This critical history covers 70 years of two major UCLES / Cambridge ESOL international exams: the First Certificate in English (FCE) and the Certificate in Advanced English (CAE). The story begins with the development and first sitting of the FCE (then called the Lower Certificate in English) in 1939. The book then traces subsequent developments, including the initiation of FCE under its current name in 1975, the introduction of CAE in 1991, as well as reviews, major revisions, and modifications, leading to the update of FCE and CAE for December 2008. On the way, the history attempts to balance theory and practice, fact and opinion, insider and outsider perspectives, recurring themes and key innovations. We see the scale of the FCE and CAE exams grow from an initial candidature of just 144, to make a significant contribution to Cambridge ESOL's current total of over two million candidates in 130 countries.