How to Prepare for Speaking Section if You are Planning to Pive CPE

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The Cambridge English C2 Proficiency exam, formerly known as the Cambridge English Proficiency Exam (CPE), is the highest-level exam in the Cambridge English exam suite. Obtaining the Cambridge C2 certificate of English competence demonstrates that a student has mastered English to a near-native level and can study or work in an English-speaking environment.

Like all Cambridge English tests, the CPE is a pass/fail test with a certificate that does not expire for those who pass. The Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam is available in two formats: paper-based and computer-based. The total time for both the print and online versions is 236 minutes.

Overview of CPE’s Speaking section:

The CPE’s last section assesses your ability to communicate in English. Students usually take the C2 Proficiency speaking test in pairs. Depending on the test centre’s schedule, they may be asked to return on a different day. The speaking test is actually divided into three parts: one in which the student converses with the examiner on his own, and two in which the student converses with the other student being tested.

The CPE Speaking test lasts approximately 12 minutes, including 2 minutes for each long turn and 4 minutes for the conclusion. Candidate A is given a card and is required to speak about the topic without being interrupted by the examiner or their partner. After Candidate A has completed, the examiner asks Candidate B a quick question about the subject. Candidate B is then handed a different card and is given two minutes to talk, followed by Candidate A, who answers a quick question regarding the topic. Finally, both candidates participate in discussion with the examiner concerning the theme of the two topics at the end of the long turns.

How to prepare for CPE’s speaking section?

  • Practice speaking for a short period of time on various topics with little or no preparation.
  • Make a recording of yourself speaking English.
  • If you are unable to find a native English speaker, find a friend who wants to practise speaking English and make a vow to each other to speak only English for a set period.
  • Audiobooks and podcasts are great ways to enhance your pronunciation.
  • Practice speaking about topics that are relevant to students’ lives regularly.
  • Concentrate on speaking clearly and with proper intonation and pronunciation.
  • Listen to the radio and watch English television shows to improve your English.
  • By reading aloud, you can improve your pronunciation and intonation.

Tips to ace CPE’s speaking section:

  • You’ll only have a few seconds to gather your thoughts before being asked to take your long turn, so you won’t have time to arrange your speech in advance. You can, however, loosely structure it around an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Begin by linking the issue to a current news article or a key event in your life to make it more meaningful.
  • Signpost your speech to make it easier for the examiner and your partner to follow your thought process.
  • Please pay close attention to your partner’s presentation and think about how you feel about one or two of their points.
  • Use expressions to give yourself time to ponder throughout the debate phase when your opinion is sought.


Since 2016, all Cambridge English Exams have been graded on the same scale. Lower-level examinations can provide results in the lower ranges of the scale, while more challenging tests can deliver scores in the higher ranges of the scale. For example, the C2 Proficiency Exam has valid scores ranging from 180 to 230. A “pass” is a score of 200 or more, and students who achieve that level will obtain the Cambridge C2 proficiency certificate, which corresponds to CEFR level C2 in English. A C1 English certificate is awarded to students with a score of 180 to 199.

Each student receives their CPE results, which are split by the four abilities and an overall score and CEFR level.

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