A LETTER FROM A READER
I have my exam next week and I am nervous! But I have a question.
How do I calculate my score in my practice tests? I want to check my progress.
It's not so easy!
The first thing to know is that there are 5 sections in the exam (Speaking, Reading, Writing, Listening, and Use of English) and each is worth 20% of the total.
You can get a bad score in one part of the exam and still pass.
This is what your results look like:
This student scored 172 points overall (1) but her Writing was her weakest area (2).
In this article I will tell you how to calculate some of your scores, but for Speaking and Writing you will need feedback from a real teacher. (I suggest you book some lessons with a teacher on italki.)
The Cambridge Scale
In the old system you needed to score 60% overall to pass the exam. Now everything is rated according to 'the Cambridge Scale'.
The score you need to pass is 160. Look at this graphic:
As you can see, grades C and B cover the B2 level, while an A at First Certificate is at the lower end of C1.
You can also see that an A at FCE is similar to a C at Advanced level.
So How Do I Calculate My Score?
Parts 1 and 7 of the Reading test are worth 1 point. Parts 5 and 6 are worth 2 points. Add up your points and use this table to estimate your Cambridge English Scale score.
You will probably have to take a guess at your score. Example - if you score 20 points in the practice test, give yourself a Scale score of 150.
Use of English
Take 1 point for every correct answer in parts 2 and 3. In part 4 answers are worth 2 points, but you can score 1 point by getting the answer partially correct.
This one is easy - 1 point per section.
Take the Average
Okay so hopefully you have 3 scores now. Simply add them up and divide by three. Is that number higher than 160? If so, you're on track to pass Cambridge English: First!
Want More Info About the Scale?
If you find the new Cambridge Scale too confusing, don't use it! Just go with the old 60% rule. It's still a good guide.
Jennifer Thomas, language school owner and director (in Andalusia), Cambridge examiner and Trinity inspector, sent me a table with all the percentages and their probable Cambridge Scale equivalent.
I have turned it into a Google Doc which you can see here: