Full name: First Certificate in English
Exam Board: Cambridge ESOL British English
CEF Level: B2

The widely taken exam tests the ability of the candidate to communicate effectively in English. In many countries it is seen as the benchmark of English language knowledge and is a requirement for employment. It is also taken in many schools as part of school-leaving exams.



Paper 1

Part 1   Text + 8 multiple-choice questions
Part 2  Text with 7 sentences removed that must be correctly inserted.
Part 3 Long text or several short texts + 15 multiple-matching questions.
Paper 2
Writing 1hr 20 mins

Part 1   One compulsory question (a letter or email)
Part 2   One task to be chosen out of five
Candidates are expected to write texts such as an article, an essay, a letter, an email, a report, a review or a story. The writing may refer to one of the two set texts.
Paper 3
Use of English
45 mins

Part 1    Modified cloze test with options – 12 questions
Part 2    Modified open cloze test – 12 questions
Part 3   Selecting the correct word from a provided word stem – 10  questions
Part 4    8 sentence-creation questions
Paper 4
approx. 40 mins

Part 1 8 short extracts with a multiple-choice question for each one
Part 2    Sentence-completion task with 10 questions
Part 3    5 short, related monologues with 5 multiple-matching questions
Part 4   Monologue/text involving interacting speakers – 7 multiple-choice questions
Paper 5
14 mins
2 candidates and 2 examiners

Part 1   Conversation between candidate and examiner
Part 2 Individual ‘long turn’ for each candidate with brief response from second candidate (visual and written stimuli, with spoken instruction)
Part 3   Two-way conversation between candidates
Part 4

  Discussion on topics related to Part 3



  • •    The final score is based on the total score for all five papers. In order to pass the examination, not all five papers need to be at a satisfactory level.
  • •    All papers are equally weighted and the total score is 200.
  • •    Results are given as A, B or C for a pass, and D or E for a fail. These grades are set according to statistics of candidature success rates, examiner advice/recommendations, and comparison with the previous year.

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