Reading & Use of English- Trucos de examen

Top techniques to pass the Cambridge First exam!

Paper 1: Reading and Use of English

(1 hour 15 minutes)

 

At The English Group we often see our students struggle to complete their test paper within the given time. Our team of native experienced teachers and Cambridge exam experts are here to provide you with advice! 

Here is a detailed overview of the Reading and Use of English exam with study tips to help you prepare each part:

 Part 1: Multiple- choice cloze

  • ( 8 questions, 1 mark for each question)
  • Choosing a word/ phrase from 4 options to fill gaps in a text

Task strategies:

  1. Without looking at the options, read the text  carefully before and after each gap. Guess what kind of word or phrase fits the gap and the context best.
  2. Look at the four options and only now decide which one best collocates with the words that come before and after each gap.
  3. If you are unsure, cross out the options which you know are incorrect, discard them, so that it´s easier to decide on the most probable answer.
  4. When you have finished the task, read through the whole text to make sure that it makes sense and that the options fit grammatically in the context.

Part 2:  Open cloze

  • ( 8 questions, 1 mark for each question)
  • Filling in gaps in a text with an appropriate word

Task strategies:

  1. Think about what kind of word is needed in each gap. This word could be grammar words such as a preposition, an auxiliary verb, an article, a linking word, a relative pronoun…)
  2. Look at the four options and only now decide which one best collocates with the words that come before and after each gap.
  3. Write only one word in each gap. Do not use contractions such as ‘don´t’ or I´d…
  4. When you have finished the task, read through the whole text to make sure that it makes sense and that the spelling is correct.

 Part 3 : Word Formation

  • ( 8 questions, 1 mark for each question)
  • Changing the form of a given word to make it fit the gaps in a text

Task strategies:

  1. Read carefully the line with the gap in it, considering the context of the whole paragraph and the whole text.
  2. Work out the part of speech of the missing word and whether this word should be in plural or singular form, and whether it is positive or negative.
  3. Remember there may be more than one change required. For example you may have to add both a prefix, and a suffix, plus an internal spelling change.
  4. Read the whole text again to make sure it makes sense according to the context, and check carefully the spelling of the word.

Part 4 : Key Word Transformation

  • ( 6 questions, 2 marks for each question)
  • Using a given word to complete a sentence so that it means the same as a previous sentence

Task strategies:

  1. Read carefully both sentences and the key word. While doing this, work out what is missing from the second sentence.
  2. Identify what part of speech the key word is and how it will fit into the new sentence.
  3. Write down the missing words in the second sentence making sure you do not change the key word in any way.
  4. Read the completed second sentence to make sure that it has the same meaning as the first sentence. Check that this parallel sentence makes sense and that its words are spelt correctly.
  5. Check that you have not used more than five words, including the key word. Contractions ( I´m; don´t) count as two words.
  6. Be careful not to add any irrelevant words which are not necessary!

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Part 5 : Multiple- choice

  • ( 6 questions, 2 marks for each question)
  • Answering four-option multiple-choice questions on a text

Task strategies:

  1. Read each question/sentence stem carefully, underlining the key words.
  2. For each question, find the part of the text that it refers to, and highlight/underline that part.
  3. Remember- the questions are in the same order as the text.
  4. Read the highlighted/underlined relevant part of the text very carefully.
  5. Re-read the question and the four options again and decide on the answer. Each part of the text share similar views and this can be quite confusing. However, only one part will match the meaning exactly ( although it will be expressed in other words).
  6. If you are still unsure of the correct option, cross out the options which you are certain are incorrect. Once you have discarded some options, it will be easier to choose the one that is most likely.

Part 6 : Gapped-Text

  • ( 6 questions, 2 marks for each question)
  • Completing a gapped text with sentences which have been removed and placed in a jumbled order

Task strategies:

  1. Read the base text ( with the gaps) carefully to get a general idea of the context and how the text is structured.
  2. Read sentences before and after each gap so that you can predict what kind of information is missing.
  3. Highlight any clues which might help you choose the missing sentence. ( e.g pronouns refers to subjects in the text, time references, nouns or verbs which are repeated elsewhere and re-expressed as a synonym, expressions answering questions in the text etc…)
  4. Look at the choice of seven sentences, and highlight any grammatical links ( e.g the same verb form), topic links, parallel phrases ( similar ideas expressed in a different way), synonyms or near-synonyms, etc.
  5. Choose the best option for each gap.
  6. Read through the completed text and check you have chosen a sentence to fit in each gap. (and that you have not used the same sentence twice!)
  7. When reading through the completed text, make sure the ideas flow easily.

Part 7 :Multiple matching

  • ( 6 questions, 2 marks for each question)
  • Completing a gapped text with sentences which have been removed and placed in a jumbled order.

Task strategies:

  1. Read the questions well and underline the key words before reading the text that follows.
  2. Scan each section quickly to identify the information related to the questions. The information in the text will not be written in the same way as it is in the question options, although it may have the same meaning.
  3. Highlight possible answers, so you can easily go back to them later.
  4. Read the section of the text you choose again more carefully. Be careful: there may be similar ideas or information in another section. These are tricks or ´distractors´!
  5. As you find the answers, leave any questions you are unsure about, and remember to go back to them afterwards. It will be easier to answer these difficult questions, after having highlights possible answers previously. ( in point 3)

 

 Keep this mental checklist throughout the exam: 

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  1. Have you read the titles and skimmed the text quickly before answering the questions? This will ensure you fully understand the context of the text.
  2. Have you got a clear idea of how the text is organised?
  3. Have you read through the questions carefully and underlined key words?
  4. Remember that you can take notes on the question paper, but allow yourself enough time before the end of the test to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.
  5. Are you leaving enough time to complete all sections of the paper?
  6. Have you left any gaps or answers blank? Make a guess if necessary, but answer all the questions!

Finally, remember the importance of punctuation….. 

Fun grammar picture- commas

Now it’s OVER TO YOU!

Any questions or comments? Let me know in the comments section below! I’ll try to answer.

While you´re here, why not check out some useful tips for the speaking exam 

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