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.

 Cambridge English: First FAQs
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  • Overview
  • The exam
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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.

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:
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:
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
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.

Your results
B2 First results will be reported on the Cambridge English Scale.

 Download a factsheet about the Cambridge English Scale

You will receive a Statement of Results. If your performance ranges between CEFR Levels C1 and B1, you will also receive a certificate.

You will receive a separate score for each of the four skills (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking) plus Use of English, giving you a clear understanding of your performance. These five scores are averaged to give an overall result for the exam. You will also be given a grade and Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level.

'Statement of Results'
Your Statement of Results contains the following information:
  1. Your score on the Cambridge English Scale for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and Use of English
  2. Your score on the Cambridge English Scale for the overall exam
  3. Your grade (A, B, C, Level B1) for the overall exam
  4. Your CEFR level for the overall exam. Depending on which university, college or organisation you are applying to, you may be asked to achieve a specific score or grade, either overall or for a particular skill.
For B2 First, the following scores will be used to report results:
Cambridge English Scale Score
Grade/ CEFR
CEFR level
Grade A
  173-179Grade B
  160-172Grade C
  140-159Level B1

The exam is targeted at Level B2 of the CEFR. The examination also provides reliable assessment at the level above B2 (Level C1) and the level below (Level B1).

Scores between 122 and 139 are also reported for B2 First. You will not receive a certificate, but your Cambridge English Scale score will be shown on your Statement of Results.

Please click on the image to the left of this text to find out the relationship between the CEFR levels, the Cambridge English Scale and the grades awarded in B2 First.

You can access your results through the
  Cambridge English Results Online website.

Your certificate
If a candidate demonstrates that he/she has achieved level B1 or above of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), one of the following certificates will be awarded:

B2 First - Level C1
Exceptional candidates sometimes show ability beyond B2 level. If you achieve grade A in your exam, you will receive the B2 First certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at Level C1.
B2 First - Level B2
If you achieve grade B or C in your exam, you will be awarded the B2 First certificate at Level B2.
Level B1 Certificate
If your performance is below Level B2, but falls within Level B2, we will recognise your achievement with a Cambridge English certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at B1 level.

Results Verification Service
If you want a university, employer or other organisation to verify your result, you must provide them with the information on your Statement of Results and two additional pieces of information:

1.- Your ID Number (a sequence of nine letters and numbers).
2.- Your Secret Number (a four-digit number).

Both of these pieces of information can be found on your Confirmation of Entry, which you receive when you register for the exam.
They can then verify your result by logging in to
Useful resources to help you to prepare for your B2 First exam
Free Practice Tests

Computer tests
Try a computer-based sample B2 First exam paper:
Reading and Use of English
Check your answers as you do the test – once the test has finished you will not be able to check them
The CB sample test is only compatible with Mozilla Firefox. The reason is that this browser is packaged to the Connect Plus program which is used for Live Computer Based Exams. You can download Firefox for free here. Once downloaded, open Firefox and use the links below to view the tests.
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).
Preparation resources, games and Cambridge activities
Cambridge English resources to prepare your exam...
Online tools and materials to practice the different exam papers and to improve the candidate preparation for the test.
Social media
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Cambridge English Facebook
Join The Cambridge English Facebook page for help with exam preparation.
Exams Catalunya YouTube Channel
Watch videos featuring English learning and exam tips on our Exams Catalunya YouTube channel
Cambridge English YouTube Channel
Watch videos featuring English learning and exam tips on Cambridge English TV YouTube channel

Visit the Cambridge English: First support page here:

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 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.