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: Advanced (CAE) Reading and Use of English Part 1
- Read the text quickly to understand the topic, style and tone of the piece.
- Now read 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 determine 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 make your choice.
- Do not spend too long on this part, it is very confusing and more time usually doesn’t help you get more correct answers.
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Reading and Use of English Part 2
- Read over the entire text once quickly. Take note of the topic, the style and the opinion of the writer.
- Now read it again more carefully, filling in the gaps and 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: Advanced (CAE) Reading and Use of English Part 3
- Quickly read the entire text to notice the topic, style, tone and attitude of the writer.
- You must understand the context of the sentences 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: Advanced (CAE) Reading and Use of English Part 4
- This is the most difficult part of the Use of English paper. Take your time, be methodical, analytical and careful.
- 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. Underline everything in the first sentence that is given in the second sentence, this will show you the part of the sentence to be transformed.
- Look at the key word and identify the role it will play in the transformation. The other part of your answer is usually part of a phrase or expression that is a way of retstating the information you identified as needing to be transformed.
- 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: Advanced (CAE) Reading and Use of English Part 5
- Read the title and look at any pictures to get a general idea of the subject and style of the piece.
- Read just the question stems (not the answers) of the first two questions.
- Now start reading the text until you find the part that answers the first and second questions.
- The questions are in the order of the text, so you can use the question stems to locate the exact part of the text that will provide the answers. Only when you have found and read the relevant part of the text carefully should you read the answer choices and select the one that matches the text.
- Continue reading question stems, finding the relevant text and choosing your answer based on the text. Breaking the text into smaller pieces will make it easier to find the answers. They can all be found in the text, you will never be required to just choose what “feels right”.
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Reading and Use of English Part 6
- Quickly read each of the extracts and try and describe each one with one word, for example: supportive, critical, skeptical, undecided, etc. This is just to help form a general impression of each writer.
- Now read the question stems on the next page and underline the key words and the author which the questions relate to.
- Return to the texts and find the sections related to the key words. Underline them, compare them, and choose your answers based on the evidence in the texts.
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Reading and Use of English Part 7
- Read the title and look at any pictures to give yourself a general idea of the subject and style of the piece.
- Read the article at a quick pace. Try and remember the topic of each paragraph, but pay special attention to “anchors” (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 paragraphs to be inserted in the text. Notice the content, but pay special attention again to “anchors”.
- Don’t insist on completing this part of the test in order! Some of the paragraphs are easier to match than the others. Answer the easy questions first and cross them off your question sheet when they have been used.
- Always check that the paragraphs match the text before and after them.
- If the last paragraph doesn’t seem to fit, take a minute to check your other answers. One of them may be wrong as well and you don’t want to miss two questions.
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Reading and Use of English Part 8
- Quickly look at the title and look at any pictures to give yourself a general idea of the subject and style of the piece, don’t read the text until you have analysed the questions.
- 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: Advanced sections