B2 First

Exam format

B2 First is a test of all areas of language ability.

The updated exam (for exam sessions from January 2015) is made up of four papers developed to test your English language skills. You can see exactly what’s in each paper below.

The Speaking test is taken face to face, with two candidates and two examiners. This creates a more realistic and reliable measure of your ability to use English to communicate.

Paper

Content

Purpose

Reading and Writing
(1 hour 30 minutes)
See sample paper

7 parts/52 questions

Shows you can deal confidently with different types of text, such as fiction, newspapers and magazines. Tests your use of English with tasks that show how well you can control your grammar and vocabulary.

Writing
(1 hour 20 minutes)
See sample paper

2 parts

Requires you to be able to produce two different pieces of writing, such as letters, reports, reviews and essays.

Listening
(about 40 minutes)
See sample paper

4 parts/30 questions

Requires you to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials, such as news programmes, presentations and everyday conversations.

Speaking
(14 minutes per pair of candidates)
See sample paper

4 parts

Tests your ability to communicate effectively in face to face situations. You will take the Speaking test with one or two other candidates.

What’s in the Reading and Use of English paper?

The B2 First Reading and Use of English paper is in seven parts and has a mix of text types and questions.

For Parts 1 to 4, you read a range of texts and do grammar and vocabulary tasks.

For Parts 5 to 7, you read a series of texts and answer questions that test your reading ability and show that you can deal with a variety of different types of texts.

Summary

Time allowed:

1 hour 15 minutes

Number of parts:

7

Number of questions:

52

Marks:

40% of total

Length of texts:

About 2,200 words to read in total.

Texts may be from:

Newspapers and magazines, journals, books (fiction and non-fiction), promotional and informational material.

Part 1 (Multiple-choice cloze)

What's in Part 1?

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. 

What do I have to practise?

Vocabulary – idioms, collocations, shades of meaning, phrasal verbs, fixed phrases etc.

How many questions are there?

How many marks are there?

1 mark for each correct answer.

Part 2 (Open cloze)

What's in Part 2?

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.

What do I have to practise?

Grammar and vocabulary.

How many questions are there?

8

How many marks are there?

1 mark for each correct answer.

Part 3 (Word formation)

What's in Part 3?

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.

What do I have to practise?

Vocabulary.

How many questions are there?

8

How many marks are there?

1 mark for each correct answer.

Part 4 (Key word transformations)

What's in Part 4?

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. 

What do I have to practise?

Grammar and vocabulary.

How many questions are there?

6

How many marks are there?

Up to 2 marks for each correct answer.

Part 5 (Multiple choice)

What's in Part 5?

A text with some multiple-choice questions. For each question, there are four options and you have to choose A, B, C or D. 

What do I have to practise?

Reading for detail, opinion, tone, purpose, main idea, implication, attitude.

How many questions are there?

6

How many marks are there?

2 marks for each correct answer.

Part 6 (Gapped text)

What's in Part 1?

A single page of text with some numbered gaps which represent missing paragraphs. After the text there are some paragraphs which are not in the right order. You have to read the text and the paragraphs and decide which paragraph best fits each gap.

What do I have to practise?

How to understand the structure and development of a text.

How many questions are there?

How many marks are there?

2 marks for each correct answer.

Part 7 (Multiple matching)

What's in Part 2?

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.

What do I have to practise?

Reading for specific information, detail, opinion and attitude.

How many questions are there?

10

How many marks are there?

1 mark for each correct answer.