First Certificate in English - FCE
The First Certificate in English (FCE) is one of the set of exams available from the University Of Cambridge ESOL examinations. FCE exam is for people who can use everyday written and spoken English at an upper-intermediate level. This exam is ideal for people who need to use English for work or study purposes.
Cambridge ESOL is famous worldwide and attaining one of its certificates is an achievement in itself, however there are more benefits to taking the FCE:
- Once awarded the FCE certificate is valid for life
- FCE is an international certificate, recognized all over the world for business and study purposes.
- Thousands of employers, universities and government departments recognize FCE as a qualification at upper-intermediate level English
- FCE gives you the pathway to higher qualifications such as the Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) and Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)
- FCE gives you the confidence to use English in real life situations.
The First Certificate in English is a globally recognized language examination. The FCE is valid for life whereas TOEFL scores expire after 2 years.
Who should take the FCE Exam
FCE is at level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)-and internationally recognized benchmark of language ability. This frame uses six levels to describe language ability from A1 TO C2.
- If you are at B2 level you are expected to:
- Understand the main ideas of complex pieces of writing
- Keep up a conversation on a fairly wide range of topics, express opinions and present arguments
- Produce clear, detailed writing, expressing opinions and explaining the advantage and disadvantage of different points of view
So if you can understand texts from a wide variety of sources and are able to use English to make notes while someone is speaking in English and can converse with people on a wide range of topics, then FCE is the right exam for you.
The FCE exam consists of five sections:
Reading: 1 hour
In the reading section of the FCE test you will be expected to understand fiction and non-fiction books, journals, newspapers and magazines. The test consists of three texts each are approximately 350-700 words in length and you will need to answer a set of questions which include multiple choice, multiple matching or gap filling questions..
Writing: 1hour 20 minutes
The writing section of the test involves two parts, one that is mandatory and the other is chosen from a set of four optional tasks. The first section is usually a transactional letter with strict format. The other part can be a short story, an article, a report, a review or and essay
Use of English: 45 minutes
In this section your command on the English grammar and vocabulary is tested. This section includes four tasks, which include multiple-choice filling, open gap filling, word formation and key word transformation.
Listening: 40 minutes
This section includes four spoken texts. You will need to demonstrate that you understand a range of spoken material. These include news programs, speeches, stories and anecdotes and public announcements
Speaking: 14 minutes
In the speaking section of the test two candidates are interviewed by two examiners on your ability to take part in different types of interactions. The test has four parts. In the first part you are asked personal questions and in part two you are given a photographs to compare and contrast. In the third part the candidates engage in a discussion and part four the candidates and the examiner will discuss a certain topic
Each exam is sent to Cambridge ESOL for marking and grading and the results are sent back to the test centers. Each paper is weighted to 40 marks and the candidates combined score for all papers is used in awarding a grade.
This gives each paper in the exam equal importance. The weighted marks for each paper are then added together to give a combined score, which the grade will be based on.
Each section of the test carries 20% of the total exam mark. Candidates can also access their results through the Cambridge ESOL Results Online website. The pass grades for the taste are A , B and C . Candidates with these grades are awarded a certificate whereas candidates reaching grades D or E do not receive a certificate.
How to register to the FCE Exam
If you are studying English at the moment your tutors will be able to
help you enrolling for the exam.
If you are not currently studying, you can visit your nearest Cambridge ESOL exam centre for information on how to register, fees and dates of the exam and any other question you might have.
You need to be aware that test centres might have registration deadlines that are earlier than those published and also entries cannot be made directly Cambridge ESOL.
If you have any disability or learning difficulty such as dyslexia, special arrangements could be made for you.
Preparing for your exam
Most candidates prefer to take preparation courses run by language
schools and universities. There is also access to a variety of support
materials including short booklets, information for candidates and
sample exam papers, which include sound files for the listening test
Many publishers have also produced a wide range of books and other aids to help you prepare for your FCE exam.