Explanations » B2 First (FCE) » Cambridge B2 First (FCE) – Exam 1 – Listening
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Cambridge B2 First (FCE) – Listening

The Listening section of the Cambridge English B2 First exam comprises 4 parts and 30 questions, with a total duration of approximately 40 minutes. This part of the exam represents 20% of the final mark. Here is an overview of each listening part:

Part 1: Multiple-choice questions.
You will listen to eight short extracts from monologues or exchanges between interacting speakers. Each extract has one multiple-choice question with three options. This part tests your ability to understand attitude, opinion, main idea, and detail and offers a total of 8 marks.

Part 2: Sentence completion.
This part consists of a monologue lasting approximately 3 minutes. You need to complete 10 sentences based on what you hear. It assesses your ability to understand specific information, stated opinions, and detailed meaning. Completing this part correctly can earn you 10 marks.

Part 3: Multiple matching.
This involves a series of five themed monologues, each about 30 seconds long. You have to match a list of options to the correct speaker based on what you hear. This part focuses on understanding the gist, attitude, opinion, and main points of each speaker. A maximum of 5 marks can be achieved in this part.

Part 4: Multiple-choice questions.
You’ll listen to a conversation between two or more speakers, approximately 3-4 minutes long. There are six multiple-choice questions, each with three options, testing your understanding of attitude, opinion, gist, detail, purpose, and relationship. This part can get you up to 7 marks.

Throughout the listening exam, you will hear each recording twice, giving you ample opportunity to grasp the content and nuances of the conversations and monologues.

Tips on how to prepare for the Cambridge B2 listening test

Regular Practice: Consistently practice listening to English in different contexts – movies, news, podcasts, etc.

Listen to Different English Accents: Practice listening to English spoken in various accents since the exam includes a range of accents.

Practice Different Types of Listening: The exam includes different types of listening tasks like conversations, announcements, or monologues. Try listening to similar types of audio in your practice.

Understand the Question Types: Familiarize yourself with the types of questions you might encounter, such as multiple-choice or sentence completion.

Listen for Key Details: Pay attention to specific information, attitudes, opinions, and main ideas in the audio clips.

Practice Notetaking: While listening, jot down key points and details. This will help you remember important information.

Improve Your Vocabulary: A broader vocabulary will help you understand a variety of topics better.

Use Authentic Materials: Listen to authentic English materials that cover a range of subjects and situations, similar to those in the exam.

Simulate Exam Conditions: Try practicing under exam-like conditions to get used to the format and time constraints.

Review and Reflect: After practicing, review your answers and understand where you went wrong to improve in those areas.