General English and for Schools

Whether you’re an absolute beginner, a fluent speaker wanting to perfect your language skills, a student or a professional, we have the exam for you. Find which General English qualification suits you best.

Cambridge English: Key (KET) and Key for Schools (KETfS)

Cambridge English: Key, also known as the Key English Test (KET), is the lowest level General English exam in the Cambridge English range. It shows that you can communicate in basic English in everyday situations. 

Cambridge English: Key for Schools (KETfS) is at the same level as Cambridge English: Key (KET) and leads to exactly the same internationally accepted certificate. The only difference is that the exam content is targeted at the interests and experiences of schoolchildren.

Level of qualification: Elementary = A2 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this exam?

You should take the KET if you have done about 250 hours of study or practice and can speak, write and understand basic English. This exam is the first step in building your English language skills for work or study in the future. To take the exam you should be able to:

  • ask and answer questions about yourself and others
  • understand announcements and instructions when people speak slowly and clearly
  • tell people what you think about something you read or hear.

What is the exam format?

There are three parts to the exam. You do the Reading and Writing and the Listening papers on the same day. You may need to return to do the Speaking on a different day. You do the Speaking with two examiners and one other exam candidate.

KET / KETfS Reading and Writing Listening Speaking
Time allowed 1 hr 10 mins 30 mins 8-10 mins per pair of candidates
Marks (% of total) 50% 25% 25%

Downloads:

Cambridge English: Key - Brief exam guide

Cambridge English: Key - information for candidates

Cambridge English: Key for Schools - Brief exam guide

Cambridge English: Key for Schools  - Information for candidates

Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET) and Preliminary for Schools (PETfS)

Cambridge English: Preliminary is also known as the Preliminary English Test (PET). This exam shows that you can communicate in English in practical, everyday situations. It will give you a good foundation if you want to study for a professional English qualification.

Cambridge English: Preliminary for Schools (PETfS) is at the same level as Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET) and leads to exactly the same internationally accepted certificate. The only difference is that the exam content is targeted at the interests and experiences of schoolchildren.

Level of qualification: Intermediate = B1 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this exam?

Studying for the PET exam will improve your English so that you can communicate when travelling or dealing with English speakers for work.

To take the exam you should be able to:

  • express your likes and dislikes, and discuss them with others
  • understand spoken and written announcements and instructions
  • write a personal letter or take notes from a meeting or discussion.

How does the exam process work?

There are three parts to the exam. You do the Reading and Writing and the Listening papers on the same day. You may need to return to do the Speaking on a different day. You do the Speaking with two examiners and one other exam candidate.

PET / PETfS Reading and Writing Listening Speaking 
Time allowed 1 hr 30 mins 30 mins 10-12 mins per pair of candidates
Marks (% of total) 50% 25% 25%

Downloads:

Cambridge English: Preliminary - Brief exam guide

Cambridge English: Preliminary - Information for candidates

Cambridge English: Preliminary for Schools - Brief exam guide

Cambridge English: Preliminary for Schools  - Information for candidates

Cambridge English: First (FCE) and First for Schools (FCEfS)

Cambridge English: First is also called the First Certificate in English (FCE). This general English qualification proves that you can speak and write English well enough to work or study in an English-speaking environment.

Cambridge English: First for Schools (FCEfS) is at the same level as Cambridge English: First (FCE) and leads to exactly the same internationally accepted certificate. The only difference is that the exam content is targeted at the interests and experiences of schoolchildren.

Level of qualification: Upper intermediate = B2 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this exam?

You should study for the FCE if you want to work in an English-speaking business, live in an English-speaking country or study a foundation-level or pre-university course taught in English.

To take the exam you should be able to:

  • write short reports and emails
  • explain an idea or have a detailed discussion in English
  • understand general English on TV and in newspapers.

How does the exam process work?

There are five parts to the FCE exam. You will complete papers Reading, Writing, Use of English and Listening on the same day. The Speaking may be on a different day. You do the speaking with two examiners and one other candidate.

FCE / FCEfs Reading Writing Use of English Listening Speaking
Time allowed 1 hr 1 hr 20 mins 45 mins 40 mins 14 mins per pair of candidates
Marks (% of total) 20% 20% 20% 20% 20%

Downloads:

Cambridge English: First - Brief Exam Guide

Cambridge English: First - Information for candidates

Cambridge English: First for Schools - Brief exam guide

Cambridge English: First for Schools  - Information for candidates

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)

Cambridge English: Advanced is also known as the Certificate in Advanced English (CAE). This general English qualification shows that your English is of a standard expected of a professional business person or an undergraduate university student.

Cambridge English: Advanced is accepted by over 3,000 universities, colleges, employers and government departments around the world. The Cambridge English: Advanced certificate can be used to apply for:

  • admission to nearly every university and college in the UK
  • up to 70 additional UCAS Tariff points towards your UK college or university application
  • admission to Australian universities, colleges and TAFE institutes
  • an Australian student visa
  • admission to universities and colleges in the USA and Canada.

Level of qualification: Advanced = C1 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this exam?

You should take CAE if you want to prove to employers or universities that you can communicate confidently in English in professional and high-level academic situations. To take the exam you should be able to:

  • write complex reports and emails, and take notes in meetings or lectures
  • give presentations on complicated ideas in English
  • understand a variety of texts, from fiction to newspaper opinion pieces.

How does the exam process work?

There are five parts to the CAE exam. You will complete papers Reading, Writing, Use of English and Listening on the same day. The Speaking may be on a different day. You do the speaking with two examiners and one other candidate.

CAE Reading Writing Use of English Listening Speaking
Time allowed 1 hr 15 mins 1 hr 30 mins 1 hr 40 mins 15 mins per pair of candidates
Marks (% of total) 20% 20% 20% 20% 20%

Downloads:

Cambridge English: Advanced - Brief exam guide

Cambridge English: Advanced - Information for candidates

Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)

Cambridge English: Proficiency is also known as the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). This qualification shows that you have mastered English and can use it fluently in demanding research, academic and professional situations. This is the highest Cambridge English qualification.

Level of qualification: Proficient = C2 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this exam? 

You should take the CPE if you want to prove to employers that you can use English at a senior management level, or if you want to study at postgraduate or PhD level at an English-speaking university.

To take the exam you should be able to:

  • understand almost everything you hear or read in English
  • use and understand formal, academic and colloquial language
  • negotiate, argue and discuss the subtle issues of complex subjects.

How does the exam process work?

There are four parts to the CPE exam. You will complete papers Reading & Use of English, Writing and Listening on the same day. The Speaking may be on a different day. You do the speaking with two examiners and one other candidate.

CPE Reading and Use of English Writing Listening Speaking
Time allowed 1 hr 30 mins 1 hr 30 mins 40 mins 16 mins per pair of candidates
Marks (% of total) 40% 20% 20% 20%

Downloads:

Cambridge English: Proficiency - Brief exam guide

Cambridge English: Proficiency - Information for candidates

Sitting a Cambridge English Language Assessment examination in Poland

Register for Cambridge English Language Assessment exams in Poland.

Find out when and where you can sit for Cambridge Engish Language Assessment exam in Poland and the examination fees.

What to expect on exam day?

Results for paper based exams are available between four and six weeks after you take the exam and computer based two weeks after you take the exam.

Why the British Council?

Find out what our candidates say about their experience of sitting their exams with the British Council. Read the stories of students like you.