Eye on the CAE: Reading and Use of English Part 1

The Cambridge Advanced Exam is one of the most popular C1 exams out there. It’s a great choice to certify your advanced English level because it’s a very practical exam, which means you continue learning and improving your English while you prepare for the exam.

The Reading and Use of English portion of this exam tests your grammar skills as well as your reading comprehension level. This series of blogs will look at each section and clarify any doubts you may have as well as help you prepare yourself for the exam.

Reading and Use of English Part 1

Parts 1-4 of the Reading and Use of English section of the Cambridge Advanced Exam focus primarily on your grammar skills.

In part 1 you have a cloze (fill in the gap) text with four multiple choice options. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it is important to remember that any time you have multiple choice options on an exam like this they are likely there as a trap. Many of the options will be similar but only one is correct, usually because of a grammar function like a colocation or compound verb. The options will consist of what we call content words, meaning that they will not usually be prepositions or auxiliary verbs and things like that.

Your technique for this section should start with

  • a quick read of the text to ascertain the topic. Knowing what you are reading about it will go a long way to getting you ready to answer.
  • Once you know the topic and can see if it is a generally positive or negative text I would recommend you try and think of what type of word might go in the blank. To do this you will have to identify words that are related to the blank. Marking them can help you focus on what might go there. Remember: if it seems like the sentence isn’t missing anything then consider a negative word like “not.”
  • Even try and answer something I the blank before looking.
  • Only after these first steps should you let yourself look at the options.
  • Once you look at the possibilities they have provided you, be sure to check why the answers you don’t choose aren’t possible. It will often be a problem of usage.

Last but most certainly not least, please remember to check your work. Not so as to second guess yourself but so that you can catch any silly mistakes you might have made.

The whole process should take you 5-8 minutes maximum.

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