How to prepare for Listening Section if you are planning to give CPE


In the Listening Section of the Cambridge Proficiency exam, students will hear short recordings of discussions between two speakers. The questions are usually related to marriage. It tests the real-world communication skills of students. Aside from the specific tasks and time constraints of an exam, students can take advantage of plenty of practice opportunities before they sit for the actual test.


Listening 1

Difficulty level: C2 / advanced

During this part of the Cambridge Proficiency exam, you will hear short recordings of conversations between interacting speakers. Each recording will contain two multiple-choice questions.

Listening 2

Difficulty level: C2 / advanced

As you listen to the recording, you need to complete 9 sentences based on what you hear. You can listen to the recording twice.

Common challenges are-

People often miscomprehend statements while interacting, even in their first language. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if they are speaking quickly or if they are using words that we don’t know. Other factors such as the environment can also make it harder to understand.

1.     Pronunciation– The variance of articulations could lead to confusion while decoding the meaning of a sentence.

2.      Dialects– The innumerable regional dialects alter the sounds of words, which could confuse people unaware of certain accents.

3.     Information– The lack of knowledge about a specific topic also limits our ability to express our thoughts on it.

4.     Fluency– Some people are aware of the language rules, but as they aren’t fluent, they misinterpret certain words and structures when spoken in a fast connected speech.

5.     Exposure– If someone is not exposed to a particular language on a regular basis. They might face difficulty interacting using that language.

Sub-skillRefers to?Which part of the exam text this skill?
PredictingConsider what you will hear based on your knowledge of the speaker, the topic, and the contextParts 1, 2, 3 and 4
Listening for gistA general understanding of what you hear.Parts 1, 3 and 4
Listening for key informationThe ability to identify specific words and phrases.Part 2
Listening for detailed understandingA profound understanding of what you hear.Parts 1, 3 and 4

Tips to improve your listening skills for CPE

The goal of a second language learner is to become comfortable with the various listening skills that they will need to be successful in their second language. This can be achieved through consistent practice and an exam that provides structure and focus. Developing listening skills helps students notice and practice all the small things they can do to improve their listening abilities. Doing so allows them to enhance their bottom-up decoding skills.

1.     Check and drill your pronunciation every time you introduce new words or grammar. One can also practice focusing listening through strategies such as dictation and focused listening.

2.     Techniques such as using context can help students improve their listening skills.

3.     Sometimes, listening doesn’t have to mean practising. It can also mean sharing songs or podcasts that you enjoy.

4.     Teaching listening lessons are an opportunity for students to develop their listening skills and improve their understanding.


The Cambridge English Proficiency is a tough English language test that can be used to obtain a C2 level Cambridge English proficiency certificate. For the C2 Proficiency exam, students will benefit from plenty of practice listening to the various types of formal and informal texts they will hear in the test. They will also be able to hear different accents and styles of speaking. Online sources are also available for students to practice their tasks. Access to regular classroom discussions and activities in English. Aside from these, students can also practise answering questions using their written answers.


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