Cambridge English: First for Schools (FCE) - CEFR Level B2
Ready for success in study, work and life
Cambridge English: First for Schools (FCEfs) is specially tailored to suit the interests of students, so it increases their motivation to learn English. Because it is based on familiar topics and situations, Cambridge English: First for Schools gives students the confidence to use their English in the real world. It inspires them to move on to higher English qualifications, or to use their English skills for study and employment opportunities.

 Cambridge English: First for Schools FAQs
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Updated exam specifications from January 2015
The revision of Cambridge English: First for Schools (FCEs) is now complete and the updated exam will be used for exam sessions from January 2015.

Level


 First for
Schools leaflet
Cambridge English: First for Schools (FCEs) is an upper-intermediate English language exam set at Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Cambridge English: First for Schools shows students can use everyday written and spoken English for work and study purposes.

For example, at B2 level, a student can:
  • maintain a conversation on a fairly wide range of topics
  • make notes while someone is talking or write a letter, including non-standard requests
  • express opinions and give reasons
  • answer predictable or factual questions.
Real-life language skills
The exam uses real-life situations that are especially designed to help students:
  • communicate more effectively
  • learn the language skills they need to take the next step to success.
Reaching this level means a student is becoming skilled in English and can expect to:
  • study at an upper-intermediate level, or pre-degree study, such as foundation or pathway courses
  • start working in an English-speaking environment.

Fair and reliable
Cambridge English: First for Schools is respected and accepted internationally. The exam:
  • provides the most reliable reflection of a student’s language skills
  • covers all major varieties of English (e.g. British English, American English)
  • is designed to be fair to users of all nationalities and linguistic backgrounds
  • is supported by the largest research programme of its kind
  • can be taken by students with a wide range of special requirements.

Choice
Choose when and how to take the exam - Cambridge English: First for Schools is available as either a paper-based or computer-based exam, allowing students even more choice over how they take their test.


Globally Accepted
Cambridge English: First for Schools is accepted as a qualification in upper-intermediate English by many thousands of employers, universities, colleges and leading businesses around the world.
Find out more about institutions that accept Cambridge English: First for Schools...


Fast results
Results are available in just two weeks if students take Cambridge English: First for Schools as a computer-based exam


A Cambridge English qualification
Students who successfully take Cambridge English: First for Schools will receive the same internationally accepted certificate as candidates that take Cambridge English: First.

What's in Cambridge English: First for Schools?
The Cambridge English: First for Schools exam consists of four papers developed to test students’ English language skills in all areas of language ability: Reading and Use of English, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The Speaking exam uses a face-to-face test with two candidates and two examiners. This creates a more realistic and reliable measure of students’ ability to use English to communicate.

Cambridge English: First for Schools has four papers:
Reading and Use of English: 1 hour 15 minutes
The Cambridge English: First Reading and Use of English paper has 7 parts and 52 questions and has a mix of text types and questions. For Parts 1 to 4, candidates read a range of texts and do grammar and vocabulary tasks. For Parts 5 to 7, candidates read a series of texts and answer questions that test their reading ability and show that they can deal with a variety of different types of texts This paper accounts for 40% of the total mark.
Writing:1 hour 20 minutes
The Cambridge English: First for Schools Writing paper has two parts. Candidates have to show that they can write different types of text in English. In Part 1 there is one compulsory question and in Part 2 candidates answer one question from a choice of four, including one set text question. In part 1 students are given an essay title and two ideas. They write an essay giving their opinion about the title, using the ideas given and adding an idea of their own. The title will be a subject of general interest and candidates won’t need any specialised knowledge. In part 2 candidates write a text from a choice of four questions. The answer students have to write will be one of the following: article, email/letter, essay, review, story. This paper accounts for 20% of the total mark.

First for Schools set text
Set text 2017:
Robert Louis-Stevenson: Treasure Island
(Oxford bookworms edition)

Oxford bookworms graded reader Stage 4 edition recommended. Teachers may choose to prepare candidates for questions on this set text by studying any film version of Treasure Island, as well as, or instead of, the book.
Listening: about 40 minutes
The Cambridge English: First for Schools Listening paper has four parts and 30 questions. For each part candidates have to listen to a recorded text or texts and answer some questions. The test requires students to be able to follow and understand a range of familiar spoken materials, such as news programmes, public announcements and other sources, but targeted at the interests of school-aged learners. Candidates hear each recording twice. This paper accounts for 20% of the total mark.
Speaking:  14 minutes per pair of candidates
The Cambridge English: First for Schools Speaking has four parts and is conducted face-to-face with one other candidate and two examiners. One of the examiners, the interlocutor, conducts the test (asks questions, gives candidates the booklet with things to talk about). The other examiner, the assessor, listens to what the candidates say. Part 1 is a conversation with the examiner. The examiner asks questions and students may have to give information about themselves, talk about past experiences, present circumstances and future plans. In Part 2 the examiner gives the student a pair of photographs to talk about and they have to speak for 1 minute without interruption. The questions about the photographs are written at the top of the page to remind the student what they should talk about. When they have finished speaking, the student’s partner then has to answer a short question from the examiner about their photographs. Part 3 is a conversation with the other candidate. The examiner gives the students a question and some written prompts. The students discuss these together for two minutes. The examiner will then ask them to make a decision together about the topic they have been discussing. Part 4 is further discussion with the other candidate, guided by questions from the examiner, about the same topic as the task in Part 3. The Speaking test accounts for 20% of the total mark.

Choosing your Speaking Test partner
If you would like to be paired together with a friend/classmate you can request this when you register for the exam. Please note however that research has shown that there are both advantages and disadvantages in taking the test with someone you know and that in the end it doesn’t matter. What is important is that the test judges you on your own performance.

Groups of three candidates
Almost all Cambridge English: First for Schools Speaking Tests are conducted in groups of two candidates. However, if there is an uneven number of candidates at an exam session there will be one test with a group of three candidates, normally at the end of the day or before a long break. The test format is exactly the same but will last a little longer. Please note that you cannot request to take your test in a group of three.
Paper and pencil tests
Try a paper-based sample Cambridge English: First exam paper. This sample test includes an answer key:
Download a sample test of the Cambridge English: First for Schools exam

Computer-based sample tests
Reading and Use of English
Listening
Writing
Reading and Use of English answer key
Listening answer key
Find out how to use the computer-based sample tests.
Please note you will need to use the Firefox or Chrome browser to view these sample tests.
Check your answers as you do the test – once the test has finished you will not be able to check them.

Information for Candidates
A guide to the exam, with an overview of what’s involved and examples of papers.
 Download Information for Candidates

Guide to exam day tips
Practical information about the session.
 Paper-based exams
 Computer-based exams
 Speaking test

Summary Regulations for Candidates
All the important information you need to know when taking the exam.
 Download Summary regulations for candidates

Cheating warning
Cheating is treated very seriously by Cambridge English and if you cheat you will not get a result or a certificate.
 Please view this poster and make sure that you understand what it says.

Your results
From January 2015 Cambridge English: First for Schools (FCEs) results will be reported on the new Cambridge English Scale (replacing the current candidate profile and standardised scores).

 Download a factsheet about the Cambridge English Scale

You will receive a Statement of Results. If your performance ranges between CEFR Levels C1 and B1, you will also receive a certificate.

You will receive a separate score for each of the four skills (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking) plus Use of English, giving you a clear understanding of your performance. These five scores are averaged to give an overall result for the exam. You will also be given a grade and Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level.

'Statement of Results'
Your Statement of Results contains the following information:
  1. Your score on the Cambridge English Scale for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and use of English
  2. Your score on the Cambridge English Scale for the overall exam
  3. Your grade (A, B, C, Level B1) for the overall exam
  4. Your CEFR level for the overall exam. Depending on which university, college or organisation you are applying to, you may be asked to achieve a specific score or grade, either overall or for a particular skill.
For Cambridge English: First for Schools, the following scores will be used to report results:
Cambridge English Scale Score
Grade/ CEFR
CEFR level
  180-190
Grade A
C1
  173-179Grade B
B2
  160-172Grade C
B2
  140-159Level B1
B1



The exam is targeted at Level B2 of the CEFR. The examination also provides reliable assessment at the level above B2 (Level C1) and the level below (Level B1).

Scores between 122 and 139 are also reported for Cambridge English: First for Schools. You will not receive a certificate, but your Cambridge English Scale score will be shown on your Statement of Results.

Please click on the image to the left of this text to find out the relationship between the CEFR levels, the Cambridge English Scale and the grades awarded in Cambridge English: First for Schools.


You can access your results through the
 Cambridge English Results Online website.


Your certificate
If a candidate demonstrates that he/she has achieved level B1 or above of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), one of the following certificates will be awarded:

Cambridge English: First - Level C1
Exceptional candidates sometimes show ability beyond B2 level. If you achieve grade A in your exam, you will receive the Cambridge English: First certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at Level C1.
Cambridge English: First - Level B2
If you achieve grade B or C in your exam, you will be awarded the Cambridge English: First certificate at Level B2.
Level B1 Certificate
If your performance is below Level B2, but falls within Level B2, we will recognise your achievement with a Cambridge English certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at B1 level.

Results Verification Service
If you want a university, employer or other organisation to verify your result, you must provide them with the information on your Statement of Results and two additional pieces of information:

1.- Your ID Number (a sequence of nine letters and numbers).
2.- Your Secret Number (a four-digit number).

Both of these pieces of information can be found on your Confirmation of Entry, which you receive when you register for the exam.
They can then verify your result by logging in to www.cambridgeenglish.org/verifiers
Useful resources to help you to prepare for your Cambridge English: First for Schools exam

Free practice tests

Computer tests
Try a computer-based sample Cambridge English: First for Schools paper
Reading and Use of English
Listening
Writing
Reading and Use of English answer key
Listening answer key
Find out how to use the computer-based sample tests.
Please note you will need to use the Firefox or Chrome browser to view these sample tests.
Check your answers as you do the test – once the test has finished you will not be able to check them.

Paper and pencil tests
Samples of Cambridge English: First for Schools with answer key:
Download sample paper 1 for Cambridge English: First for Schools (FCE)...
Download sample paper 2 for Cambridge English: First for Schools (FCE)...

Download examiner comments on the Speaking paper
There is no Answer Key for the Writing paper, but there are sample answers and Examiner Comments in the Assessment of Writing section of the Handbook for Teachers.
Preparation resources, games and Cambridge activities
Cambridge English resources to prepare your exam...
Online tools and materials to practice the different exam papers and to improve the candidate preparation for the test.
Social media

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Join Exams Catalunya on Facebook:
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Cambridge English Facebook
Join The Cambridge English dedicated Facebook page for help with exam preparation.
Exams Catalunya YouTube Channel
Watch videos featuring English learning and exam tips on our Exams Catalunya YouTube channel
Cambridge English YouTube Channel
Watch videos featuring English learning and exam tips on Cambridge English TV YouTube channel


Visit the Cambridge English: First for Schools support page here:
http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-qualifications/First for Schools/how-to-prepare/

Are you a private candidate?
It’s easy to register for Cambridge English: First for Schools
in just three steps:
Step 1  Find an exam date

You can take the Cambridge English exams most months of the year.
Use our online search to find an exam date.

Step 2  Complete the registration form

You can complete the exam registration form online or come to our offices to register for an exam.

Step 3  Make payment

Payment for the exam must be made before the registration deadline.
If you register after the deadline a late fee of 40 Euros will be applied. You can choose to pay for your exam via the following payment methods:

  1. By credit/debit card




  2. By bank transfer to any of the following accounts:
    Banco Santander
    Account holder: Exams Catalunya, S.L.
    Account number: 0049 4754 89 2516056032
    IBAN: ES9400494754892516056032
    Banco Sabadell
    Account holder: Exams Catalunya, S.L.
    Account number: 0081 0053 54 0001180228
    IBAN: ES7300810053540001180228
    IMPORTANT: If you pay for your exam by bank transfer you should clearly state the name and surname/s of the candidate and the level and date of the exam session. All transfers must reach us free of bank charges or interest. Exams Catalunya will not be responsible for these charges. You must send us the payment receipt by email to registrations@exams-catalunya.com so that we may trace your payment with the bank. Your place on the exam will not be confirmed until we receive a payment receipt for the exam fee.

  3. At our offices:
    Registration and payment for exams may also be made at our offices. If candidates choose this option payment should be made on registering. Payment may be made in cash, by bank transfer or credit/debit card.

    C/ Freixa, 5-9
    08021 Barcelona
    Tel: 934 111 333
    Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm

    The candidate may register directly or send someone to register in his/her name.
IMPORTANT: After we receive the exam registration form a confirmation of receipt will be sent to the candidate. Once the exam fees have been settled the candidate will receive confirmation that he/she is registered to take the exam.
If you do not receive confirmation of your exam registration within 3 working days please phone us on tel.: 934 111 333. You should also check that our email has not been sent to your junk/spam mail folder.

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