Characteristics of the Cambridge FCE - B2 First for Schools English exam, level B2

 You already know the current demand for profiles with degrees in English to carry out different studies, it is very necessary for young people who develop in the academic field. Therefore, it is essential that if you have knowledge of English that you certify it in order to open those doors that can change your life. It is essential that you reach an intermediate level almost advancing, level B2, which has become a minimum requirement to access different opportunities. Today, therefore, we want to explain everything related to the Cambridge FCE-B2 First for Schools English exam, level B2. Surely if you are a parent or teacher of a student prepared to take this test, you can help them a lot. In today's article we are going to explain what the test is like, we are going to leave you specific material from the University of Cambridge to prepare it.

What is the Cambridge FCE- B2 First for Schools English exam, level B2

It is one of the best-known Cambridge English qualifications It gives students the confidence to use English in real life. The B2 First for Schools qualification demonstrates that the student has the language skills necessary to communicate in an English-speaking environment.

It is also a great way to prepare for higher level exams such as C1 Advanced.

B2 First for Schools is focused on the same CEFR level as B2 First, but the content is aimed at school-age students.

Take a good look at the essential features of this test:

Scale score:


Exam format:

Computer or paper version

Number of tests:


Exam duration:

About 3 and a half hours

With B2 First for Schools, students demonstrate that they can:

  • Have clear and effective communication, expressing opinions and presenting arguments;
  • write clear and precise English that allows you to express opinions and explain the advantages and disadvantages of different points of view;
  • be informed with current news;
  • write letters, reports, stories and many other types of text in English.

Reasons to choose B2 First for Schools:

  • It is easily integrated into the school curriculum.
  • It is part of a set of exams that offers a gradual progression to students.
  • Provides comprehensive support in exam preparation and administration.
  • Students obtain a globally recognized qualification.

Exam format

The updated B2 First for Schools exam typically consists of four tests developed to assess students' English language skills. You can see the content of each test below, in the following table:




Reading Comprehension and Use of English (1 hour 15 minutes)

7 parts / 52 questions

Students must be able to understand a wide range of texts, including knowing how they are organized as well as the opinions and attitudes that are expressed in them. The texts will be from sources with which school-age students are familiar, such as magazines, articles, fiction and advertisements, but focused on the interests of the students.

The use of the language by the students will be put to the test with tasks that assess their command of grammar and vocabulary.

Written Expression
(1 hour 20 minutes)

2 parts

Students must write two different texts. The first text is mandatory and will be a 140–190 word essay. For the second they can choose between an article, email / letter, essay, review or story of 140–190 words.

Listening Comprehension
(about 40 minutes)

4 parts / 30 questions

Students should be able to follow and understand various oral content, such as news programs, public announcements, and other sources, but focused on school-age students.

Oral Expression
(14 minutes for each pair of candidates)

4 parts

A face-to-face test that the student takes along with one or two other candidates and an examiner. Candidates must demonstrate that they can communicate spontaneously orally, speaking with the examiner, with the other candidate or on their own.

—The B2 First for Schools reading comprehension and language use test consists of seven parts that contain a mixture of different types of text and questions:

In Parts 1 to 4, students are required to read various texts and complete grammar and vocabulary tasks.

In Parts 5 to 7, students are required to read a series of texts and answer questions that test their ability to understand what they read and that demonstrate that they can handle various types of text.

In the following table you have all the information well summarized and concentrated:


1 hour 15 minutes

Number of parts:


Number of questions:



40% of the total

Length of the texts:

There are 2,200–2,500 words to read in total.

Origin of the texts:

Newspaper and magazine articles, reports, fiction, advertisements, letters, messages, informational content (eg brochures, guides, manuals, etc.).

Part 1. Multiple Choice Blanks:

What is Part 1 made of?

A text in which some words or phrases are missing (blank spaces). After the text there are four possible answers for each blank space and the students have to choose the correct answer (A, B, C or D).

What do the students have to practice?

Vocabulary - words with similar meanings, placement, connectors, verbs with prepositions, etc.

How many questions are there?


How do they score?

1 point for each correct answer.

Part 2. Blanks with open response:

What is Part 2 made of?

Some words are missing (blank spaces). Students have to find the correct word for each blank.

What do the students have to practice?

Gramatic and vocabulary.

How many questions are there?


How do they score?

1 point for each correct answer.

Part 3. Word formation:

What is Part 3 made of?

A text that contains eight blanks. Each blank represents one word. At the end of each line there is a 'guide' word that the student has to change in some way to make up the missing word and complete the sentence correctly.

What do the students have to practice?

Vocabulary - word construction: the different words that the student can derive from a root word, for example, from 'compete' you can get 'competition', 'competitor', 'competitive', 'competitively' and 'uncompetitive'.

How many questions are there?


How do they score?

1 point for each correct answer.

Part 4. Keyword transformations:

What is Part 4 made of?

A phrase followed by a keyword and a second phrase with a blank space inside. Students have to use that keyword to complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first sentence.

What do the students have to practice?

Grammar and vocabulary - rewrite sentences with different words so that they mean the same thing.

How many questions are there?


How do they score?

Up to 2 points for each correct answer.

Part 5. Multiple choice:

What is Part 5 made of?

A text with some multiple choice questions. For each question there are four options (A, B, C or D) and the students have to decide which is the correct answer.

What do the students have to practice?

Understand the details of a text, including opinions and attitudes.

How many questions are there?


How do they score?

2 points for each correct answer.

Part 6. Text with blanks:

What is Part 6 made of?

A text with some blank spaces. After the text there are some phrases taken from the text itself. Students have to choose the appropriate phrase for each blank.

What do the students have to practice?

Understand the structure and follow the development of a text.

How many questions are there?


How do they score?

2 points for each correct answer.

Part 7. Multiple pairing:

What is Part 7 made of?

A series of questions and a long text or several short texts to be read. In each question the students have to decide in which text or part of the text this is mentioned.

What do the students have to practice?

Find specific information in one or more texts.

How many questions are there?


How do they score?

1 point for each correct answer.

How to prepare for the exam on your own

The first thing the candidate must do is check if they have the required level of English to be able to take the test. To do this, you can take the English level test that the University of Cambridge makes available. It's free and only takes a few minutes.

In addition, the University of Cambridge itself has this rich and extensive material, very complete, so that the candidate can prepare the test quickly and directly to the objective. You will find material of all kinds, from activities to prepare the exam , mock exams and books to study. 

With many schools still closed and teachers working from home, the University of Cambridge has been looking for different ways to help you. That is why you can now download the Cambridge Exam Booster book to continue your preparation.

Exam dates and results

 In the following link you have all the information related to the exam centers that may interest you the most:

In any case, from the search engine you will be able to see all the options that best suit your needs. Get in touch with them, as they are the ones who can assure you precisely when the tests will be done, under what conditions, registration dates and prices. Directly from this same link you can register, so that you do not run out of your place and so you can take the exam.

They will send  your certificate to the test center approximately 2-3 weeks after the scores are available Then your test center will send it to you. If you took a paper exam , we will send your certificate to your center between seven and nine weeks after your exam date. If you took an exam by computer , we will send your certificate to your center between five and six weeks after the date of your exam.

Depending on the university, college or organization you wish to apply to, you will be asked to achieve a specific grade or score, either globally or in a specific skill. In B1 Preliminary the following scores will be used when presenting the results:

Score on the Cambridge English Scale


CEFR level











Level A2


The exam is focused on Level B1 of the CEFR. The exam also provides a reliable assessment of the level immediately above B1 (Level B2) and below (Level A2).

Scores between 120 and 139 are also included in your Grade Report, but in that case you will not receive the B1 Preliminary for Schools English Test certificate.

Your Rating Report (Statement of Results) will contain the following information:

  • Scores according to the Cambridge English Scale in each of the four skills: Reading Comprehension (Reading) , Written Expression (Writing) , Listening Comprehension (Listening) and Oral Expression (Speaking) ;
  • score according to the Cambridge English Scale on the comprehensive exam;
  • grade (A, B, C, Level A2) in the global exam;
  • CEFR level in the global exam.