Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Tips for the Cambridge FCE exam

START ENGLISHWatch, listen, speak. Tips and tricks about English.

Presently I will offer some information about the Reading paper for the First Certificate in English exam. In my article Sample Test for the FCE Exam I have introduced tasks for the Use of English test, the Writing test and the Speaking test.

For completing the Reading Paper the time frame is an hour. The task consists of three parts.

The Reading Paper part 1 consists of a multiple choice test. So, there will be a rather long text, which you will have to read carefully and try to circle the right choice. Technically speaking this is an easier task compared with the Listening and (maybe) the Speaking papers, but you need a lot of attention for details. Many students make mistakes about this because they do not mind the details.

Firstly read the questions (they are usually 8). Frequently the gist of the task is in the question. And this applies to all tasks. You cannot do right if you do not know/understand what you are supposed to do. It is very simple in theory, but in practice students sometimes do not really pay attention and lose valuable points.

Read also the alternatives and if you decide to circle something, find reasons in the text to do so. And this is the difficult part about this text because the alternatives are often confusing and you might think that more than one is appropriate. Students seldom find two alternatives that can match the context. How to choose between them?

Scan the fragment which the task is about and find tips in the text in favor of your choice. Chose the alternative for which there are more reasons.

I couldn’t help but noticing another type of mistake; imaginative students circle the wrong answer because they think it is a possible continuation of the fragment/text. So, do not forget, you circle something because of hard evidence in the text and not because you feel it might be correct.

As a conclusion, I need to remind you to pay attention to the time for this paper: you must complete all 3 parts of the Reading Paper in an hour, so time management is of utmost importance!

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