FCE Reading and Use of English Part 4 Tips
Known as 'word formation', this is one of the hardest parts of the whole exam. It tests your grammar and vocabulary.
You are given a sentence and a keyword. You have to be able to complete a second sentence so that it has the same meaning as the first sentence using 2-5 words.
English food is better than Italian food.
Italian food __________________ English food.
The answer: Italian food is not as good as English food.
2. The Rules / Common Mistakes
- You MUST use the keyword, and you can't CHANGE the keyword. If the keyword is 'follow' you cannot write 'follows' or 'following'.
- You must use between 2 and 5 words. It might be possible to create a grammatically correct sentence by writing 13 words, but you will get no points for that.
- Contractions count as two words. Didn't = did not; isn't = is not; etc. However, can't = cannot = one word.
- Correct spelling is very important here
- Write your answers in CAPITAL LETTERS
3. Don't Waste Time Here
Because this part of the exam is so hard, do it quickly. Some questions will be too hard for you - write your best guess and move to the next one. If there is an answer you know, take a few seconds to double-check that what you have written makes sense.
4. General Tips
* Make sure the nouns and verbs in your sentence 'agree' with each other. I play/you play/he plays.
* Try to keep the meaning from the first sentence. Use the same words where possible. Example:
John finds trains very interesting.
John is very interested in trains.
Not that I didn't write 'John is interested in trains'... the first sentence says 'very interesting'.
5. Some Case Studies
01. Paula can't wait to hear the band's new album.
Paula is really ________________________________ the band's new album.
One thing you could do is to match parts of the second sentence to the first sentence to see what's missing. Let me try to show you what I mean.
Paulacan't wait to hear the band's new album.
Paulais really ............................................ the band's new album.
Does that make sense?
Now we can see that the phrase starting with 'is really...' means 'can't wait to hear'.
So do you know a phrase with 'forward' inside? Of course you do! You write some version of it at the end of every email:
I'm looking forward to meeting you.
I look forward to meeting you.
Grammar tip - in that construction 'to' is a preposition so the verb the follows must be a gerund (meeting/seeing/visiting etc).
01. Paula can't wait to hear the band's new album.
Paula is really ___looking forward to hearing__ the band's new album.
Why did I use the verb 'hearing'? Because the original sentence used the verb 'hear'. Easy!
02. It's a shame I'm not able to come to your party on Saturday.
I ................................................................................... to your party on Saturday.
This one is a little bit tricky because there are so many ways to use the word 'could' in English. Also, you have to be careful to get the right tense. When is the party? Past or future? Yep, future.
Here are some wrong answers:
I could not come to your party on Saturday. (that has a past meaning)
I couldn't have come to your party on Saturday. (also past)
Anyway, we have to say 'it's a shame'. Here's the right answer:
I wish I could come to your party on Saturday.
I wish that I could come to your party on Saturday.
That means exactly the same as the original sentence. You could also say 'I wish I could GO to your party' but I advise you to use the same verb that's in the first sentence unless you have a good reason to change it.
FCE Reading and Use of English Part 5 Tips
Part 5 is a long text with 6 multiple-choice comprehension questions. You have to show that you can understand what writers want to say.
It might take you some time to do this part of the exam, but students who practice a lot can do it faster.
2. General Tips
- The answers are the same order as the questions - so the answer to question 1 is near the beginning of the article, and answer 2 ALWAYS comes after answer 1. Sometimes question 6 is about the whole text.
- Try your best to read what is SAYS in the text and don't bring your own opinion into the topic. Example - if I read a text about teaching English then I read it very quickly because I'm already an 'expert' in the topic. Sometimes the answers match what you think about a topic, but sometimes they don't. Be careful!
- Read as much English as you can. Read Harry Potter. Read The Economist. You will notice a big difference in how easy this task is after a few months of reading.
- Read the QUESTIONS as carefully as the text itself.
3. Advanced Tips
* Read the text BEFORE the questions. This is the most efficient way to do it. Don't argue with me. Just do it.
* Be careful of TRAPS! If a word in an answer is also in the text, it's probably NOT the answer. Example:
Once upon a time there was a handsome Englishman and many women around the world fell in love with him because he was so kind and generous.
01. Why did women love the Englishman?
A Because he was English.
B Because he was handsome.
C Because they were kind and generous.
So what's the answer? None of them! It's certainly not C because 'they' means the women. The answer is, of course,
D Because he was kind and generous.
* Another trap is when more than one answer is mentioned in the text.
Once upon a time there was a handsome Englishman and many women around the world fell in love with him because he was so tall, kind and generous, but most of all because he had a great collection of Pokemon.
02. What is the main reason the women loved the Englishman?
A Because he was tall.
B Because he was kind.
C Because he was generous.
D Because of his Pokemon collection.
As you can see, all 4 options are mentioned in the text. However, the question says 'what is the MAIN reason', and that links to 'most of all' in the text. So the answer is.... have you got it yet?... D again.