Emma is a 17-year old girl whose parents have her signed up for the March examination of the FCE. She is getting back into studying as she had given up on it for a while. Now with 3 months to go, she is looking into optimising her preparation time. She has shopped around for the right language school and preparation material. She is also asking around for more advice. As a matter of fact, today, she is seeing her friend Terry who sat the exam recently.
Terry, Emma and Gordon make their way to the local café. They spend over two hours discussing the ins and outs of the FCE. FCE stands for First Certificate of English. It is an exam which covers Use of English, Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing skills. Let’s find out more!
EMMA: Hello Terry! Thanks for agreeing to meet up today. I am so stressed out!
TERRY: No worries Emma! I know how it feels. I only sat the exam 3 months ago. By the way, I hope you don’t mind: I brought a friend along. He is actually an English teacher. He will also be able to advise you on how to prepare for the FCE.
GORDON: Hi there! My name is Gordon. I hope you don’t mind me dropping in like this.
EMMA: Oh God no! By all means, join us! It is nice to meet you Gordon. My name is Emma.
GORDON: Terry has told me all about you. So Emma, when are you taking the exam?
EMMA: I booked the exam for March. So I still have about 3 months to prepare. I am hoping to get a grade B, so 75 to 79%. I don’t want to let my parents down.
GORDON: That is plenty of time! Let’s sit down and draw up a plan. You need to map out your studying time. What grade did you get Terry?
TERRY: I got an A, with 81%!
EMMA: Wow! Sorry to cut in! But an A is between 80 and 100%. That’s truly impressive! Did you stick to a tight schedule too?
TERRY: Yes, indeed I did. Most of my friends only narrowly passed. I was very fortunate, having travelled to many English-speaking countries… I must say my brothers chipped in too. They helped me practise the speaking part.
SYNONYM or DEFINITION
to agree to
to accept, to consent to, to say yes to
to object, to be bothered, to care
to sit an exam
to take an exam
to pass an exam
to succeed in an exam
to map out, to draw up
to organise, to design, to outline, to schedule
a mark, a score
to stand for
to mean, to be an abbreviation of, to symbolise
lucky, blessed with good luck, favoured
to let down
to chip in
to stick to something
to follow, to not move from a subject, to adhere to
to find out
to discover a fact
to be stressed out
to be tense, to be emotionally strained
to cut in
by all means
certainly, of course
to drop in / by / over
to come without an appointment
to shop around
to compare prices
to look into something
to sign up (for something)
to commit oneself to a period of education or to a course, to register for something
to get back into something
to become interested in something again
to give up (on something)
to stop trying
to ask around
to ask many people the same question
as a matter of fact
actually, in reality
to narrowly pass an exam
to scrape through an exam
FCE Speaking Test. The day of the exam there are 4 parts in the FCE Speaking test.
This lesson’s exam tip will be about SPEAKING PART 1: in this part the examiner asks you questions. You reply to the examiner, individually (you, then the other student. Or the other student, then you).
There is no talking with your partner, the other student. Each of you will talk for about 2 minutes.
This first part is considered a warmer, as it should help you to feel more relaxed for parts 2, 3 and 4 of the speaking test.
To prepare for this part, you can learn vocabulary and set phrases about:
Useful phrases for asking for clarification:
Useful phrases for correcting yourself: