Something two

Cambridge computer-based exams, including FCE and CAE,
have been available since 2009.

Different and yet similar

Popular FCE and CAE exams, both in their original paper
version and the new computer version, are prepared by the
same institution -Cambridge English Language Assessment.
This guarantees the quality of both formats and their contents.
Candidates taking FCE or CAE computer exams are faced with
exactly the same tasks, arranged in the same order and
requiring the same skills as those who decided to take these
exams in the traditional way. Each of the three written parts,
Writing, Reading and Use of English, Listening, is given similar
time in both formats. The difficulty, number and subject matter
of the questions are identical. Their task is to check the
candidate's language skills. The same applies to the oral part
(Speaking). The conversation takes place in the room where
the examiner is also present. You do not record your
statements on any electronic device or talk to a computer or a
specialised robot.

The difference in format

The main difference is the format of the exam itself. Instead of
a sheet of paper and a pen, questions are answered with the
keyboard and mouse. The next screens are like pages of
examination sheets. One screen is one task. You can move

backwards and forwards between the screens, just like
between web pages – navigation is very simple and clear. The
answers to the questions are either entered on the keyboard or
clicked with the mouse – it all depends on the type of task,
whether it is to fill in the gaps with words or choose one of
several answers. Errors can be corrected using the
"backspace" key. However, the "spell check" function does not
work – is finally a language exam. In the corner of the screen
we have a clock installed, which shows us exactly how much
time is left to solve all the tasks.
Individual Listening and other benefits

A big advantage of computer FCE and CAE is using
headphones to play the Listening section. Each participant
adjusts the volume of the recording by himself. So you don't
have to worry that you can't hear one of the parts, because
there is a noise outside the window, a neighbour on the right
coughing, or that you're sitting in the wrong place. Moreover,
the candidate has access to the program's help function
throughout the test. There is also a technician present in the
room who can be contacted in case of any doubts concerning
the operation of the examination software. Another advantage
of computer language tests is the waiting time for results. They
are available online as early as 2 weeks from the date of the
test (as a reminder – the results of traditional exams are
expected to be 7 weeks).
If you are not yet sure whether to take the paper or computer
FCE and CAE exams, please visit the British Council website.
You can find examples of computer tests on the Cambridge
English website