Cambridge English: First (FCE)

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The First Certificate in English (FCE) is one of the examinations available from University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations in England. Its possession proves one's adequacy in the English language, and its successful completion means that one is able to interact socially efficiently.[citation needed] The FCE examination falls in the grade A2, B1, B2 and C1. Its advantage is that its expiration date is throughout life.


The test consists of five sections:[1]

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Use of English
  • Listening
  • Speaking


In the reading section, the candidate is expected to answer a set of questions based on the context of three texts, which are approximately 350-700 words in length each. Types of questions include multiple choice, multiple matching or gap filling. This part of the exam lasts 60 minutes.


The Writing section consists of two parts. One is a mandatory task and the other is chosen from a set of five optional tasks. The first task is usually a transactional letter, which has a stricter format, and the second one's type ranges from discursive compositions to articles, whose format is less stringent. One of the four options includes two questions based on a set of pre-set books. This part of the exam lasts for 80 minutes.

Use of English[edit]

The Use of English section includes four tasks, whose types vary, including multiple choice filling, open gap filling, word formation and key word transformation. The error correction task from previous years was removed for the 2008 syllabus. This part of the exam lasts for 45 minutes.


The Listening section consists of a set of questions based on four spoken texts. The texts vary from news announcements to speeches and dialogues. This section lasts approximately 40 minutes. Some think the Listening section should be done first.



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