The New FCE Exam

The New FCE Exam


At last, Cambridge have decided to change the format of the First Certificate Exam!!

Check below for more details. Note that Paper 1 is now Reading and Use of English together!

More important information

The European Union has decided that all university students must validate their degree by proving they have a B2 level in English.

I know this is obvious, but it’s time to put your skates on if you’re not ready for the exam!


Please check out the following link from the official website of Cambridge. You’ll find 2 complete practice tests for the new exam in: ”Free Support Materials”


How many questions do I answer?

  • Reading and Use of English: 1 hour 15 minutes       (7 parts/52 questions)
  • Writing: 1 hour 20 minutes                                          (2 parts)
  • Listening: 40 minutes (approximately)                     (4 parts/30 questions)
  • Speaking (oral): 14 minutes (approximately)           (4 parts)


How many different parts are there and do I need to pass all the different parts?

The FCE consists of 4 papers (5 parts because Reading and Use of English are together in 1 Paper):

  1. Reading and Use of English
  2. Writing
  3. Listening
  4. Speaking.

The five different skills are each worth 20 per cent of your total mark.



What is the First Certificate (FCE) Exam?

The Cambridge First Certificate Exam (FCE) is a certificate organised by the University of Cambridge. It is for upper-intermediate English learners who would like to prove their English proficiency.

Why is the exam important?  You MUST have level B2 to complete your university degree!

The certificate can be an excellent qualification to have. It is recognised by thousands of universities, employers and governments worldwide. FCE ‘A’ grade pass is accepted for entry to some universities. A FCE pass can give you better education or employment opportunities and improve your chances of living and working in English-speaking countries.

Basically, it means you have a decent level of English and you can probably handle a job interview in English.

What mark do I need to get to pass the exam?

Each of the papers is worth 20% of the total mark.

To get a grade C in the exam you will need to get 60%.

Individual papers are given a percentage and are not marked as pass or fail.

To pass the exam, students need to pass all five skills. However, it is possible that if you do not do very well in one paper and do well in all the others you could still pass the exam.

What level have I got if I pass the exam?   B2 / Upper intermediate.


When is the First Certificate exam and is it just on one day?

These days the test can be taken almost every month depending on the availability of centres in your area. Consult the official Cambridge exams website for exact details of dates, prices, etc.

You can choose to do the paper-based test or computer-based test. Consult the official exam website:


Where do I have to register for the exam?

To take the FCE exam you need to register for the exam at a recognised examination centre. The examining authority UCLES has 1,900 centres around the world. To find out where your nearest centre is follow this link:


How much does it cost to register for the exam?  This academic year about 200€ in European Union countries. The exam fee is fixed by UCLES. To find out how much each centre charges, contact them.


Which parts of the exam are considered the most difficult?

Most students find the Listening test more difficult.

In my opinion, never underestimate the Writing and Reading papers. Prepare yourself well.


How many questions do I have to answer in the Writing Exam?

You have to answer 2 questions.

In Part 1, You MUST answer ONE question. You are given an essay title with 2 related ideas about a subject of general knowledge. You must contribute a third idea of your own in 140-190 words.

In Part 2, you have to write 140-190 words and you must choose ONE of the following:

You can choose from ONE of the following:

  • Articles
  • Email
  • Essay
  • Letter
  • Report
  • Review


*Note: The ‘Set book’ does NOT exist any more from January 2105


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