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Page 1

© UCLES 2014 CE/2387/4Y04

Cambridge English
First
for Schools
Handbook for Teachers

Page 2

1CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: FIRST FOR SCHOOLS HANDBOOK FOR TEACHERS

CONTENTS

Preface

This handbook is for teachers who are preparing candidates for Cambridge English: First for Schools, also known as First Certificate in English (FCE)
for Schools. The introduction gives an overview of the exam and its place within the range of Cambridge English exams. This is followed by a
focus on each paper and includes content, advice on preparation and example papers.

If you need further copies of this handbook, please email [email protected]

About Cambridge English Language Assessment 2
The world’s most valuable range of English qualifications 2
Key features of Cambridge English exams 2
Proven quality 2

Cambridge English: First for Schools – an overview 3
Who is the exam for? 3
Who recognises the exam? 3
What level is the exam? 3

Exam content and processing 3
A thorough test of all areas of language ability 3
International English 4
Marks and results 4
Certificates 4

Exam support 5
Support for teachers 5
Support for candidates 5

Reading and Use of English 7
General description 7
Structure and tasks 7
The seven parts of the Reading and Use of English paper 8
Preparation 9
Sample paper 1 12
Answer key 18
Sample paper 2 19
Answer key 25
Candidate answer sheet 26

Writing 27
General description 27
Structure and tasks 27
The two parts of the Writing paper 28
Preparation 28
Sample paper 1 31
Assessment of Writing 32
Sample scripts with examiner comments 36
Sample paper 2 42
Sample scripts with examiner comments 43
Candidate answer sheet 49

Listening 51
General description 51
Structure and tasks 51
The four parts of the Listening paper 52
Preparation 52
Sample paper 1 54
Answer key 61
Sample paper 2 62
Answer key 69
Candidate answer sheet 70

Speaking 71
General description 71
Structure and tasks 71
The four parts of the Speaking test 72
Preparation 72
Sample paper 1 75
Sample paper 2 78
Assessment of Speaking 81

Cambridge English: First for Schools glossary 86

Contents

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Page 43

42 CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: FIRST FOR SCHOOLS HANDBOOK FOR TEACHERS

WRITING | SAMPLE PAPER 2

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Page 44

43CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: FIRST FOR SCHOOLS HANDBOOK FOR TEACHERS

WRITING | SAMPLE SCRIPTS WITH EXAMINER COMMENTS

WRITING | SAMPLE PAPER 2

Question 1

Candidate A

“Teenagers are too young to teach other people about anything”

Adults often think teenagers to be noisy, childish and violent. Some of them even don’t think they have any
adult senses or wise thoughts at all but, as a teenager, I think we’re intelligent enough to teach other people
some things, and, according to this, I’m not agree with the quotation on top of the page.

For example, lots of teenagers have better knowledge in technology, so they can teach the older generation
how to deal with gadgets. In our gymnasium there are special classes for the senior people where they are
taught to work on computers, and their teachers are teenagers.

Moreover, teenagers have the great knowledge in ecology, and they are really concerned on saving the planet
alive. We talk a lot about environment on classes, we take part in ecology olympiades and contests for the
best ecological projects and often won them, so we have a lot to tell the others about environmental problems
and ways of their solving.

Besides this, teenagers can teach adults foreign languages. According to the statistics, 50% of adult
generation of our country don’t know any foreign languages, so we can help them to come by the new knowledge
or to improve that what they have. And, of course, students from foreign countries can teach Russian
students their language, and Russians can teach them Russian. It is sometimes done in linguistic centres.

To sum up I can say that teenagers have great knowledge in many fields of study, so they can also teach the
people of older generation and their classmates and friends.

Examiner comments
Subscale Mark Commentary

Content 5 All content is relevant and the target reader is fully informed.
The candidate discusses the statement and disagrees with the main idea that teenagers are too young to teach others.
Examples are provided which support the opinions and develop the argument.
The essay is focused on the knowledge and skills that teenagers have. Teenagers can teach older people about
technology and gadgets. They are more environmentally aware so can bring about change to protect the planet. The
third point, the candidate’s own idea, focuses on language skills that teenagers have and how they can use these to help
others communicate.

Communicative
Achievement

4 The essay uses the conventions of the task effectively to communicate straightforward ideas to the reader. The
paragraphs are well constructed and the main points are introduced with suitably formal phrases (For example; Moreover;
Besides this; According to; To sum up).
The main points are supported by examples, relevant to the candidate’s experience, and the register is consistent
throughout. The essay does not present both sides of the argument, portraying teenagers in a positive light throughout,
but this is acceptable.

Organisation 5 The text is well organised and coherent, using a variety of cohesive devices.
Some organisational patterns are used to good effect; for example, the introductory paragraph presents a popular view
of teenagers (noisy, childish and violent; Some of them (adults) even don’t think). This is contrasted with, but, as a teenager, I
think, mirroring the construction of the previous statement.
The use of referencing and ellipsis increases the internal cohesion of the paragraphs (lots of teenagers have better
knowledge in technology, so they can teach the older generation how to deal with gadgets).

Language 4 There is a range of technical and some environmental vocabulary used appropriately and there is some use of formal
essay lexis (According to the statistics). Some errors occur when the candidate attempts less common lexis, but these are
mainly due to ambition.
There is a range of simple and complex grammatical forms, and these are used with a good degree of control. Errors with
plurals, prepositions and articles are present, but these do not impede communication.

Page 86

85CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: FIRST FOR SCHOOLS HANDBOOK FOR TEACHERS

SPEAKING | GLOSSARY OF TERMS

4. PRONUNCIATION

Intelligible Intelligible: a contribution which can generally be understood
by a non-EFL/ESOL specialist, even if the speaker has a strong or
unfamiliar accent.

Phonological
features

Phonological features include the pronunciation of individual
sounds, word and sentence stress and intonation.

Individual sounds are:

• Pronounced vowels, e.g. the // in cat or the // in bed

• Diphthongs, when two vowels are rolled together to produce one
sound, e.g. the // in host or the // in hate

• Consonants, e.g. the // in cut or the // in fish.

Stress: the emphasis laid on a syllable or word. Words of two or
more syllables have one syllable which stands out from the rest
because it is pronounced more loudly and clearly, and is longer
than the others, e.g. imPORtant. Word stress can also distinguish
between words, e.g. proTEST vs PROtest. In sentences, stress
can be used to indicate important meaning, e.g. WHY is that one
important? versus Why is THAT one important?

Intonation: The way the voice rises and falls, e.g. to convey the
speaker’s mood, to support meaning or to indicate new information.

5. INTERACTIVE COMMUNICATION

Development of
the interaction

Development of the interaction: actively developing the
conversation, e.g. by saying more than the minimum in response to
the written or visual stimulus, or to something the other candidate/
interlocutor has said, or by proactively involving the other candidate
with a suggestion or question about further developing the topic
(e.g. What about bringing a camera for the holiday? or Why’s that?).

Initiating and
Responding

Initiating: starting a new turn by introducing a new idea or a new
development of the current topic.

Responding: replying or reacting to what the other candidate or the
interlocutor has said.

Prompting and
Supporting

Prompting: instances when the interlocutor repeats, or uses a
backup prompt or gesture in order to get the candidate to respond
or make a further contribution.

Supporting: instances when one candidate helps another
candidate, e.g. by providing a word they are looking for during a
discussion activity, or helping them develop an idea.

Turn and Simple
exchange

Turn: everything a person says before someone else speaks.

Simple exchange: a brief interaction which typically involves two
turns in the form of an initiation and a response, e.g. question–
answer, suggestion–agreement.

Page 87

86 CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: FIRST FOR SCHOOLS HANDBOOK FOR TEACHERS

CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: FIRST FOR SCHOOLS GLOSSARY

Options the individual words in the set of possible answers for a multiple-
choice item.

Paraphrase to give the meaning of something using different words.

Phrasal verb a verb which takes on a new meaning when followed by a certain
preposition or adverb (e.g. ‘get away ’, ‘take up’).

Pretesting a stage in the development of test materials at which items are tried
out with representative samples from the target population in order
to determine their difficulty.

Prompt
sentence

the complete sentence given as the opening or closing line of a
story in Cambridge English: First for Schools Paper 2 Part 2.

Referencing the technique of using ‘referents’.

Referent a word or term that refers to another person, place, etc.

Register the tone of a piece of writing. The register should be appropriate for
the task and target reader, e.g. a letter of application is written in a
formal register.

Report layout the way in which a report should be presented. At Cambridge
English: First for Schools level a report in Paper 2 Part 2 should
be clearly organised into paragraphs/sections and may include
headings.

Stem word the word at the end of each line in Cambridge English: First for
Schools Paper 3 Part 3, which is the basis for the word that has to
be formed.

Target reader the intended recipient of a piece of writing. It is important to ensure
that the effect of a written task on a target reader is a positive one.

Task fulfilment completing all elements of a Cambridge English: First for Schools
Paper 2 task using a range of appropriate and accurate language.

Acronyms

ALTE The Association of Language Testers in Europe.

CEFR Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

EFL English as a Foreign Language.

ESOL English for Speakers of Other Languages.

UCLES University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate.

Cambridge English: First for
Schools glossary

Answer sheet the form on which candidates record their responses.

Assessor the Speaking test examiner who assigns a score to a candidate’s
performance, using analytical criteria to do so.

Cloze test a type of gap-filling task in which whole words have been removed
from a text and which candidates must replace.

Coherence language which is coherent is well planned and clear, and all the
parts or ideas fit well so that they form a united whole.

Collaborative
task

the opportunity in the Speaking test for the candidates to engage
in a discussion and work together towards a negotiated outcome
of the task set.

Collocation this term describes the likelihood of two words going together, e.g.
a good job, a wonderful occasion.

Comprehension
questions

short questions testing information selection, linking and sentence
construction.

Content points the points contained in the notes on the text in the Cambridge
English: First for Schools Paper 2 Part 1 compulsory question, which
must be included in the candidate’s letter or email.

Discourse written or spoken communication.

Gap-filling item any type of item which requires the candidate to insert some
written material – letters, numbers, single words, phrases,
sentences or paragraphs – into spaces in the text. The response may
be supplied by the candidate or selected from a set of options.

Gist the central theme or meaning of the text.

Impeding error an error which prevents the reader from understanding the word
or phrase.

Input material the text and notes, sometimes supported by illustrations or
diagrams, which candidates have to base their answers on in the
Cambridge English: First for Schools Paper 2 Part 1 compulsory
question.

Interlocutor the Speaking test examiner who conducts the test and makes a
global assessment of each candidate’s performance.

Item each testing point in a test which is given a separate mark or marks.

Key the correct answer to an item.

Key word the word which must be used in the answer to an item in
Cambridge English: First for Schools Paper 3 Part 4.

Lexical adjective from lexis, meaning to do with vocabulary.

Long turn the opportunity in the Speaking test for a candidate to talk
uninterrupted for a period of time, enabling them to produce an
extended piece of discourse.

Lozenge the space on the mark sheet which candidates must fill in to
indicate their answer to a multiple-choice question.

Multiple choice a task where candidates are given a set of several possible answers
of which only one is correct.

Multiple
matching

a task in which a number of questions or sentence completion
items, generally based on a reading text, are set. The responses are
provided in the form of a bank of words or phrases, each of which
can be used an unlimited number of times.

Neutral style a writing style, at Cambridge English: First for Schools level
appropriate for compositions, with no specific features of formality
or informality.

Opening and
closing formulae

the expressions, either formal or informal, that are usually used to
open and close letters, e.g. ‘Dear Maria … With best wishes from …’,
or ‘Dear Mr Dakari … Yours sincerely …’.

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