Cambridge FCE

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Young Lawyers-Week 1 9.30-11.00 11.30-13.00 14.00-15.30
MONDAY Welcome and orientation session.Language assessment. An introduction to legal English.Achieving clarity vs Understanding legalese.Essential study skills. The legal profession in the UK & USA.Compare training and scope with student’s own jurisdictions.
TUESDAY The language of contracts.Interpreting commercial contracts. Boilerplate clauses.Warranties and indemnities. Writing Lab.Introduction to drafting contracts.
WEDNESDAY Speaking for lawyers.Meeting your client and eliciting information. Forms of companies.Private and public businesses. Setting up a company.Focus on LLPs and contrasting different European forms of companies.
THURSDAY Writing Lab.Writing letters, memos and opinions. Presentation and Q & A with local legal professional. CASE STUDY 1.From client interview to letter/email to in-court submission.
FRIDAY Drafting contracts Lab.Set up weekend writing assignment. Week 1 Review Test.Tutorials. Free time for self-study or relaxation.


Introduced in 1939, the Lower Certificate in English (LCE) was the second English language exam developed for speakers of other languages by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, the organisation that would later be known as Cambridge Assessment. The arrival of thousands of refugees from the Spanish Civil War and occupied Europe into the UK had created a growing need for language assessment. The LCE was intended to meet a demand for the certification of an English proficiency level below that of the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

One hundred and forty-four students sat the first LCE exam on 21 June 1939.[4] The exam was divided into three sections:

  1. Oral (Dictation, Reading Aloud, and Conversation)
  2. English Composition and Language (2 hours for a free composition on a choice of subjects and various tests on the correct use of simple English)
  3. Prescribed Texts (2 hours on Dickens, Swift, Shaw and/or the Oxford English Course book).[5]

By 1943, LCE included a choice between ‘either prescribed texts or a paper in translation from and into English’. By 1944, 18 languages were catered for in the translation paper, including Polish, Arabic, Hebrew, Czech, Persian and Swedish.[6]

Many of those who took LCE served on active duty during World War II: the LCE December 1943 Pass List includes candidates from the Polish Army, the Polish Institute of Air Force Technology (RAF), the Netherlands Fleet Air Arm, and the Czechoslovakian RAF Squadron. On one day in 1948 over 2,500 men and women of the Polish Resettlement Corps took LCE.[7] A special version of LCE was also made available to prisoners of war detained in Britain and in occupied Europe. The test was made available to 1,500 prisoners of war in Britain, 900 of them Italians. In Germany, the test was offered at seven prisoner of war camps, with Indian prisoners of war encouraged to take LCE or School Certificate exams. After the war, LCE proved to be the most popular Cambridge English exam of the time, with over 4,000 candidates in 1947, compared to 2,028 candidates for the Certificate of Proficiency in English, now known as Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE).[8]

In 1975, driven by evolving principles of communicative language teaching and testing, LCE was revised and renamed as the First Certificate in English (FCE). The exam was updated to have five compulsory papers: Composition (free writing task); Reading Comprehension; Use of English (testing grammatical structures and vocabulary); Listening Comprehension (multiple-choice items); and an Interview (oral tests).[9]

The qualification was further updated in 1984 and 1996. Following the 1996 revision, FCE covered a greater range of writing, listening and speaking micro-skills. Its Speaking test format used two candidates and two examiners and the five papers were equally weighted, each representing 20% of the available marks.[10]

In January 2015, another set of revisions were introduced. The main changes are: the overall exam is now 30 minutes shorter; there are four exam papers, instead of five; and the Reading and Use of English papers have been combined into a single paper. Further information can be found in the revised Exam Specification.

In addition, a new way of reporting results has been introduced (effective from January 2015), with Cambridge English Scale scores replacing the standardised score and candidate profile used for exams taken pre-2015. The Cambridge English Scale was developed to provide exam users with more detailed information about their exam performance than was previously available.[11]

Transcription of the video

Question 1 (Q1): Is that okay if I ask you some questions that I have written down?
Answer 1 (A1): Yes, of course.

Q2: What level do I need to study the FCE (First Certificate in English) Preparation Course?
A2: We really recommend that the lowest level would be in intermediate, but the high level of intermediate going through to upper intermediate. That will give you the best opportunity to do the course comfortably.

Q3: How is the course organised?
A3: We do the course over either 10 or 12 weeks and we make sure we cover all the skills that you need to pass FCE, and that includes reading and listening, and those are your receptive skills. Then of course you have your productive skills which are writing and speaking. So we cover all of these points and use of English which is your grammar and of course your vocabulary. So we do this right throughout the course.

Q4: What should my expectation be of the FCE (First Certificate in English) class?
A4: A wonderful class, full of international students, where you will make lots of wonderful friends for the rest of your life actually, and together you study all these skills that I’ve just mentioned. We try to bring a lot of fun into the classroom, and do lots of activities, interactive activities. However, there is a serious side, so throughout your 10 or 12 weeks, you do have a lot of homework – two hours at night. So it’s a lot of fun, but a lot of hard work you have to be prepared for.

Q5: Is there a special course book for the candidates to work from?
A5: Yes, we have a 12 module course book for the FCE course that covers again, all these skills and each part of each paper. So there are no surprises when you sit down for the final test. With the course book we supplement it with complementary materials so if you are studying at a particular grammar point, you will have extra homework or activities to do in class so you make sure you re-use that grammar point or vocabulary. Also we try to take students out sometimes for some special activities that of course are related to FCE.

Q6: Do we get the chance to do practice tests?
A6: Yes, definitely. We have a practice test, a full mock test about halfway through the course and then at the end of the course, just before you go to do the final test. You can always take practice tests on the weekends, and we do a test every Monday to make sure you are all keeping on track with the different skills.

Q7: Do BROWNS students get good marks in the test?
A7: Of course we do! We are really proud of our reputation at BROWNS, we get some fantastic results for the students and of course a lot of our students go through to do the CAE course as well. What we find is that you do have to put a lot of hard work in yourself. We put a big effort in so we expect you to as well.

Decide how long you want to study for, how many hours per week and we’ll help you find an English course that’s right for you.

Standard (20 lessons per week) or Intensive/Semi-Intensive (28/24 lessons per week*)

Why choose a General English Course?

  • Essential listening & speaking, reading & writing skills
  • English for the real world
  • English in context (use TV, the Internet and interactive games to learn)
  • Develop a special interest or improve weaker areas with Elective lessons (Intensive only)
  • Make steady progress with tests, reports and support from qualified teachers


Do I need to take an entry test before I book?
No, you’ll be tested on arrival to make sure you’re in a class that’s just right for your level.

About the course

Course structure

20 General English lessons


20 General English lessons +
8 Elective lessons (Choose 1 or 2 electives per week.  Improve grammar, vocabulary, conversation skills, academic study skills, business communication or prepare for an exam.)


20 General English lessons +
4 Elective lessons (Electives as above but choose 1 elective per week.)

2-4 lessons of general English will be in different formats, including guided lessons with the “Study Smart” learning portal, lectures and project work.

Entry level

A1(Elementary) to C2 (Advanced), suitable for all levels
See Your level of English

Lesson Length

45 minutes

Course duration

1-52 weeks


At the end of the course, receive an Oxford English Centre Certificate documenting your language level.

Assessment and progress

Stay focussed with personal learning plans, an e-portfolio of your work, entry/exit test, weekly test/review and a monthly test/report.  Find out what it’s like inside the classroom.


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Marti Corado

Student, Argentina

















Class duration: 1-52 weeks

Class size: maximum 15

Lesson duration: 45 minutes

Lessons per week: 20 or 24 or 28

Learning materials: Included

Start: Every Monday

Minimum age: 16

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