Cambridge ESOL by numbers

I’ve just published a review of Cambridge English Exams The First Hundred Years. Although it’s got plenty of interesting tidbits (many of which I’ve mentioned in my review), the info isn’t exactly easy to find. I’m therefore going to publish this list of interesting numbers and then a much more useful history timeline, both hopefully of use to people needing some background in their writing on the topic, and also possibly of general interest.

 Over a third – The proportion of worldwide FCE exam takers who were Greek in 1986

 Three – The number of candidates who took the first CPE (Cambridge Proficiency in English) test in 1913. None passed.

 9 – The number of UCLES EFL HQ staff in 1988

 12 hours – The length of the first CPE exam in 1913, including two translation papers (from and to French and German), a two-hour essay, a three hour paper on English literature, a ninety-minute paper on phonetics, a thirty-minute dictation, reading aloud, and a conversation

 53 – number of people in a staff photo of the whole of UCLES (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate) in 1953

 60 – The percentage of Cambridge EFL exam candidates entering through British Council offices in 1991

 Under 100 – The number of people taking CPE until 1933, 20 years after it was launched.

 135 – The number of countries with a Cambridge exam centre by the end of the 1990s

 A few hundred per year – The peak of popularity of the DES (Diploma of English Studies, higher than CPE) in its 50-year life

 More than 10,000 – the number of approved Cambridge Oral Examiners in the early 90s

 300,000 – The number of Chinese kids taking the Cambridge YLE tests a few years after their launch there.

 500,000 – The number of people who took TOEFL in 1988, as against 150,000 for all Cambridge ESOL exams.

 1.8 million – People taking IELTS in 2012 (up from 97,250 IELTS candidates in 1999, 10,000 ELTS candidates in 1985 and 4,000 ELTS candidates in 1981)

 Nearly 4 million – Number of people taking Cambridge exams in 2012

This entry was posted in CAE, Cambridge First Certificate, Cambridge Proficiency, Cambridge Young Learner Exams and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Cambridge ESOL by numbers

  1. Art says:

    “…12 hours including a paper on phonetics, reading aloud and a 30′ dictation…” – and where are we now?…

  2. alexcase says:

    Was recently writing about that too, and from what I remember CPE is down to exactly four hours now that they’ve reduced it to four papers.

  3. Gerard Saliot says:

    Nice one………..

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