Cambridge English: First (FCE) qualification proves you have the language skills to live and work independently in an English-speaking country or study on courses taught in English.

Reasons to choose Cambridge English: First

  • It proves that you can communicate effectively face-to-face, expressing opinions and presenting arguments, follow the news, write clear, detailed English, expressing opinions and explaining the advantages and disadvantages of different points of view, write letters, reports, stories and lots of other types of text.
  • A Cambrige English: First qualification is accepted for entry to foundation/pathway/pre-sessional courses in English-speaking countries.
  • It is accepted for entry to undergraduate programmes taught in the medium of English in non-English-speaking countries.
  • The FCE certificate has lifetime validity.


Cambridge English: First (FCE) is a test of all areas of language ability.

The updated exam (for exam sessions from January 2015) is made up of four papers developed to test your English language skills. You can see exactly what’s in each paper below. The Speaking test is taken face to face, with two candidates and two examiners. This creates a more realistic and reliable measure of your ability to use English to communicate.




Reading and Use of English(1 hour 15 minutes) 
See sample paper

7 parts/52questions

Shows you can deal confidently with different types of text, such as fiction, newspapers and magazines. Tests your use of English with tasks that show how well you can control your grammar and vocabulary.

(1 hour 20 minutes) 
See sample paper

2 parts

Requires you to be able to produce two different pieces of writing, such as letters, reports, reviews and essays.

(about 40 minutes) 
See sample paper

4 parts/30questions

Requires you to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials, such as news programmes, presentations and everyday conversations.

(14 minutes per pair of candidates) 
See sample paper

4 parts

Tests your ability to communicate effectively in face to face situations. You will take the Speaking test with one or two other candidates.



From January 2015, Cambridge English: First (FCE) results will be reported on the new Cambridge English Scale(replacing the candidate profile and standardised scores used before 2015).


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

All candidates receive a Statement of Results, and if you are successful in the exam you will also receive a certificate.

For more information about the Cambridge English Scale, download our factsheet.

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, the following scores will be used to report results:

Cambridge English Scale Score 


CEFR level


Grade A 



Grade B



Grade C



Level 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. You will not receive a certificate, but your Cambridge English Scale score will be shown on your Statement of Results.

Register now for Cambridge English: B2 First


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