B2 First Exam Guide (May 2020)

The Ultimate B2 First (FCE) Guide for May 2020

Welcome to this guide to the B2 First exam, formerly know as FCE. There are four sections, one for each part of the exam. Enjoy.

(This guide was written by Amanda’s B2 First exam class. Credits at end.)


The speaking test is one of the most important parts of the whole exam because the examiners can check how much we speak English punctually. The Speaking test may take more or less 14 minutes and it’s divided into four parts each one different from the other one.

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Section 1

Part 1 is supposed to be an introduction part and the examiners will ask to you to answer some simple questions about yourself. During this kind of test the first impression is very important and even if the part is not challenging, we have to be ready to answer the questions in the right way without giving short answers. This part of the exam is approximately 2 minutes.

Section 2

Part 2 is one of the most challenging parts of the test because it has two tasks and nobody can know what the topic is going to be. We have a minute to compare two pictures and we have to describe how they are, find similarities and differences and answer a question that you’ll have with the photos. This part of speaking is with a partner, so after the first minute you have to listen his discussion and you need to look at his/her photos because after that you have to answer a question about your partner’s pictures in 30 seconds. If you do the task right, you’ll be able to be prepared to comment the discussion of your partner. This part of the exam is approximately 4 minutes.

Section 3

Part 3 is totally together your partner and you have to complete a task, using a spidergram which the interlocutor gives to you. The first part of the task, that is more or less 2 minutes, involves discussing ideas and giving opinions about all the topics on the spidergram. After that, you have 1 minute to choose with your partner an options. There aren’t right or wrong answers and you can also disagree with your partner but it’s very important because the examiner can see your ability to work together on a task. I suggest to you to use an useful language to complete part 3 using expression like “Let’s just agree to disagree” if your point of view is different to your partner, or “Yes, your are absolutely right!” if you agree with your partner, “Shall we move on the next one?” for keeping going to an another argument on the spidergram or “Are we both in favour of that one?” for reaching a decision tighter.

Section 4

Part 4 is the last part of the speaking test and you will be asked questions about ideas related in part 3. It’s approximately 4 minutes and it’s an opportunity to show how much language you know. You have to continue talking and listening your partner, it’s not recommend to finish the discussion before 4 minutes. The interlocutor will stop you after 4 minutes.

Speaking Summary

A general advice for the Speaking part is to look both interlocutor and partner, you have to talk fluently without hesitation or anxieties.

The speaking part will be 60 points on the total score of the exam and the best way to do a good speaking is to practice a lot.


The listening paper is divided into four sections and takes approximately 40 minutes. There are 30 questions in total. We can listen to the audio 2 times.

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Section 1

The first section is multiple choice and each question has four possible answers but only one option is correct, so you have to pay close attention listening to the questions.

Section 2

In the second section, you have to listen to the audio and fill in the text by entering the exact word. This can be any kind of text with blanks in it and you have to think of the word yourself. One strategy is to look at the words before the space and look at the words after the space and try to guess the word from the context. You could also try to guess what kind of word is missing, a noun, a verb etc and this can help you guess the word.

Before listening, we can have 40 seconds to read the questions. If you don’t know the answer, you should guess it rather than leave it blank 

Section 3

In the third section, you can listen to 5 speakers and in this section you have 6 sentences. Each speaker says something that relates to one of the sentences but there is an extra sentence that you don’t need! This is done to confuse you!

You have to understand what they are talking about. Be careful, because they don’t mention about the sentence directly and you can choose each answer only one.

Section 4

The last section is also multiple choice and you can listen to a conversation which talks about one subject and it is a quite long text. The questions follow the order of the text.

You can also read the questions for a minute before starting. You can get information what they will talk about as reading and marking the key words could be helpful. 

We hope these tips will help you and good luck


In FCE exam, you will be assigned to do 2 writing tasks (Part1& Part2) within 1 hour and 20 minutes (40 minutes for each). The length of both writing pieces is 140-190 words apiece. 

In the Part 1, there is one compulsory task, normally an essay, where you MUST contain the 2 given ideas plus the third of your own. While the part 2, You need to choose 1 task from 3 options.  The options often include an article, a report or review, an email or letter.

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  • Underline the key words in the question(s). By doing this, you cannot be wrong about the essential elements supposed to be included in your paragraphs.
  • Choose the register of writing. This is all about the style. Distinguish the appropriate style(s) by looking at the task(s) carefully and taking account into the audience then deciding  whether the type of writing should be, formal, semi-formal or informal.
  • Make a plan. Always make a plan beforehand. Here, listing your main points and key words. A good plan should allow you go swimmingly once you start to write.
  • Mind the words & grammar. Select nice, appropriate wording and phrases relevant to the task(s). Do use adjective(s)/ Adverb(s) to give your writing pieces more flavour (earn more points as well). Don’t forget to structure your texts with a various form of grammar: tenses, conditionals, report/ passive voice, inversion…etc. Last but not least, do use linking words. Linking words are powerful tools, which can make your writing more natural and more well-structured.
  • Practice with a limited time-setting. Practice in this way may not make you perfect when sitting in the real exam. However, it certainly helps you to get use to the time-pressure and make you familiar with the real-exam setting.

Reading and Use of English

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Part 1 Multiple-choice Cloze:

There is a text with 8 gaps and options A-D, read the text first to get some notion and than decide which one of the 4 multiple choice fits best.

Part 2 Open Cloze:

This is a text with gaps and requires you to draw ideas from the context and to look at the words before and after the space for clues as to what the missing word might be an article, a preposition or an auxiliary verb and don’t use contractions. 

Part 3 Word Formation:

It is similar to part 1, you have to read a text and fill the gaps, but in this case you already have the word and you need to change it into another word eg, a noun into an adjective, to make it fit correctly in the gap.

Part 4 Key Word Transformation:

In this part you are given two sentences, the first one is complete, and in the second one there is a gap that you have to fill between two to five words. So, it has to be the same meaning to the first one with and the word given can’t be modify. Total are 6 questions.

Part 5 Multiple choice:

Now you have a text and 8 questions with A-D options. Read the questions and underline key words so you can find similar words in the text that help you to choose the best option.

Part 6 Gapped Text:

Six sentences have been removed from the text and put in the box and there have an extra sentence to confuse you. For this task, read the whole text first to get some idea of how it’s structured and than read the part before and after each gap to find some information to select the best sentence.

Part 7 Multiple Matching:

This task you need to match 10 statement or questions to paragraphs. Read the questions and mark the key words before reading the text.

In general read the whole text before filling the gaps to the idea of how is structured and what is about. Text with questions, read the questions first and mark the keywords before reading the text.


FCE Class – Teacher : Amanda

A Reum Kim

Davide Molinari

Gia Ling Fu

Hui Ling (Vivienne) Huang

Lucrezia Falocco

Mario Adres Canez Estrella

Paulina Vega Mazon

Rodrigo Andrade

Dong Jun Lee (Joshua)

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