What is the B2 First Exam?

Formerly known as the First Certificate Exam (FCE), the B2 First exam assesses English language proficiency at the B2 level on the CEFR scale. It evaluates your ability to use English effectively in a variety of real-life situations, both written and spoken. The exam consists of four main sections: Reading and Use of English, Writing, Listening, and Speaking.

Why Take the B2 First Exam?

The B2 First certificate offers numerous benefits:

  1. Global Recognition: Recognized by educational institutions, employers, and organizations worldwide, the B2 First certificate demonstrates your ability to communicate proficiently in English, enhancing your opportunities for study, work, and travel abroad.

  2. Academic Advancement: Many universities and colleges require applicants to demonstrate a certain level of English proficiency. Achieving a B2 First certification fulfills this requirement and strengthens your application for academic programs conducted in English.

  3. Career Enhancement: In today’s competitive job market, strong English language skills are highly valued by employers. Holding a B2 First certificate can increase your employability, open up new career opportunities, and boost your confidence in professional settings.

  4. Personal Development: Preparing for and passing the B2 First exam is a rewarding personal achievement. It signifies your dedication to mastering a new language, broadening your cultural horizons, and fostering lifelong learning.

B2 First Compared with Other Exams

When considering English language proficiency exams, it’s essential to understand how the B2 First exam compares to others:

  • Unlike some exams, such as the IELTS, the B2 First certificate is valid for life, providing a lasting testament to your English language skills.
  • While the B2 First exam is pass/fail, with candidates required to achieve a score of 60% or higher to pass, other exams like the IELTS provide a numerical score ranging from 1.0 to 9.0.
  • Compared to academic-focused exams like the IELTS, the B2 First exam covers a broader range of topics and is designed to assess practical language skills applicable to various real-life situations.
  • The B2 First Speaking test involves interaction with a partner, making it a collaborative and dynamic experience, unlike some other exams where candidates speak to an examiner.

Test Format

The B2 First exam consists of four sections:

  1. Reading and Use of English (1 hour 15 minutes): This section evaluates your reading comprehension and language use through tasks that assess vocabulary, grammar, and understanding of various text types.

  2. Writing (1 hour 20 minutes): You’ll demonstrate your writing skills by completing two tasks, including an essay and a choice of writing tasks such as an article, letter, or report.

  3. Listening (about 40 minutes): This section assesses your ability to understand spoken English in different contexts, including conversations, interviews, and monologues.

  4. Speaking (about 14 minutes): The speaking test involves a face-to-face conversation with an examiner and another candidate, covering various topics and tasks designed to assess your speaking ability.