FCE is an upper intermediate level exam - ideal if you can deal confidently with a range of written and spoken communications.
FCE (First Certificate in English)
To be successful, you will have a wide grasp of vocabulary, and be able to construct an argument and use appropriate communication styles for a variety of situations. You also need to show an awareness of register and of the conventions of politeness and degrees of formality as they are expressed through language.
Why take FCE?
FCE is ideal if you want to work or study abroad or to develop a career which requires language skills (e.g. business, medicine, engineering). FCE indicates sufficient proficiency in English to be of practical use in clerical, secretarial and managerial jobs in many industries, in particular tourism, where contact with English speakers is required. Successful candidates have the ability to deal with routine letters and telephone enquiries, and to cope with some non-academic training courses and simple textbooks and articles.FCE is also useful preparation if you are working towards higher level exams, such as CAE (Certificate in Advanced English) and CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English).On passing the exam you will receive a certificate awarded by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, which is recognised by universities and employersthroughout the world.You will also receive a statement of results, showing how you performed in each of the five papers.
What does the exam involve?
FCE has five papers:
- Use of English
Each of the written papers is returned to Cambridge for marking and assessment. The Speaking Test is conducted by two locally based examiners who examine you face to face. All examiners are accredited by Cambridge ESOL.
Reading (Paper 1), 1 hour
This paper assesses your ability to read and understand texts taken from fiction and non-fiction books, journals, newspapers and magazines. You are expected to be able to show understanding of gist, detail and text structure, and deduce meaning.
Writing (Paper 2), 1 hour 20 minutes
This paper assesses your ability to write non-specialised text types such as letters, articles, reports, compositions and reviews of 120-180 words covering a range of topics and target readers and also set texts.
Band + subdivision Mark out of 20
4.1 15 ( 75% )
3.1 12 ( 60 % )
2.2 10 ( 50 % )
Use of English (Paper 3), 45 minutes
This paper requires you to demonstrate your knowledge and control of the language system by completing various tasks at text and sentence level. These include filling gaps, transforming words and phrases, and identifying errors in texts.
Listening (Paper 4), 40 minutes (approx.)
This paper assesses your ability to understand the meaning of spoken English, and to extract gist and meaning from spoken text. The texts are taken from a variety of text types including interviews, discussions, lectures and conversations.
Speaking (Paper 5), 14 minutes
The Speaking Test assesses your ability to interact in conversational English in a range of contexts. It contains four parts, including an interview section, individual long turns of about one minute, a collaborative task and a discussion. You are provided with stimulus material such as photographs and drawings. You will normally take the Speaking Test in pairs.
Each component carries 20% of the total marks. There are three pass grades A ( 80 to 100% ), B ( 75 to 79 % ) and C ( 60 to 74% ) and certificates are awarded to candidates who achieve these grades. Candidates who achieve a grade D or E are judged not to have reached the required standard for FCE.
Exam scripts are sent to Cambridge ESOL for marking and grading and the results are sent back to the centres. If you have any questions about your results, you should contact the centre where you took the exam.
Once awarded Cambridge ESOL FCE certificates are valid for life.
Adapted from www.Cambridge-efl.org.uk
by Waldir Pereira do Lago