Links to the other sections of the exam are at the bottom of the page. Below you will find my tips for each part of the Reading and Use of English paper. Download a practice test and try them out!
Cambridge English: First (FCE) Reading and Use of English Part 1
- Read the text quickly to understand the topic, style and tone of the piece. Read the whole text and don’t look at the possible answers on the next page: they are designed to confuse you!
- Now read the text again and try to guess what word might fill the gap without looking at the proposed answers.
- Pay close attention to the words before and after the gaps, they will help you decide what words can and can’t be used.
- Now look at the answer choices. Select any answers that you guessed and then read the sentences carefully, before and after the gaps, to help you confirm you decision.
- Do not spend too much time on this part, these are difficult questions and you can’t find the answer with logic. If you don’t know the answer, you will have to guess. But taking more time will not help.
Cambridge English: First (FCE) Reading and Use of English Part 2
- Read the entire text once quickly. Notice the topic, the style and the opinion of the writer.
- Now read it again more carefully, filling in the gaps while paying close attention to the words before and after them.
- If you don’t know what the missing word is, read the whole sentence again carefully and identify what function it has: is it a pronoun? an auxiliary verb? part of a phrasal or prepositional verb? part of an expression? Analyse the sentence to find out what is missing.
Cambridge English: First (FCE) Reading and Use of English Part 3
- Quickly read the entire text to notice the topic, style, tone and attitude of the writer.
- Now read the text again and change the words given. Remember that every word must be changed.
- The context of the sentences is important because there is usually at least one word that must be made negative.
- After you have changed the word, read the sentence again to check that it makes sense and the grammar is correct (does the word have to be plural?).
Cambridge English: First (FCE) Reading and Use of English Part 4
- This is the most difficult part of the Use of English paper. Make sure you allow at least 15 minutes to complete it (this allows 10 minutes each for the other sections). Take your time, be methodical, analytical and careful.
- Read the instructions carefully and check your answers to be sure you follow them:
You must use the word given
You must not change the word given
You must use between two and five words
- The questions are each worth two points, you get one point for using the key word correctly and another for identifying the remaining grammar or vocabulary needed to complete the sentence.
- Read the two sentences and compare them. Find everything that is in the first sentence and is also in the second sentence. Underline or circle these words, this will help you concentrate on the part of the sentence to be transformed.
- Look at the key word and identify how you need to use it. The other part of your answer is usually part of a phrase or expression that will complete the transformation.
- Use the parts of the second sentence before and after the gap to help you remember the words you need.
- You can get one point for half of the correct answer, so always write something on the answer sheet!
Cambridge English: First (FCE) Reading and Use of English Part 5
- Read the title and subtitle, then look at any pictures to get a general idea of the subject of the piece. The text will come from a newspaper or magazine article, a short story or a novel.
- Before you read the piece, turn to the next page a look at the questions. Just read the questions and not the answers A-D. Underline the important part of the question, this will help you remember why you are reading.
- Now look at question 1 and start reading the text. When you reach the part of the text that answers question 1, read that part of the text again carefully and choose your answer before looking at the answer choices you are given. Choose the answer that is closest to your own answer.
- All of the questions will be answered in order (the answer to question 1 is before the answer to question 2, etc.). The answers will be supported in the text. Do not use your general impression, find the words in the text that say the answer.
Cambridge English: First (FCE) Reading and Use of English Part 6
- Read the title and look at any pictures to give yourself a general idea of the subject, it will come from a newspaper or magazine article.
- Read the article quickly. Try and remember the general topic of each paragraph, but also circle or underline “anchor words” (logical connecting words, pronouns, and time clauses). A word like “so” indicates a logical progression–look for a reason something happened; “these” refers to something in a previous paragraph–find them; “afterwards” refers to a progression of time–what happened before?
- Read the sentences to be inserted in the text. Notice the content, but again, pay attention to the “anchor words”.
- Now look again at the text and match the sentences with the topic but also be sure the “anchor words” connect with sentences before and after them.
- Relax and answer the easy questions first! Some are more difficult so eliminate the sentences which go in other spaces.
- If the last sentence doesn’t seem to be correct, take a minute to check your other answers. One of them may also be wrong and you don’t want to miss two questions.
Cambridge English: First (FCE) Reading and Use of English Part 7
- Quickly look at the title and look at any pictures to give yourself a general idea of the subject of the piece, but don’t read the text until you have analysed the questions. The text will come from a newspaper or magazine article.
- Read the questions carefully and underline the key expressions in each one to help focus your mind on what you are reading for.
- Try and remember these key expressions as you read the text at a reasonably fast pace. Some of the answers will be obvious as you read, fill in your answer sheet as you go along.
- Be careful that your answers match all of the information in the question. Sometimes the question will be looking for more than just one criteria so you need to be careful.
- Go back to the unanswered questions, look at the key expressions you underlined and try to remember which area of the text had material related to them. When you are scanning the text, try to keep several questions in mind at once to make more efficient use of your time.
Now check my tips for the other Cambridge English: First sections