First Certificate in English

The most widely taken of all the Cambridge ESOL exams. It is an upper-intermediate level examination requiring knowledge of all the language skills.


First Certificate in English

The First Certificate in English (FCE) is for students whose knowledge of English is sufficient for every day situations, including social, work and study situations. Passing the First Certificate in English (FCE) exam indicates that the student can handle a variety of different tasks in the workplace.
The more advanced candidates on First Certificate courses can handle more challenging written communications, as well as speak on the phone and understand some different accents. Their English is good enough to follow certain types of textbooks and articles, they have a broad range of vocabulary and can apply correct register and style in different situations.

Is the FCE for you?

Can you…

  • understand the main ideas of different or complex 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 and presenting arguments and opinions?
  • understand the majority of spoken English on radio or television programmes?

If you are looking for a way of proving your English skills, studying for and taking the First Certificate in English (FCE) exam is a great option. The First Certificate in English is accepted by many educational institutions as evidence of your abilities in English at upper-intermediate level, and major multinational companies look for this qualification when hiring employees.

What is the FCE exam like?

Reading (60 min)

You will need to read and understand different types of text, including fiction and non-fiction books, articles and informative texts.

Writing (80 min)

You will have to produce two pieces of writing in any of the following styles: a short story, a letter, an article, a report or an essay.

Use of English (45 min)

You will be tested on your grammar and vocabulary during this part of the exam.

Listening (40 min)

You will listen to a variety of spoken material, including news programmes, stories and dialogues and answer some questions on their content.

Speaking (14 min)

You’ll take the speaking test with one or two other candidates and will have to speak alone, with the examiner and with the other candidate(s).

FCE courses