Hello students and teachers,Cambridge exams

As you may already know, Cambridge is making several changes to the exam format for First Certificate and Advanced from 2015 onwards. If you are thinking of doing one of these exams, or indeed teaching them, you may want to take a quick look at the following information….

First of all, let’s take a look at the changes for the FCE. Here is a copy of the new overall exam format:

Description

Current version

Revised version (2015)

Format

Five papers Four papers: Reading and Use of English have been combined

Timing

3 hours 59 minutes 3 hours 29 minutes

Number of Parts

17 17

Number of questions

104 84

Here is a break down of the individual parts…..

Reading and use of English:

Instead of two separate papers, the reading and use of English parts have been combined to form one paper. The time allowed for this paper will be 1hr and 15 minutes, beginning with the Use of English and then followed by the Reading. There will be 7 parts and 52 questions with the same task types as before.

Writing:

The first part of the writing will be an essay instead of a letter or email and the word count has changed to between 140-190 words. There will be no more questions on set texts and students will be given 3 options to choose from in part 2 instead of the usual 5.

Listening:

There are not many changes being made to the listening except that the questions for part one will not be read out and there will now be 3 distracters in the part 3 question.

Speaking:

Part one of the speaking will now be 2 minutes long, while in part two the candidate response time has been changed to 30 seconds.

From 2015 onwards, part 3 will consist of written prompts instead of pictures and will be split into two phases to include the chance for discussion in the first phase and then decision making in the second.

The timing for part 4 will be increased by one minute.

Now let’s take a look at the changes made to the Advanced exam. Here is a summary of the new overall format:

Description

Current version

Revised version (2015)

Format

Five papers Four papers: Reading and Use of English have been combined

Timing

4 hours 40 minutes 3 hours 55 minutes

Number of Parts

19 18

Number of questions

114 86

And here is a breakdown of the individual parts

Reading and use of English:

The CAE reading and use of English sections have also been combined to make one exam this time following the same task types as the First but at a more advanced level.

As in the First, the Use of English will come before the reading and there will no longer be short text and gap sentence exercises. Overall, there is a more academic orientation to the test.

Writing:

From now on, there will be no more questions on set texts. In part one, there will be a compulsory essay to answer and the material candidates will be presented with consists of notes taken during a seminar, lecture or discussion of some sort.

Part two is more or less unchanged but there is no longer an article or information sheet as output text type.

Listening:

The multiple choice in part three will be more focused on interaction between the speakers.

Speaking:

The length of part one of the speaking has been reduced by one minute while phase two has less follow up questions. Part three will also use written prompts instead of visual ones in the same style as the new First Certificate version. Part 4 has been extended by one minute.

Changes to First and Advanced for 2015
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