This post is aimed at giving you a little bit of help with the B2 Cambridge Assessment English exam.

I will basically give you all of the inside knowledge as an examiner about how to pass the exam. This information is essential to pass the Cambridge exam and show you have a B2 level in English.


As the exam is fairly long and there is a lot of information to process, this post will be divided into 5 sections.

  1. Use of English
  2. Reading
  3. Writing
  4. Listening
  5. Speaking


What is obvious is that you need to do more than just mock exams. Candidates need to have an intermediate level of English and then learn the exam technique to get the best possible grade.

Have a look at this advice and put them into practice with our exam preparation material.


Volume 1

Use of English

The use of English and reading parts of the exam are together (see the link), but they are evaluated separately. For the exam, you have 1:15 minutes, you should do the Use of English in 20-25 minutes and the the reading part in about 45 minutes. The use of English section of the exam is worth 20% of the final grade.

The use of English part consists of an evaluation of the candidates knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. What you need to remember is that the parts are always the same and if you do enough practice, you will notice a lot of repetition.


Use of English Part 1 (See the link)

8 points

Part 1 of the Use of English is called multiple choice cloze and it is more complicated than it seems. The candidates need to read a text and fill in the gaps with options A, B, C or D. Most of these are based on collocations, word patterns, phrasal verbs or fixed phrases, but two of them are based on context, so it is just the best word in the specific situation of the text. This can be tricky, be careful!


Use of English Part 2 (See the link)

8 points

Part 2 of the Use of English is called Open Cloze and it is actually easier than most people think. It is an evaluation of the candidate’s grammar knowledge and the answers are very repetitive. The answers are usually an article, determiner, pronoun, preposition, connector, auxiliary or part of a comparative. Try having a look at our frequent answer list for help.



Use of English Part 3 (See the link)

8 points

Part 3 of the Use of English is called Word Formation and is probably the easiest part of the Use of English section. The candidates need to adapt the root form of the word. Basically, the candidate needs to decide if the word if a noun, adjective, adverb or a verb, to do this see our word formation tricks. What many people don’t know is that these words are normally nouns. You will usually have 5-6 nouns, 1-2 adjectives and 1-2 adverbs. They are rarely verbs, but they can be!


Use of English Part 4 (See the link)

12 points

Part 4 of the Use of English is called Sentence Transformations. It is one of the most dreaded parts of the exam, but with practice it becomes easer. What you need to remember is that each question is worth 2 points and it is possible to get 1 point if you have some of it right. What you need to do is use the WORD GIVEN IN CAPITALS + 4 more words maximum to rephrase the sentence. You are given a sentence and then a second sentence with a gap, try to make sure that it is both the simplest answer possible and that it has the same meaning. If the GIVEN WORD does not condition you and obligate you to change a word, don’t do it. When you do need to change a word, it needs to be a synonym or antonym based on the context. You need to remember that sentence transformation is based on a knowledge of grammar (passive, inversions, conditionals, impersonal passive, modal verbs, wish, reported speech, comparatives or relative clauses) and vocabulary (fixed phrases, prepositional phrases, phrasal verbs).

You should aim to spend about 8 minutes on each exercise. The total points are 36 and you will get to the 60% pass rate with 25-6 correct answers.

So, see you next time for volume two of TRICKS TO PASS THE B2 FIRST CAMBRIDGE EXAM.


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