Prepare First Certificate Online – B2 First: FCE
If you want to prepare for the B2 First Certificate online, you have come to the right place! On this website you will be able to find lots of free information about the exam and the best tips and tricks to pass the exam and achieve SUCCESS! You don't need to spend lots of money taking private lessons to pass this exam. What you need is a strategy for how to approach every B2 First exam paper. When you have this strategy, you can easily prepare yourself for the B2 First Certificate in the best way possible. We have Speaking, Listening, Reading, Use of English and Writing courses which teach you this strategy with lots of examples and exam practice. But let's talk more about these courses later....first let's look at the Cambridge English: B2 First exam format and some common mistakes to avoid!
Why Take The B2 First (FCE) Certificate?
If you want to get into an English speaking university or get a better job, the B2 First (FCE) exam can help! If you pass this exam, you get a B2 level Cambridge English: First certificate. You can see a list of all the universities and institutions around the world which accept this certificate here. This certificate is proof of your language level and can really help you in life. See some of our success stories.
B2 First Certificate (FCE) Exam Format
There are 4 main sections of the B2 First Certificate Examination: Reading and Use of English, Speaking, Listening and Writing. Our B2 First courses are filled with advice and practice to help you prepare for all of these aspects of the exam.
Reading & Use of English
Parts 1-4 - Use of English
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
Parts 5-7 – Reading
Part 5 – 12 marks - only 6 questions
Part 6 – 12 marks - only 6 questions
Part 7 – 10 questions - 10 marks
The Reading and Use of English section consists of 7 parts. The first 4 parts focus on grammar and vocabulary, testing your knowledge of common collocations, different word types and understanding sentence structures. While the final 3 parts focus on reading and test your comprehension and understanding of how sentences fit within larger pieces of writing. It is important to know how many marks are awarded for each section so you can plan which sections you want to complete first. If you want to learn some great tips and techniques for passing this exam paper for free, our First Use of English and Reading web pages are full of advice or at the moment I have a 90% discount on my Reading and Use of English courses...
The Speaking section has 4 parts. The first part is a general chat between yourself and the examiner - they typically ask questions about your family, your hobbies etc. In the second part you have to talk for one minute about the similarities and differences between two photos while answering a question about them. In the third part you have to discuss a topic with your partner(s) for 2/3 minutes and then answer a more specific question related to that topic for 1 minute (again with your partner). In the fourth part the examiner asks you and your partner more questions....generally related to the topic in part 3. To get the best tips and techniques for passing the Speaking paper buy my B2 First Speaking video course for 90% off or see my B2 First Speaking webpage.
Part 1 – 8 questions - 8 marks
Part 2 – 10 questions - 10 marks
Part 3 – 5 questions - 5 marks
Part 4 – 7 questions - 7 marks
The Listening section consists of 4 parts. Some test your general understanding of conversations, speeches, presentations etc. while others test your ability to find specific information. To learn more about this section of the exam and for tips and techniques for passing the Listening paper, see my Listening FCE webpage or check out my B2 First Listening video course currently at 90% off
The Writing section of the exam has 2 parts. The first part is a 140-190 word essay. The structure of the essay is key in passing this section of the exam. In the second part, you have 3 options from either: an article, a review, a report, an email, and you have to write 140-190 words about one of these. The writing marks are awarded on 4 criteria for both parts. It is very important to understand how examiners mark your writings, so check out this video to understand these criteria better:
You need to show competence in every different writing style in order to pass the exam. We offer a 12 lesson B2 First (FCE) Writing video course currently at a 90% discount to help you with tips and techniques for every section of the writing paper.
Prepare First Certificate Online - Before The Exam - Resources & Strategy
In this short section you will learn exactly what you need to do to prepare for First Certificate efficiently and effectively. Remember: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. If you plan properly you will save time, money and get the best results in the exam. So, either watch this video, or read the information below:
1. Get Your Resources
When preparing for this exam, you should start by getting the best resources you can. I will recommend the best materials for you as we continue through the following steps.
2. Learn an exam strategy
You need to learn the best ways to approach each part of the exam. If you can master a technique for every part of the exam, the time it takes you to complete the tasks will be MASSIVELY reduced and you will hugely INCREASE your chances of success.
You can find lots of strategies around this website for free. Or if you want to learn the best strategies and practice using them with a native English teacher, you should join my Reading and Use of English, Speaking, Listening and Writing video courses. They guide you through every part of the exam. These are the only courses I've found which show you step by step how to tackle each exam section.
3. Complete a coursebook using your new strategy
I recommend buying 'Ready for First'. This is a good coursebook and will focus you on the important grammar and vocabulary knowledge you need for the exam. It will give you plenty of practice for all the exam exercises. You should buy the coursebook with key (like in the picture below) so you can correct your own work.
The listening cds which accompany the coursebook are expensive and might be a bit outdated. As a cheaper alternative, you can find listening samples on youtube. Or for more practice AND listening exercises, you could also buy the workbook:
4. Use an FCE coursebook (and grammar book) to specifically target your weak areas of grammar
From my experience, students find the 'Use of English' paper particularly difficult. This is where your grammar, knowledge of collocations etc. are tested. There are grammar sections in every unit of the above coursebook and there is a key at the back of the book. If you see you are weak in any areas, focus on these areas of grammar using another one of the books above, or this book is also very good for grammar and it has FCE exercises:
This book is also very good for extra grammar practice:
The British Council website is also trustworthy and full of information.
5. Complete a practice test book
By completing the first 4 steps above, you should be able to complete the tests in the following book more quickly and easily. It is important to practise with real tests, so you can judge whether or not you are ready to take the exam. I recommend this test book:
You can also find practice tests in the Cambridge English First handbook for teachers:
6. Test your speaking skills
If you are not sure if your speaking skills are good enough, complete the book lessons form and one of our FCE teachers will tell you and give you further advice.
7. Book your exam
Most of my students do the exam in Cambridge, but there are lots of test centres around the world. Follow the instructions in this video to find your nearest exam centre (the process is the same for CAE or FCE exams):
8. Wait for a response
Wait to hear from Cambridge about the date, time and location of your exam. Some of my students have not received exam information until only a few days or a week or two before the exam date. If you are in this situation, do not worry.
9. Before the exam day, work out how you are going to travel to the exam centre
Will you travel to the exam centre by bus, car, train etc.
If the exam starts early in the morning make sure there is public transport running at that time!
Prepare First Certificate Online - During The Exam
WRITE IN CAPITAL LETTERS or for the writing paper write in small but neat letters.
Use a pencil or a pen for the writing paper.
Always write an answer!
For more exam tips and free materials, check out our B2 First practice tests page.
Prepare First Certificate Online - After The Exam
1. Have a beer!!! Or something else if you don't drink alcohol 😉
2. Wait 4-6 weeks to receive your results. Don't panic if it takes longer - this can happen!
3. When you get your results scream and shout with joy if you followed my strategy above and passed the exam!!! Or find a quiet place and cry if you didn't. Just joking ;), I really hope you pass because a B2 English qualification makes a big difference to people's lives, here are just a few examples of what my past students say.
If you don't pass, it is possible to do the exam again immediately afterwards! However, the first thing I suggest is to analyse why you didn't pass. Was it one particular exam paper? Did you have time to answer all the questions in the exam? Then, once you have identified where you went wrong, start making changes to get better marks next time!
Maybe you'll decide you need professional help, and if so, you can book lessons with a native skype teacher, or see some of our fantastic free and paid products below.
How My FCE Products Can Help You
Do you want to pass this exam without spending lots of money on lessons? If the answer to this question is YES then you are in the right place! You could be the next person on our list of success stories. You can take small group or individual classes with us, unlike language schools where you will be in a classroom with lots of different people. You can learn more in a few individual lessons with one of our Cambridge English teachers than in one year of generic group lessons that you will find elsewhere. There is more about our individual lessons below. But if YOU DO NOT want to pay for individual lessons, my Speaking, Reading, Use of English, Listening and Writing video courses will teach you the best way to prepare and pass the B2 First Certificate exam by yourself.
FREE FCE Speaking Video Course
"The tips and strategy are great. This course has helped me so much! Thank you! I highly recommend the course to everyone who would like to take the FCE! The course is very useful and listening to a native speaker is also a good thing for practice" Gina, FCE Speaking. *****
FCE Reading Video Course
"Muy satisfecha con este curso, las explicaciones son muy útiles y multitud de consejos para aprobar el examen, totalmente recomendable!" Lucia, FCE Reading. *****
FCE Use of English Video Course
Valuable information, clear explanations, engaging delivery, helpful practice activities, accurate course description, knowledgeable instructor. Lucia, FCE Use of English. *****
FCE Writing Video Course
"Gran curso de preparación al examen FCE con númerosos ejemplos, recomendaciones y recursos. Una excelente guía para afrontar con mayores posibilidades dicho examen." Jose, FCE Writing. *****
FCE Listening Video Course
"Questo corso di inglese l'ho trovato molto originale e innovativo. Ho trovato una metodologia improntata sull'esposizione dei concetti in modo semplice e chiaro per un'immediata comprensione, finalizzato al superamento dell'esame, oltre che all'apprendimento. Il corso è formato da diversi blocchi di studio che, oltre alla parte teorica, sono molto pratici e concreti. L'insegnante ha un'ottima pronuncia ed è molto chiaro nel far capire i concetti chiave per imparare al meglio!!! Ve lo consiglio!" Marco, FCE Listening. *****
Prepare First Certificate Online Private Lessons - £30 per hour
These lessons are flexible and can focus on any part of the exam that you want. We want to make sure you get the most benefit for your money. Your contact time with the teacher is therefore extremely important and you can cover any topic you want.
Here is an example from one of my lessons with a Spanish FCE student...I was helping him work on his fluency and correcting his mistakes.
Common Mistakes At FCE
Check out this youtube playlist or see some common mistakes and solutions on our common mistakes at FCE page.
Support My Work
Every time I help you...you can make a donation. Donate whatever amount is equal to the value you received from my videos/E-book/articles/emails etc. Click “Donate” below and enter your donation (£1....£5....£10).