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To find further information about your level of English please refer to the Common European Framework of Reference.  You can also take a free online test here.

No, it is not necessary to attend a preparation course. However, statistics from Cambridge show a higher success rate in the exams for candidates who have taken a course.

The Reading, Use of English, Writing and Listening examinations all take place on the same day. Your speaking test may be held on the same day or on a different day within a given period of time, called the ‘speaking window’. For these dates and the closing dates for entries please see the Book an Exam section of our website.

No, you may not choose the date or time of your speaking test. Candidates may only request to change their speaking test date under very special circumstances and with the approval of the Examinations Administrator.

You can apply and pay for your exam online here. Please note that your application will not be processed until we receive your payment.

You will receive a ‘Confirmation of Registration’ by email approximately 10 working days after we receive your application.

You will receive a ‘Confirmation of Entry’ document by email no later than ten days before the first part of your exam.  This document will confirm the date, time and location of each part of your exam.

We are on the 1st floor of the Daedalus Building at University College Dublin. Click here to find details on how to get here using public transport or by car.

You must bring your Confirmation of Entry, valid ID document (passport, photographic driving licence or EU national ID card), and your signed photo consent form. You may also bring still water in a clear plastic bottle with the label removed.  You should bring writing materials: a pen for use in the writing paper, and a pencil for the other papers.

Special arrangements are provided for candidates who have permanent or long-term disabilities, such as visual or hearing difficulties. If this is the case, candidates are asked to send in medical evidence that outlines the disability, as well as a support letter from their teacher if applicable. This letter should also state clearly what special arrangements are required. You must submit this information at least 3 months in advance of your exam, so that we can submit your application for special arrangements to Cambridge English for approval, and make any other arrangements necessary. In the case of applications for specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, medical evidence must be submitted in the form of a report prepared when the candidate was aged 13 or older.  All medical evidence must be submitted in English and may not be more than two years old.

If you are unable to attend your exam due to medical reasons, you may be entitled to a partial refund. To obtain this, you must send a medical certificate to the ALC within five days of your exam date.

FCE (First Certificate)StartDurationInstructionsFinish
Reading & Use of English 09:00 1 hour 15 mins 30 mins 10:45
Writing 10:55 1 hour 20 mins 10 mins 12:25
Listening 12:55 40 mins (approx.) 10 mins 13:45
CAE (Advanced English)StartDurationInstructionsFinish
Reading & Use of English 09:00 1 hour 30 mins 15 mins 10:45
Writing 10:55 1 hour 30 mins 15 mins 12:40
Listening 12:55 40 mins (approx.) 15 mins 13:50
CPE (Proficiency)StartDurationInstructionsFinish
Reading & Use of English 09:00 1 hour 30 mins 20 mins 10:50
Writing 11:00 1hour 30 mins 10 mins 12:40
Listening 12:50 40 mins (approx.) 10 mins 13:40
BEC PreliminaryStartDurationInstructionsFinish
Reading & Writing 10.00 1 hour 30 mins 20 mins 11.50
Listening 11.50 40 mins (approx.) 10 mins 12.40
BEC VantageStartDurationInstructionsFinish
Reading 09:00 1 hour 20 mins 10:20
Writing 10:30 45 mins 10 mins 11:25
Listening 11:35 40 mins (approx.) 10 mins 12:25
BEC HigherStartDurationInstructionsFinish
Reading 09:00 1 hour 20 mins 10:20
Writing 10:30 1 hour, 10 mins 10 mins 11:50
Listening 12.00 40 mins (approx.) 10 mins 12:50
LevelReading & WritingListeningSpeaking
PET 50% 25% 25%
BEC P 50% 25% 25%
BEC V 25% 25% 25% 25%
BEC H 25% 25% 25% 25%
FCE 20% 20% 20% 20% 20%
CAE 20% 20% 20% 20% 20%
CPE 20% 20% 20% 20% 20%

There are three types of pass grade for PET and BEC Preliminary exams: pass, pass with merit and pass with distinction. For FCE, CAE, CPE, BEC Vantage and BEC Higher exams, there are three grades: A, B and C. Certificates will be awarded to candidates who achieve these grades and also to candidates who demonstrate ability at the level below the examination level.

No. The final mark is based on the aggregate score of all of the papers. Candidates who perform poorly on one paper can compensate by performing well on the other papers.

You will be able to access your results online 4-6 weeks after the exam.  The Confirmation of Entry document which you will receive by email, contains instructions and log-in details.


When will I receive my certificate?

Certificates are sent to successful candidates approximately 4 weeks after the release of results (i.e. 12 weeks approximately after your exam date).  Your certificate will be sent by registered post to the post-exam address that you provided on the application form.  A signature is normally required for receipt.  Please ensure that you give us the address where you will be 12 weeks after your exam (or your permanent home address).

It is the policy of Cambridge English not to issue replacement certificates.  If you lose your certificate, you may apply for a Certifying Statement, which provides proof of the grade achieved in the exam.

If you are unhappy about any aspect of your exam, you must inform us as soon as possible.  It is best to talk to the Exam Supervisor on exam day. You can ask any of the invigilators to contact the Supervisor on your behalf. You can also email us within 48 hours of your exam. Please outline your complaint in as much detail as possible when contacting us. 

You can find more information about Cambridge English’s complaints policy here.

What do I do if I am unhappy with my results? 

If you are not satisfied with your results, you may apply for a re-check. We would advise all candidates considering making an enquiry to contact us within 14 days of the result release date to discuss the results enquiry procedure. You can find out more about the enquiry procedure here.

Stage 1 of the enquiry process is a full clerical recheck of your exam papers. The fee for this is €25. The recheck of your papers takes five working days from receipt of the request by Cambridge.
If you are not satisfied with the result of the Stage 1 enquiry, you may request a Stage 2 enquiry which involves a re-mark of written papers (including a review of the Listening paper where relevant, but not the Speaking test component). The fee for this service is €125.

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