Below you will find my tips for each part of the use of English paper.  Download a practice test and try them out!

Part 1

  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!
  2. Now read the text again and try to guess what word might fill the gap without looking at the proposed answers.
  3. Pay close attention to the words before and after the gaps, they will help you decide what words can and can’t be used.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Part 2

  1. Read the entire text once quickly.  Notice the topic, the style and the opinion of the writer.
  2. Now read it again more carefully, filling in the gaps while paying close attention to the words before and after them.
  3. 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.

Part 3

  1. Quickly read the entire text to notice the topic, style, tone and attitude of the writer.
  2. Now read the text again and change the words given.  Remember that every word must be changed.
  3. The context of the sentences is important because there is usually at least one word that must be made negative.
  4. 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?).

Part 4

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Use the parts of the second sentence before and after the gap to help you remember the words you need.
  7. You can get one point for half of the correct answer, so always write something on the answer sheet!