The B2 First is one of the most popular English exams for students of English. It is a recognised qualification that can help you to study, live or work abroad.

Though, it’s not a piece of cake – you’ve got to pass it first! But don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’re putting together a series of blog posts that will cover all that you need to know to get top marks in your exam.

Last time we looked at Reading and Use of English Part 1, but today we’ll be covering Part 2. We’ll walk you through what you need to do to succeed in this section, as well as offer tips and further resources.

Let’s get started!


What’s in Part 2?

First and foremost, it’s important to know exactly what to expect in Part 2. Let’s look at this example:

B2 First Part 2 Reading and Use of English Sample Questions | Oxford House Barcelona

Cambridge English C1 Advanced Sample Paper 1 (zip)

This is a gap fill reading comprehension task, also called an “open cloze”. For each gap there is only one word missing.

Yet, the hardest part is that, unlike Part 1, there are no options for you to choose from. You have to read the text and decide on the word you think fits best.

Each gap is worth one mark, so there are a total of 8 marks to get from this section.

There will always be an example, shown as (0) at the start to help.


What are they testing me on in Part 2?

Above all, Part 2 of the Reading and Use of English exam tests your grammar and vocabulary. You’ll most likely be tested on structures such as the following:


  • Verb forms e.g. perfect, continuous and simple forms
  • Pronouns and possessives e.g. myself, their, ourselves
  • Relative pronouns e.g. who, that, which
  • Articles e.g. the, a, an
  • Determiners e.g. this, that, either
  • Quantifiers e.g. some, many, a few
  • Time conjunctions e.g. before, when, as soon as
  • Prepositions e.g. of, about, for
  • Fixed phrases e.g. every now and then, by chance, under no circumstances
  • Phrasal verbs e.g. pick up, drop off, eat out

How should I answer the questions?

1. Read over the text

Before you do anything, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the topic. Start by reading the title – this will introduce the general theme.

Read over the text | How to get top marks: B2 First Part 2 Reading and Use of English | Oxford House Barcelona

Next skim read the text to get the general meaning. You don’t need to understand every word, but rather get an idea of what’s being said.

2. Look at the gaps

Next, look at the individual gaps to see what words come before and after. There may be some clues that can help you identify what type of word is missing e.g. verbs, nouns, adjectives, prepositions etc.

3. Write a word in the gap

Now it’s time to start thinking of words to put in the gaps. At this stage you can write them in pencil on the task paper itself. Remember, you can only use one word for each gap, and these tend to be grammatical words. You won’t need to use nouns and the words are usually short. Contractions count as two words so avoid them!

4. Check your work

Once you’re happy that you’ve completed the task correctly, read over the exercise to ensure it makes sense. At this stage, check that your words link up to the surrounding words. For example, be aware of plural forms, negatives and prepositions.

Make sure to complete each and every gap – even if you have to guess.

5. Write answers on the answer sheet

Finally, write your answers on the answer sheet provided. Be sure to write them in CAPITAL LETTERS as instructed.

Tips & tricks

Read the example: The example is there to refresh your memory. Make sure you quickly read it to remind yourself of what you need to do in this section – but don’t spend too much time on it!

Watch the time: Remember that you only have 1 hr 15 minutes for the whole of the Reading and Use of English paper. It’s a good idea to allocate yourself around 10 minutes to do this part and then move on.

Guess if you have to: If you aren’t sure about one of the answers, take a guess. You’ll never lose marks for putting in the wrong answer. And you never know – you might just be right!

Practise as much as possible: Practice makes perfect! Try as many test papers as you can before going into the exam. And don’t worry about making mistakes when practising, it’ll help you learn.


Other resources

You can download two free B2 First sample tests from Cambridge English to practice.

Find more online resources for practising for Cambridge English exams.

Look at our tips on how to get top marks in the B2 First Reading and Use of English Part 1.

Don’t forget to check out our other blog posts for the Writing section of the B2 First exam: essay, review, report, article, informal email/letter and a formal email/letter.


Looking for more support?

If you’re studying for the B2 First exam, and need a little extra help with your preparation, we’re here to help! At Oxford House, we offer exam courses specifically designed to help you prepare. Sign up now!

Glossary for Language Learners


Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

A piece of cake (exp): something that is easy to do.

First and foremost (exp): most importantly or more than anything else.

Skim (v): go or move quickly over something.

Above all (exp): most importantly.

Clues (n): something that reveals information or solves a problem.

Avoid (v): keep away from or stop oneself from doing something.

Guess (v): form an estimate or idea about something without all the facts or knowledge.


exp = expression

n = noun

v = verb

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