Are you planning on taking the Cambridge First (FCE) exam? It's important
to have a good B2 level of English, yet equally important is to be prepared
properly for the exam. There are hundreds of students taking the FCE exam
with CEC every year, and our experts prepare you for the best possible
Here are our key tips for passing the FCE exam:
1. Familiarize yourself with the different parts of each paper
Check if you know the structure and length of the individual exam parts. As
soon as you take the practical exam, you’ll find out how long it takes to
complete the particular parts. Read carefully the instructions and questions
included in each paper on the exam day. Even the best candidates make
unnecessary mistakes because of the rush.
Find the practical exams in the CEC online Exam section.
1. Improve your range of vocabulary and language
Keep a well-structured record of your learning progress and
frequently use it to revise. A good language notebook is not merely a
record of new words, it's a way to organise and categorise a language,
allowing you to revise efficiently. Record as much detail as possible and
don't rely on simple word and phrase translation.
Review and check yourself regularly. There are many useful websites
offering flashcards and quizzes to verify your language skills.
1. Read as much as possible
Reading is a great way to build up a wide range of vocabulary as well as to
get acquainted with a variety of structures in different texts. In the
beginning, use a dictionary and grammatical references to improve your
Read a lot of different types of texts. Start by reading short blog posts and
short articles, and then increase your activity by reading longer articles and
texts. As you approach the exam, you need to read more on your own and
rely less on a dictionary or notes. Read for general information and
meaning and try not to get stuck on words you don't recognize. On the
exam you have to read quickly enough to complete the tasks, there is no
time to focus on the meaning of individual words.
Reading material resources
Don't worry about making mistakes. When you receive feedback, you can
focus on correcting your mistakes. It's especially important to pay attention
to frequently made mistakes and focus on eliminating them.
The great way of doing it, is to start an ‘error log’. When you receive
feedback concerning your text, choose three language errors you would like
to eliminate in the future. Focus on errors occurring frequently, for example,
errors with prepositions, verb patterns, or language fragments. These are
the errors having the greatest impact on your accuracy.
Write down and correct errors in your notebook.
The next time you submit the text, check it to ensure you haven't repeated
the errors. If you keep repeating an error, write it in your notebook again
and highlight it. Follow this process with every feedback and build up an
error log so you can start seeing frequently repeating problems!
There are also some good websites to improve your writing:
1. Practise writing quickly by hand
There are many useful websites with practical online tests. However, if you
write the paper test, you'll need to be able to write clearly and quickly. If you
don't write too often by hand, it requires some practice. You won't have time
to write a rough answer on the test and then neatly rewrite it. By doing as
much practical work as possible, you'll know how long it'll take you to write
your answer. Clear handwriting is also important in Reading and Use of
English Paper and Listening Paper.
1. Speak as much as possible and give full answers to questions.
All speaking activities allow practicing the language you know, and the new
language you've learned. When you check your homework with your
partner or discuss a picture before listening or introduction to reading, give
full answers and speak as much as possible. Take every opportunity to
express your opinion and take part in discussions with many speaking
partners anywhere you can.
Practice speaking on a variety of topics – making prompts based on
different topics is one way. For each topic, make a list of key areas and
vocabulary you can talk about and write some questions to discuss.