The Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English (ECPE) is a standardized English as a foreign language (EFL) examination. It is recognized in several countries as official proof of advanced proficiency in the English language and can be used for academic and professional purposes. The ECPE is accepted by some universities as evidence of proficiency in English if the score has been received within the past two years.


The ECPE is aimed at the C2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and is valid for the lifetime of the recipient. Language users at this proficiency level:

  • Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
  • Can summarize information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
  • Can express [themselves] spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.

(Council of Europe, 2001: 24)


The ECPE is a test of general language proficiency in a variety of contexts. The four component skills of listening, reading, writing, and speaking are evaluated through a combination of tasks.

Section Time Description Number of Items
Speaking 30–35 minutes Test takers participate in a semistructured, multistage task involving two examinees and two examiners. 5 stages
Writing 30 minutes Test takers write an essay based upon one of two topic choices. 1 task
Listening 35–40 minutes Part 1 (multiple choice)
A short recorded conversation is accompanied by three printed statements. Test takers choose the statement that conveys the same meaning as what was heard, or that is true based upon the conversation.
Part 2 (multiple choice)
A recorded question is accompanied by three printed responses. Test takers choose the appropriate response to the question.
Part 3 (multiple choice)
Three recorded talks, such as those that might be heard on the radio, are each followed by recorded comprehension questions. The questions and the answer choices are printed in the test booklet. Test takers choose the correct answer from the choices.
75 minutes Grammar (multiple choice)
An incomplete sentence is followed by a choice of words or phrases to complete it. Only one choice is grammatically correct.
Cloze (multiple choice)
Two passages with 10 deletions each are followed by choices of words and phrases to complete the text. Test takers must choose the option that best fills each blank in terms of grammar and meaning.
Vocabulary (multiple choice)
An incomplete sentence is followed by a choice of words to complete it. Only one word has the correct meaning in that context.
Reading (multiple choice)
Four reading passages are followed by comprehension questions. Test takers choose the correct answer from the printed answer choices.


Taking the ECPE

The ECPE is offered at different times during the year. You can take the ECPE each time it is offered. Contact your local test center for more specific information about test dates.

Using Alternate English Accents or Spellings

During the speaking or writing sections of the ECPE, you are allowed to use alternate English accents or spellings. You will not be penalized.

ECPE Test Scoring

The ECPE speaking section is administered by well-qualified, carefully trained, and regularly monitored examiners trained by the test center using Michigan Language Assessment training materials.

The writing section is scored by raters trained and certified according to Michigan Language Assessment standards.

ECPE Test Results

The test center where you took the exam will notify you of your results. You will typically receive your results within two months after taking the exam. The ECPE examination report shows your overall performance (Honors, Pass, or Fail) as well as numerical scores for each test section. Certificates are sent to the test centers for distribution to successful test takers. Find out more in the ECPE results section.

Michigan Language Assessment does not issue duplicate certificates, copies of exam reports or provide replacements for lost certificates. You can order a Michigan Language Assessment Certifying Statement online. The statement will include official confirmation of the performance by a test taker. You may also contact your center to request a letter specifying the test you took, when you took it, and the final result.

Rescore Requests

If you wish to have your ECPE rescored, rescore requests are available.

ECPE Certificates

ECPE test takers who achieve an average score of 650 or higher will be awarded a certificate. Additionally, those who achieve a score of 840 or higher in all four sections will be awarded a Certificate of Proficiency with Honors. An ECPE qualification is valid for life.

A great assessment that can be used for academic or professional purposes!