A guide to the exam, with advice on preparing for the exam, tips for exam day and useful links.
Download B2 First information for candidates
B2 First is a test of all areas of language ability. The exam is made up of four papers developed to test your English language skills.
The B2 First Reading and Use of English paper is in seven parts and has a mix of text types and questions. For Parts 1 to 4, you read a range of texts and do grammar and vocabulary tasks. For Parts 5 to 7, you read a series of texts and answer questions that test your reading ability and show that you can deal with a variety of different types of texts.
This paper accounts for 40% of the total mark.
In the two parts of the B2 First Writing paper, you have to show that you can write different types of text in English. This paper accounts for 20% of the total mark.
The B2 First Listening paper has four parts. For each part you have to listen to a recorded text or texts and answer some questions. You hear each recording twice. This paper accounts for 20% of the total mark.
The B2 First Speaking test has four parts and you take it together with another candidate. There are two examiners. One of the examiners asks you questions and gives you the booklet with things to talk about. The other examiner listens to what you say. Both examiners give marks for your performance. This paper accounts for 20% of the total mark.
Choosing your Speaking Test partner
If you would like to be paired together with a friend/classmate, you can request this when you register for the exam. Please note, however, that research has shown that there are both advantages and disadvantages in taking the test with someone you know and that in the end it doesn’t matter. What is important is that the test judges you on your own performance.
Groups of three candidates
Almost all B2 First Speaking Tests are conducted in groups of two candidates. However, if there is an uneven number of candidates at an exam session there will be one test with a group of three candidates, normally at the end of the day or before a long break. The test format is exactly the same but will last a little longer. Please note that you cannot request to take your test in a group of three.
B2 First FAQs
Exam day tips – paper-based exams
Exam day tips – computer-based exams
Exam day tips – Speaking test
B2 First paper-based sample tests – 1
B2 First paper-based sample tests – 2
Watch this tutorial before you start to help you understand what you need to do.
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Reading and Use of English sample test
Writing sample test
Listening sample test
Reading & Use of English answer key
Listening answer key
There is no answer key for the Writing paper, but there are sample answers and examiner comments in the relevant pages of the B2 First handbook.