The Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, or CPE, is proof of a C2 level of English according to the Common European Framework. The statements below, produced by the Association of Language Testers of Europe will help you understand exactly what that means for you.
A student with a C2 Listening level should:
- have no difficulty in understanding any kind of spoken language, whether live or broadcast, even when delivered at fast native speed, provided they have some time to get familiar with the accent.
Having a C2 Reading Level means learners should be able to:
- recognise plays on words and appreciate texts whose real meaning is not explicit (for example irony, satire).
- understand texts written in a very colloquial style and containing many idiomatic expressions or slang.
- understand manuals, regulations and contracts even within unfamiliar fields.
- understand contemporary and classical literary texts of different genres (poetry, prose, drama).
- read texts such as literary columns or satirical glosses where much is said in an indirect and ambiguous way and which contain hidden value judgements.
- recognise different stylistic devices (puns, metaphors, symbols, connotations, ambiguity) and appreciate and evaluate their function within the text.
Characteristics of C2 Spoken Interaction is the ability to:
- take part effortlessly in all conversations and discussions with native speakers.
In terms of Spoken Production, C2 level English users can:
- summarise orally information from different sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
- present ideas and viewpoints in a very flexible manner in order to give emphasis, to differentiate and to eliminate ambiguity.
C2 students should possess the Strategy of being able to:
- backtrack and restructure around a difficulty so smoothly the interlocutor is hardly aware of it.
The Language Quality of C2 level English speakers usually means that they:
- can express themselves naturally and effortlessly; They only need to pause occasionally in order to select precisely the right words.
- can convey finer shades of meaning precisely by using, with reasonable accuracy, a wide range of expressions to qualify statements and pinpoint the extent to which something is the case.
- have a good command of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms with an awareness of implied meaning and meaning by association.
- can consistently maintain grammatical control of complex language even when their attention is otherwise engaged.
In Writing, C2 students should be able to:
- write well structured and easily readable reports and articles on complex topics.
- In a report or an essay, give a complete account of a topic based on research they have carried out, make a summary of the opinions of others, and give and evaluate detailed information and facts.
- write a well-structured review of a paper or a project giving reasons for their opinion.
- write a critical review of cultural events (film, music, theatre, literature, radio, TV).
- write summaries of factual texts and literary works.
- write narratives about experiences in a clear, fluent style appropriate to the genre.
- write clear, well-structured complex letters in an appropriate style, for example an application or request, an offer to authorities, superiors or commercial clients.
- In a letter, express themselves in a consciously ironical, ambiguous and humorous way.