Are you getting ready to take the Cambridge FCE exam? We’re here to help! We’ve prepared a list of steps you can take to prepare for the FCE for you.
The Cambridge First Certificate in English, or FCE, is one of the most popular English exams for work or study. It’s offered by the University of Cambridge and accepted by many schools and companies.
The FCE is based on the Common European Framework of Reference. The CEFR is an international standard for describing language skills. If you pass the FCE test, it means that you have an intermediate level of English—or B2 based on the CEFR.
Now, how do you prepare for the FCE fast?
1. Know what’s inside the exam. It’s always good to know what to expect. Check the Cambridge Assessment English website for details on the FCE exam format.
The test has two versions: one for school-age learners and one for adult learners. They both lead to the same qualification, the First Certificate in English.
Basically, there are four parts, one for each language skill: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
2. Check the CEFR level descriptors, especially for B2. Know the specific skills you need to practice to pass the exam.
The Council of Europe has a list of the descriptors for all the CEFR levels here. Translations are available. Check B2!
3. Work on your English reading skills. In the reading part, you will read different types of text, like advertisements, magazine articles, and fiction.
Study different types of text too. When you read, pay attention to details. Note the opinions, purpose, and attitude of the writer as well.
4. Improve your English grammar and vocabulary skills. The reading part also tests your knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Since the FCE is based on the CEFR, you can easily check what areas of grammar and vocabulary to study.
Many mobile apps and websites, like English Revealed, have free levelled quizzes you can take for practice. Be sure to check for the appropriate level, B2.
5. Listen to British English. The listening part will ask you to listen to recordings from different sources, like news programs, radio broadcasts, or public announcements. You will also listen to everyday conversations.
6. Practice speaking to real people. Yes, people. In the speaking test, you will have a short conversation with the examiner, speaking activities with another test taker, and a discussion with the examiner and the other test taker.
Try to speak in English to as many people as you can. We recommend taking online English lessons with schools like Learntalk, where you can have many different teachers. This will help you improve your speaking and listening skills.