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  • Listen Carefully and Stay Calm: Tips For Success in The First Certificate (FCE) Oral English Exam

    So, you’ve aced the written part of the Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE) and all that’s left is the oral part. How can you be sure you will be at your best in the exam?

    Here are some tips to help you in the individual part of the exam which should last around 7 (of the 14) minutes of the exam.

    Arrive On Time

    Getting to the exam venue late could break your concentration. It’s a good idea to be there around an hour early so you can mentally prepare for the exam and familiarize yourself with the surroundings. It will also give you the chance to double check the start time of your test!

    Don’t Cut Yourself Short

    Avoid monosyllabic or yes/no answers. Use full sentences. Always give more rather than less detail in oral exams. This is your opportunity to show off your English. Don’t be afraid to use it. 

    Keep talking

    One of the worst things in an oral exam is silence. The examiner will think that you have nothing to say! It is critical that you keep talking throughout the exam. Connector words (like however, furthermore) can be great tools to keep the momentum going.

    Stay To The Point

    While it’s important to keep talking in the exam, it’s equally important to stick to the point. Don’t ramble onto irrelevant topics. You will lose points for this. 

    Listen Carefully

    Await carefully the full question or comment from the examiner. Don’t interrupt him/her. You might lose the most important point of what he/she is saying.

    If You Don’t Understand Something, Say So!

    One of the worst mistakes you can make in an exam is not to admit it when you are completely lost.

    Good ways to get around this situation without losing face are the following:

    I’m sorry, could you repeat that please?

    Would you mind repeating that in a different way, please? 

    Stay Calm

    Even if you feel like you haven’t started well or made some errors, stay calm. If you get worked up you could lose your focus and not answer the rest of the questions as you could have done.

    End On A High Note

    Even if you feel that the exam didn’t go well, it’s a good idea to end on a positive note. Try to have a polished phrase prepared for your goodbye after it has finished. 

    These include:

    Thank you very much. Take care.

    Thanks for your patience. All the best.

    Now, let’s see how you get on. Here are some sample Questions for FCE oral exam:

    Do you live in a city centre, a suburb, a town, a village, or in the countryside?

    Is your town well-known for something (for example, a building or a type of food)?

    How long have you been studying English?

    Do you want to live in your home country or abroad in the long term?

    What do you think you will be doing after 5 or 10 years?

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