Share on

What is the difference between the FCE and the FCE fS version?

The First Certificate in English for schools (FCE fS) is an exam that is administered by Cambridge Assessment. The FCE for schools is aimed the B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), like the original version of the Cambridge FCE test. Cambridge’s First for Schools exam is at the same level as the First Certificate in English (FCE). The FCE fS leads to the same certificate, which is recognized internationally. The only difference between the two exams is that the FCE fS exam content matches the interests and experiences of school-aged students. For example, on the FCE fS, a candidate might see vocabulary related to school or things that students do such as play games.

If you complete the FCE test successfully, it shows that you possess the language skills that are needed to communicate comfortably in an English-speaking environment.

Test my level for free

Who would normally take the FCE fS exam?

Typically, school-aged students that intend to study in an English-speaking country or require a reliable and well-recognized assessment of their English abilities would take the FCE fS.

Classroom with chaires and tables in front of a window.

If you plan on taking the exam, you need to be able to write short reports and emails. Also, they should be to explain an idea or have a discussion in English. Being able to understand general English on TV and in newspapers is needed as well.

What is the format of the FCE fS?

The FCE fS follows the same format as the FCE exam. It is a test of all domains of language ability: reading, writing, grammar, speaking and listening.

There are four parts to the test:

  • Reading and Use of English -75 minutes
  • Writing – 2 essays, 80 minutes
  • Listening – 40 minutes
  • Speaking – interview, normally with another candidate, 14 minutes

The length of the exam is approximately 3.5 hours.

How do they score the FCE fS?

Both the FCE and the FCE fS have the same scoring system. There are scores: A, B, C (pass), D, E or F (fail).

The following scores are used to report results from an exam:

ScoreGradeCEFR level
180–190 AC1
173–179 BB2
160–172 CB2
140–159 B1

The exam is intended for assessment at Level B2 of the CEFR. However, the exam does give a reliable assessment at the level above B2 (the C1 level) and the level below B2 (B1 level) for students. If you think your level might be higher that that, you can sit for the CAE, which assesses levels C1 to C2. Check out the differences between the CAE and the FCE.

When can I take the FCE fS exam?

The exam is held most months in either the paper-based or computer-based versions. Usually, the paper-based test is available in March, May, June, August and December. The computer-based test is usually available in February, April, July, August and November. Not every test centre will offer all versions of the exam, so you need to ask when you are booking a test to ensure that you will have the desired version of the exam on the day of the test.

Where can I find an FCE fS exam centre?

You can check the Cambridge webpage to find a test center near you.

Over 2,800 centres around the world in 130 countries offer the exam. All of the exam centres are inspected by Cambridge English representatives in order to maintain exam standards around the world.

How should I prepare for the FCE fS?

Practice your English each and every day. Read English language materials that are meant for children. Listen to the radio, watch TV or videos online in English. If you are at a lower level of English, take a general English course; it will help you.

Threee pencils on a white table with paper.

Prior to your test date, practice with mock exams. On GlobalExam, you can practice in real exam conditions, thanks to many exercises with corrections and statistics. Register now for free and check our trial version!