FCE English

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First Certificate in English (FCE) is a qualification offered by Cambridge University for learners of English as second language. It is intended for students of an Upper Intermediate to Advanced level of English who normally have studied the language for at least 5 years. FCE is currently the most popular certificate for learners of English and the exam can be sat in most countries around the world. This book aims to provide a guide to students who plan on taking this exam. It will not deal directly with English grammar or vocabulary but instead will concentrate on the background to the exam and what is required for each paper.

For grammar, vocabulary and structure of the English language see the English or English as an Additional Language Wikibooks.


What is FCE?[edit]

What are the papers of the FCE exam?[edit]

There are 5 papers in the FCE exam. Before sitting the exams, you should find out what is expected of you by practising questions on the Internet or enrolling in a course.

From July 2014 there will be a new syllabus with substantial differences. The Use of English and Reading papers will be merged. The required writing task will change in favour of an essay. Other small differences to task lengths and timings will affect other parts of the exam. The information below is valid only until July 2014.

Paper 1 - Reading[edit]

Three Cliffs Bay, Gower, Wales

The Reading paper consists of 4 parts:

  1. Part 1 - multiple choice
  2. Part 2 - Gapped text
  3. Part 3 - Multiple matching

Paper 2 - Writing[edit]

The Writing paper consists of 2 parts:

  1. Part 1 - Transactional letter (compulsory)
  2. Part 2 - One writing task from a choice of five: letter essay article story

Paper 3 - Use of English[edit]

The Use of English paper consists of 5 parts:

  1. Part 1 - Multiple choice cloze
  2. Part 2 - Open cloze
  3. Part 3 - Key word transformations
  4. Part 4 - Word formation

Paper 4 - Listening[edit]

The Listening paper consists of 4 parts:

  1. Part 1 - Multiple choice
  2. Part 2 - Note taking / sentence completion
  3. Part 3 - Multiple matching
  4. Part 4 - Choosing from 2 or 3 answers

Paper 5 - Speaking[edit]

The Speaking paper consists of 4 parts:

  1. Part 1 - Interview
  2. Part 2 - Individual long turn task
  3. Part 3 - Collaborative task
  4. Part 4 - Discussion

External Resources[edit]

  • RoPeCast - A biweekly podcast for advanced learners of English. Culture, Language, Learning tips.

Related books[edit]