I want the Cambridge First Certificate in English

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Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Cambridge First Certificate (FCE)
Last updated: 22/01/2013
Tags: first certificate, study tips, upper-intermediate

I want the Cambridge First Certificate in English and I want it now!!

Are you one of those people who makes a decision to do something after careful consideration or are you impulsive, someone who makes a quick decision and acts without doing the research? What do you really know about the FCE? Are you prepared for the exam or do you just like the idea of having the qualification without knowing much about it? Learning a foreign language is a long process which requires motivation and commitment if you are to succeed. You need to know what is involved before you say, “I want the Cambridge First Certificate and I want it now!!”.

First of all, let me ask you some random questions and if the answer to most of them is “yes”, the First Certificate may come to you sooner than you think.

  1. Do you know the four main conditional structures in English grammar?
  2. Are you familiar with the verb tense “ the present perfect passive”?
  3. Do you know how to plan and write an article, a letter, an email, an essay and a report? How about a short story?
  4. Can you tell me which prepositions follow responsible...... fond...... capable …...... good........ ?
  5. When you listen to native English speakers communicating in standard English, do you understand more than 50% of what they say?
  6. Do native speakers understand you when you speak to them or do they often ask you to repeat yourself?
  7. Do you know many phrasal verbs?


Well, if your answer to most of these questions is “no” or you haven't understood most of what I have written above, it looks like you have a lot of hard work to do and it may take you longer to pass the exam than you think . The Cambridge First Certificate in English is a qualification that indicates the holder's English level is upper intermediate (Counsel of Europe level B2). This means that your English is good enough for you to live independently and be employed in an English speaking environment.

Good news! In 2010, for example, over 73% of the people who took the exam passed it. So when you are ready to take it, there is a good chance you will pass. “How will I know when I am ready to take the exam?”, you ask. Well if you consistently score above 60% in your practice tests, this is a good indication that you are prepared.

Now let me give you some FCE peparation tips:

  • Buy yourself an upper intermediate level grammar book- use it as a reference book more than a study book (language needs to be learnt in context).

  • Read as much English as you can. Reading a novel in a foreign language can be very satisfying – try the Bookworm © and Penguin © series of easy readers at levels 4 and 5.

  • Keep a small vocabulary pocket notebook of the new words you learn and don't forget to include them in a sentence to get the context; remember to write the pronunciation. Revision is the key to memorising vocabulary.

  • Buy a good monolingual dictionary for students of English.

  • You need a book of FCE practice tests and a course book to help you understand how the exam is structured.

  • Read, write, speak and listen to as much English as you possibly can. Immerse yourself in the language. This may mean isolating yourself from your own language community for a while if you are studying in the UK or another English-speaking country.

  • Finally, find yourself a good language school or teacher to guide you along the way.

I hope this short article has been of use to you and that you now have a little more understanding of your task ahead.

For further information follow the link below


Peter M Smith IELTS Tutor (Edinburgh)

About The Author

Hello, my name is Peter Smith. For the past 15 years I have been teaching students from all over the world both as a private tutor and as a classroom teacher.

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