B2 First Reading FCE | 3 Part Strategy For Exam Success

B2 First Reading Introduction

The B2 First Reading and Use of English sections are combined into one exam paper. Parts 1-4 are 'Use of English' and parts 5-7 are 'Reading', so there are only 3 B2 First reading tasks.

You have 1 hour and 15 minutes or 75 minutes to complete all 7 sections. I advise you to time yourself while practising before this exam to figure out which exercises you can do quicker and better. You should also think about how many questions and marks are awarded for each part. This information, will help you decide which parts to start with in the exam.

Part 1 – 8 questions - 8 marks

Part 2 – 8 questions - 8 marks

Part 3 – 8 questions - 8 marks

Part 4 – 12 marks - only 6 questions

Part 5 – 12 marks - only 6 questions

Part 6 – 12 marks - only 6 questions

Part 7 – 10 questions - 10 marks


Parts 1, 5, 6 and 7 of the Reading and Use of English paper are 'Reading'.

The total paper lasts 75 minutes. I recommend trying to keep 60 minutes for the Reading parts.

The Reading paper tests your understanding of different types of texts and written structures. The questions are designed to test your overall comprehension of texts as well as more specific details. Here are some of my tips to help you improve in each part of the Reading paper.

B2 First Reading & Use of English Part 1

In part 1 of the 'Reading and Use of English' paper, you must fill in 8 gaps from a written passage. You have to choose one word to fill in the gap from four options (A,B,C,D).

Tips And Technique

Read the whole passage quickly. It will be easier to find the answers if you understand the topic and the overall idea.

Read the whole sentence, ignoring the gap which you have to fill. Read the sentence again and look at the four options. This part often tests your knowledge of collocations. Collocations are two or three words in English that go next to each other in a sentence. For example: 'want to'. In English we say “I want to go....” rather than “I want going....”. 'Want' is followed by 'to' in English, not 'verbing'. So, read the whole sentence then think about the words which are before and after the gap. Look at the four (A,B,C,D) options and decide which fits best with the words before and after.

Think about the meaning of the sentence. After completing points 1 and 2 above, check to make sure your word fits with the meaning of the sentence. Sometimes the words will have similar, but not exactly the same meanings.

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fce reading and use of english part 1

Learn how to pass Use of English parts 2, 3 and 4, in my long FCE course here >> or my short FCE course here >>



B2 First Reading Part 5

In part 5 you have to complete 6 multiple choice questions. You have to read a text, from a novel, article etc. and you have to choose which answer (a-d) is correct for each. Many parts of this exam are not as simple as they seem. Often there are two or more answers which you think may be possible...but for a small detail, one will be (more) correct.

When preparing for this exam you should try a couple of different techniques and see which works best for you.

Tips And Technique

Some questions refer to specific details and some refer to the overall meaning of the text. Read the whole passage quickly (1-2 minutes) to get the context. This is good practice and will help you answer the non-specific questions.

Try reading the questions (ignoring the a-d options) then try to find the answer in the text. Then look at options a-d and see if one answer is more obvious. I have found this technique to be very useful with my students.

As I mention above, you may think two or more answers are possible, but one answer will always be (more) correct. Let's say both option 'a' and option 'b' seem possible. Often there will be a small detail or piece of information in 'b' which is actually not mentioned in the text. This is why you must read options a-d carefully and make sure the overall meaning and every detail of the option you choose, is found in the text.

I'm afraid the video below is for Gold members only. Become a Gold member here >>

fce reading part 5


There are more part 5 exercises in my longer FCE course >>

B2 First Reading Part 6

In part 6 (questions 37-42) you have a text with 6 sentences missing. You are given 7 sentences separately and you have to choose the 6 sentences you need and decide where they go in the text.

Tips And Technique

Read the whole text to get an overall understanding of the context.

Read the 7 sentences (a-g) below the text. Write one or two words about the overall topic next to each sentence.

You cannot just read the sentence before and after the missing sentence. You normally need to read the few sentences before and after the gap in order to understand the context. Sometimes you may even need to know what was written in the paragraph before.

Write the possible answers on the side of your sheet next to the gapped sentences. You may have more than one. When you have done this for all the gaps, look back at your possible answers and decide which is correct. Maybe you have written 'A/C' next to question 37 and just 'A' next to gap 40. If this is the case, it would make sense to choose 'C' for question 37.

Learn more about part 6 in my long FCE course Start here >>

B2 First Reading Part 7

In part 7 you have a reading text which is divided into 4 or 5 sections (A,B,C,D/E). You have 10 questions and you must say which section (A,B,C,D/E) contains the information for each question.

Tips And Technique

Quickly read the questions. Underline the most important words in the question.

Read the whole text in a couple of minutes to have an idea what information each section contains. Write one or two words about the information contained next to each section if you find this useful.

Read the section A in more detail. Read through all the questions again. Write 'A' next to each question you think section 'A' has the answer to. Do this for each section.

If there are some questions with more than one letter, read through the relevant sections again and make a decision.

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fce reading part 7

There are also some useful Reading tips on this website >>

Learn more about part 7 in my long FCE course Start here >>

FCE Reading Course


I recommend my B2 First (FCE) Reading Course 

"Muy satisfecha con este curso, las explicaciones son muy útiles y multitud de consejos para aprobar el examen, totalmente recomendable!!" Lucia, FCE Reading. *****

You can access the course inside my long FCE course...

Start the course now >>

b2 first reading fce

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