Cambridge First Certificate, namely because the acronym stands for FCE (First Certificate in English), is one of the most popular international exams worldwide. Every year it is seeking to deliver about 300 thousand visitors. Such high popularity of this exam has earned thanks to several features. Firstly, its validity is unlimited. Secondly, it is not so difficult exam, what may seem like the title. It is the examination of the «middle» level of (intermediate), that is, for those who confidently speaks English and can conduct correspondence.
If you have no problems using the foreign language in everyday life, at work or school, able to carry on a conversation in the presence of fairly good vocabulary, understand the English language medium difficulty, international exam FCE — a certificate, which you must have. In addition, there is another advantage of this examination. The results are taken in some schools in Europe (exam tests British English), many European companies. Thus, this certificate is a great help in assessing your knowledge of the English language.
International exams FCE is the third in a series of exams at Cambridge University. Develops these exams and accepts division of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Examinations Board at Cambridge University (UCLES — University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate). Division of ESOL appeared 152 years ago. And it created just for the examinations in the schools. But international exam FCE, which was originally called the Lower Certificate in English, came after 81 years in 1939. It is, of course, has undergone various changes, the most significant of which occurred in 1974, 1984, 1996, 2002 and 2008.
The structure of the international exam FCE
In order to become a candidate for the surrender of the international examination, and all the others too, you’ll need a few months to register with the examination center of the British Council, and pay the required fee to learn the date of the exam. Such centers of more than two thousand in 130 countries. There are exit commissions that take this exam in a particular city if a sufficient number of applicants.
Self examination is held for two days. The first day to pass are invited to read the English language (reading), writing (writing) and language use (use of English). On the second day the candidates for certification must pass the following stages of testing as listening in English (listening) and speaking (speaking). Let’s take a closer look at each of the stages of the international exams FCE.
- Reading. At this stage of the passage of time allocated to you. You have to understand the text selected from the artistic and non-fiction, newspapers and magazines in English. You will need to answer 30 questions posed in the three texts.
- Writing. Time Limit — 1 hour 20 minutes. You will need to write two papers. The first — a letter on the basis of the text read, a second (optional) — article, essay review, narrative writing. In carrying out this task, you show how rich your vocabulary, what is your knowledge of spelling and punctuation as well you can organize, structure and relate the material logically.
- Use of English. At this stage, the international FCE exam you show your knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary. To do this, you are offered a variety of lexical, syntactic and textual tasks to perform that you have to spend a maximum of 45 minutes.
- Listening. You are offered 40 minutes to understand the audio materials with different samples of texts (news, speeches, stories, anecdotes, public speaking). You show your knowledge by answering 30 questions.
- Speaking. This stage you pass simultaneously with another candidate and the two examiners. This is a test of your conversation and the ability to maintain a conversation on any topic. You will need to interact with both the examiner and the candidate. As the tasks may be: interviews, discussion of the problem, individual task, joint assignment.
Each stage of the international FCE exam is assessed separately. The maximum you can score — 200 points, 40 points for each type of activity. From that, what is your overall assessment of all phases depends whether you will get a certificate and what level of knowledge. In total there are five ratings — A, B, C, D, E, where A — is the highest and E — the lowest. Get certificates only those who were able to reach the level of A, B, C. According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages CEFR, the international FCE exam is assigned a difficulty level of B 2 (intermediate / upper-intermediate). The results of your achievements at the time of the exam, you will learn 2-3 months after the test. And with a favorable outcome even get a certificate after a couple of months. Therefore, at least six months with the international FCE exam you can not be parted.
How to prepare for the international FCE exam
Of course, the best option is preparation classes in English language courses (either General English courses, only at the level of intermediate; or in courses specifically focused on this exam). Or it could be teaching English through Ckayp. The teacher can acquaint you with the necessary materials and otherwise help with difficulties arise. That teacher can direct your efforts in the right direction.
An alternative to classroom with the teacher is a self-study. The Internet has become possible to produce almost any information on any matter relating to the English language. International exams are no exception. Specific resources include not only the materials to prepare for this exam and all kinds of exercise, but the samples have passed the exam tests. For example, you can find materials for FCE two years ago on the site languagelink.ru, a practical test of the first three stages of the job site flo-joe.co.uk. But, of course, the most important site for those who are going to take the University of Cambridge International Examinations is the official site of the University Examination Council cambridgeesol.org. It is available for all information and materials related to the exams, as well as all additions, updates and innovations. This site should be your home page in preparation for taking international exams FCE (and not only).
Since this test is very in demand, no one is surprised that courses from different publishers to prepare for him a lot. Here are some of them: Ready for FCE, FCE Test-builder, Laser-FCE, Get on Track to FCE, FCE Gold Plus, etc. Choose any which you like best, buy or download on the Web. Try, learn! And if everything will turn out, do not stop there!