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What are the FCE levels?

The First Certificate Exam, or FCE, is a very popular general English exam for students who wish to obtain a qualification demonstrating an upper-intermediate level of English. It is well-recognised and accepted by many universities and businesses as a reliable English language test. It was also recently renamed Cambridge: B2 First, if you wish to search for further information.

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What is the Cambridge English Scale?

In the exam reports that Cambridge English sends to candidates, scores are given according to the Cambridge English Scale which aligns with the Common European Reference Framework (CEFR). Therefore after taking FCE, which is equivalent to CEFR B2, candidates receive a statement of results in addition to their certificate which details scores on a scale from 122 to 190.
Moreover, as scores are presented so precisely on the Cambridge English Scale, it is also easier to compare results with other exams such as IELTS. For example, FCE is equal to band levels 5.5 to 6.5 in IELTS or a score of 60 to 75 in BULATS.

What is are the scores for FCE levels?

A score between 140 and 159 is a fail at B2 level, but indicates ability at B1 level, as such a B1 level certificate is issued. A score at B2 level is between 160 and 190. You can then get a grade of A, B or C which indicates more precisely if you passed the exam with a high, middle or low B2 Grade. Candidates at A grade receive a score of 180 – 190, at B grade 173 – 179 and at C grade 160 – 172. Moreover, there is some overlap between the B2 and C1 levels. If a candidate has an average of more than 180 points, which is a grade A at B2 level, this qualifies as a Grade C at C1 level. The student will still be issued with a B2 certificate but the Statement of Results will serve as proof of C1 ability.

How is the FCE level calculated?

On the Statement of Results candidates will get a score on the Cambridge English Scale for each of the four papers they sit in the FCE exam; Reading and Use of English, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The final grade is calculated based on an average of the four results. So a student who scores 171 in Reading (grade C), 179 in Use of English (grade B), 162 in Writing (grade C), 168 in Listening (grade C) and 179 in Speaking (grade B) will pass the exam with a C grade at B2 level.

 Prepare for FCE with GlobalExam

On the GlobalExam learning platform you can access example tests and practise each part of the four papers. All the exercises have answers and there are also model answers for the Writing paper. You can also improve specific language skills by using the Study Sheets, these are categorised according to the exam and the CEFR, meaning you can practise the exact vocabulary, grammar and language functions expected at B2 level. There are also study plans which are adapted to the amount of time you have available to study for the exam; seven days, one month or three months.