Tag Archives: Cambridge FCE

Cambridge FCE Exam tips – Use of English

Use of EnglishHere are some useful tips to do well in the ‘Use of English’ section of the Cambridge First Certificate in English.

This part of the exam lasts 45 minutes and consists of four parts.

• The first part is a gap fill – so as with the other parts of the exam – read the text (do not look at the answers) and try to think of which words could fill the gap yourself. After this you should look at the possible answers (do not read these first as they are made to confuse you).
• The second part you should read the text quickly and understand the topic, the writing style and the opinion/s of the writer. Then read the text and try to think what the missing words are – Think of the grammar term we should use here – auxiliary verb/pronoun/phrasal verb…
• In the third section you must change some given words – so here the best idea is to read the text and understand the meaning/style/opinions and then start to change the words. There is usually one word that must be made negative so look for this.

After this read the text through again and make sure it makes sense!

• In the final (and most important) part of the use of English part of the exam you should allow yourself at least 15 minutes to complete this section. Each question is worth two points – one for using the key word correctly, and one for identifying the remaining grammar or vocabulary needed to complete the sentence. So for this you must use the word given and use two to five words to complete the sentence. Always write something on the answer sheet as you can still get one mark!

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Here are some useful links for preparation on other FCE exam sections:
Cambridge FCE Exam Speaking Tips
Cambridge FCE Exam Writing Tips

Cambridge FCE Exam tips – Speaking

cambridge-fce-speaking-examHere are some useful tips for the Cambridge FCE Exam.

Do not speak too fast or worry about your accent – this will not affect your results. You will speak with another candidate and the examiner.

The speaking part of the exam is based on 5 things: Grammar, lexis, discourse, pronunciation, and interactive communication. There is also a final mark for Global achievement – overall effectiveness in responding to the tasks in the different sections of the speaking test.

If you are given any materials – read them carefully. Also listen carefully to what the examiner and the candidate say in the exam.

• The first part of this test you will be asked questions about yourself – home, school, work, hobbies, habits, interests, and future plans. Just speak normally during this phase and listen to your partner as you can’t repeat their answer.

• The second part you will have to speak for one minute about two minutes – you must compare and contrast the pictures. You will also have to answer a short question about your partner’s pictures so listen to them. This will be opinion based. You will have to answer a question about the photos which will be given to you on a card – answer this and compare the photos. Use the examiners question to structure your answer. DO NOT DESCRIBE THE PHOTOS – ONLY COMPARE THEM – but, while, however, whereas….
For the question about your partner’s pictures try to use words they did not use.

• The third part of the exam you must complete with your partner. You will be given a number of pictures and have to discuss them, give your opinion, and make a decision about the pictures with your partner. Involve your partner – don’t just talk to yourself – ask them questions and encourage them to ask you questions. Discuss all of the pictures then make a decision. If your partner talks too much just interject and ask if you can give your opinion. If they don’t speak enough try to encourage them to speak.

• The final part of this exam the examiner will join the conversation you and your partner are having from part 3. They will ask open questions for you both to discuss.

When the exam is over – behave as if it were a job interview – just say thank you and leave – do not ask your score or express your relief at the exam being finished.

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