A guide to the exam, with advice on preparing for the exam, tips for exam day and useful links.
Download C2 Proficiency information for candidates
C2 Proficiency is the highest-level qualification – proof that you are a highly competent speaker of English. C2 Proficiency is made up of four papers developed to test your English skills.
The C2 Proficiency Reading and Use of English paper has different types of text and questions. In one part, you may have to read one long text or three or more shorter, related texts. This paper accounts for 40% of the total mark.
In the two parts of the C2 Proficiency 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.
January 2020 – December 2021
Nick Hornby: About a Boy (any edition)
Teachers may choose to prepare candidates for questions on this set text by studying the film directed by Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz (2002) as well as, or instead of, the novel.
Dodie Smith: I Capture the Castle (any edition)
Teachers may choose to prepare candidates for questions on this set text by studying the film directed by Tim Fywell (2000) as well as, or instead of, the novel.
Candidates should not attempt the optional set text question in Part 2 unless they have the necessary understanding of the text to answer the task set.
Teachers are best placed to judge which, if any, of the set texts and/or film version may be appropriate and stimulating for a given teaching situation.
The C2 Proficiency 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.
The C2 Proficiency Speaking test has three parts and you take it together with another candidate. There are two examiners. One of the examiners (the interlocutor) conducts the test and the other examiner (the assessor) listens to what you say and takes notes. Both examiners give marks for your performance. This paper accounts for 20% of the total mark.
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 C2 Proficiency 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.
C2 Proficiency FAQs
Exam day tips – paper-based exams
Exam day tips – computer-based exams
Exam day tips – Speaking test
C2 Proficiency paper-based sample tests
Watch this tutorial before you start to help you understand what you need to do.
Reading and Use of English sample test
Writing sample test
Listening sample test
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 C2 Proficiency handbook.
Use this checklist to improve your written English and practise for your exam.
Download the Level C2 writing checklist
A document containing detailed comments on the student performances, seen in this video. It also includes information on the format of the Speaking test and how it is assessed.
Download examiner’s comments