Cambridge English: First (FCE)

General information

Cambridge English: First (FCE) is an internationally recognized exam in general English. According to a scale established by the Council of Europe, the certificate corresponds to level B2. It confirms that you are able to independently use everyday written and spoken English for work or study.

About the exam

Recognition of exams

FCE certificate is recognized by educational institutions around the world, including leading universities and colleges in the UK, Australia and North America, such as: The University of Warwick (UK), the Universities of London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester (UK) The University of Sydney (Australia) and McGill (Canada).

Also, the possession of this certificate can open the door to many leading companies that recognize this exam, including Hewlett-Packard (HP), KPMG, IBM, Sony, Marks and Spencers.

A complete list can be found here .

Deadlines, dates and places exams

British Council in Serbia is responsible for the organization of taking the exam. There are several examination periods throughout the year, usually in March, May, June, October, November and December.

Application deadlines are one month before the term, and all the detailed information together with the locations where examinations were maintained you can get at our school.

Exam format

B2 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. You can see exactly what’s in each paper below.

The Speaking test is taken face to face, with two candidates and two examiners. This creates a more realistic and reliable measure of your ability to use English to communicate.

Paper Content Purpose
Reading and Use of English (1 hour 15 minutes)
7 parts/52 questions 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.
(1 hour 20 minutes)
2 parts Requires you to be able to produce two different pieces of writing, such as letters, reports, reviews and essays.
(about 40 minutes)
4 parts/30 questions Requires you to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials, such as news programmes, presentations and everyday conversations.
(14 minutes per pair of candidates)
4 parts Tests your ability to communicate effectively in face to face situations. You will take the Speaking test with one or two other candidates.

B2 First Scale Scores

All candidates receive a statement of results. FCE certificates are issued to candidates who obtain a positive mark (A, B or C). If a candidate does not pass the FCE exam or pushing meet the requirements B1 level, will receive a certificate that confirms it.

Depending on which university, college or organisation you are applying to, you may be asked to achieve a specific score or grade, either overall or for a particular skill. For B2 First, the following scores will be used to report results:

Cambridge English Scale Score Grade/CEFR CEFR level
180–190 Grade A C1
173–179 Grade B B2
160–172 Grade C B2
140–159 Level B1 B1

The exam is targeted at Level B2 of the CEFR. The examination also provides reliable assessment at the level above B2 (Level C1) and the level below (Level B1).

Scores between 122 and 139 are also reported for B2 First. You will not receive a certificate, but your Cambridge English Scale score will be shown on your Statement of Results.

The relationship between the CEFR levels, the Cambridge English Scale and the grades awarded in B2 First is illustrated below:

Diagram of where B2 First is aligned on the CEFR and Cambridge English Scale

About a month after the exam is issued a report on the results, and the certificate after 2 months.

Your Cambridge English certificate does not expire. Recognising organisations such as universities, colleges and employers can choose how long to accept results for, so make sure you always check their requirements.