Which exams are changing?
• FCE / First Certificate in English (now known as Cambridge English: First)
• FCE for Schools / First Certificate in English for Schools (now known as Cambridge English: First for Schools)
• CAE / Certificate in Advanced English (now known as Cambridge English: Advanced)
When are they changing?
• They will go live in January 2015.
• Students can take the current exams until December 2014.
Why are they changing?
• Cambridge review and update all their exams regularly to ensure they meet the needs of teachers and learners and reflect the latest research into language learning and assessment.
Overview of changes
What are the main changes?
Exams will be shorter
• Cambridge English: First / First for Schools will be approximately 30 minutes shorter.
• Cambridge English: Advanced will be approximately 55 minutes shorter.
• The reduced length means that some reading texts are shorter and that there are fewer questions to answer.
Exams will contain four papers instead of five
• The existing exam has five papers: Reading, Writing, Use of English, Listening and Speaking.
• The new exam has four papers: Reading and Use of English, Writing, Listening and Speaking.
• The new four-paper format means all Upper Main Suite exams (First, Advanced and Proficiency) will have the same number of papers and therefore share an identity and coherence.
The non ‘for Schools’ exams will reflect the growing trend for vocational and academic content
• Cambridge English: First will have a stronger ‘study’ focus in terms of text types, with a more adult perspective.
• Cambridge English: Advanced will have a stronger ‘academic’ focus in terms of text types, with a more adult perspective.
Some new tasks and focuses have been added to some papers. Here are some examples:
• Reading and Use of English: these two have been combined into a single paper assessing language knowledge and reading skills.
• Writing: Part 1 is now always a compulsory essay in all three revised exams. Writing Part 2 will have less choice in terms of writing task. The report option will be dropped in Writing Part 2 in Cambridge English: First for Schools. The story option will be dropped in Writing Part 2 in Cambridge English: First and Cambridge English: Advanced and there will be no ‘set text’ option in either exam. Students will have to write more words than before in the Writing test.
• Listening: there is a move away from UK regional accents in the listening test and a move towards more ‘international’ accents from the English-speaking world. Non-native speakers are not included.
• Speaking: photos are replaced by written prompts in Speaking Part 3.
The tests can still be taken as either paper or computer based tests. However:
• The computer based tests will have revised functionality, design and user experience.
• This format has also been applied to other exams which are not changing, such as KET / Key (classic and for Schools); PET / Preliminary (classic and for Schools); and CPE / Proficiency.
Where can I get more information?
• The Cambridge English Language Assessment website has further information about the changes to each exam: Cambridge English: First, Cambridge English: First for Schools and Cambridge English: Advanced
We have revised and updated our materials for Cambridge English: First. Choose from our popular exam preparation course, Target Cambridge English: First and our extensive collection of practice tests, Richmond Practice Tests for Cambridge English: First. Prepare your students for exam success!