Cambridge Assessment English: B2 First for Schools (FCE)
Ready for success in study, work and life
B2 First for Schools is specially tailored to suit the interests of students, so it increases their motivation to learn English.

Because it is based on familiar topics and situations, B2 First for Schools gives students the confidence to use their English in the real world. It inspires them to move on to higher English qualifications, or to use their English skills for study and employment opportunities.


 B2 First for Schools FAQs

For schools qualifications, training & support leaflet
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  • Overview
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Level

For schools qualifications leaflet
B2 First for Schools is an upper-intermediate English language exam set at Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). B2 First for Schools shows students can use everyday written and spoken English for work and study purposes.

For example, at B2 level, a student can:
  • maintain a conversation on a fairly wide range of topics
  • make notes while someone is talking or write a letter, including non-standard requests
  • express opinions and give reasons
  • answer predictable or factual questions.
Real-life language skills
The exam uses real-life situations that are especially designed to help students:
  • communicate more effectively
  • learn the language skills they need to take the next step to success.
Reaching this level means a student is becoming skilled in English and can expect to:
  • study at an upper-intermediate level, or pre-degree study, such as foundation or pathway courses
  • start working in an English-speaking environment.

Fair and reliable
B2 First for Schools is respected and accepted internationally. The exam:
  • provides the most reliable reflection of a student’s 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 students with a wide range of special requirements.

Choice
Choose when and how to take the exam - B2 First for Schools is available as either a paper-based or computer-based exam, allowing students even more choice over how they take their test.


Globally Accepted
B2 First for Schools is 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 for Schools...


Fast results
Results are available in just two weeks if students take B2 First for Schools as a computer-based exam


A Cambridge English qualification
Students who successfully take B2 First for Schools will receive the same internationally accepted certificate as candidates that take Cambridge English: First.

What's in B2 First for Schools?
The B2 First for Schools exam consists of four papers developed to test students’ 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 students’ ability to use English to communicate.

B2 First for Schools has four papers:


Reading and Use of English: 1 hour 15 minutes
The B2 First for Schools 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 in which there are some missing words or phrases (gaps). After the text there are four possible answers for each gap and students have to choose the correct answer (A, B, C or D).
  • Part 2: Open cloze
    There are some missing words (gaps). Students 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 the student has to change in some way to make the correct missing word and complete the sentence correctly.
  • Part 4: Key word transformations
    A sentence followed by a key word and a second sentence which has a gap in it. Students have to use the key word to complete the second sentence so that it is similar in meaning to the first sentence.
  • Part 5: Multiple choice
    A text with some multiple-choice questions. Each question has four options (A, B, C or D), and students have to decide which is the correct answer.
  • Part 6: Gapped text
    A text with some empty spaces (gaps). After the text there are some sentences taken from the text. Students have to choose the correct sentence for each gap.
  • Part 7: Multiple matching
    A series of questions and a long text or several short texts to read. For each question, students have to decide which text or part of the text mentions this.


Writing: 1 hour 20 minutes
The B2 First for Schools 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
    Students are given an essay title and two ideas. They write an essay giving their opinion about the title, using the ideas given and adding an idea of their own. The title will be a subject of general interest – students won’t need any specialised knowledge.
  • Part 2: One question from a choice of four, including one set text question
    A choice of four questions. The answer students have to write will be one of the following: article, email/letter, essay, review, story.
First for Schools set text
Set text 2020:
Charles Dickens: Great Expectations
(Oxford bookworms edition)

Teachers may choose to prepare candidates for questions on this set text by studying any film version of Great Expectations, as well as, or instead of, the book.

Students should not attempt the optional set text question in Part 2 unless they have the necessary understanding of the text to answer the task set. Teachers are best placed to judge if the set texts and/or film version may be appropriate and stimulating for a given teaching situation.The suggested edition is a graded reader which has been adapted to the level and is suitable for B2 First for Schools candidates.Other editions of this book may be available. Teachers and students should be aware that the language level in other editions may be less accessible.


Listening: About 40 minutes
The B2 First for Schools 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
    A series of short, unrelated recordings of approximately 30 seconds each. Students have to listen to the recordings and answer one multiple-choice question for each. Each question has three options (A, B or C).
  • Part 2: Sentence completion
    A monologue (one person speaking) lasting 3–4 minutes. Students have to complete the sentences on the question paper with information they hear on the recording.
  • Part 3: Multiple matching
    Five short related monologues of approximately 30 seconds each. Students listen to the recordings and choose which statement from a list of eight best matches what each speaker says.
  • Part 4: Multiple choice
    An interview or exchange between two speakers and lasting 3–4 minutes. Students have to listen to the recording and answer seven multiple-choice questions. Each question has three options (A, B or C).


Speaking: 14 minutes per pair of candidates
The B2 First for Schools 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 students may have to give information about themselves, talk about past experiences, present circumstances and future plans.
  • Part 2: Long turn
    The examiner gives the student a pair of photographs to talk about and they have to speak for 1 minute without interruption. The questions about the photographs are written at the top of the page to remind the student what they should talk about. When they have finished speaking, the student’s partner then has to answer a short question from the examiner about their photographs.
  • Part 3: Collaborative task
    Conversation with the other candidate. The examiner gives the students a question and some written prompts. The students discuss these together for two minutes. The examiner will then ask them to make a decision together about the topic they have been discussing.
  • Part 4: Discussion
    Further discussion with the other candidate, guided by questions from the examiner, about the same topic as 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 for Schools exam paper. This sample test includes an answer key:
Download a sample test of the B2 First for Schools exam

Computer-based sample tests
Reading and Use of English
Listening
Writing
Reading and Use of English answer key
Listening answer key
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.
Download 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 for Schools exam
ALL THE INFORMATION AND SUPPORT YOU NEED TO PREPARE FOR A2 FIRST FOR SCHOOLS 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 A2 First for Schools 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 for Schools
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 Madrid will not be responsible for these charges. You must send us the payment receipt by email to registrations@exams-madrid.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.

    Calle de Asura, 40
    2ª planta
    28043 Madrid
    Tel: 685 483 373
    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.: 685 483 373 . You should also check that our email has not been sent to your junk/spam mail folder.

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