FCE is a test of standard and formal English, suitable for academic or business use. It also tests your ability to use less formal English, for example in a letter to a friend or a magazine article.
You should not be using language that is inappropriate to this context. This means that slang need not be used. British slang: The daft bloke was totally ...
Public schools in the UK are fee-paying schools, of which Eton and Harrow are probably the most prestigious (but there are many less expensive ones). For an explanation of the name, see the Wikipedia page under 'Early history'.
Polish refers to a metaphorical 'sheen', a poise acquired from attendance at a prestigious school.
If you go back 300 years or so, most people didn't get any education. Only the wealthy could afford it.
There were two types of education: Private education, at home with a tutor. Or Public education at a school. These schools became known as "public schools" in contrast to private tutoring. But they were always fee-charging schools.
There are some words in English where a single item uses a plural noun. Examples are:-
scales (as you say)
Usually these are items where the original object has two or more parts (two pans for traditional balance scales, two blades for scissors, two legs for clothes worn below the waist). Over time (and in some ...
You would have to look up the marking criteria for the exam, if they are available. But unless you specifically know that it's OK, it seems unwise to use Australian or other non-British colloquialisms in a British English exam.
Are the examiners based in the UK? Most British people would probably be unaware of the meaning of "grouse" in Australia.
In short: it means you have the accent and mannerisms of a posh upper-class person.
The other answers cover the basics, but I don't think emphasise enough the role of public schools in maintaining the UK's fairly rigid class structure. For example, 7% of the population of the UK go to private schools (which, confusingly, is a category which includes public ...
In British English, although a 'pair (or set) of scales' is very common, we can say 'a scale'. This is a scale that I bought in the UK about 6 months ago from a well-known chain of supermarkets. It cost £8 ($11 US)
Scales (meaning a balance or weighing machine) is usually plural:
The scales are in the bathroom.
When we want to refer to a single balance, we can say "a pair of scales", but I think most people would use that only for a traditional balance with two pans.
The Oxford English Dictionary remarks of that meaning of scales "(†In 16th cent. ...
"Grouse" is other than informal, for the Australian meaning you give. Outside of its circle of use, it's virtually unknown. Most Brits would only associate it with the well-known game bird.
Therefore it would be inappropriate to use in formal or business English, in Britain. "Gripe" on the other hand, is informal, and well-known. To ...
scales pl (plural only)
A device for measuring weight.
The butcher put the sausages on the scales.
If you don't mean any scales in particular, no article is needed since it's always plural. I couldn't find any reasonable example when you can say it without the definite article, though.
I would probably avoid both.
I'd probably say "the kitchen scales", or just "the scales"
This works because there is only one such device in the kitchen. There are times when it is difficult to find an acceptable expression with a word like this that is always plural.
I went to the shop to buy .....
the kitchen scales (no good because ...
Those two phrases do not have quite the same meaning.
It is time for [something to happen] is a simple statement that now is the right time for that thing.
It's time to start sowing seeds in your garden.
It is time [somebody] did [something] has a suggestion of reproach - they really ought to have done it by now.
It's time you learned to tie your own ...
If there is such a thing as “Web English”, it’s definitely not what you are describing.
The entities in a computer language are not English. They may look like English words to make it easier for people to remember them, but they are syntactically distinct.
The background-color entity is no different than declspec or __init__. The only valid spelling of ...
Public school "polish and mixability" is also, at Eton, referred to as "oiling".
It wasn’t just Boris. Two years later, David Cameron arrived and I was
immediately struck by his bottomless well of self-confidence. Nearly
all the products of major public schools I encountered at Oxford
possessed this savoir-faire.
At Britain’s best public ...
You won't able to see the light of day ever again.
You won't able to see the light of day never again.
You won't able to see the light of day ever.
see the light of day is defined as
if an object sees the light of day, it is brought out of a place where it has been for a long time
and hence is a valid phrase.
There have been exceptions — the Nepali Maoists, for example, managed to partake in power after peacefully ending the civil war — but if the Indian Maoists’ denunciation of these steps taken by their Nepali counterparts are any indication, such a step does not seem to be in the offing.
[T]he Nepali Maoists, for example, managed to partake in ...