Cambridge Assessment English: B2 First
Ready for success in study, work and life
Cambridge English: First also known as First Certificate in English (FCE) is an exam for people who need to prove they can use everyday written and spoken English at an upper-intermediate level for work or study purposes.

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  • Overview
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Real-life language skills

General and
higher education leaflet

B2 First is an upper-intermediate English language exam set at Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Reaching this level means you can:
  • understand the main ideas of complex pieces of writing
  • keep up a conversation on a fairly wide range of topics, expressing opinions and presenting arguments
  • produce clear, detailed writing, expressing opinions and explaining the advantages and disadvantages of different points of view.
The exam uses real-life situations that are especially designed to help you:
  • communicate more effectively
  • learn the language skills you need to take the next step to success
Preparing for B2 First will give you the practical English skills to:
  • study in English at foundation or pathway level
  • work in an English-speaking environment
  • live independently in an English-speaking country
Fair and reliable
B2 First is respected and accepted internationally. It:
  • provides the most reliable reflection of your language skills
  • covers all major varieties of English (e.g. British English, American English)
  • is designed to be fair to users of all nationalities and linguistic backgrounds
  • is supported by the largest research programme of its kind
  • can be taken by people with a wide range of special requirements.

Choice
Choose when and how you take your exam - B2 First is available as either a paper-based or computer-based exam, allowing you even more choice over how you take your test.


Globally Accepted
Your B2 First certificate will be accepted as a qualification in upper-intermediate English by many thousands of employers, universities, colleges and leading businesses around the world. Find out more about institutions that accept B2 First


Fast results
Get your results in just two weeks if you take your B2 First as a computer-based exam.


A Cambridge English qualification
Once you have earned a Cambridge English certificate, you hold one of the most valuable English qualifications in the world. It’s an achievement you can be really proud of.

What’s in the B2 First?
The B2 First exam consists of four papers developed to test your English language skills in all areas of language ability: Reading and Use of English, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The Speaking exam uses a face-to-face test with two candidates and two examiners. This creates a more realistic and reliable measure of your ability to use English to communicate.

B2 First has four papers:


Reading and Use of English: 1 hour 15 minutes
The B2 First Reading and Use of English paper has 7 parts and 52 questions and has a mix of text types and questions. For Parts 1 to 4, candidates read a range of texts and do grammar and vocabulary tasks. For Parts 5 to 7, candidates read a series of texts and answer questions that test their reading ability and show that they can deal with a variety of different types of texts This paper accounts for 40% of the total mark.

Number of parts:
7
Number of questions:52
Type of questions – Reading tasks:

  • Part 1: Multiple-choice cloze
    A text with some multiple-choice questions. Each question has four options (A, B, C or D) – you have to decide which is the correct answer.
  • Part 2: Open cloze
    A text in which there are some gaps, each of which represents one missing word. You have to think of the correct word for each gap.
  • Part 3: Word formation
    A text containing eight gaps. Each gap represents a word. At the end of the line is a ‘prompt’ word which you have to change in some way to complete the sentence correctly.
  • Part 4: Key word transformations
    Each question consists of a sentence followed by a ‘key’ word and a second sentence with a gap in the middle. You have to use this key word to complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first sentence.
  • Part 5: Multiple choice
    A text with some multiple-choice questions. For each question, there are four options and you have to choose A, B, C or D.
  • Part 6: Gapped text
    A single page of text with some numbered gaps which represent missing sentences. After the text there are some sentences which are not in the right order. You have to read the text and the sentences and decide which sentence best fits each gap.
  • Part 7: Multiple matching
    A series of statements followed by a text divided into sections or several short texts. You have to match each statement to the section or text in which you can find the information.


Writing: 1 hour 20 minutes
The B2 First Writing paper has two parts. Candidates have to show that they can write different types of text in English. In Part 1 there is one compulsory question and in Part 2 candidates answer one question from a choice of three. This paper accounts for 20% of the total mark.

Number of parts:2
Number of questions:
2
Type of questions – Writing tasks:

  • Part 1: Compulsory question
    You’re given an essay title and two ideas clearly linked to the title. You write an essay giving your opinions about the title, using the ideas given. You must also add a third, different idea of your own linked to the title. The title will be a subject of general interest – you won’t need any specialised knowledge.
  • Part 2: Situationally based writing task
    You write a text from a choice of text types – article, email/letter, report or review. To guide your writing, you’ll be given information about context, topic purpose and target reader.


Listening: About 40 minutes
The B2 First Listening paper has four parts. For each part you have to listen to a recorded text or texts and answer some questions. You hear each recording twice.This paper accounts for 20% of the total mark.

Number of parts:4
Number of questions:30
Type of tasks:

  • Part 1: Multiple choice
    Eight short extracts from monologues or conversations between interacting speakers. There is one multiple-choice question for each extract, and you have to choose A, B or C.
  • Part 2: Sentence completion
    A monologue (which may be introduced by a presenter) lasting approximately 3 minutes. You have to complete the sentences on the question paper with the missing information which you hear on the recording.
  • Part 3: Multiple matching
    A series of five themed monologues of approximately 30 seconds each. On the question paper, you have to select five correct options from a list of eight possible answers.
  • Part 4: Multiple choice
    A conversation between two or more speakers of approximately 3–4 minutes. You have to answer some multiple-choice questions by choosing the correct answer from three options (A, B or C).


Speaking: 14 minutes per pair of candidates
The B2 First Speaking shows how good your spoken English is as you take part in conversation by asking/answering questions and talking, for example, about your likes and dislikes. The test has four parts and will be conducted face-to-face with one or two other candidates. This makes your test more realistic and more reliable. There are two examiners. One examiner (the interlocutor) talks to you and the other examiner (the assessor) just listens. Both examiners decide your grade but the assessor gives more detailed marks than the interlocutor. The Speaking test accounts for 20% of the total mark.

Number of parts:4
Type of tasks:
  • Part 1: Interview
    Conversation with the examiner. The examiner asks questions and you may have to give information about your interests, studies, career, etc.
  • Part 2: Long turn
    The examiner gives you two photographs and asks you to talk about them. You have to speak for 1 minute without interruption and the interlocutor then asks the other candidate to comment on your photographs for about 30 seconds. The other candidate receives a different set of photographs and you have to listen and comment when they have finished speaking. The question you have to answer about your photographs is written at the top of the page to remind you what you should talk about.
  • Part 3: Collaborative task
    Conversation with the other candidate. The examiner gives you some material and a task to do. You have to talk with the other candidate and make a decision.
  • Part 4: Discussion
    Further discussion with the other candidate, guided by questions from the examiner, about the topics or issues raised in the task in Part 3.
Choosing your Speaking Test partner
If you would like to be paired together with a friend/classmate you can request this when you register for the exam. Please note however that research has shown that there are both advantages and disadvantages in taking the test with someone you know and that in the end it doesn’t matter. What is important is that the test judges you on your own performance.

Groups of three candidates
Almost all B2 First Speaking Tests are conducted in groups of two candidates. However, if there is an uneven number of candidates at an exam session there will be one test with a group of three candidates, normally at the end of the day or before a long break. The test format is exactly the same but will last a little longer. Please note that you cannot request to take your test in a group of three.
Paper and pencil tests
Try a paper-based sample B2 First exam paper.
Download sample paper 1 for B2 First...
Download sample paper 2 for B2 First...


Download Examiner comments of the Speaking paper
Listening Answer Keys
Use of English answer Keys
(Please note that there is no answer key for the Writing paper, but there are sample answers and examiner comments).

Computer-based sample tests
Reading and Use of English
Listening
Writing
Find out how to use the computer-based sample tests.
Please note you will need to use the Firefox or Chrome browser to view these sample tests.
Check your answers as you do the test – once the test has finished you will not be able to check them.

Information for Candidates
A guide to the exam, with an overview of what’s involved and examples of papers.
Download Information for Candidates

Guide to exam day tips
Practical information about the session.
Paper-based exams
Computer-based exams
Speaking test

Summary Regulations for Candidates
All the important information you need to know when taking the exam.
Dowload Summary Regulations for Candidates

Cheating warning
Cheating is treated very seriously by Cambridge English and if you cheat you will not get a result or a certificate.
Please view this poster and make sure that you understand what it says.


YOU WILL FIND ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED ABOUT EXAM RESULTS AND CERTIFICATES ON OUR
NEW PORTAL...
Official support site of Exams Catalunya,Exams Madrid and Exams Balears for Preparation Centres, Teachers and Candidates


Exams Owl is our new support site for candidates, schools and teachers. The site provides comprehensive information on exam structure and content as well as support to help you or your students prepare for their exam and understand their results:

- Exam results - Statement of Results
- Checking and verifying results
- Certificates
- Enquiries and appeals  - Lost certificates


Useful resources to help you to prepare for your B2 First exam
ALL THE INFORMATION AND SUPPORT YOU NEED TO PREPARE FOR B2 FIRST EXAM ON OUR
NEW PORTAL...
Official support site of Exams Catalunya,Exams Madrid and Exams Balears for Preparation Centres, Teachers and Candidates

Exams Owl is our new support site for candidates, schools and teachers. The site provides comprehensive information on the B2 First exam structure and content as well as support to help you or your students prepare for their exam and understand their results:

- Sample tests - Speaking test videos
- Candidate information
- Preparation resources
- Exam day tips


Are you a private candidate?
It’s easy to register for B2 First
in just three steps:
Step 1  Find an exam date

You can take the Cambridge English exams most months of the year.
Use our online search to find an exam date.

Step 2  Complete the registration form

You can complete the exam registration form online or come to our offices to register for an exam.

Step 3  Make payment

Payment for the exam must be made before the registration deadline.
If you register after the deadline a late fee of 40 Euros will be applied. You can choose to pay for your exam via the following payment methods:

  1. By credit/debit card




  2. By bank transfer to any of the following accounts:
    Banco Santander
    Account holder: Assessment and Certification Services, S.L.
    Account number: 0049 4754 89 2516056032
    IBAN: ES9400494754892516056032
    Banco Sabadell
    Account holder: Assessment and Certification Services, S.L.
    Account number: 0081 0053 54 0001180228
    IBAN: ES7300810053540001180228
    IMPORTANT: If you pay for your exam by bank transfer you should clearly state the name and surname/s of the candidate and the level and date of the exam session. All transfers must reach us free of bank charges or interest. Exams Catalunya will not be responsible for these charges. You must send us the payment receipt by email to registrations@exams-catalunya.com so that we may trace your payment with the bank. Your place on the exam will not be confirmed until we receive a payment receipt for the exam fee.

  3. At our offices:
    Registration and payment for exams may also be made at our offices. If candidates choose this option payment should be made on registering. Payment may be made in cash, by bank transfer or credit/debit card.

    C/ Freixa, 5-9
    08021 Barcelona
    Tel: 934 111 333
    Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm

    The candidate may register directly or send someone to register in his/her name.
IMPORTANT: After we receive the exam registration form a confirmation of receipt will be sent to the candidate. Once the exam fees have been settled the candidate will receive confirmation that he/she is registered to take the exam.
If you do not receive confirmation of your exam registration within 3 working days please phone us on tel.: 934 111 333. You should also check that our email has not been sent to your junk/spam mail folder.

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