Top Tips for the Cambridge English: First and Cambridge English: Advanced exams
Paper 1 – READING AND USE OF ENGLISH
Part 1, Multiple-choice cloze
Task focus: vocabulary
- Read the title and quickly skim through the text to find out what it is about.
- Read the text through quickly to get a general idea of the content before doing the detailed questions. Decide what you think the answer is, in other words, try to predict the word, and then look at the four choices.
- For each question, you need to decide which of the four options fits best in the gap.
- The options are often four words that are similar on meaning, but only one is correct in that particular sentence.
- Look carefully at the words before and after each gap, checking the meaning of the missing word.
- Try saying the sentence to yourself in your head, and see if the option you have chosen sounds right.
- If there is more than one gap in a sentence, read the whole sentence very carefully so that you are clear about the context and meaning of each choice that correctly fills each gap.
- Look for any grammatical elements that come before or after a gap (prepositions, verb forms, etc.) It is possible that more than one choice fits correctly because of its meaning, but only one choice is also grammatically correct.
- If you aren’t sure whether an answer is correct, continue with the rest of the task and come back to check it at the end.
- Revise set phrases (e.g ‘take a photo’), phrasal verbs (e.g. ‘bring up’) and propositions (e.g. ‘afraid of’)
- Write an answer for every question, even if you guess. You don't get marks taken off for a wrong answer!
Part 2, Open cloze
Task focus: grammar and some vocabulary
Part 3, Word formation
Task focus: vocabulary
Part 4, Key word transformations
Task focus: grammar and vocabulary
Part 5, Multiple choice
Task focus: reading for detailed understanding of a text
Part 6, Gapped text
Task focus: reading to understand how a text is structured
Part 7, Multiple matching
Task focus: reading for specific information in a text
Paper 2 – WRITING
Question 1 – Essay (140-190 words)
Question 2 – You choose one task from a choice of three. (140-190 words)
Paper 3 – LISTENING
Part 1, Multiple choice
Part 2, Sentence completion
Part 3, Multiple matching
Part 4, Multiple choice
Paper 4 – SPEAKING
Part 1, Interview
Part 2, Individual long turn
Part 3, Two-way collaborative task
Part 4, Discussion
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