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Cambridge English: First, also known as First Certificate in English (FCE), is an upper-intermediate level qualification. It proves you can use everyday written and spoken English for work or study purposes. You can use it to help you:

  • study in English at foundation or pathway level
  • work in an English-speaking environment
  • live independently in an English-speaking country.

What level is Cambridge English: First?

Cambridge English: First is set at Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Reaching this level means you can:

  • understand the main ideas of complex pieces of writing.
  • keep up a conversation on a fairly wide range of topics, expressing opinions and presenting arguments
  • produce clear, detailed writing, expressing opinions and explaining the advantages and disadvantages of different points of view.

What is assessed in Cambridge English: First?

Cambridge English: First 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. Your overall performance is calculated by averaging the scores you achieve in Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking and Use of English. The weighting of each of the four skills and Use of English is equal.


Reading and Use of English





1 hour 15 min.

1 hour 20 min.

About 40 min.

14 min. per pair of candidates


7 parts / 52 questions

2 parts

4 parts / 30 questions

4 parts


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.

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

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

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

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