09Nov 2016



Studying English? I’m sure you’ve heard of the Cambridge English exams, but at almost 200 euro, are they really worth the time, money and effort?

Isn’t it enough to do a course and be able to communicate in English? Well, here are a few reasons why you might consider doing the FCE (The Cambridge English: First) – one of the most popular and probably most useful of the Cambridge exams. 


Internationally Recognised

The FCE is known all around the world and is recognised by the majority of universities – in fact, 99% of the world’s top 100 universities accept it. For most college courses you need to prove you have upper-intermediate English. (CEFR B2)  So while IELTS is probably the most common exam, the FCE is a close second. Some courses will require advanced English so you would need the CAE  (The Cambridge English: Advanced) for those ones

Note: The TIE is accepted by Irish universities – see blog post  ‘My experience of the TIE’

Valid for Life! 

One of the best things about the FCE is that your certificate is valid forever, unlike IELTS which is only valid for two years. This makes it the best choice for your CV. When applying for a job, it’s very useful to have this certificate to show you can use English well in a working environment. And you just have to do it once in your life, which makes it great value for money in my opinion.

Note: Although your certificate has no expiry date, some universities require that it is no more than two or three years old, so you need to check carefully with each university/ institute you are applying to.

Really Improve your English

The FCE is a very challenging exam which tests all language skills -reading, listening, writing, grammar and most importantly speaking. You need 60% to pass and have to do all the tasks under time pressure. You really need a wide vocabulary; good knowledge of phrasal verbs and idioms as well as flexibility and control of grammatical structures in order to do well. You need to be able to express your ideas clearly and fluently.

You are moving from everyday English to wider and less familiar topics, so preparing for this exam helps to improve all aspects of your language development and makes sure that you can manage in a wide variety of situations.

Be rewarded for your Hard Work

Students get a wonderful sense of satisfaction from passing the FCE. There’s nothing like having an exam date to motivate you to study hard. And in my experience, students preparing for international exams tend to be more focused and hard-working. They often do extra self-study and re-do their written work until it is of a high quality. They do plenty of past exam papers and are constantly building and reviewing their skills. I see them really making progress.

And then to finally get that certificate – it’s just fantastic! Nobody can take it away from you and it can help you with further education or climb the career ladder.

 Show you haven’t been ‘wasting your time’

If you have taken time out to travel and experience a different culture  but wish to return home to find employment having the FCE can show that you have gained something valuable during your time away. I feel that this is especially important for au-pairs and people who go WWOOFing or students on Erasmus and Leonardo da Vinci programmes. 

So do I think it is worth your time, money and effort? Absolutely !!

Note: First for schools  is available for students under-18:


Au-Pair: A young woman ( or man) who lives with a family and helps them look after their children. Free accommodation and food and pocket money.

WWOOFing : Worldwide working opportunities on organic farms. 

Leonardo da Vinci programmes: Work placements in Europe for people doing vocational training (not at university)

Erasmus programmes: Exchange programme for university students.


If  you are coming to Ireland to study you might be interested in our FCE courses:

General English Group Course Intensive Plus Cambridge First Exam Preparation


Cambridge First Exam Preparation Evening classes



20Jan 2015

In 2015 Slaney Language Centre students can combine the General English Group Course Intensive with Cambridge First exam preparation and start this course on any Monday from 9 March to 23 November.

The course consists of 20 lessons General English and 10 lessons Cambridge First Exam Preparation per week.
The course can be booked for three or more weeks. For more information and prices on this course please check:


Bookings can now be taken for this course.




24Jan 2012

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09Dec 2011

The Slaney Language Centre is currently getting ready for the New Year. We are now launching our glamourous and informative course guide for 2012.
The course guide includes information about Learning English in Ireland and in Wexford in particular. You will find information about our English language courses, our afternoon activity programme and our accommodation options.
English Language students can also get details for their arrival day and their first day at the Slaney Language Centre. There are also testimonials from past language students and plenty of photographs. Our language school in Ireland offers General English Group Courses, One-to-one Courses, English language courses for families, FCE exam preparation courses, English and Wwoofing courses and a course tailored for people over 30.

28Sep 2011

The internationally acclaimed and unique Wexford Festival Opera runs from 21 October to 5 November 2012.

17 days and nights running side by side with this world class Wexford Opera Festival, the Fringe Festival transforms Wexford in a vibrant hub with a wide range of cultural experience including drama productions, musicals, historic trails, classical recitals, jazz, light opera, horse racing, art exhibitions and more.

The hugely enjoyable singing and swinging pub contest involves most of Wexford’s many pubs and bars and provides a stage for the area’s most talented local singers, musicians, comedians and sometimes even a visiting opera singer.

Known as the best time to visit Wexford, Slaney Language Centre students learn English in Ireland and experience two weeks full of culture and craic.

11Aug 2011

Not only is hurling the oldest field game in Europe but also the fastest field game in the world.
This very Irish sport was already mentioned in a 12th centuary document which tells the story of Cu Chulainn. Cu Chulainn was one of the greatest Irish mythological heros. When Cu Chulainn was a young boy his name was Setanta. The legend tells us that Setanta was fighting again a vicious hound. Setanta was playing hurling when he was attacked by a vicious dog. Using his hurley he hit the ball through the beast’s mouth and deveated the hound. For this great accomplishment he won the name of Cu Chulainn, the Hound of Chulainn.
This traditional Irish sport is very popular amoung Irish people of all ages. Every Irish town and village has a hurling team, in most schools hurling is part of the school curriculum and young and old enjoy watching matches on television or live in stadiums. The most amazing thing about this sport is that even the All Ireland champions are not being paid and play purely for the pride of their national sport.
Every visitor of Ireland should watch this amazing sport. The Language and Culture Course which takes place at the Slaney Language Centre in Wexford in October combines English language learning with Irish culture. Language students learn about Irish history, culture, sport, literature and art inside and outside of the classroom. A hurling workshop as well as an Irish dancing workshop are part of the extracurricular programme.

23Jun 2011

Lonely Planet has listed Hook Heritage Centre and lighthouse in County Wexford as one of the top 14 attractions in Ireland and the no 1 flashiest lighthouse in the world.
The present structure is about 800 years old and is the oldest operating lighthouse in the world.
Many English language students of the Slaney Language Centre in Wexford have spend some of their time in Ireland in and around this amazing lighthouse and would definately agree with Ben Handicott, the Lonely Planet author.

06May 2011

The Slaney Language School is an English School with a difference located in a castle building just outside of Wexford town overlooking the river Slaney and the Blackstairs Mountains. A small English school where teachers and students still get to know each other and enjoy each others company. An English school not in a big city but just outside of the coastal town of Wexford where you can still meet your authentic locals who enjoy a chat with you. County Wexford is renowned for its miles of unspoiled sandy beaches, its music festivals, its friendly locals and for the best weather in Ireland. Students of the Slaney Language Centre can stay in touch with us and fellow students through facebook . For Wexford news your can now browse through Visit Wexford, a just recently launched new website.