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. The exam was divided into three sections:
- Oral (Dictation, Reading Aloud, and Conversation)
- 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)
- Prescribed Texts (2 hours on Dickens, Swift, Shaw and/or the Oxford English Course book).
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.
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. 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).
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).
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.
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.
This is probably our most flexible way to study, as it enables you to learn exactly what you want, at exactly your speed. We do our utmost to match your needs to one of our highly-qualified and experienced tutors, who will work closely with you to design your personalised programme.
We have a bank of tutors to draw on, so whether you require English for business, law, military, medicine, IELTS, Cambridge exams, TOEFL, or for academic purposes, we can tailor a course to suit you, and help you improve quickly.
Why choose Individual Tuition?
Standard (15 lessons per week) or Intensive/Semi-Intensive (20/30/40 lessons per week)
Study what you need, at your own pace
Ideal if you have limited time to study
Flexible scheduling to fit in with your commitments
Combine with other courses to improve quickly
Ideal if you need specialist English
Ideal if you are a beginner
Do I need to buy materials for my course?
No, we provide everything you need.
About the course
15/20/30/40 lessons per week.
All levels including Beginner (A1/2)
Morning or afternoon classes according to the school timetable, Monday-Friday
Standard: 11.25 -15 hours a week,
Semi-Intensive: 22.5 hours a week,
Intensive: 30 hours a week
1 – 52 weeks.
You will receive an Oxford English Centre certificate and progress report, profiling your language level.
Assessment and progress
Stay focussed with weekly tests/reviews and a monthly tutorial to focus on particular needs.
Can I combine Individual tuition with group classes?
- Yes, we have a very flexible range of options- please see our dates and fees
How many individual lessons can I do?
- Each lesson is 45 minutes, so you can do between 1 and 6 per day
Do I have to book the lessons before I arrive in Oxford?
- If you need a specialist subject, Law for example, or you require several lessons per day, then yes, but you can add individual tuition to a group course after you have arrived at school on a group course
Can I start any time?
- Yes, you can start any Monday
Do I have to do a pre-test?
- No, we will send you a pre-course questionnaire, so your tutor(s) will begin planning your course before you arrive, and finalise it with you on your first day
Will I get a certificate?
- Yes, you get a certificate of attendance and a personalised report from your tutor(s)
Class duration: 1 – 52 weeks
Class size: Individual
Lesson duration: 45 minutes
Lessons per week: 5 – 40
1-10 weeks £35
11-20 weeks £70
21-30 weeks £100
31+ weeks £120
Start: Any Monday
Minimum age: 16
|Individual Lessons||Tuition Fees|
General English + Individual
|General + Individual||Tuition Fees|
|20 + 5||£580.00|
|20 + 10||£860.00|
|30 + 5||£650.00|
|30 + 10||£930.00|
REGISTRATION & COURSE DEPOSITS
Registration Fee: £90.00
Tuition & Accommodation Deposit: £490.00
Tuition Only Deposit: £290.00
Payment by cash, debit or credit card
Payment by bank transfer: See Bank Details