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
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.
|Groups of three candidates|
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:
- Your score on the Cambridge English Scale for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and Use of English
- Your score on the Cambridge English Scale for the overall exam
- Your grade (A, B, C, Level B1) for the overall exam
- 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 Cambridge English: First, the following scores will be used to report results:|
|Cambridge English Scale Score||Grade/ CEFR||CEFR level|
| 180-190||Grade A||C1|
| 173-179||Grade B||B2|
| 160-172||Grade C||B2|
| 140-159||Level B1||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 Cambridge English: 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 Cambridge English: First.
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:
||Cambridge English: First - Level C1|
Exceptional candidates sometimes show ability beyond B2 level. If you achieve grade A in your exam, you will receive
the Cambridge English: First certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at Level C1.
|Cambridge English: First - Level B2|
If you achieve grade B or C in your exam, you will be awarded the Cambridge English: 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.
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:
|Results Verification Service|
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 www.cambridgeenglish.org/cmp/verifiers