What to expect on exam day

Learn useful tips and advice on what to do when sitting a Cambridge Assessment English examination.

Written papers

Before the exam

  • Bring a pen, pencil, eraser, your passport/ID and your Confirmation of Entry.
  • Be at the exam venue at least 30 minutes before the start time.
  • Look at the exam signs and locate your designated exam room. The supervisor will inform you when it is time to enter.
  • Keep your Confirmation of Entry handy. Know your candidate number. You will be placed in a specific exam room and desk based on your candidate number.

During the exam

  • Switch off your mobile phone, including any alarms/reminders.
  • Switch off any other electronic devices, including alarms on your watch.
  • Place mobile phones and other unauthorised items (books, bags, etc) in the designated area.
  • You may keep a bottle of water, but place it on the floor next to your desk, so as to avoid any accidents.
  • After you are seated, an invigilator will ask to see your passport/ID and your timetable, in order to confirm that you are the indeed the correct candidate.
  • The invigilators will distribute the question papers (and in some cases a separate answer sheet and/or rough paper)
  • If the name printed on your question papers is not correct, please inform the supervisor immediately.
  • The supervisor will give specific instructions for each paper. Please pay attention and ask the supervisor if you have any questions about the procedure.
  • Read the instructions on the front of the question paper (and the separate answer sheet if relevant).
  • Do not to open the question papers until the supervisor tells you to do so.
  • The supervisor will inform you about the duration of each paper. Make sure that you complete all tasks in the allocated time as you will not be allowed any extra time to transfer your answers.
  • The supervisor will inform you if you need to use a pencil or a pen in order to complete your answers in each paper.
  • Writing: please write within the grey lines in the spaces provided on the question paper. You will be provided a blank sheet of paper to use as draft.
  • Listening: the test is divided into sections, and the recording on the CD is complete in itself, with all necessary pauses and instructions to candidates. Each part will be heard twice. You will be given time to transfer your answers and the CD will inform you when the test is finished.
  • You must not talk, copy, keep or use unauthorised items (such as mobile phones) because you risk being disqualified.
  • If you wish to go to the toilet, an invigilator must accompany you for security reasons. No extra time will be given for a toilet break.
  • Please raise your hand if you need anything. 
  • The supervisor will remind you when you reach the last 10 and 5 minutes before the end of the written papers.

After the exam

  • At the end of the test you will be asked to put down your pen or pencil.
  • The invigilators will collect all question papers, answer sheets and rough work before you are permitted to leave the exam room. You must remain seated while this happens.
  • Before leaving the room, make sure that you take all your personal belongings with you.
  • Make sure that you keep a copy of your Confirmation of Entry. You will be able to access your results with the ID number and Secret number in the Confirmation of Entry.

Reporting of Incidents

If something happens during the exam that may have affected your performance (e.g. if you were ill during the test or if a loud noise affected your Listening test) you must inform the supervisor immediately.

Speaking paper

  • Take your passport/ID and your Confirmation of Entry with you.
  • Be at the exam venue at least 20 minutes before the scheduled start time
  • Look at the exam signs and locate the speaking exams area.
  • The supervisor will check your photo ID against the attendance register. Once this is checked, you must remain in the designated speaking exam area until your test.
  • While you are waiting to be examined, please keep quiet so as to avoid disrupting the exams of other candidates.
  • If there is an error in the spelling of your name, please inform the supervisor and he will make a note of the correction.
  • Switch of your mobile phone (and other electronic devices). Place your belongings in the designated area .
  • The speaking tests are in pair format. The supervisor will specify which of the other candidates will be paired with you, in accordance with the timetable.
  • In case of absences, the pairs will be re-arranged in order to avoid delays.
  • You will be given a personalised mark sheet; do not fold, crease or write on it. You must hand it to the examiner when you enter the room.
  • Where there is an uneven number, the last candidates taking the test will form a group of three. The exams cannot be conducted with a single candidate.

Test day photography

In accordance with the Cambridge Assessment English regulations, test day photography is compulsory for all candidates sitting the following exams: First (FCE), Advanced (CAE) and Proficiency (CPE). Photos may be taken on the day of the written tests or speaking test.
We will process registrations for candidates under 18 years of age whose parent/legal guardian refuses to consent to the test day photography procedure; however please note that a photo cannot be added to the candidate’s result at a later date.