What is the FCE?
The First Certificate in English (FCE) is a test administered by Cambridge Assessment. The FCE is targeted toward the B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Successful completion of the FCE shows that a person has the language skills needed to communicate with confidence in an English-speaking setting. The FCE For Schools is another version of the test, designed for students.
The FCE is one of a number of Cambridge English Qualifications. Each of the tests aligns with a particular level of the CEFR. There is a paper-based version and a computer-based version of each test. The FCE is a very popular exam that is accepted by businesses and schools around the globe.
The CAE is another test administered by Cambridge, you can check the differences between the CAE and the FCE for more information on which one to take.
What is the format of the FCE?
The FCE is a test of all areas of language ability: reading, writing, grammar, speaking and listening.
There are four sections 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 Use of English part of the FCE tends to be the grammar oriented aspect of the test. The overall length is approximately 3.5 hours. The Speaking test is taken face to face. There are usually two test candidates and two examiners. The idea is to create a more natural and reliable measure of a person’s ability to use English.
The scoring of the FCE
These are the awarded scores: A, B, C (pass), D, E or F (fail).
There are some universities that will accept an FCE A grade on the exam for entry.
FCE uses the following scores to report results from the exam:
Cambridge English Scale Score
The exam is meant for assessment at Level B2 of the CEFR. However, the exam provides a reliable assessment at the level above B2 that is the C1 level and the level below B2 that is the B1 level.
You receive a separate score for each of the four skills on the FCE: reading, writing, listening and speaking and use of English. This provides a test candidate with a clear understanding of his or her performance. The five scores are averaged, and the average is your overall result for the exam.
Each candidate receives a grade and CEFR level. The candidate’s Statement of Results is released online about 4-6 weeks after the exam for paper-based exams, and 2-3 weeks after the exam for computer-based exams.
When can I take the FCE exam?
It is possible to take the FCE exam in most months in either the paper-based or computer-based versions. Normally, the paper-based test is available in the months of March, May, June, August and December. The computer-based test is usually available in the months of February, April, July, August and November. Bear in mind that not every test centre will offer both versions of the exam.
What does it cost to take the FCE?
The fees are set by individual test centres. You should be prepared to pay about €160.
Where can I find FCE exam centre?
Click on the link and go to the CAE webpage.
There are more than 2,800 centres around the world in 130 countries. Each exam centre undergoes inspection by a Cambridge Assessment representative to ensure that all exam standards have been met.
How should I prepare for the FCE?
Become accustomed to the test format as knowing the format of any test improves confidence and greater confidence tends to lead to higher test scores.
Use the online practice materials as a start; they will help you. GlobalExam’s online preparation solution can help you. You will have access to a wide variety of materials along with tips and explanations. Manage your study time so that you study more effectively. You can do this by making a schedule and sticking to it.
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