Free FCE Study on the Internet

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Cambridge University's First Certificate Examination (FCE) is probably the most widely respected English learning certificate outside of the United States. Examination centers around the world offer the First Certificate Exam twice a year; once in December and once in June. In fact, the First Certificate is only one of a number of Cambridge examinations aimed at levels from young learners to business English. However, the FCE is certainly the most popular. The tests are given in Cambridge University approved exam centers using Cambridge University approved examiners.

Study Strategy

Studying for the First Certificate Exam usually involves a long course. First Certificate preparation course can last 120 hours and involve a difficult (and long) exam which contains five "papers" including:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Use of English
  4. Listening
  5. Speaking

There are few resources on the Internet for First Certificate preparation. However, you can find practice tests, wordbanks, and practice exercises. You can use these materials to prepare for the exam or to check to see if your level of English is right for working towards this exam.

About the Test

Before beginning to study for the First Certificate, it is a good idea to understand the philosophy and purpose behind this standardized test. Practicing techniques on test taking can help you understand general test-taking preparation. The best way to understand the specifics of the FCE is to go straight to the source and visit the introduction to the exam at Cambridge University's EFL site. For information about where the First Certificate is placed on the European 5-level scale, you can visit this informative page.

Listening

Finding FCE-specific listening practice exercises can be difficult, so get creative! Visit the BBC's audio and visual page and listen to or watch various ABC programs. The exam is purely British English, so it's best to listen to this classic British radio station.