How to Calculate the Score of Your Cambridge Exam

Since I posted the article about the minimum score needed to pass each Cambridge Assessment English exam, I have received many questions by email and comments which proves that most of you guys don’t know how to calculate the score of your Cambridge exam. For this reason, in this post I’m going to tell you exactly how to work out the score of your Cambridge English test. So, because of the popularity, I’m going to focus on Cambridge’s most popular exams nowadays: B1 Preliminary (PET), B2 First (FCE) and C1 Advanced (CAE). So check this out, coz you’re in for some interesting stuff.

How to Calculate the Score of your Cambridge English Exam

In short, in order to calculate the score of any Cambridge test, you simply have to do the following:

  1. Add up the points of each part of the test.
  2. Calculate the percentage of each part.
  3. Calculate the average score of all the parts.
  4. Convert your percentage using Cambridge’s calculator.

However, simple though these steps may seem, the first thing you ought to do if you want to calculate your test score is to know your exam inside out. I mean, you need to know how many parts it’s got and how much each item is worth. For this reason, in the following sections I’m going to outline each test, with all its parts and items, and I’m going to tell you exactly how much each item is worth.

How to calculate the score for A2 Key (KET)

The A2 Key (KET) is made up of 3 different components (a.k.a. papers), and each paper has different parts. Let’s see:

  • Reading: 30 items = 30 points (1 item = 1 point)
    • Part 1: 6 items
    • Part 2: 7 items
    • Part 3: 5 items
    • Part 4: 6 items
    • Part 5: 6 items
    • Minimum score to pass: 20 points
  • Writing: 2 items = 30 points
    • Part 6: 1 item = 15 points
    • Part 7: 1 item = 15 points
    • Minimum score to pass: 18 points
  • Listening: 25 ítems = 25 puntos (1 ítem = 1 punto)
    • Part 1: 5 items
    • Part 2: 5 items
    • Part 3: 5 items
    • Part 4: 5 items
    • Part 5: 5 items
    • Minimum score to pass: 17 puntos
  • Speaking: 45 points in total (not divided into parts or items). In this case, points are assigned to different categories:
    • Grammar & vocabulary: 5 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Pronunciation: 5 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Interaction: 5 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Global: 15 puntos 5 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 3)
    • Minimum score to pass: 27 points

Now we know how much each part is worth in the A2 Key (KET). Now I’m going to explain how to calculate your B1 Preliminary score. Now, pay attention, because there’s math ahead 🤓:

  1. Add up the points for each part separately. For example:  R = 23 points; W = 23 points; L = 19 points; S = 27.
  2. Work out the percentage for each part. To do so, divide each score by the total number of items and multiply by 100. Like this:
    • Fórmula: (points obtained/no. items) x 100
    • R = 23/30×100 = 77%
      W = 23/30×100 = 77%
      L = 19/25×100 = 76%
      S = 27/45×100 = 60%
  3. Calculate the average percentage.
    • Formula: Average = (R + W + L + S)/4
    • My score = (77 + 77 + 76 + 60)/4
    • My score = 73%
  4. Use this calculator to transform the percentage into the Cambridge English Scale score. For instance, if you introduce 72%, it will transform it into 122 points, which means I would have passed.

Finally, if you want to know if you have a low or high score, here’s the different ranges you can get depending on your score:

  • Nivel A1 (Failed): 100 – 119
  • Grade C (Pass): 120 – 132
  • Grade B (Pass): 133 – 139
  • Grade A (Level B1): 140 – 150

How to calculate the score for B1 Preliminary (PET)

Cómo calcular la puntuación del B1 Preliminary (PET) / How to calculate the score for B1 Preliminary (PET)

The B1 Preliminary (PET) test has 4 components (known as papers) and each one has different parts. Let’s see:

  • Reading: 32 items = 32 points (1 item = 1 point)
    • Part 1: 5 items
    • Part 2: 5 items
    • Part 3: 5 items
    • Part 4: 5 items
    • Part 5: 6 items
    • Part 6: 6 items
    • Minimum score to pass:  23 points
  • Writing: 2 items = 40 points
    • Part 1: 1 item = 20 points
    • Part 2: 1 item = 20 points
    • Minimum score to pass: 24 points
  • Listening: 25 items = 25 points (1 item = 1 points)
    • Part 1: 7 items
    • Part 2: 6 items
    • Part 3: 6 items
    • Part 4: 6 items
    • Minimum score to pass: 18 points
  • Speaking: 30 points in total (not divided into parts or items). In this case, the score is assigned to different competences:
    • Grammar & vocabulary: 5 points
    • Discourse: 5 points
    • Pronunciation: 5 point
    • Interaction: 5 points
    • Global: 10 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Minimum score to pass: 18 points

Great. Now we know how much each part is worth in the B1 Preliminary (PET). Now I’m going to explain how to calculate your B1 Preliminary score. Now, pay attention, because there’s math ahead 🤓:

  1. Add up the points for each part separately. For example: R = 21 points; W = 26 points; L = 16 points; S = 19 points.
  2. Work out the percentage for each part. In order to do so, divide the points of each part by the number of items, and then multiply by 100. Like this:
    • Formula: (score/no. items) x 100
    • R = 21/32×100 = 66%
      W = 26/40×100 = 65%
      L = 16/25×100 = 64%
      S = 19/30×100 = 63%
  3. Calculate the average percentage:
    • Formula: Average % = (R + W + L + S)/4
    • My average percentage = (66 + 65 + 64 + 63)/4
    • My average percentage = 64%
  4. Use this calculator to transform the percentage into the Cambridge English Scale score. For instance, if you introduce 64%, it will transform it into 135 points, which means I wouldn’t have passed, as I need at least 140 to pass a B1 Preliminary test.

Finally, if you want to know if you have a low or high score, here’s the different ranges you can get depending on your score:

  • Level A2 (failed): 120 – 139
  • Grade C (Pass): 140 – 152
  • Grade B (Pass): 153 – 159
  • Grade A (Level B2): 160 – 170

How to calculate the score for B2 First (FCE)

Cómo calcular la puntuación del B2 First (FCE) / How to calculate the score for B2 First (FCE)

The B2 First (FCE) has 5 components and each one has a particular number of parts and items. Read the following information carefully, because while the test is done in 4 parts, it has 5 components because the Reading and the Use of English are assessed separately:

  • Reading: 30 items = 42 points
    • Part 1: 8 items (1 item = 1 point)
    • Part 5: 6 items (1 item = 2 points)
    • Part 6: 6 items (1 item = 2 points)
    • Part 7: 10 items (1 item = 1 point)
    • Minimum score to pass:  24 points
  • Use of English: 22 items = 28 points
    • Part 2: 8 items (1 item = 1 point)
    • Part 3: 8 items (1 item = 1 point)
    • Part 4: 6 items (1 item = up to 2 points)
    • Minimum score to pass:  18 points
  • Writing: 2 items = 40 points
    • Part 1: 1 item = 20 points
    • Part 2: 1 item = 20 points
    • Minimum score to pass: 24 points
  • Listening: 30 items = 30 points (1 ítem = 1 point)
    • Part 1: 8 items
    • Part 2: 10 items
    • Part 3: 5 items
    • Part 4: 7 items
    • Minimum score to pass: 18 points
  • Speaking: 60 points in total (not divided into items or parts). In this case, the score is assigned to different competences:
    • Grammar & vocabulary: 5 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Discourse: 5 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Pronunciation: 5 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Interaction: 5 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Global: 20 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 4)
    • Minimum score to pass: 36 points

Okay, so now the process to calculate your score is easy peasy. Pay attention, because I’m going to tell you exactly how to calculate your B2 First score, but be careful not to make a mistake, because it’s pretty easy to mess up. Follow these steps:

  1. Add up the points for each part separately. For example: R = 28 points; UoE = 15 points; W = ; L = 19 points; S = 22 points.
  2. Work out the percentage for each part. In order to do so, divide the points of each part by the number of items, and then multiply by 100. Like this:
    • Formula: (score/no. items) x 100
    • R = 35/42×100 = 83%
      UoE = 20/28×100 = 71%
      W = 18/40×100 = 45%
      L = 27/30×100 = 90%
      S = 36/60×100 = 60%
  3. Calculate the average percentage:
    • Formula: Average % = (R + UoE + W + L + S)/5
    • My average percentage = (83 + 71 + 45 + 90 + 60)/5
    • My average percentage = 70%
  4. Use this calculator to transform the percentage into the Cambridge English Scale score. For example, if you introduce 70%, it will transform it into 169 points, which means I would have passed.

Now, if you want to know if you have a low or high score, here’s the different ranges you can get depending on your score:

  • Nivel B1 (failed): 140 – 159
  • Grade C (Pass): 160 – 172
  • Grade B (Pass): 173 – 179
  • Grade A (Level C1): 180 – 190

How to calculate the score for C1 Advanced (CAE)

Cómo calcular la puntuación del C1 Advanced (CAE) / How to calculate the score for C1 Advanced (CAE)

The C1 Advanced (CAE) has 5 components and each one has a particular number of parts and items. Read the following information carefully, because while the test is done in 4 parts, it has 5 components because the Reading and the Use of English are assessed separately::

  • Reading: 34 items = 50 points
    • Part 1: 8 items (1 item = 1 point)
    • Part 5: 6 items (1 item = 2 points)
    • Part 6: 4 items (1 item = 2 points)
    • Part 7: 6 items (1 item = 2 points)
    • Part 8: 10 items (1 item = 1 point)
    • Minimum score to pass:  32 points
  • Use of English: 22 items = 28 points
    • Part 2: 8 items (1 ítem = 1 point)
    • Part 3: 8 items (1 ítem = 1 point)
    • Part 4: 6 items (1 ítem = up to 2 points)
    • Minimum score to pass:  16 points
  • Writing: 2 items = 40 points
    • Part 1: 1 item = 20 points
    • Part 2: 1 item = 20 points
    • Minimum score to pass: 24 points
  • Listening: 30 items = 30 points (1 item = 1 point)
    • Part 1: 6 items
    • Part 2: 8 items
    • Part 3: 6 items
    • Part 4: 10 items
    • Minimum score to pass: 18 points
  • Speaking: 75 points in total (not divided into items or parts). In this case, the score is assigned to different competences:
    • Grammar: 5 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Lexis: 5 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Discourse: 5 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Pronunciation: 5 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Interaction: 5 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Global: 25 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 5)
    • Minimum score to pass: 45 points

Okay, so now the process to calculate your score is easy peasy. Pay attention, because I’m going to tell you exactly how to calculate your C1 Advanced score, but be careful not to make a mistake, because it’s pretty easy to mess up. Follow these steps:

  1. Add up the points for each part separately. For example: R = 30 points; UoE = 19 points; W = 32 ; L = 25 point; S = 51 points.
  2. Work out the percentage for each part. In order to do so, divide the points of each part by the number of items, and then multiply by 100. Like this:
    • Formula: (score/no. items) x 100
    • R = 30/50×100 = 60%
      UoE = 19/28×100 = 68%
      W = 32/40×100 = 80%
      L = 25/30×100 = 83%
      S = 51/75×100 = 68%
  3. Calculate the average percentage:
    • Formula: Average % = (R + UoE + W + L + S)/5
    • My average percentage = (60 + 68 + 80 + 83 + 68)/5
    • My average percentage = 72%
  4. Use this calculator to transform the percentage into the Cambridge English Scale score. If you type 72%, it will transform it into 190 points, which means I would have passed.

Now, if you want to know if you have a low or high score, here’s the different ranges you can get depending on your score:

  • Nivel B2 (failed): 160 – 179
  • Grade C (Pass): 180 – 192
  • Grade B (Pass): 193 – 199
  • Grade A (Level C2): 200 – 210

How to calculate the score for C2 Proficiency (CPE)

The C2 Proficiency (CPE) test has 5 components (papers) and each of these components has a certain number of parts and items (i.e. questions). Pay close attention to the number of each part because although Reading & Use of English are done together, as one part, they are assessed separately and so some parts belong to Reading and others to Use of English.

  • Reading: 31 items = 44 points
    • Part 1: 8 items (1 items = 1 point)
    • Part 5: 6 items (1 items = 2 points)
    • Part 6: 7 items (1 items = 2 points)
    • Part 7: 10 items (1 items = 1 points)
    • Minimum score to pass:  28 points
  • Use of English: 22 items = 28 points
    • Part 2: 8 items  (1 item = 1 point)
    • Part 3: 8 items  (1 item = 1 point)
    • Part 4: 6 items  (1 item = 2 points)
    • Minimum score to pass:  17 puntos
  • Writing: 2 items = 40 points
    • Part 1: 1 items = 20 points
    • Part 2: 1 items = 20 points
    • Minimum score to pass: 24 points
  • Listening: 30 items = 30 points (1 item = 1 point)
    • Part 1: 6 items
    • Part 2: 9 items
    • Part 3: 5 items
    • Part 4: 10 items
    • Minimum score to pass: 18 points
  • Speaking: 75 points in total (not divided into items or parts). In this case, the score is assigned to different competences:
    • Grammar: 5 points  (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Lexis: 5 points  (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Discourse: 5 points  (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Pronunciation: 5 points  (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Interaction: 5 poinst  (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 2)
    • Global: 25 points (up to 5 points, but multiplied by 5)
    • Puntuación mínima para aprobar: 45 puntos

Awesome. So now the process to calculate your C2 score is easy peasy. Pay attention, because I’m going to tell you exactly how to calculate your C2 Proficiency score, but be careful not to make a mistake, because it’s pretty easy to mess it all up. Follow these steps:

  1. Add up the points for each part separately. For example: R = 29 points; UoE = 20 points; W = 30 points; L = 18 points; S = 49 points.
  2. Calculate the percentage for each part. To do so, divide the points obtained by the total points of each part, and then multiply it by 100. Like this:
    • Formula: (points/no. items) x 100
    • R = 29/44×100 = 66%
      UoE = 20/28×100 = 71%
      W = 30/40×100 = 75%
      L = 18/30×100 = 60%
      S = 49/75×100 = 65%
  3. Work out the average of the 5 percentages:
    • Formula: Average = (R + UoE + W + L + S)/5
    • My score = (66 + 71 + 75 + 60 + 65)/5
    • My score = 68%
  4. Use the following converter to transform the percentage into the Cambridge Scale Score. For example, if you type in 68%, you’ll get 207 points, which means you have passed at Grade C.

Finally, if you want to know how well you made, simply compare your score with the following ranges:

  • Nivel C1 (Failed): 180 – 199
  • Grade C: 200 – 212
  • Grade B: 213 – 219
  • Grade A: 220 – 230

Soooooo, what’s up? Did you manage to calculate the score of your Cambridge Exam? If not, please write a comment below and ask whatever you need to know. I’m here to help you!

And if you think this article is useful, why not share it with other friends, colleagues, students and teachers? And don’t forget to follow KSE Academy on Facebook and YouTube!

Oh, and don’t forget to keep smiling! 😄

20 comentarios en “How to Calculate the Score of Your Cambridge Exam”

  1. Hello from Spain,
    I prepare my students for KET and PET levels. I am aware that in 2020 Cambridge has made some changes in the exams. Though I have a doubt on this matter.
    Would you happen to know if the procedure is the same but just having to readjust the number of items, or have they also made changes in the calculation and scores?
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Luis @ KSE Academy

      Hi Mónica. I wouldn’t know how to answer your question really, but everything is explained in the post. If I remember correctly, they’ve added some parts and changed others. I believe the new scoring procedure is well explained in this post. Let me know if there’s something wrong. Thanks!

  2. Hello Luis,

    thank you for this article. Regarding CPE, are you sure about the minimum score to pass? Does one really need to achieve a minimum grade? cant’ find this information nowhere else 🙂
    (btw reading is 54, not 44 points if my maths are correct)
    thx again

    1. Luis @ KSE Academy

      Hi Vincent! Thanks for your comment. Yes, I’m sure about the minimum score for each part to pass, unless I’ve made a typo or misread, but you can check it out yourself here, page 6 (C2 Proficiency): http://kseacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/Calculating-Scores-2019-2020.pdf

      You’ll also see that it’s 44 points for Reading, not 54. Maybe you’re doing an old exam (before the 2013 changes)?

      Let me know if you have any other questions I might be able to help with. 🙂

      1. The confusion is that you said part 7 counts 2 points for each right question and it actually counts 1. I actually saw this on the link you provided, so thanks. 🙂

        1. Luis @ KSE Academy

          Ah! Totally correct. Sorry, it was probably a copy-paste issue. It was fine in the Spanish version, but not in the English one. Thanks for spotting it and letting me know! I just corrected it.

  3. Thank you very much. Now USE of English and Reading are together, which means your formula still applies but you need to divide the average of the percentage scores by 4 instead of 5, right?
    Your explanation is extremely helpful !

    1. Luis @ KSE Academy

      Hi, Fred. Thanks for your comment. No, not exactly. The Use of English and Reading are still counted separately even though they are done together. And remember, Readind and Use of English is part of the READING, not the UoE. That’s a change from the previous way of scoring. Make sure you follow the instructions on this page and you’ll be good. Let me know if you have any further questions. Take care and Happy New Year!

  4. Hi Luis,
    I’m Ludovico and I have a little question for you about the scores of the singular topic in the exams: when you write «Minimum score to pass …» it means that if I do a lower score in 1 of the 5 parts I don’t pass the exams?. Because in your example in C1 you put R=30 when the minimum is 32.
    Could you explain this please??

  5. Hello I have a question what would happen If you get b1 in one part of the FCE for example the speaking part however the final score is b2

  6. Hello! Thank you for the explanations. Do you have some information on how TKT is scored? There is no information on the Cambridge website and I couldn’t find any searching on the web also.

  7. Hello! Do I fail the cpe exam the overall score is higher than 200 but i have less than the minimum score to pass for one part? (for example if I have 26points at reading, but overall I have a 68% score) Thank you!!!

    1. Luis @ KSE Academy

      Hi, Bianca. Yes, if one of the parts doesn’t reach the minimum score to be evaluated (approx. 32%, if I remember correctly), you will not have the chance to pass the test, as the score for that part is not even reported.

  8. Hi Luis
    First of all let me congratulate you for your excellent work whis is really helpful. I was wondering if you´ve got something similar with BEC exams(CAMBRIDGE Business English Certificates).
    Thanks in advance

    1. Luis @ KSE Academy

      Hi, Mariano. Unfortunately, I don’t have much experience with BEC exams, so I haven’t written anything about them. Sorry!

  9. Hi, yesterday I exercised myself with a B2 level reading and use of English text and in the Reading part I made 24/42 which is the minimum score to pass but when I converted the result It said that I didn’t pass which confused me.

    1. Luis @ KSE Academy

      Hi, Marco! Yeah, sorry. This calculator (and the way of calculating it) isn’t 100% accurate. Cambridge no longer works with percentages, so it doesn’t always work, especially when working with minimum scores. I recommend you try this other website of mine (https://cambridge-score.com/) where you will find an accurate calculator which I will soon be using here. The thing is that you have to forget about percentages. So if you got the minimum score in one part, consider that the minimum score on the Cambridge Scale. For example, if you got 16 points in Use of English in C1, that would mean you have 180 points in the Use of English as per the Cambridge Scale, regardless of the fact that 16 is less than 60% of the total percentage.

  10. Paolo Donadio

    Hi Luis, thanks for your post. A friend of mine tried CPE and he got 199,4. Do you advise to ask for a recount/check?
    Thanks
    Paolo

    1. Luis @ KSE Academy

      Hi there! Thanks for your comment. To be honest, I would not go for that. There’s no guarantee of any change and I’ve rarely seen anyone pass after a recheck. It is costly and usually doesn’t change anything. Good luck to your friend whatever they decide!

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