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Pass Cambridge First Certificate Exam
What is the Cambridge First Certificate exam?
The Cambridge First Certificate Exam (FCE) is a certificate organised by the University of Cambridge. It is aimed at upper-intermediate English learners who wish to prove the everyday use of written and spoken English for work or study purposes. The certificate can be an excellent qualification to have, since it is widely recognised by thousands of universities and employers worldwide.
Obtaining an FCE certificate can open the door to better education or employment opportunities, as well as increasing the chance of you being allowed to live and work in English-speaking countries.
The FCE consists of 5 papers:
3) Use of English
Papers 1, 2, 3 and 4 are always taken on the same day. Paper 5 is taken on a specified day, either on, or close to, the main exam day. The five papers are each worth 20 per cent of your overall mark.
What do I have to do?
Passing the FCE takes months of preparation. You need to be able to speak English at a high level, understand native speakers in conversation, write formal and informal letters as well as essays, reviews and articles and finally you will need to be able to understand the fundamental grammar rules of English and demonstrate this knowledge.
As of 2015 Cambridge English Assessment has changed the FCE exam. They have "removed" the Use of English section. In fact they have simply hidden it in the Reading section, all of the questions and structures still exist.
So the sections in the exam, as of 2015, are:
Reading (+Use of English) - 1 hour 45 min
Consists of 3 reading texts and 4 grammar activities (Use of English)
Writing - 1 hour 20 min
Consists of 1 compulsory writing (essay/letter) and 1 optional writing (you can choose between letter, article, review, story or essay).
Speaking - 14 min
Consists of 4 parts (Part 1: get to know you questions, Part 2: comparing images and speaking about them, Part 3: speaking about a topic in relation to other factors, Part 4: general in-depth discussion)
Listening - 40 min
Consists of 4 parts with different listening functions.
How to pass the FCE
1) Read the Instructions first.
Make sure you know what to do – always start by reading the instructions first!
2) Don’t feel discouraged.
If you are struggling to find an answer, move on to the next question and go back to the question later. There is no need to do the questions in chronological order. Start with the questions that you find the easiest and leave the more difficult ones till last.
3) Keep an Eye on the Clock.
Don’t run out of time! If you have developed an FCE exam strategy, you will know before you start how much time you have allocated to this part of the test. Stick to your timetable. Remember, each part of the FCE Reading Paper carry approximately the same amount of marks. If you do one of the other two parts quicker, you can go back and finish the part you left uncompleted – it is all about maximising your chances to pass your FCE exam!
4) Reading tip.
If you believe that you should be reading the text first and trying to understand it, followed by answering the questions, then you are wrong! You don’t have much time for this. It is always better to read each question first and then look at the text. Scan read the text to find the answer you need. Usually the question order is similar to the text order. So the answer to question 1 will be, usually but not necessarily, close to the beginning of the text and the last question will be close to the end.
5) Writing tip.
Part 1 and Part 2 carry the same number of marks. So remember to spend 40 minutes on each. Start by reading the question first and then spend a minute thinking about a