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
|Updated exam specifications from January 2015|
The revision of Cambridge English: First for Schools (FCEs) is now complete and the updated exam will be used for exam sessions from January 2015.
|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:
|Real-life language skills|
The exam uses real-life situations that are especially designed to help students:
|Fair and reliable|
B2 First for Schools is respected and accepted internationally. The exam:
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.
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...
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.
|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.
|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 four, including one set text question. In part 1 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 and candidates won’t need any specialised knowledge. In part 2 candidates write a text from a choice of four questions. The answer students have to write will be one of the following: article, email/letter, essay, review, story. This paper accounts for 20% of the total mark.
|Listening: about 40 minutes|
The B2 First for Schools Listening paper has four parts and 30 questions. For each part candidates have to listen to a recorded text or texts and answer some questions. The test requires students to be able to follow and understand a range of familiar spoken materials, such as news programmes, public announcements and other sources, but targeted at the interests of school-aged learners. Candidates hear each recording twice. This paper accounts for 20% of the total mark.
|Speaking: 14 minutes per pair of candidates|
The B2 First for Schools Speaking has four parts and is conducted face-to-face with one other candidate and two examiners. One of the examiners, the interlocutor, conducts the test (asks questions, gives candidates the booklet with things to talk about). The other examiner, the assessor, listens to what the candidates say. Part 1 is a 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. In Part 2 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 is a 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 is further discussion with the other candidate, guided by questions from the examiner, about the same topic as the task in Part 3. The Speaking test accounts for 20% of the total mark.
For B2 First for Schools, the following scores will be used to report results:|
The exam is targeted at Level B2 of the CEFR. The examination also provides reliable assessment at the level above B2 (Level C1) and the level below (Level B1).
Scores between 122 and 139 are also reported for B2 First for Schools. You will not receive a certificate, but your Cambridge English Scale score will be shown on your Statement of Results.
Please click on the image to the left of this text to find out the relationship between the CEFR levels, the Cambridge English Scale and the grades awarded in B2 First for Schools.
|B2 First - Level C1|
Exceptional candidates sometimes show ability beyond B2 level. If you achieve grade A in your exam, you will receive the Cambridge English: First certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at Level C1.
If you achieve grade B or C in your exam, you will be awarded the B2 First certificate at Level B2.
|Level B1 Certificate|
If your performance is below Level B2, but falls within Level B2, we will recognise your achievement with a Cambridge English certificate stating that you demonstrated ability at B1 level.
1.- Your ID Number (a sequence of nine letters and numbers).
2.- Your Secret Number (a four-digit number).
Both of these pieces of information can be found on your Confirmation of Entry, which you receive when you register for the exam.
They can then verify your result by logging in to www.cambridgeenglish.org/verifiers
|Free practice tests|
Try a computer-based sample B2 First for Schools paper
Reading and Use of English
Reading and Use of English answer key
Listening answer key
Check your answers as you do the test – once the test has finished you will not be able to check them.
|Paper and pencil tests|
Samples of B2 First for Schools with answer key:
Download sample paper 1 for B2 First for Schools...
Download sample paper 2 for B2 First for Schools...
Download examiner comments on the Speaking paper
There is no Answer Key for the Writing paper, but there are sample answers and Examiner Comments in the Assessment of Writing section of the Handbook for Teachers.
|Preparation resources, games and Cambridge activities
|Exams Madrid Facebook|
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|Cambridge English Facebook|
Join the Cambridge English Facebook page for help with exam preparation.
|Exams Madrid YouTube Channel|
Watch videos featuring English learning and exam tips on our Exams Madrid YouTube channel
|Cambridge English YouTube Channel|
Watch videos featuring English learning and exam tips on Cambridge English TV YouTube channel
|Visit the B2 First for Schools support page here:
http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-qualifications/First for Schools/how-to-prepare/
|Are you a private candidate?|
It’s easy to register for B2 First for Schools
in just three steps: