Faq. Exámenes Cambridge

I have difficulty hearing or speaking. Can I request help to take the Cambridge exam?

Most Cambridge English exams include a listening and speaking test. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have difficulty speaking, we can help you with your exam.

What I need to do?

It may take several months for some special arrangements to be made for you, so you should apply as soon as possible through your Cambridge English exam center. For  IELTS, you must apply through your IELTS test center.

What will the Cambridge English test center do?

Your center:

  • inform you of the application deadline (this may be several months before your exam, depending on any special arrangements you need)
  • request full details of your difficulty
  • arrange to take the test. 

If your center does not have the equipment or space you need (for example, a separate room), they will do their best to help you find another center that does. 

Your center may also ask you to provide a medical certificate.

What special arrangements can I request?

There are many different options - choose what you need from the list below. You or your teacher can ask your center to make the arrangements you need.

1.  Headphones and other equipment.

Most Cambridge English exams have a listening comprehension test, where candidates:

  • read some questions that are printed on a questionnaire
  • listen to a recording
  • Write the answers to the questions on a separate answer sheet.

If you are difficulty hearing, here are some ways we can help you: 

  • If you normally wear a hearing aid, you can use it in the exam, but remember to tell your center before the test.
  • If you normally use devices such as wireless systems or personal FM systems, you can ask the center for permission to use this type of equipment. 
  • If you can listen with the aid of headphones or special amplification equipment, you can ask the center for permission to use this type of equipment to listen to the recording.
  • If you are wearing headphones, your supervisor (the person who will give you the hearing test) should be able to hear and control the recording. This means that they will either hear an external speaker or use a second pair of headphones. You are not allowed to use a personal CD player, MP3 player or other similar device to listen to the recording.
  • If you are using special equipment, such  as special amplification equipment, the center will usually give you your exam in a separate room. 

2. Versions of hearing tests with hearing impairments (lip reading)

For some exams, you can request a hearing-impaired (lip-reading) version of a hearing test. 

Instead of playing a recording, the proctor (the person who will give you your auditive test) will read the material to you. They will read each text two or three times, depending on the test. 

The supervisor will stop reading from time to time during the second reading. This will give you time to write your answers.

Make sure you:

  • can read the lips of a person who speaks English
  • practice with sample work before the exam. 

You may be able to practice lip reading with the person who will give you your hearing test before taking the exam. Ask your center. 

See if you can request a special hearing test for your exam at What modified materials can I have? section of this page.

3. Special Provisions for Speaking Exams 

For most Cambridge English exams (except  IELTS), you must take your exam with a partner. 

If you have difficulties with hearing or speaking, you can request:

  • have extra time if it takes you longer than usual to say things or understand what people are saying
  • Take the test with a partner who is not being tested (for example, someone you know who has already taken the speaking test that day). This can help you read lips more easily.
  • Take the test without a partner - In the parts of the test that usually ask both candidates to talk to each other, talk to the examiner instead. 

See if there is a single candidate version of the speaking test for the test you are taking at What Modified Materials Can I Have? section below.   

You are not allowed to use your signature in a speaking test.

4. Exemptions and endorsed certificates

If you have severe hearing (or speech) difficulties, and the above-mentioned special arrangements are not enough (for example, if you cannot lip-read), you can request an exemption from taking the listening test or speaking test at certain tests. This means that you do not have to take the test.

If you need other access arrangements, contact your test center.

For all Cambridge English exams, you must request the exemption before taking your exam. Request more information from your center.

You can apply for the exemption at: 

  • C2 (CPE)
  • C1 (CAE)
  • B2 (FCE)
  • B2  (FCE)
  • B1 (PET) 
  • Key A2 (KET)
  • Cambridge English: Business Certificates (BEC)
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

If you are allowed the exemption of a component, for example the listening test, your certificate will have 'EXEMPT' printed next to the exempt component.

IELTS Exemption 

For IELTS, you can request an exemption for one component. You will be given a score for the missing component based on your performance on the other parts of the test. This score will be used to calculate your overall IELTS band score.

Your test report form will have the following statement printed on it:

'Due to extreme difficulties speaking / listening (etc.), this candidate was exempted from the speaking / listening test (etc.). The band score of the speaking / listening test (etc.) has been based on the average of the other three band scores'.