Language certificates based on the Cambridge-system
These certificates are granted by the University of Cambridge and are sought after on the job market as well as at university. The tests are widely-used and acknowledged. The Cambridge certificates are classified on different levels, the most important ones being:
- Cambridge First Certificate = FCE, equates to level B2
- Cambridge Advanced Certificate = CAE, equates to level C1
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English = CPE, equates to level C2
The Business English Certificates BEC are the job-oriented tests of the University of Cambridge, which are classified according to the following levels: BEC Preliminary, BEC Vantage and BEC Higher.
The language schools prepare the students for the exams in group lessons. Since January 2015 the exams are offered according in a new format: all the different certificates consist of a similar four-part system with solely a few slight changes can occur concerning the number of questions or the duration of the exam. All tests begin with a “Reading and Use of English” session which lasts around one and a half hours. Besides the reading comprehension this part also tests the grammatical and lexical skills through more than 50 questions. After that the examinee has to pass the “Writing” part in which he/she has to write two texts in around one and a half hours concerning different topics. Thirdly, the “Listening” part, which lasts around 40 minutes, occurs. It consists of 30 questions relating to different audio recordings. The last part is the “Speaking” exam which lasts around 15 minutes and tests the student’s communicative competences with an interlocutor.
The exams take place year-round, during the summer all certificates can be taken, while the CAE is offered preferably during off-season. As opposed to other examinations, for example the TOEFL, the Cambridge Certificate does not expire.
English in Britain suggests you language courses in England which prepare for the Cambridge Certificates.