From January 2015, Cambridge English: First will have new specifications. Cambridge English: First is at Level B2 on the CEFR. It can be taken as a computer-based or a paper-based exam. It uses real-life situations that are designed to help your students communicate more effectively and learn the language skills to use everyday written and spoken English for work and study purposes.
Changes to exam at a glance
These are the key changes to the Cambridge English: First exam that will be introduced in January 2015.
Description Current version Revised version (2015)
Format Five papers Four papers
Timing 3 hours 59 minutes 3 hours 29 minutes
Number of Parts 17 17
Number of questions 104 84
· The Reading and Use of English papers have been combined.
· The revised paper takes 1 hour 15 minutes, which is 30 minutes shorter than the current Reading and Use of English papers combined.
· All the task types from both papers have been kept but the number of items in each task has been reduced.
· From 2015, there will be 7 parts and 52 questions.
· Use of English tasks come before Reading tasks so that there is a clear progression from a focus at word and sentence level to a focus on whole text content and structure.
· The compulsory Part 1 question is now an essay rather than an email or letter.
· The word count for both parts has increased to 140–190 words.
· In Part 2, candidates now choose from three questions rather than five, and candidates can decide to write an article, a report, a review or an email/letter.
· There will no longer be questions on set texts.
· All the current listening tasks are retained.
· In Part 1 the options are now not read out.
· In the Part 3 question there are now two additional distractors – so there are three distractors in all.
· Overall the revised Speaking paper takes the same length of time and has the same number of parts and tasks but there are changes to each part.
· In Part 1, the timing has reduced from 3 minutes to 2 minutes.
· In Part 2, the candidate response time has increased from 20 seconds to 30 seconds
· In Part 3, the picture prompts are replaced with written prompts. The task is now split into two to include a discussion phase and a decision-making phase.
· The Part 4 timing has increased by one minute.