Thinking about taking the First Certificate? It’s not an easy decision to make; preparing for the exam requires dedication and hard work.
However the benefits of having an official certificate can open up exciting new job opportunities, give you the chance to travel and experience much more.
First of all – What is it?
The first certificate (FCE) is an English Language Exam provided by Cambridge. It’s an upper-intermediate international English exam which focusses on the B2 level of the Common European Reference for Languages (CEFR). So let’s have a look at some of the things to consider.
- It’s internationally recognised.
It’s highly regarded by employers all over the world; it allows them to see that you possess the appropriate skills needed to work in an English speaking environment. It will also give your CV a big boost and a welcomed advantage over other applicants when applying for a job.
- Taking the Exam has never been easier
Gone are the days when there were only a few exam sessions a year. With the addition of the computer based exams, you can take the exam almost every month; some months they even have various sittings.
This gives you the flexibility to take it whenever you want and it means you can decide when you are ready. This way you can make sure you really do well first time round.
- It will give you a goal to work towards.
Learning a language can be very rewarding, especially when you start to really see the fruits of your labour. However at times it can be difficult to keep that motivation up right? Having something to work towards can help you focus your attention on it properly and as the exam covers all aspects of language learning, all your hard work will pay off.
- Set yourself a realistic target.
Cambridge research suggests that to go from one level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to the next takes approximately 200 guided learning hours. To put this in perspective; to go from A2 to B2 (The Cambridge KET to FCE) could take up to 400 hours. Therefore it would take a student studying three hours a week around 2 ½- 3 years to reach B2 level.
- Make sure you’re ready.
This ties in with the previous point. I’ve spoken to numerous people who are under the impression that taking the FCE is like a walk in the park and that they’ll be ready to take it in six months times. It’s important to be aware of the level of the Exam. These are many online tests that can give you an idea of your level. At Speak Your Mind Diagonal we always give students interested in the FCE a mock exam to see how they deal with the different papers of the test. Only then are they accepted on one of our FCE preparation courses. Know your level before and set yourself a realistic goal.
Learning to be highly competent in all areas of a second language takes practice, dedication and hard work however the possibilities it opens up are endless. It can lead to exciting job opportunities home and abroad, make travelling much more enjoyable and enrich your life in so many ways.