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WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE FCE EXAM



1. What is the exam for?

A Cambridge English: First (FCE) qualification proves you have the language skills to live and work independently in an English-speaking country or study on courses taught in English.

This exam is the logical step in your language learning journey between Cambridge English: Preliminary (PET) and Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE).


2. How long should I need to study in order to be ready?

It takes approximately 200 guided learning hours for a language learner to progress from one level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to the next.

For example, a candidate who has passed Cambridge English: First (FCE), aligned to level B2 on the CEFR, might need approximately 200 hours of lessons and supervised study to prepare for the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE), which is aligned to level C1.

Common European Framework Guided Learning Hours (from beginner level)



3.   What is the test format and how long will it take?



4. When and where can I take the exam plus the cost? 

Arrange with your closest test centre. The FCE test can be taken most months in either paper-based or computer-based format. Not all test centres will administer both types of test.

Fees are set by test centres. There are two examination centres in Liverpool: Liverpool School of English and LILA. The fee to take the exam in both centres is £120.


5. Is the test completed in one day?

Reading and use of English, writing and listening papers are usually completed on the same day. Your centre will arrange the date for your Speaking test. You will take this test up to several days before or after the other papers. For more information, contact your centre.


6. What mark do I need to pass the exam?

You need 60% to pass the FCE with a grade C (scores between 160-172). Grade B (scores between 173-179) is 75%, and grade A (scores between 180 -190) is 80%. The average grade of the five papers is calculated, and you do not necessarily have to achieve 60% on every paper in order to pass.


 7. What happens if I failed the exam? What happens if I get full marks? 

Your grade shows how well you did in the exam. If you achieved a grade A, this means you performed exceptionally well and that your English is above B2 level, the level of Cambridge English: First. Your certificate will show that you received the First Certificate in English and that you showed ability at Level C1. If you achieve a grade B or C in the exam, you will receive the First Certificate in English at Level B2. If your performance is below B2 level, but within B1 level, you will get a Cambridge English certificate stating that you showed ability at Level B1.


8.How long is the test valid for?

Your Cambridge English exam result/certificate does not have an expiry date. It shows that on a particular date you demonstrated language skills at a specified level.

Individual institutions (such as universities, employers, professional organisations and government bodies) can choose how long to accept results for. Some institutions will only accept certificates taken within the last 2 or 3 years, although many will take into account evidence that you have taken action to maintain or improve your level of English since taking your exam. Please speak to the institution that you wish to apply to if you have any doubts.

Applications for a visa to study or live in a country may also require that you hold an English qualification that was taken within a specified period (within the last two years for example). We strongly advise that you check the regulations for that country carefully before making an application.


9. How are the separate scores for Reading and Use of English determined?

On your Statement of Results and your certificate, you receive a Cambridge English Scale score for Reading and a separate Cambridge English Scale score for Use of English (as well as Writing, Listening and Speaking). On the Reading and Use of English paper, the Reading score is derived from Parts 1, 5, 6 and 7, and the Use of English score is derived from Parts 2, 3 and 4.


10. Do I have to pass each paper in order to pass the whole examination?

No. Your overall performance is calculated by averaging the scores you achieve in Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking and Use of English. The weighting of each of the four skills and Use of English is equal.


11. Do I know my partner for the speaking exam? 

You can check this with your test centre. In some centres, candidates from the same school do the Speaking test together. In other centres, where candidates from several different schools do the test at the same time, you may have a partner from another school.


12. How long should I spend on each part of the test?

Reading and use of English: Within this 75-minute paper, there is no time limit for each task. Some tasks may take longer than others and you should be aware of how long you need for different tasks. However, remember that each of the seven parts is worth approximately the same number of marks overall. Doing some practice tests should help you with timing your answers.

Writing: This is up to you. However, remember that both parts are worth the same number of marks. You should allow time for planning before you start writing each task, and for checking your work after you have finished. Overall the paper lasts 1 hour 20 minutes


13. When do I get my results?

Statements of Results are released online, approximately four to six weeks after the exam for paper-based exams, and two weeks after the exam for computer-based exams. To receive your result online, you will need your candidate ID number and secret number. These can be found on the Confirmation of Entry sheet given to you by your centre. We will then despatch your certificate to your centre up to a month after your result is available online (or two weeks for computer-based

tests). If you need to check when you will receive your certificate, contact your centre.


14. How to register for the exam

Here at The Language House we offer FCE exam preparation classes four times per week Monday to Thursday in the morning from 11.00 am until 1.00 pm. We can give you advice about preparation, exam booking and tell you how much your exam will cost. If you wish to do your exam in a different city in the UK you can find a centre that offers your exam here. You can register directly with the exam centre. They will be able to give you advice about preparation, and tell you how much your exam will cost.

Hope this has been helpful for you :D


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