What to expect on your Cambridge exam day

Cambridge Exam Day – What To Do

What to do on the day of your Cambridge English exam???

When do you need to get there?

What do you have to bring?

What are you NOT allowed to bring?

How does everything work?

We always talk about practising and preparing for the exam, but in this article, we are going to find out what to do before, during and after the test itself.

Most of the conversation around Cambridge exams is about techniques and strategies and how to score high marks.

However, my students always have tons of questions about exam day and what exactly is going to happen.

So, I think it makes sense to break this article up into what to do before the test…and I mean THE DAY BEFORE as well as on the day and directly before you get started, during the exam, meaning what you are allowed or not allowed to do and what typically happens, and after the test, for example, if you have to stay back afterwards or how long it takes to receive your results.

I’m excited about this one because I’ve prepared a lot of useful information for you, so let’s get started.

What To Do Before The Exam

First of all, it is a great idea to register for Cambridge’s Online Result Service because you can access your results faster than waiting for the physical statement of results.

On your Confirmation of Entry letter, which you receive from Cambridge after you’ve signed up for your exam, you can find an ID number as well as a Secret number (magic effect) (not my choice of words)

Those details you can use to create an account for the Online Result Service. Click the link right HERE to go straight to the website. Do this as soon as you get the confirmation of entry letter so you can forget simply about it.

But what should you do the DAY before your test? You are probably already pretty nervous and want to practise some more just to make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything.

I say DON’T. Instead, try to relax and focus on organisational things. Check again, what exact time your test starts and where exactly you have to go. Also, check how long it might take you to get there. Will you have to expect a lot of traffic or can you arrive quickly?

Pack the things you need to bring. For the Speaking test, you only need a valid ID and your confirmation of entry. For the written components, also pack a pen, pencil and eraser and if you want, some water in a clear bottle.

And, don’t forget to do something you enjoy and take your mind off the exam for a little while. Eat well at dinner and go to bed early.

Do something you enjoy on your Cambridge exam day
Don’t hide, but do something you enjoy the day before your exam.

Keep This In Mind On Exam Day

The first thing you want to ensure on your Cambridge exam day is that you arrive at the test location ahead of time. Be there at least 20 minutes before you get started so you can register, find your desk and, for example, go to the toilet.

If you are taking B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency, the test centre will take a photo of you for identification purposes. Listen to what the supervisors say to you and follow their instructions.

You probably wonder: What happens once the exam starts? In your speaking test, you simply get started. The examiners introduce themselves and you get right into it. For the written components, the invigilators who are in the room with you will give you very detailed instructions about the component you are taking.

Listen carefully so you don’t make any unnecessary mistakes during the test. Don’t speak to anyone and focus on your own exam. If you have a question or problem, simply raise your hand and someone will come to your desk.

Remember that you can’t bring your phone or any other electronic devices into the room with you. The test centre will, however, provide a space for you to store your personal belongings securely so don’t worry.

There will be a clock or a timer in the room as well, so you always know how much time you have left. When the time is up, stop writing immediately and wait until the supervisor tells you that you can leave the room.

You cannot access your belongings during the breaks, but they are typically just a few minutes long and you continue with the next exam paper straight away until you have finished all the parts.

Once you finish the last written component or at the end of your speaking test, simply leave quietly and enjoy the fact that it is all over.

After The Exam

After the exam, the only thing that’s left for you to do is wait for your results. It typically takes about a month to a month and a half until you know your scores.

Again, if you’ve signed up for the Cambridge Online Result Service, you will have faster access to your scores than waiting for the physical version.


This article is a little bit shorter, but I still hope that you have learned a couple of things you were not aware of before.

Remember that everything is very well organised and as long as you show up on time and bring the required documents, you should be able to fully focus on the test and on doing well.

If you want, I can also be your teacher. I offer online classes and writing feedback so I can be by your side all the way up until your exam.

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