First Certificate in English


FCE is an exam for people who can use everyday written and spoken English at an upper-intermediate level. It is an ideal exam for people who want to use English for work or study purposes.

Is FCE for you?

Can you ? 

  • Understand texts from a wide variety of sources  ?
  • Use English to make notes while someone is speaking in English  ?
  • Talk to people about a wide variety of topics?

If this describes your skills now, or describes the level of skills you are working towards, then FCE is the right exam for you.


What will FCE do for you?

Cambridge ESOL is a department of the world-famous and historic University of Cambridge. Attaining one of its certificates is an achievement and a reward in itself. However, there are many other benefits to taking FCE:


FCE’s ‘Can Do’ skills give you the confidence to use English in real situations.

What does FCE involve?

FCE has five papers:

Reading: 1 hour 15 minutes

You will need to be able to understand texts from publications such as fiction and non-fiction books, journals, newspapers and magazines.

Writing 1 hour 30 minutes 

You will have to show you can produce two different pieces of writing such as an article, a report, a proposal and a review.

Use of English Paper 1 hour

Your use of English will be tested by tasks which show how well you can control your grammar and vocabulary.

Listening: 40 minutes

You need to show you can understand the meaning of a range of spoken material, including lectures, radio broadcasts, speeches and talks.

Speaking: 15 minutes

You will take the Speaking test with another candidate or in a group of three, and you will be tested on your ability to take part in different types of interaction: with the examiner, with the other candidate and by yourself.

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