5 Most Common Questions About The Cambridge Exams

5 Most Common Questions About The Cambridge Exams

For English students, the official Cambridge exams (FCE, CAE and CPE) are by far the most popular for students who want to acquire an official English level. This is not a surprise, given that an official Cambridge English certficate can open doors to higher education, improve employment opportunities, and increase choice for education and work. However, at Patrick’s English Academy (www.patricksenglish.ie) , students always have the same doubts about their exam. Here is the most important information that every student needs to know before doing a Cambridge English exam.

1. You CAN’T ask to be with a specific partner for the Speaking module


Some students feel more comfortable doing the Speaking module with someone that they know. Unfortunately, in Cork this is not possible as students are paired randomly.

2. Cambridge English certificates do NOT expire


Contrary to what many people think, Cambridge English exam certificates do not have an expiry date. The certificate will show that, on a specific date, the candidate demonstrated a certain level of English. However, it is true that individual institutions (universities, employers etc.) may choose not to accept the certificate after a certain number of years. For more information about this, please visit www.cambridgeenglish.org


3. How do I calculate my marks in the FCE, CAE and CPE?

Calculating your marks can be a little complicated. Firstly, students must know that there are 5 sections in the exam, Reading, Use of English, Listening, Writing and Speaking. All of these sections are marked separately and then divided by 5. Let’s take the FCE as an example. In the FCE you need a minimum mark of 160 to pass. (https://www.fceexamtips.com/articles/how-do-i-calculate-my-fce-score). Here is an example of how to calculate the score:



4. Will I fail the exam if I have less than B2 level in any section?

No. You can have less than B2 in any part of the exam as long as your average mark is more than the minimum requirement to pass (160 for FCE and 180 for C1). However, if you have less than 122 (FCE) OR 142 (CAE) in any section of the exam you will automatically fail. It doesn’t matter how good your mark is in the other parts. Let’s see an example:

We can see that even though the total mark is higher, the student has still failed the exam because they had less than 122 in the Use of English section. For more information about Cambridge exam marking visit, www.cambridgeinternational.org


5. Will I lose marks for spelling mistakes in the Listening Section?

Yes. In part 2 of the listening section, even if you hear the word correctly but spell it incorrectly, you will lose marks, so be careful.


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