B2 First

B2 First

B2 First, formerly The First Certificate in English (FCE) is an exam offered by the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations in England. When a candidate completes this exam successfully, he or she has proved adequacy in the English language. For non-native English speakers, this is a great way to learn English so that one can interact socially with confidence.

This exam can be compared to the widely known TOEFL test. However, the B2 First has the advantage in that it does not ever expire as opposed to the TOEFL which is valid only for two years.

Who accepts B2 First?

The B2 First certificate is accepted worldwide by employers, universities and government departments. However, a lot of the universities in the U.S. have not listed it as one of their admission requirements with TOEFL and IELTS being the preferred choices. However, there are some that do, and you can check them out right here.

Acceptance in UK

But I am assuming that you are an aspiring applicant to the U.K., and so this shouldn't concern you. Here is a list of the higher education institutions in the U.K. that accept it. It is interesting to note that the University of Cambridge which administers this exam and the University of Oxford are not on the list. What is more, King's College London, Imperial College London and the University of Sheffield are also notably absent.

It does seem like the TOEFL (or IELTS) which is accepted by nearly every university in the U.K. (including Oxford and Cambridge) and Australia might be a much better choice. So it only makes sense to take the B2 First if you are applying to the universities that are listed (there are several in the U.K.) or to give yourself a lifelong asset that employers or other government departments accept.

So you've decided to take the test, let us see how you can get an edge. The best thing for aspiring B2 First test-takers to do is to use the official study guide and books. The B2 First exam consists of five sections: reading, writing, use of English, listening and speaking.

B2 First Structure

In the reading section, there are few texts presented (around 3500 words) along with relevant questions. The questions vary from multiple choice and multiple matching to gap filling. This section lasts 75 minutes. There are seven parts and 52 questions.

Then we have the writing section which is 80 minutes long. It has two parts: one is required, and the other one involves selecting one task from a set of four optional ones.

Listening section that is around 40 minutes. There are basically four spoken tests that range from speeches and dialogues to news announcements.

Then we come to a pretty fun section - Speaking. This involves a conversation between you and another exam taker and two examiners. Duration is 14 minutes.

B2 First Scoring

GradeCambridge English Scale Score (140-190) CEFR Level
A 180-190 C1
B 173-179 B2
C 160-172 B2
Level B1 140-159 B1

You can go ahead and check out the key dates for the B2 First exam on the official website: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-qualifications/first/. Now start planning for your B2 First exam.

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