B2 First (formally FCE): Reading and Use of English sections

In the B2 First (FCE) exam this is the same paper and you have 1 hour 15 minutes to complete it. The paper will test your reading skills, use of grammar, and vocabulary – correct spelling is a must! There are seven parts to the test and they all score differently. In parts 1-3 a correct answer is worth 1 mark, in part 4 it is worth 2 marks, in parts 5-6 a correct answer is worth 2 marks, and in the final, part 7, a correct answer is worth 1 mark. This means that sections 4,5,and 6 are worth more than the other parts. However, all questions in the exam should be answered. Remember to prepare for the FCE test before taking it.

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.

Start training for free

What types of questions are in the paper?

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

There are a lot of different question types that you will have to answer. They are –

Multiple choice, cloze
Open cloze, text with gaps
Word formation
Key word transformations
Text with 6 multiple choice questions
Text with 6 sentences missing
Multiple matching, 10 questions

There are 52 questions in total in this paper.

The reading and use of English paper shows that a candidate can confidently read and understand different types of texts and how well you can control your grammar and vocabulary use.

The types of text you might have to read will be around 2200 words in total for the paper. They include newspapers, magazine, books, and informational materials. Get reading anything you can and keep reading as much as you can. This is the only real way to develop better reading skills.

Summary of the paper

PartQuestions and InfoNumber of questions to answer
1Multiple-choice close (answer A, B, C, or D). Vocabulary - idioms, collocations etc8
2Open cloze (think of the correct answer - one missing word in the text). Tests grammar and vocabulary8
3Word formation (eight gaps in the text, one word answer to complete it, prompts on the side to help). Tests vocabulary8
4Key word transformations (they give you a sentence with a keyword, use that word to help compete the second sentence - must have similar meaning to the first sentence). Tests grammar and vocabulary6
5Multiple choice (text where you choose the correct answer A, B, C, or D). Tests reading for detail, tone etc6
6Gapped text (text with missing sentences. Sentences are given at the bottom of the text but not in the right order. Match the sentence to the correct gap). Tests how to understand structure etc6
7Multiple matching (list of statements and texts. Match the sentence to the correct heading for the text). Tests reading for specific information, detail etc10

Keep on studying…

Knowing that B2 First has so many different types of questions and some are more challenging that others, you need to keep studying. Continuing to develop your language skills is really important but so is fine tuning those exam skills. You have time limits for each paper and you can only do it in that time with some skill applied. You need a plan and a study platform that will help you succeed. GlobalExam is an online exam preparation platform that can help you achieve the success you want. We help candidates study for many different language exams and have a good success rate. Our materials include areas to improve your grammar and vocabulary, practice exam skills, take full practice exams, tips to succeed, and study plan. You can also track your own progress.

Start training for free