Choosing an Exam
You need time to prepare. Even if you’re at about the right level, give yourself enough time to find about the exam format and to get some practice doing the exam exercises. So attending classes or finding a teacher is also a good idea. You should also give yourself at least 2-3 months for Cambridge First but 6 months or more is generally a reasonable period for the higher level exams.
Why do you want or need to do an exam?
Often students want to do exams to improve their level of English. Because a recognised qualification can show that you are at a particular level it makes sense to think about think an exam. Furthermore, it is becoming more common to need a specific level of English for both study and work areas.
Comparing Cambridge Exams
With all of the Cambridge exams the level is what you can do in general and in areas like work, study and social life. Take a look at these descriptions below.
- can express opinions and present arguments on familiar topics
- can generally follow the news and familiar topics
- can read texts with good understanding and identify relevant information
- can write letters, emails, simple reports and other types of text in a work or study environment
- can understand complex texts without serious misunderstanding
- can communicate effectively at a professional level and express opinions with a high level of fluency
- can write a wide range of texts where the desired meaning is always clear
- can understand and follow workplace conversations and deal with unpredictable questions
- can study demanding subjects at the highest level, including postgraduate and PhD programmes
- can negotiate and persuade effectively in a work environment
- can understand the main ideas of complex pieces of writing
- can talk about a wide range of complex issues, and deal confidently with difficult questions
In some situations it’s easy to decide but sometimes there are other things involved. Career, work, even academic pressures are often part of the decision.
What if I need a higher level exam?
It is generally a better idea to choose an exam you can pass and then plan to do a higher one later. In all of the Cambridge exams there is a grade for not scoring enough for the level of the exam. Even so, there is a risk in going for a higher level if you are clearly not prepared for it. While you can get a higher level certificate with a grade, which refers to a lower level, there is also a possibility that you may not get a certificate if the score is too low.
The tables below show you the scores you need in each exam for a pass.
Cambridge First B2
When choosing it is always more important to do the exam that you may have the best chance of passing.
Whichever exam you choose good luck in it!