The duration of the First Certificate reading exam is 1 hour. The Reading part of the Cambridge FCE exam has three parts.
First you have a multiple choice section in which you have to show understanding of a text and show understanding of language use which expresses opinions and attitudes.
The second part of the exam is a gap fill exercise – you will be given a text with sentences missing then you have to pick the sentence that should be put in there.
The final part of this section is a matching exercise. Within this section you have to read a text or texts and pick out key information and ideas from that paragraph and answer questions about these.
Some useful FCE tips:
• It can be useful to see how the topics change throughout the texts and whether or not it is in chronological order. Use the title/headline/pictures to help you work out the general idea of a text before reading.
• Always read the questions first and not the optional answers – answer the question yourself first and then find the answer in the options. Also try to find key words in the questions to help you in the text.
• Underline all key information as you read the text.
• If you don’t know – guess. They do not deduct marks for incorrect answers so it’s always best to just guess if you don’t know.
• If you are unsure of an answer – leave it and come back to it later. This way, you can eliminate the sentences that are not correct and give yourself a better chance at gaining the marks.
• Read the questions first – then you can underline the relevant information to be able to answer the questions (use key words in the questions to help you, but be careful as this won’t always work).
• Don’t spend too much time on one question – if you don’t know come back to it later.
• When you have finished, read the text again and make sure the answers are correct.
• For the first part the text is in chronological order. Read the questions (not the options) first, then find the piece of relevant text, and then answer the questions yourself – then go back to the answer options. The last question in this piece of the exam may be a question about the text as a whole.
• Part two will be a text from a magazine or newspaper so if there are any pictures – try to use this and the headline to work out the general idea of the text. Also in the second part you should try to find ‘anchor words’ – such as connecting words, pronouns and time clauses. This is because they will ask about time and reasons that things happened There is one sentence extra in the answers – so there will be one sentence leftover at the end. Make sure the sentences follows the same meaning.
• For the final part, look at the headline to understand the general idea of the text. Then read the questions and underline key words so you know what to look for in the text. Be careful as sometimes the question will want more than one piece of information.
We hope you find these FCE exam tips useful. We have an excellent team of FCE teachers who will help you get the score you need.
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