Cambridge English Southern Europe

Experts in Language Assessment

Tips and FAQS for the Listening paper of the Cambridge English: Advanced exam

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Here are some tips and answers to questions we often receive on the Listening paper of the Cambridge English: Advanced exam.


  • Listen to and read the instructions to understand what you have to do.
  • Think about the topic, the speaker(s) and the context as you read the questions.
  • Use the pause to read the questions and try to predict the answers.
  • Remember that the order of information matches between the information/questions on the page and the order of information in the recording.
  • Check your answers during the pause between the first and second listening.
  • Copy your answers carefully onto the answer sheet and check that you have followed the numbering correctly.
  • Try to use the actual words you hear on the tape. (Part 2)
  • Check that your answer makes sense in the gap. Look at the information both before and after the gap when checking your answer. (Part 2)
  • Check that your answer is correctly spelled. (Part 2)
  • Copy only the missing words on to the answer sheet. (Part 2)
  • Read through both tasks in multiple matching in the pause before you hear the recording for the first time. (Part 4)
  • Remember that there are two questions for each speaker. (Part 4)
  • Don’t try to write very long answers.
  • Don’t worry if you miss a question. Continue with the next question then listen again for the missing information when you hear the recording for the second time.
  • Don’t leave a blank space on the answer sheet. If you are not sure, guess.
  • Don’t repeat information which is already in the sentences. (Part 2)
  • Don’t panic. There is plenty of time to write your answers as you listen. (Part 2)
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What aspects of listening are tested in the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Listening test?
You may be tested on your understanding of gist, main points, detail or specific information, or your ability to deduce meaning from a text. You may listen to monologues or interacting speakers from a variety of sources.

How many times do candidates hear each text?
You will hear each text twice.

How do candidates record their answers?
You must write all your answers on a separate answer sheet. You can write on the question paper as you listen, but you must transfer answers to the answer sheet. Five minutes are allocated at the end of the test for candidates to do this.

How many marks are given in the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Listening test?
There are 30 questions in the Listening test and each question carries 1 mark. The total score is then adjusted to give a mark out of 40.

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

May 11, 2013 at 10:00 am

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