The FCE is a language examination provided by Cambridge English Language Assessment. There are two versions of the FCE – one for adults and one for schools. Both versions assess at the same level, have the same exam format (four papers) and lead to the same qualification – the FCE. The only difference between the two versions is that the topics in the ‘for Schools’ version have been targeted at the interests and experiences of school-age learners.
FCE exam papers
The four papers are Reading and Use of English; Writing; Listening; and Speaking. Both Cambridge English: First and Cambridge English: First for Schools offers candidates the choice of taking their exam on either a computer or on paper. The Speaking test is taken face-to-face with two examiners and two candidates, providing a realistic and reliable measure of ability.
- The Reading and Use of English paper has seven parts. Candidates are expected to understand different types of text, such as fiction, newspapers, promotional and informational materials.
- The Writing paper has two parts. Part 1 has one compulsory question and involves writing an essay. In Part 2, candidates are given three options and are asked to write one of the following using between 140 and 190 words: an article, email/letter, report, or review.
- The Listening paper has four parts and includes a mixture of monologues and dialogues from a range of familiar sources, such as news programmes, radio broadcasts, speeches and public announcements.
- The Speaking test has four parts and is conducted face-to-face, with one or two other candidates and two examiners. Candidates are expected to be able to participate in discussions, express opinions, exchange ideas and reach decisions through negotiation.
The FCE (First Certificate English) is usually followed by the CAE
Writing paper (1 hour and 20 minutes)
Listening paper (approximately 40 minutes)
Speaking paper (4 parts in 14 minutes)
Reading and Use of English (1 hour 15 minutes)
The First (FCE) qualification shows that you have the language skills to live and work independently in an English-speaking country. It leads onto the CAE – Cambridge Advanced English
FCE book list
- Cambridge English. Compact First. Student’s Book with answers. Profile English B2 + CD
- Complete First Student’s Book with answers + CD
- Objective First Student’s Book with answers
- Rawdon Wyatt Check Your Vocabulary FCE Vocabulary