B2 First (FCE) – The Writing Section
B2 First, formally First Certificate in English (FCE), is an English language communication exam. It tests your grammar, vocabulary, and ability to communicate in English. The skills tested are reading, writing, listening, speaking, and use of English. Each section has its own time limit and specific format. The writing section of the exam tests your ability to write different types of text in English.
For more information on the registration process, you can read our article “How to register for Cambridge FCE?“. Note that you can take the test in the country of your choice. We have written articles to help you locate test centres in UK, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada, Belgium, and Netherlands.
Keep in mind that preparation for the FCE test is key.
What in the writing section?
The writing section is in two parts and you have a total of one hour and 20 minutes to complete it. The first part has a compulsory question for you to answer and in the second section you have to choose one of the three questions to answer.
There are four sections to the test:
- Reading and Use of English -75 minutes
- Writing – 2 essays, 80 minutes
- Listening – 40 minutes
- Speaking – interview, normally with another candidate, 14 minutes
Types of writing.
On the exam you could be asked to write a variety of different texts. These include an email, an article, an essay, a letter, a report, and a review.
How can I study for this?
Being able to produce different types of writing is a skill and unless you train yourself, you will probably be writing in the same way in many. One main thing to consider when writing is style. All the types of text above have a different style of writing – reports are formal and use third person, emails can be both formal and informal, an article has to grab your attention and be engaging. It is possible to be able to write in all these style with some practice. There will be some that come easier to you than others and this is good. You can then focus on the type of writing you are not used to doing.
A good place to start is to get copies of each type of writing. This will give you a range of examples that you can sit and read. From these you can start to see a pattern in how they are written and the type of language they use in them. With the exception of an informal email or quote in an article, you will probably never find English slang in these writings. Your study books will also help breakdown how to approach writing questions. All of this and your understanding of the English language, and you increasing lexis, will help you get the writing grade you want to achieve.
Like all things in exams, good writing ideas need to be planned out and then it is just about grammar and vocabulary. If you just start writing, you risk making mistakes and running out of ideas.
Another way of developing those skills and getting some constructive feedback from people with lots of writing/ B2 First (FCE) exam experience is to attend an exam class or study through an online provider. GlobalExam is an online provider that can help and support you. We have a good track record in helping exam candidates achieve their desired grades or scores. The programme we offer has study areas for English grammar and vocabulary, access to full test practice, including writing, with many tips, and it also allows you to track your progress. This is really useful. Take a look at our website to see if we can assist you in your B2 First goal.