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How to pass the Use of English and reading part of the FCE B2 EXAM

MATASELLOS PLATINUN CMB

 

What do you have to do in the B2 FCE exam?

The use of English and reading parts of the exams are joined. You can do them in any order. My suggestion is to begin with what you find easiest; this will motivate you and also help you if you run out of time and cannot complete the whole part of the test.

 

(PART 1) For questions 1-8 read the text and decide which word (A-D) best completes the gap

(PART 2) For questions 9-16 read the text and fill on the gap with one word. USE ONLY ONE

(PART 3) For questions 17-24 read the text and use the (root) word given to form the correct word that best completes the sentence

(PART 4) For questions 25-30 complete the sentences with 2-5 words so that it has a similar meaning to the first, include the word given. DO NOT CHANGE THE WORD.

(PART 5) For questions 31-6 read the extract of a text and answer the questions with the best option (A-D)

(PART 6) For questions 37-42 read the text and fill in the gaps with the best option (A-G). There is one extra option that is not to be used

(PART 7) For questions 43-52 read the text (A-D) and answer the questions with the best option (A-D)

 

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How to do each part of the exam

 

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Part 1: multiple choice gaps fill (A-D)

The key to this part of the exam is to focus on what type of word they are assessing. It can be based on grammar; these are usually 2 of the 8 gaps. Grammar is assessed with connectives, relative pronouns, quantifiers etc. The vocabulary points (usually 6 of the 8) are based on word patterns, phrasal verbs, collocations or fixed expressions. They key is to look at clues around the gaps (PREPOSITIONS, articles etc.)

FOR EXTRA VOCABULARY SEE Word patterns and collocations

 

Part 2: one word gaps fill

In this part of the exam you need to complete the text with one word for each gap. It might seem similar to part 1 but this time you need to produce the word. 6 of the 8 gaps are usually based on grammar (connectives, articles, pronouns, auxiliary verbs, quantifiers, determiners etc.) and vocabulary can be based on prepositions, context, phrasal verbs, fixed expressions or word patterns.

 

Part 3: word formation

In this part of the exam you need to complete the text by using the root form (basic form) of the word. You need to conjugate the word by adding its prefix or suffix to make sure that it fits into the text and that it makes sense. The idea is to look around the gap and to think of the word class (noun, verb, adverb, adjective), decide if it is affirmative or negative and then later think of the grammar. If it is a verb, which tense? If it is a noun, is it singular or plural?

 

Part 4: transformations (rephrasing)

In this part of the exam you have six sentences to complete. You need to read the first sentence in each question. From this you need to look at the second sentence and think about what information is missing. You must then complete the second sentence so that it has the same meaning as the first with 2-5 words (NO MORE). Another thing to understand is that you are provided with a word that you must use in exactly the same form (if it is TOLD, you cannot use tell, telling or any variation of the word. ONLY TOLD). Each of the questions is worth 2 points and the points are based on lexical (vocabulary) or structural (grammatical) points. What they assess in this part of the exam are as follows:

Lexical: phrasal verbs, word patterns, fixed expressions, contextual vocabulary etc.

Structural: passive, relative clauses, reported speech, quantifiers, connectors, tense changes, gerund versus infinitive, modal verbs, inversions (rarely), conditionals etc.

 

Part 5: comprehension multiple choice

You will read an extract from a novel or an article. You are to answer the 6 questions (A-D). Each is worth 2 points so it is worth taking your time over it. They key is to find/underline the part of the text that refers to the question and analyze the grammar and vocabulary. You should look to discard the incorrect answers through looking at the key points in both the question and the part of the text.

 

Part 6: complete text with missing paragraphs

This is probably the most difficult part of the test. You need to complete the text with the missing section of the paragraph, there are 6 gaps and 7 options. You need to look at the options, ALWAYS START WITH THE OPTIONS and the around the gap. You are looking for similar words, tenses of verbs etc. There are always two easier answers, look to find these and then start building from there. There are normally 2 difficult points because they are based on general meaning. My tip is that if there are two options that are very similar. One of them is very likely to be the extra (not needed) option.

 

Part 7: answer questions with the correct text

In this part of the exam you have 4 or 5 short texts and 10 questions about them. You need to answer each question by saying to which text it refers (A-E). You need to START WITH THE QUESTIONS, and then look in the text for similar vocabulary or themes. You should SCAN READ, meaning, not focussing on overall comprehension but LOOK FOR KEY INFORMATION.

 

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