THE FCE BLOG by Claudia Ceraso

Friday, August 11, 2006


Working with FCE Past Papers from Cambridge ESOL Publications and other Sample Papers

Every FCE student is always well equipped with a collection of past papers. To get a taste of a real exam you should get hold of one of Cambridge Examination Papers. These books are not available online. You can find a list here:
By sample papers we mean exercises written by teachers for further practice, but which have never been used at a Cambridge exam. Major publishing houses offer a range of sample papers in their collections. You’ll need to go and browse at the bookshops. (Find directions to booksellers in Buenos Aires here)

Where can I find Cambridge past papers?
From Cambridge ESOL (formerly UCLES) site:
FCE Handbook (Pdf). The handbook contains extensive information, you just need to print out the pages with the sample papers and key. Get the latest edition here with a complete test (listening in mp3):

Some guidelines when working on your own

Before the task:

Work in exam conditions: Allow yourself sufficient time and a clear desk. When you are doing FCE past papers you are an independent learner. You are in charge of managing your performance. Not sure how much time to allot? Need a timer? Check our previous posting on timing yourself.

While practising:

The more practice you have, the sooner you finish your tests. Most students make the mistake of giving up the game after filling in the last blank. If you need less minutes to complete a task, good for your timing! Now let’s go for quality and best results. Respect the total time for the task. Use the extra minutes to learn to have a critical view of your own work. Challenge your answers! Be confident enough not to alter the correct’s just mistakes you are after. This is by no means easy: Remember the dos and dont's.


After going through the right answers and obtaining a general paper mark, there is a lot yet to be done. Actually, real learning takes place at this point. Do not erase mistakes, keep a record of them! Are there other correct answers suggested in the key that you wouldn’t have thought of using? Learn about them. Can you see a pattern in your mistakes? Do you tend to err in the same parts of a test? This is the self assessment stage. But more about that in a future posting.

Now let’s find some extra work to do

-Are there sample papers on the web?
-Of course!

This site lists sample papers from the 1st edition of ESOL FCE Handbook. You may do the test online or print a copy for your working records.

If you need a Pdf reader you can download one here.

Have you found any other sites with FCE sample papers? Drop a comment and let us know!

Related links:
First Certificate in English GUIDE


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