The Cambridge English First exam, previously known as the FCE exam, is designed for students with upper-intermediate English skills. It is the most popular of the Cambridge English exams because B2 is often the minimum level required by university programs in English-speaking countries.
Like all of the Cambridge English exams, the B2 First Certificate is a pass/fail test and for those who pass, it delivers a certificate that does not expire.
The Cambridge B2 First Certificate tests all four skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. It is structured as follows:
Part 1 (75 minutes) – The first section of the B2 First Certificate Exam tests reading comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary. This part has a total of 52 multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and matching questions. There are about 2,200 words in total to read during this part of the FCE.
Part 2 (80 minutes) – The second section of the Cambridge First Certificate tests writing ability. You will write two texts, each between 140 and 190 words. The first prompt is an essay. For the second prompt, you are given a choice between different text formats: article, letter, review, etc.
Part 3 (40 minutes) – The third section of the B2 First Certificate is listening comprehension. You listen to short speeches, conversations, or other types of native English speech and answer questions about what you heard. Each recording is played two times. There are a total of 30 questions in this part.
Part 4 (14 minutes) – The last section of the FCE tests English speaking ability. Students take this part of the test in pairs, and may have to take this part on a different day than the other three parts of the exam, depending on the test center. The speaking test is in four short sub-sections, the first two you speak on your own and the second two you speak with the other candidate.