Top Tips for the Cambridge English: First and Cambridge English: Advanced exams



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)



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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