CAE Listening Part 1

CAE Listening Part 1

The CAE Listening Part 1 is the first part of the C1 Advanced Listening paper. This part of the exam is designed to test your listening skills while hearing various people having conversations about a variety of topics. This page will take you through the format, best techniques and practice exercises for this part of the exam.

Do you find it difficult to understand English people speaking?

Do you think ‘listening’ is the most difficult exam paper?

Well…you are not alone…


I asked this question to my YouTube audience a few weeks ago and this was their response:

CAE Listening Part 1

If you want to connect with me on YouTube, subscribe here and then head over to the ‘COMMUNITY’ tab to see more posts like this.

CAE Listening Part 1 Format & Technique Dictation Video


You can learn the format and best technique to use in the CAE Listening Part 1 by watching the video below. As the video is a dictation exercise, it will simultaneously improve your listening, writing and reading skills. I have included a CAE writing question at the end of the video for you….

Sorry, the video below is available for Gold members only…sign up here and the picture will magically turn into a video!

cae listening part 1

Here is the dictation passage from the video so you can check whether you made any mistakes with your writing:


In part 1 of the Listening paper, you listen to three different situations (extracts). These are normally two people having conversations in different contexts.

You have to answer 2 multiple-choice questions (a,b,c) for each situation.

There are 6 questions in total, but you listen to 1 extract, answer 2 questions, then listen to the second extract, answer 2 questions, then listen to the final extract and answer the final 2 questions.

Remember there will be ‘distractors’ which try to make you choose the wrong answer. The following technique should help avoid these ‘distractors’:


  1. Before listening to each extract, you have 15 seconds to read the 2 relevant questions. During these 15 seconds, cover the a,b,c options with your hand and just read the 2 questions. 
  2. With your hand covering the a,b,c options, underline the key words in the questions.
  3. Listen the first time and think what is the answer for each question, while keeping your hand over the a,b,c options.
  4. When you think you know the answer and before the second listening, remove your hand and read the a,b,c options. Choose the option which is most similar to your thinking. Put a mark next to that answer.
  5. The second time you listen, confirm your answer. 

Question: Proposal

Answer the following question in 220-260 words. Write your answer in an appropriate style.

There are plans to remove CAE Listening part 1 from the CAE: C1 Advanced exam. You feel that this part of the exam should be kept. You decide to write a proposal to Cambridge English explaining why you think the part should remain, suggesting what could be done to improve it and how the task could benefit more English students.

Write your proposal.


1: Download this document to your computer.

2. Go to the ‘Dictations’ sheet at the bottom of the spreadsheet and record the number mistakes you made:

CAE Listening Part 1 Format

For those of you who are not members, I’ll summarise some of the information from the dictation above for you.

In the CAE listening part 1, you need to listen to 3 different conversations, normally between 2 people. There are 6 questions in total, so you have to answer 2 questions per conversation.

The questions are multiple choice with a,b,c options. Remember you get to listen to every listening track 2 times!

The exam is often tricky because there are some words and phrases (distractors) which try to make you choose the wrong answer.

CAE Listening Part 1 Practice

Here is another video I made. It’s a couple of years old, but the information is still relevant. The numbers from the technique I show you may not be exactly the same, but the basis of the technique is the same as the newer one I teach in my dictation video above.

Whether or not you have watched the dictation video above, you should still watch the video below and make notes of the key points. This will consolidate your knowledge and I cannot stress enough how important it is to remember the format and technique in the exam. It will help you get higher marks!

There are also references in the video below where you can find and complete practice exercises with me. Watch till the end of the video and complete the homework exercise.

Handbook for Teachers
CAE Listening Questions
CAE Listening Part 1 Extract 1 Audio File
CAE Listening Part 1 Extract 2 Audio File
CAE Listening Part 1 Extract 3 Audio File
Listening Answer Key – page 2

CAE Listening Part 1 Homework

Let’s complete an exercise based on the information we learned above. You’ll see two pictures below with information on this page but they are separated into different parts (A, B, C, D). You have to answer the questions below the pictures:

cae reading part 6 exercise based on cae listening part 1

cae reading part 6 exercise based on cae listening part 1 - 2


It’s possible that more than one question below might have the same answer…

Which part of the passage above:

  1. tells you to put your hand over the multiple-choice options
  2. tells you to underline certain words in the question
  3. states there is more than one question per scenario
  4. states there is a technique which can help you to avoid distracting information


  1. C
  2. C
  3. B
  4. B

Don’t worry if you didn’t get all of those answers correct. Actually it was good to practise that exercise anyway as it’s the same type of exercise you’ll face in part 6 of the CAE Reading paper. Anyway, we’ll learn more about that later. For now, click the ‘Next Page >>’ link below and keep following the order of the course…


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