The First Certificate is the test of competence in English. Once a student has passed this exam, that student can honestly say "I speak English". This does not mean that the student is a fluent English speaker, but it does mean that if this student operates in an English-language environment, he or she will eventually go on to become fluent. As it is, the student is expected to be able to understand most of the English he or she encounters, though sometimes this may take much more work than it would take an experienced user. (For example, it may take several readings and the use of a dictionary to read a newspaper article.)
A person with the FCE might be expected to work in an English-speaking environment as a businessman or as a student. This person will be able to understand public announcements, and also hold conversations in English. For example, he or she will be expected to read texts and understand particular details as well as what the whole text is about. The candidate will then be expected to be able to produce a summary of the report, or to decide which parts are wrong or right. These reports may be delivered as speech or text.
The reading test takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. The sort of material you will have to read is the sort of thing you might find in a magazine, or a manual. However, the texts are from a wide variety of sources, so be ready for anything! However, each part of the test has the same format as the material here - so doing the tests below will give you a very good idea what the exam is like.
There are four parts to the reading test. Each of them is around 500 words, though you can expect to find texts that have 200 words more or less than this. There are 35 questions. Parts 1, 2 and 3 are worth two marks, part 4 questions are worth 1 mark
The first part is a matching exercise, where you are given a text, and you have to put extra information into the text - for instance as a...