. This helped to prevent (7) ... many of these rodents (8) ... coming into homes and eating people's food or spreading sickness.


FCE Answers


1 Many

2 That

3 To

4 While

5 How

6 So

7 So

8 From


Young student smiling and thinking about Cambridge exam success

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE): For those aiming for a higher level of English proficiency, the Cambridge English: Advanced exam, or CAE, is an ideal choice. This test evaluates advanced language skills and is recognized by thousands of universities, employers, and government bodies worldwide. Holding a CAE certificate showcases a high level of competence in English, enabling individuals to study or work in English-speaking environments with confidence.

Example CAE gap fill test:


For questions 1-8, read the text below and think of the word which fits each gap. Use only one word in each gap.


An Ugly Habit

Smoking is one of the most common and deadliest habits in the world. You have probably seen thousands of cigarettes smoked in your lifetime, (1) ... perhaps not by your family. Even though fewer people smoke today than in the past, one (2) ... every four adults still smokes, and there are parts of the world where smoking is increasing. Most people who become regular smokers started when they were young. This is the time to get the facts straight: smoking does no one (3) ... good, and it does a great (4) ... of harm to your health. It also often means giving up a lot later in life, such as the chance to excel in sports, extra spending money, and even years of one’s life. There is a lot of to lose. Most smokers have a hard time explaining why they started – and why they continue. They know it is harmful, and many even know someone who has died from a smoking-related illness, like lung cancer or heart disease. But (5) ... the same time, these smokers continue lighting up when they go out for a drink, take a break from work, or hear alarming news. Some smokers even light up when they learn about the dangers of smoking, because they become worried. (6) ... the reason people start smoking, the habit soon loses (7) ... attraction. (8) ... from the obvious health risks, smoking is an ugly, unpleasant habit. Most people would prefer to avoid a room that someone was filling with smelly smoke.


CAE Answers

  1. Although/though/but

  2. In

  3. Any

  4. Deal

  5. At

  6. Whatever

  7. Its

  8. Apart

You woman in a business outfit pointing to C2 Proficiency exam summary

Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE): At the pinnacle of the Cambridge English exams stands the Cambridge English: Proficiency exam, also known as CPE. This test certifies exceptional language proficiency, equivalent to that of a highly educated native speaker. Achieving a CPE certificate signifies an individual's ability to communicate effectively at the highest level, opening doors to prestigious academic institutions and professional opportunities.


CPE example:


For questions 1-8, read the text below and think of the word which best fits each space. Use only one word in each space.


The Solar System

The Solar System may be defined as consisting of all those objects that are governed by the Sun's gravitational field. Other effects arising (1) ... the proximity of the Sun could equally (2) ... be used as criteria, such as radiation pressure or interaction with the solar wind. (3) ... any of these definitions the Solar System extends (4) ... to a distance of about two light-years; the closest star, Proxima Centauri, (5) ... lying at a distance of slightly more than four light-years.


Our knowledge of this region of space certainly does not reach as far as this, (6) ... , because the most distant Solar-System objects that we know about, the comets, seem to originate at a distance of no more than 50,000 astronomical units, or less than a third of the total distance. (7) ... for the other Solar-System bodies known to us, they lie at distances of less than a few hundred AU. Our study is therefore confined (8) ... what is primarily the central region of the Solar System.


CPE Answers


1) From

2) Well

3) With

4) Out

5) Itself

6) However/nevertheless

7) As

8) To



young woman wearing headphones, smiling, looking at Cambridge Linguaskill description



Linguaskill is a computer-based, multi-level test offering a complete picture of your English abilities, with fast and accurate testing of all four language skills: reading, listening, writing, and speaking.



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