CE@4x

Exam Preparation

C1 Advanced

Exam Preparation

C1 Advanced

Information for candidates

A guide to the exam, with advice on preparing for the exam, tips for exam day and useful links.

Download C1 Advanced information for candidates

Exam format

C1 Advanced is a thorough test of all areas of language ability. The exam is made up of four papers developed to test your English language skills.

1 hour 30 minutes

The C1 Advanced Reading and Use of English paper is in eight parts and has a mix of text types and questions. This paper accounts for 40% of the total mark.

Part 1 (Multiple-choice cloze)
  • A text in which there are some numbered gaps, each of which represents a word or phrase. After the text there are four possible answers for each gap and you have to choose the correct answer (A, B, C or D).
  • 8 questions
  • 1 mark for each correct answer
Part 2 (Open cloze)
  • A text in which there are some gaps, each of which represents one missing word. You have to find the correct word for each gap.
  • 8 questions
  • 1 mark for each correct answer
Part 3 (Word formation)
  • A text containing eight gaps. Each gap represents a word. At the end of the line is a ‘prompt’ word which you have to change in some way to complete the sentence correctly.
  • 8 questions
  • 1 mark for each correct answer
Part 4 (Key word transformations)
  • Each question consists of a sentence followed by a ‘key’ word and a second sentence with a gap in the middle. You have to use this key word to complete the second sentence, in three to six words, so that it means the same as the first sentence.
  • 6 questions
  • Up to 2 marks for each correct answer
Part 5 (Multiple choice)
  • A text with some multiple-choice questions. For each question, there are four options and you have to choose A, B, C or D.
  • 6 questions
  • 2 marks for each correct answer
Part 6 (Cross-text multiple matching)
  • Four short texts with multiple-matching questions. You must read across all of the texts to match a prompt to elements in the texts.
  • 4 questions
  • 2 marks for each correct answer
Part 7 (Gapped text)
  • A single page of text with some numbered gaps which represent missing paragraphs. After the text there are some paragraphs which are not in the right order. You have to read the text and the paragraphs and decide which paragraph best fits each gap.
  • 6 questions
  • 2 marks for each correct answer.
Part 8 (Multiple matching)
  • A series of multiple-matching questions followed by a text or several short texts. You have to match a prompt to elements in the text.
  • 10 questions
  • 1 mark for each correct answer

1 hour 30 minutes

In the two parts of the C1 Advanced Writing paper, you have to show that you can write different types of text in English. This paper accounts for 20% of the total mark.

Part 1 (Compulsory question)
  • You read a text, then write an essay based on points included in the text. You’ll be asked to explain which of the two points is more important, and to give reasons for your opinion.
  • You have to write 220 – 260 words.
  • 1 compulsory question
Part 2 (Situationally based writing task)
  • You write a text from a choice of text types – letter/email, proposal, report or review. To guide your writing, you’ll be given information about context, topic purpose and target reader.
  • You have to write 220–260 words
  • Three tasks, from which you must choose one

About 40 minutes

The C1 Advanced Listening paper has four parts. For each part you have to listen to a recorded text or texts and answer some questions. You hear each recording twice. This paper accounts for 20% of the total mark.

Part 1 (Multiple choice)
  • Three short extracts from conversations between interacting speakers. There are two multiple-choice questions for each extract, and you have to choose A, B or C.
  • 6 questions.
  • 1 mark for each correct answer
Part 2 (Sentence completion)
  • A monologue lasting approximately 3 minutes. You have to complete the sentences on the question paper with the missing information which you hear on the recording.
  • 8 questions.
  • 1 mark for each correct answer
Part 3 (Multiple choice)
  • A conversation between two or more speakers of approximately 4 minutes. You have to answer some multiple-choice questions by choosing the correct answer from four options (A, B C or D).
  • 6 questions.
  • 1 mark for each correct answer
Part 4 (Multiple matching)
  • A series of five themed monologues of approximately 30 seconds each. On the question paper, there are two tasks and for each task you have to match each of the five speakers to one of eight possible answers.
  • 10 questions.
  • 1 mark for each correct answer

15 minutes per pair of candidates

The C1 Advanced Speaking test has four parts and you take it together with another candidate. There are two examiners. One of the examiners conducts the test (asks you questions, gives you the paper with things to talk about, and so on). The other examiner listens to what you say and takes notes. Both examiners give marks for your performance. This paper accounts for 20% of the total mark.

Part 1 (Interview)
  • Conversation between the candidates and the interlocutor. The examiner asks questions and you may have to give information about your interests, studies, careers, etc.
  • 2 minutes
Part 2 (Long turn)
  • The interlocutor gives you three pictures and asks you to talk about two of them. You have to speak for 1 minute without interruption and the interlocutor then asks the other candidate to comment on what you have said for about 30 seconds. The other candidate receives a different set of photographs and you have to listen and comment when they have finished speaking. The questions you have to answer about your photographs are written at the top of the page to remind you what you should talk about.
  • 1 minute per candidate, plus a 30-second response from the second candidate.
Part 3 (Collaborative task)
  • Conversation with the other candidate. The examiner gives you spoken instructions with written prompts which are used in a discussion. You have to talk with the other candidate for about 2 minutes (3 minutes for groups of three) about the written prompts. After the discussion time, the examiner will ask you another question which requires you to make a decision. You have 1 minute to talk together and make the decision (2 minutes for groups of three).
  • 3 minutes (a 2-minute discussion followed by a 1-minute decision-making task)
Part 4 (Discussion)
  • Further discussion with the other candidate based on the topics or issues raised in the task in Part 3. The interlocutor asks each of you some questions and you discuss them with the other candidate.
  • 5 minutes

Choosing your Speaking Test partner

If you would like to be paired together with a friend/classmate, you can request this when you register for the exam. Please note however that research has shown that there are both advantages and disadvantages in taking the test with someone you know and that in the end it doesn’t matter. What is important is that the test judges you on your own performance.

Groups of three candidates

Almost all C1 Advanced Speaking Tests are conducted in groups of two candidates. However, if there is an uneven number of candidates at an exam session there will be one test with a group of three candidates, normally at the end of the day or before a long break. The test format is exactly the same but will last a little longer. Please note that you cannot request to take your test in a group of three.

Frequently asked questions
and exam day tips

A guide to the exam, with advice on preparing for the exam, tips for exam day and useful links.

C1 Advanced FAQs  

Exam day tips – paper-based exams

Exam day tips – computer-based exams

Exam day tips – Speaking test

Sample tests
Computer based

Watch this tutorial before you start to help you understand what you need to do.

Answer keys

Reading & Use of English answer key

Listening answer key  

 

There is no answer key for the Writing paper, but there are sample answers and examiner comments in the relevant pages of the C1 Advanced handbook.

Writing checklist – Level C1

Use this checklist to improve your written English and practise for your exam.

Download the Level C1 writing checklist