B2 First

What is B2 First?

B2 First is an English language proficiency exam at upper-intermediate level (B2 CEFR). A B2 First qualification proves you have the language skills to live and work independently in an English-speaking country. Achieving a certificate at this upper-intermediate level proves that you have one of the most respected English language qualifications in the world. You can be proud of this achievement. More about the B2 First qualification.

The B2 First certificate shows the candidate’s score on the Cambridge English Scale for each of the four exam papers, overall score on the Cambridge English Scale and a grade: A; B; or C:

  • Grade A: a scale score of 180 – 190 (CEFR C1)
  • Grade B: a scale score of 173 – 179 (CEFR B2)
  • Grade C: a scale score of 160 – 172 (CEFR B2)
  • Level B1: a scale score of 140 – 159

If you achieve a Grade A in your exam, you will receive the B2 First Certificate in English stating that they demonstrated ability at Level C1 (similar to C1 Advanced). If you achieve Grade B or C, you will be awarded the B2 First Certificate in English at Level B2. If a candidate’s performance is below Level B2, but falls within Level B1, they will receive a Cambridge English certificate stating that they demonstrated ability at Level B1 (similar to B1 Preliminary).

B2 First covers four language skills and has 4 papers

Reading & Use of English

1 hour 15 mins

Candidates need to show their ability to understand texts from publications such as fiction and non-fiction books, journals, newspapers and magazines, and their knowledge and use of a range of vocabulary and grammar.


1 hour 20 mins

Candidates have to show their ability to produce different pieces of writing (an essay, a letters / an email, a report, an article, or a review).


40 mins

Candidates need to show that they can understand the meaning of a range of spoken material, including lectures, radio broadcasts, speeches and talks.


14 mins

Candidates are tested on their ability to take part in different types of interaction: with the examiner, with the other candidate and by themselves.


More about the exam format

Exam preparation materials

Sample papers to prepare the reading, listening and writing parts are available on the Cambridge Assessment English website.

If you are interested in effective ways of learning English and improving your language skills, please visit the Learning English section  of the Cambridge Assessment English website, where you can find various exam resources and preparation materials, including free English games and online learning resources.