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FCE Reading and Use of English Part 6 Tips


1. Introduction

You have to read another long text. This time, some sentences have been removed. Your job is to put them back into the right place.

There are 6 gaps, and 7 sentences, so there is one you won't use.

This can be a hard part of the exam, but the answers are actually very logical. The tips on this page should make it easier.


2. General Tips

Read the text with the gaps first (before the questions). It's very helpful to know what the text is about and get some idea of the structure of the writing BEFORE you start trying to find the answers.

The most important sentences are the ones before and after each gap - read these very closely.

You don't have to fill in the answers in order - start with the one you think is easiest and when you get to the most difficult one there will only be 2 answers left.


3. The Text is Full of Clues

Like in a good Agatha Christie book, there are lots of clues to the right answer.

What sort of clues are in a text? 

  • Names and pronouns (Jack... he... this...)
  • Chronology (Then... Finally...)
  • Quotation marks ("I couldn't believe it.")
  • Contrast words (However, but)
  • Verb tenses (had gone... will have finished)
  • Cause and effect (Therefore... as a result...)
  • Repetition (in other words...)

Let's look at each clue type in more detail.

NAMES AND PRONOUNS 1

Once upon a time there was a boy named Jack. [1] __________________________. Then he died.

Choose one of these sentences to go in gap [1]:

A - He ate all the chocolate in London.
B - Their house was on a hill.

That's pretty easy, isn't it? Jack is a 'he', not a 'their'. There's also a logical connection between eating all the chocolate and dying.

NAMES AND PRONOUNS 2

The documentary featured interviews with many of top scientists. [2] __________________________.  But the story was not funny, and many viewers complained about its depressing ending.
A - It was watched by 8 million people.
B - One was Simon Baron-Cohen, brother of the famous comedian.

This one is hard. A could be the answer because 'it' means 'the documentary'. But B could be the answer because 'one' refers to 'top scientists'. But it is still useful to look at names and pronouns because in the exam you will have 7 answers to choose from.

So in this example what do we do next? The three sentences must fit together like a lock fits a keyhole.

The clue is in the relationship between the words but, funny, and comedian. Those three words fit together perfectly. 

The word 'but' is a good example of a contrasting phrase, which brings us to...

CONTRASTING PHRASES

We've seen an example of 'but'. Here's another one:

At first, the show was not popular. [3] __________________________. 
A - However, in 2014 more people watched it every week and it ended the year as the number 1 show in America.
B - In 2014 more people watched it every week and it ended the year as the number 1 show in America.

Which do you think is a better story?

Answer A gives a nice contrast. At first the show was not popular but later it WAS popular. The word 'however' introduces the change from negative to positive.

TIME PHRASES

In the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood, actors and actresses were tied to one-sided contracts. [4] __________________________. 
A - These days, however, they are free to choose projects that interest them.
B - More movies are now made in India than in Los Angeles.

'The golden age' is a time period in the past which contrasts with 'these days'. Basically it means 'in the past... but now...'

Sentence B might be true, but has nothing to do with this story.

Quotation Marks

Sometimes the gap will be in speech marks ("") - that makes it pretty easy to find the answer. Which of the sentences sounds like it was said by a person? If there is a text written in a neutral tone and one of the answers has the word 'I' then that must be in quotation marks.

But there was more to his performance than scoring the winning goal. He also motivated his younger teammates. '[5]_____________________.'
A - He had become a true leader.
B - I felt like I was on top of the world.

See? It can only be B.

And the Other clues?

There are more tips that I could give you about this section, and maybe I will in a video. But the best advice is for you to practice this exercise and learn how the answers are chosen. 

You and a friend could take a text each, remove some sentences, and test each other. Once you've tried to put the sentences back, you could discuss whether those were the same sentences that Cambridge would remove from the text.


FCE Reading and Use of English Part 7 Tips

1. Introduction

Here you have 10 statements that you have to match to the information in one long text or a few shorter texts.

As you can see in this example, it's possible to have lots of the same answer. Text A might match with 2, 3, or 4 answers.

2. How to Do It

Start by reading the introduction to the task (the part that says 'you are going to read...') and the title of the article (in this case 'Rising Star') - they give you an idea of what the text is about.

Now you have two options - you can either read the questions first or the text first. Cambridge put the questions before the text because they suggest students read the questions first.

So let's assume you're going to read the questions first. Underline the key words and phrases.

Then read section A of the text and try to find 2 or 3 sentences that match. Repeat with B, then C, etc.

3. Tips

Your job is to find synonyms - if a word is in both the text and a question it is probably NOT the answer. That would be much too easy, wouldn't it?

When you're practicing this part of the exam, underline the part of the text that you think matches the question. Then when your teacher asks you why you chose that answer, you'll be able to tell him. That will help him diagnose your mistakes. If you're training alone, underlining your reasons will help you see why you made mistakes.

A lot of the questions are about peoples' thoughts and feelings, so learn as much of that vocabulary as possible. For example, make sure you know words like regret, accuse, reassure.

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