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Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English

By Michigan Language Assessment, Michigan (USA)

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  • ECCE is developed by CaMLA, a not-for-profit collaboration between the University of Michigan and the University of Cambridge.
  • The University of Michigan, founded in 1817, is one of the top public research universities in North America.
  • With more than 575,000 alumni, the University of Michigan is a well-known and highly respected presence in higher education and beyond.
  • Cambridge Assessment English, part of the University of Cambridge, has over 100 years of experience assessing English language proficiency in 130 countries.
  • The Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (ECCE) is a standardized high-intermediate level “English as a Foreign Language” (EFL) examination.
  • The ECCE focuses on Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  • The exam has been in use since 1994, but is regularly updated to ensure it reflects current research in language teaching and assessment.
  • The result has lifetime validity.


Significance of ECCE

  • As evidence of high-intermediate competence in English for personal, public, educational, and occupational purposes
  • To provide evidence of the fluency level of English to employers
  • When applying for a job or a promotion, or when conducting business with companies worldwide.


ECCE Level

  • The ECCE is aimed at the B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and is valid for the lifetime of the recipient.
  • Language users at the B2 competency level:
    • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization.
    • Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
    • Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.


Exam Highlights

Exam Level     


Medium of Instruction


Accepting Countries

More than 20 countries

Exam Duration

2 hours 45 minutes

  • Speaking: 15 minutes
  • Listening: 30 minutes
  • Grammar Vocabulary Reading: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Writing: 30 minutes

Exam Mode


Type of Questions

  • Multiple Choice Questions
  • Descriptive Questions
  • Verbal Questions

Official Website



  • The ECCE is a test of general language competency in a variety of contexts.
  • The four-component skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening are evaluated through a combination of tasks.
  • The first three sections are conducted on the same day, while the Listening section can be before, after, or on the same day of the written exam.


  • Highlights:
    • Duration: 30 minutes
    • Number of questions / items: 1 task
  • Task:
    • The test taker reads a short excerpt from a newspaper article and then writes a letter or essay giving an opinion about a situation or issue.
    • Although there is no word limit, test takers are advised to write about one page.

Grammar Vocabulary Reading (GVR):

  • Highlights:
    • Duration: 90 minutes
    • Number of questions / items: 100 questions
  • Task/s: The questions under this section are divided into 3 parts:
    • Grammar(35 multiple choice questions): An incomplete sentence is followed by a choice of words or phrases to complete it. Only one choice is grammatically correct.
    • Vocabulary(35 multiple choice questions): An incomplete sentence is followed by a choice of words or phrases to complete it. Only one word has the correct meaning in that context.
    • Reading(30 multiple choice questions):
      • Part 1: A short reading passage is followed by comprehension questions. Each passage contains language from a formal written context and is typically no shorter than 225 words. Each passage is followed by 5 multiple-choice questions.
      • Part 2: Two sets of four short texts related to each other by topic are followed by 10 multiple choice questions each:
        • Text A (up to 80 words): a short and realistic text, typical of texts found in newspapers and newsletters.
        • Text B (up to 120 words): a longer text, typical of texts found in advertising material, press releases or correspondence.
        • Text C (up to 120 words): continuous prose, typically taken from genres such as press releases or correspondence.
        • Text D (up to 220 words): paragraphs of continuous prose.


  • Highlights:
    • Duration: 30 minutes
    • Number of questions / items: 50 questions
  • Task/s: The questions under this section are divided into 2 parts:
    • Part 1(30 multiple choice questions): A short recorded conversation is followed by a question. Answer choices are shown as pictures.
    • Part 2 (20 multiple choice questions): Short talks delivered by single speakers on different topics, followed by 4 to 6 questions each.


  • Highlights:
    • Duration: 15 minutes
    • Number of questions / items: 4 stages / tasks
  • Task/s:
    • Test takers participate in a structured, multistage task with one examiner.
    • There are 4 stages / tasks:
      • Task 1 (2–3 minutes): the test taker and the examiner introduce themselves.
      • Task 2 (3–4 minutes): the test taker is given a picture prompt and must ask questions to find out more about the situation.
      • Task 3 (1–3 minutes): the test taker is asked to make a choice between two options, defend their choice and explain why they did not select the alternative option.
      • Task 4 (2–4 minutes): the test taker and the examiner discuss the topic area of the picture prompt in more detail.


Application Details
  • Candidates may contact their center for further details regarding registration information, test dates, costs, availability and location, and if any special accommodation is required.
  • The ECCE is offered at different times during the year.
  • Each test center has more specific information about test dates.
  • Candidates can take the ECCE each time it is offered.
  • This exam is aimed at students who need certification in their ability and skill in reading, speaking, writing and listening in English.
  • It is a more general rather than academic test.
  • The ECCE is taken by school-aged and adult learners living in countries where the common language is not English.
  • It is taken by those who are new to English, and can be taken at a level for those who have already attained a high fluency of English.
  • It is used as official documentary evidence of English language proficiency and is accepted by universities, governments and employers around the world.
  • This exam satisfies the English requirement for many institutes in Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, UK and USA.
  • It can also enhance employability in several corporate organizations and aid in an immigration visa for UK.
  • The scores for all four sections are considered while determining whether the candidate has passed the exam and will receive the certificate.
  • A Low Pass in three sections and nothing less than a Borderline Fail must be achieved by the candidate to pass the exam and to be able to receive the certificate which may be construed as cut off.
  • Any candidate who secures less than the above is not eligible to receive the certificate.
  • The ECCE section scores are reported in five bands as below, in the order from highest to lowest:


Listening & GVR

Writing & Speaking

High Pass (HP)



Pass (P)



Low Pass (LP)



Borderline Fail (BF)



Fail (F)




  • Candidates will typically receive their results within two months after taking the exam.
  • The ECCE examination report shows the candidate’s overall performance (Honors, Pass or Fail) as well as numerical scores for each test section.
  • The candidate’s concerned test center will notify the results to them and will issue their score report.
  • Certificates are sent to the test centers for distribution to successful test takers.
  • Candidates are required to contact their concerned test center if they need to replace a certificate due to loss, damage, or incorrectly spelled name.
  • The listening and GVR (grammar, vocabulary, and reading) sections of the ECCE are evaluated electronically at Michigan Language Assessment using an advanced mathematical model based on Item Response Theory that ensures the ability required to pass a section, or to receive a high score.
  • The IRT remains the same from year to year and it can provide accurate scoring with flexibility using information from all answers across the different sections.
  • It can also be seen as aggregate scoring, which gives students, who are weak in a certain area, the benefit of performing better in the area they are stronger at.
  • Test taker scores on the four sections of the exam are taken into consideration in determining who passes the exam and receives a certificate.
  • The result of ECCE has lifetime validity.


ECCE Scorecard Details

  • Test takers receive a CaMLA Examination Report, which has the following information:
    • A score for each section (0–1,000), with a brief description of the test taker`s performance
    • An overall result (Honors/Pass/Fail), which is calculated by averaging the scores received for each section



  • Candidates willing to apply for revaluation of ECCE, have to make a request online within one month of the results.
  • Such candidate will receive their rescore after the request has been processed.
  • A fee of USD $25 is charged for each section.


ECCE Certificates

  • Test takers who achieve an average score of 650 or higher will be awarded a certificate.
  • Additionally, ECCE test takers who achieve a score of 840 or higher in all four sections will be awarded a Certificate of Competency with Honors.


Admit Card
  • The exam conducting authority won’t issue any admit card relating to ECCE.
  • Candidates are advised to contact their registration center and get proper registration number before they proceed to examination.

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