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How to pass the FCE exam – 5 must-read tips!

Image representing students learning how to be polite in difficult situations

The FCE exam, or the Cambridge First Certificate Exam to give it its full name, is a really helpful qualification to have – as it recognised and accepted by thousands of employers and educational bodies around the world! By having completed the FCE exam, you can demonstrate that you have a good grasp of both written and spoken English – for work and learning.

So if you’re planning to take your FCE exam soon, you won’t want to miss these 5 useful tips to help you succeed!

1. Practice reading

The reading part of the exam can be stressful – especially when you come across lots of unfamiliar words or phrases. To avoid get flustered by this, practice lots of English reading – and try to get the general meaning of something quickly. Start by reading short blog posts and articles online, and then try longer pieces. It’s important not to get too stuck on a single word that you don’t know – remember that the clock is always ticking!

2. Write by hand – not computer

While you might not think it makes a difference, writing by hand can sometimes require a little more thought! If you’re used to typing in English on a computer all the time, you should also try some hand-written exercises. This will also help you to build up speed, which will definitely come in handy during the exam!

3. Get listening

Listen to English wherever you can – online videos, TV, the radio… this will help you get used to the speed and variety of accents that you’ll encounter in the test. Don’t just focus on American or British sources – but use both to add diversity.

4. Have a conversation

It can be nerve wracking to do the oral part of the test, so the best way to get over your nerves is practice! Practice talking in English as much as possible – and speak to anyone who will listen, or even yourself! Record yourself and watch over videos to see how you performed, and describe your everyday activities in English as you do them.

5. Do mock tests

Lastly, do lots of past papers to give yourself familiarity with the format of the tests. You’ll get a good feel for the structure and layout of the paper. Try and do a few under strict timed conditions, so you can see how you perform in the time you have!