CAE CourseCambridge English Test Preparation

Cambridge C1 Advanced | Frequently Asked Questions

Cambridge C1 Advanced | Frequently Asked Questions

Students ask me questions about the Cambridge C1 Advanced exam every day. I think these are questions that other students want to know too. Sometimes this information is hard to find, so I created this page for you. I hope to keep adding new questions and improving this page in the future, so if you have any questions or suggestions, write a comment below!

General Exam FAQs

Here is a video from my last members only Zoom meeting. The students sent me 8 questions which we discuss:


"What happens if I fail just one part of the CAE exam?"

My response:

"If you average above 60% across all the exam papers, you will pass. It doesn't matter if you fail one ;)"


"Since I am going to do the computer exam, will I be given a piece of paper?
Thanks for your useful material again!"

My response:

"Good question. Yes, you are given a pen and a piece of paper in the computer based exam.

You can also write notes on the computer.

If you are doing the computer based exam I recommend watching this video:

Also, this facebook group is really useful:

I hope this helps."



Hi, can you tell me about the format of the exam day?

My response:

Hey, I can do one better, I recently made a video about this exact topic:



I feel really unprepared for my exam and it's in a couple of weeks, what do you advise?

My response:

If it makes you feel any better, you're not the only one in this situation. This video has some really important information for you:



"Hello, I got my CAE exam grade some weeks ago, but I definitely don’t agree with it. I heard there is a way to submit enquiries about our results, after we pay a fee for it. Do you know if there are big chances of having any changes in our grades after we do that? Do you think it’s worth it paying for it to try to get any changes? Or do you think it’s not very likely to happen?"

My Response:

"That's a good question. Can you see how you did in the Speaking part? I don't think you can get this part marked again. From what I remember, the process of getting the paper marked again can be long and expensive and I remember hearing that resitting the test is a better idea. Do you need the certificate for a specific reason?

Here's a website with a good discussion about this topic:


"Can I write with a pen or pencil?"

My response:

"You write with a pencil and in capital letters. For the writing paper you can write in small letters."



"Do you think that idioms like 'off the charts' 'to a T' or 'in over my head' are good to use in the CAE or even CPE speaking and maybe writing exam?"

My response:

"I think those phrases are good to use in the Speaking exam because if used correctly, they are good examples of less common vocabulary. Whether or not they are suitable for the writing exam depends on the question. These phrases would be good to add emphasis when more informal writing is required. If you want to know what language to use in the writing exam and other useful information, check out my CAE writing course, or read my CAE writing samples e-book."

Writing Exam FAQs


"I have two questions:
First of all (and this goes for the essays as well), do I need to leave a blank space between each separate paragraph in my sheet?
Second of all (this regards strictly proposals and reports), do I need to underline, or maybe put a colon after each heading?"

My response:

"Hi, I would leave a blank space to make it obvious it's a separate paragraph.
For a report I wouldn't put a colon but I would underline the headings.
For a proposal I think you can choose to underline the headings or not and I wouldn't put a colon.
I hope this helps.
If you want more advice, you should check out some of the writing pages I have on my website:"


"Should I underline the headlines of the report and the proposal? And if so, how can I do it in the computer based exam? "

My response:

I would underline the headlines for the report and proposal.

I'm not sure if there is an option to underline on computer. If you don't see that option, don't worry, just make sure you make it clear they are headings with correct paragraphing.


"I am writing with reference to CAE writing part. I would be very grateful if you take a little bit time and answer my questions.

Firstly, I would like to know if the addressing part (To:.., From:..., Subject:...; Date:...) is needed for proposals and reports. My teacher said I should put just in case. Furthermore, I wanted to make sure if I had the right belief about titles. As I have understood, there essay, purpose, report, letter do not require a title.

Thank you for reading my email!"

My response:

"In the exam samples I have seen, some proposals have 'to', 'from' and 'subject' and some don't. Here is an example: CAE Proposal.

The report examples I have seen do not have 'to', 'from' and 'subject'.

I would write a title and subheadings for proposals and reports.

Some essay examples I have seen have titles and some don't.

I would not write a title for a letter but I would write 'Dear ...'

This is a bit complicated, but I hope it helps!"


"Can I use words abbreviations like “can’t”, “I’m” or “shouldn’t”?

My response:

It depends on the writing and who the target reader is. Contractions are fine in informal writing, but not in formal writing. Most essays are formal and so you shouldn’t use contractions.

Speaking Exam FAQs


There is a question regarding the speaking part of the exam that has been bugging me for a while now and i haven't stumbled upon a satisying answer yet. Can my speech be informal? Can I use expressive language like "dirt cheap" or "make a killing" and stuff like that? Or is it considered inappropriate?


My advice would be to try and use more academic language if you can, but I don't think you will be penalised for using informal language. Your focus should be to try and use a range of simple and complex grammar as well as a range of vocabulary. The key in part 2 is to show a language of speculation and comparison. I hope this helps... and remember to smile a lot in the exam too, that gives the examiner a good impression of you

Cambridge C1 Advanced FAQs Conclusion

I will update this page with more Cambridge C1 Advanced questions soon.

If you have any questions, you can write them in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Or have a look at some other Cambridge exam preparation pages here.

Next Page >>

The next page is a place for you to chat with other members of the website, hear from past students and offer other general advice and suggestions.

Have a read what a recent CAE student said here.

2 thoughts on “Cambridge C1 Advanced | Frequently Asked Questions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.