Cambridge Advanced (CAE) Listening

To know how to pass the CAE (Certificate of Advanced English) you need to get familiar with how it’s structured. The CAE is actually similar to other English tests in that it is divided into five parts: Use of English, Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening, which I’ll give more detail about in this entry.


If you do an internet search for information about how the CAE Listening section is structured, you’ll probably find some useful information on the official Cambridge English website, where some different exercises and examples are available. In the listening portion you’ll be required to understand: details, sensations, interpretation of context, functions, agreements, opinions, intentions, and specific information. The recordings you’ll hear the day of the test will be based on “international English”, so they will include a variety of accents, such as British, Australian, or North American. You’ll need to be able to understand how English is used coming from lots of different voices and contexts.


You’re allotted 40 minutes for the Listening portion. You’ll be given 30 questions, all based on brief extracts that are played for you. Your answers (which are all multiple-choice) need to be completed on a separate answer sheet. There are four parts of the Listening portion. The first is based on three brief listening extracts, which will be dialogues, and then there are two multiple-choice questions for each one. In the second part you’ll listen to a monologue. Then, you’ll be given eight phrases to complete with a word or short answer. In the third part you’ll listen to two speakers and then respond to six multiple-choice questions. The fourth and last part is based five dialogues on a particular theme and then ten related multiple-choice questions. For each correct answer you’ll receive one point.

Examples on of Listening portion

If you want a better idea of how the Listening portion is structured, You Tube can be an unending source of example videos.

CAE Listening exercises

Practice is really important for being able to pass the test. On the Exam English website you’ll find extracts to listen to and answer related practice questions.

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