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Cambridge English: First

If your wish list includes work, study or immigration then consider taking Cambridge English: First; it is a passport to many countries of the world as it is accepted by many renowned universities and employers. Exam is proof of your abilities to use routine written and spoken English for study, immigration and work-related purposes. Cambridge English: First is also known by the UK Home Office for all four categories of visa for immigration to the UK.
Cambridge English exams can be taken from 2800 centers across 130 countries of the world.

Cambridge English: First is , also recognized as the First Certificate in English (FCE) is an upper-intermediate English language examination offered by Cambridge English Language Assessment that concentrates on Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Recognition

Cambridge English exams are acknowledged by over 15,000 higher education institutions, employers, and governments worldwide. To know about the institutions and organizations that accepts Cambridge English: First, click on the link.

Dates and Deadlines

The Cambridge English: First exam is available in two formats: paper-based and computer-based. You can sit for the paper-based FCE exam in the months of March, May, June, August, and December, and for the computer-based FCE exam in the months of February, April, July, August, and November.

Both the variants of FCE comprise of 5 tests, each test values 20% of the total marks. The 5 tests are- Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, and Use of English.

Test 1- Reading

The Reading test has three sections and its worth is 20% of the total marks. It includes texts of about 550-700 words. Candidates are asked to read and interpret the texts taken from variety of sources such as magazines, newspapers, reports, fiction, advertisements, websites and information booklets and exhibit their reading skills. They are required to abstract the meaning of the text and extract the important and appropriate information out of it.
  • Total Duration: 1 hour
Section 1:  Consists of a text of considerable length. It has 8 multiple-choice questions.
Section 2:  Comprises of a missing words or text exercise.
Section 3: Consists of multiple-matching tasks which call for finding specific information in a long text or several short texts to answer a few questions.

Test 2- Writing

The Writing test comprises of 2 sections-
Section 1: Includes one compulsory question. Candidates are asked to compose a letter or an email of about 120-150 words, using the information from an input text such as an article, notice, booklet, or letter.
•Section 2: In this section, candidates are given 5 choices and are asked to write on one of the given choices. They need to frame an article, letter (formal or informal), report, or a review in about 120 to 180 words. Two of the texts choices are taken from a book/script or film that the candidate has already studied.
  • Total Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes

Test 3- Use of English

The Use of English paper tests a candidate’s basic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar and has four sections. Sections 1 to 3 involve texts with missing words or phrases, while section 4 comprises of sentence-based tasks. The Sections 1 and 3 test knowledge of lexicon, whereas the Sections 2 and 4 test syntactic and semantics along with the vocabulary.
  • Total Duration: 45 minutes
Section 1: In this section, a text with some missing words or phrases with 4 choices are given to the candidates and they are required to choose the best possible answer from the choices. One mark is given for each correct response.
  • No. of questions: 12
  • Type of questions: Multiple-choice
Section 2: In this section, an extract or passage with some missing words is given. The candidates have to determine the right word for each gap. It basically tests the grammatical skills and vocabulary of the candidates. One mark is given for each correct response.
  • No. of questions: 12
  • Type of questions: Multiple-choice
Section 3: In this section, a text with some missing words is given. The candidate has to modify the ‘prompt’ word that is given at the end of the line in some way to make the missing word and therefore, complete the sentence correctly. One mark is given for each correct response.
  • No. of questions: 10
Section 4: Consists of a sentence followed by a key word and a second sentence which has a missing word in it. The candidate is required to fill out the second sentence so that the meaning comes out to be the same as the first sentence, using a maximum of 5 words including the key word. Two marks are given for each correct response.
  • No. of questions: 8

Test 4- Listening

The Listening paper comprises of 4 sections and includes a mix of soliloquy and conversations taken from different sources, such as news or radio programs, lectures, and public statements or notice. In this paper, Candidates need to exhibit their listening skills required for daily uses.
  • Total Duration: 40 minutes
Section 1: Consists of a series of short, distinct recordings of about 30 seconds apiece. The candidate is asked to listen to the recordings and answer one multiple-choice question, which has three choices, for each recording. One mark is given for each right response.
  • No. of questions: 8
Section 2: Consists of a monologue or a recording with two or more speakers of about 3 minutes. Candidates are required to listen to the recordings and complete the sentences using information from the recordings. One mark is given for each correct response.
  • No. of questions: 8
Section 3: Consists of a series of statements and brief monologues interconnected of about 30 seconds each. Candidates are required to listen to the recordings carefully and choose the statement that best matches what each speaker says.
  • No. of questions: 5
Section 4: Consists of a monologue or recording with two or more speakers lasting about 3 minutes. Candidates are required to listen to the recordings carefully and answer multiple-choice questions having 3 choices.
  • No. of questions: 7

Test 5- Speaking

The Speaking paper is divided into 4 sections including a face-to-face conversation or discourse with two examiners. Candidates need to take part in discussions, state their point of views, exchange thoughts and arrive at a decision.
  • Total duration: 14 minutes
Section 1:  Includes a little talk with the examiner. The examiner will ask the candidate few questions about their lives, concentrating on matters such as job, leisure activities and future plans. Candidates are required to answer to the examiner’s questions, thereby giving basic personal information about themselves. Time allotted for this section is 3 minutes.

Section2: Candidates are required to speak for 1 minute without gap or interference. Each candidate is required to compare two colour photographs and make a statement or opinion about the photographs in response to a task read out by the examiner and a prompt question written above the photos. The listening candidate is required to provide his/her opinion after their teammate’s long-turn.

Section 3: Includes a two-way conversation of about 3 minutes between the candidates. The candidates are given verbal instructions and pictures, which are applied in a decision-making task. They are required to talk with other candidates, express and defend their point of views, and reach to a decision.

Section 4: Includes a discourse of about 4 minutes between the candidates and the examiner on topics associated to the collective task in section 3. The examiner asks questions which boost the candidates to expand and talk around the topics presented in section 3.

FCE Registration

Abide by the steps to register for Cambridge English: First examination-
Step 1 - Find an examination centre near you. Visit Find a Centre to know about the exam centre near you.  
Step 2 – Get in touch with your examination or testing centre. They will brief you about the registration process, fees and the preparation courses available in your region.
Step 3 – Apply as per the instructions given by the exam centre near you. Select the date and mode of examination, i.e. paper-based or computer-based. There are more than 2,800 examination centres around the world where candidates can appear for the exam.

FCE Fees

The fee varies by the location.  Contact your local exam centre to know about the fees.

FCE Scoring and Results

The candidates who have passed the examination get 2 documents: a certificate and a statement of Result.

Statement of Results
A Statement of Results is given to the candidates 4 to 6 weeks after the paper-based test and 2 weeks after the computer-based test. It has three components: a grade (A to C), a standardised score (out of 100) and the CEFR level. The Statement of Results indicates the total score from all 5 papers tests and also a graphical representation of the candidate’s performance in each of the individual paper test individually, is shown indicating whether it was ‘Exceptional’, ‘Good’, ‘Borderline’ or ‘Weak’.

Score (out of 100): 80-100
Grade: A
CEFR Level: C1

Score (out of 100): 75-79
Grade: B
CEFR Level: B2

Score (out of 100): 60-74
Grade: C
CEFR Level: B2

Score (out of 100): 45-59   
CEFR Level: B1


Candidates who have scored 45 or more out of 100 are awarded a certificate, which specifies the grade and the CEFR level that has been reached. Candidates who couldn’t pass the level B2 but have achieved B1 level are given a Cambridge English certificate at that level.

Certificates

The certificates awarded at each grade or score are as follows-
  1. Cambridge English Level B1 Certificate: Candidates who have scored between 45 and 59 fall within a B1 level, and are given a Cambridge English certificate.

  2. First Certificate in English – CEFR Level B2: Candidates who have scored between 60 and 79 (Grades B and C) are awarded the First Certificate in English at Level B2.

  3. First Certificate in English – CEFR Level C1: Candidates who have obtained grade A, i.e. a score of 80- to 100 in their exams are awarded First Certificate in English at Level C1.

Candidates who have passed the exam get a hard-copy certificate within 3 months of the paper-based examination and within 6 weeks of the computer-based exam.

The candidates can even get their results online. They just need to register with Cambridge English Results Online. By registering, the candidates will be notified whenever the results are declared and they can log in using their ID number and password and view their results profile.

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