Hey everybody! Here is ABC English Levels and Valentine. Today we’re going to have a closer look at the Reading and Use of English Part 1 of the FCE exam. You’ll learn what this part tests, how long the text is, how it’s marked. I’ll give you some tips to complete the task easier, and we’ll practise a bit.
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Let’s go into it!
What you should know about the Reading & Use of English Part 1
What does the Reading and Use of English Part 1 test?
This part tests your knowledge of the meanings of the words, collocations and the grammar related to certain words.
How long is the text?
The texts for the Reading and Use of English Part 1 are usually of 150-160 words. They have 8 gaps to complete and one example. For each gap, you must choose the best option A, B, C or D.
How is the Reading & Use of English marked?
You get one mark for each correct answer.
In any of the exam tasks, you must remember the following rules of thumb:
- Read the instructions for each task carefully. Yes, you’ve practised a lot but being on edge, you can forget something. (Be on edge means be nervous).
- Always read the title, subtitle and titles for the paragraphs if there are any. This will immediately give you the idea of the topic. Whether or not you know anything about it, it helps. If you’re lucky to have some information related to the theme under your belt ( have sth under your belt means to have experience in it), you might feel more confident when choosing an option. If not, at least you’ll start to think about the subject.
- Skim the text quickly until the end and try to focus on the subjects and verbs. They will put you in the picture of the facts. (Put sb in the picture means tell sb about the situation).
- Then return to the beginning of the text and read the gapped sentences carefully. Read them entirely, not just the part with the missing word. You need to understand the meaning of the whole sentence, not only separate words.
- Pay close attention to the words around the gap, that is to say, before and after it. Think of your own variant without looking at the given options.
- Only after that choose.
The trick of this task is often in synonyms. Two out of four options may mean the same thing and be suitable from this point of view. And here its Majesty Grammar comes to help, or its Highness Collocations might matter. It depends.
For instance, what would you choose for the following sentence: … the weather was rainy we went for a walk?
A in spite of B despite C although D because of
The right answer is C. A, B and C have the same meaning. But after in spite of/despite you must use a noun, gerund or the structure ‘in spite of/ despite the fact that’. However, after ‘although‘ you must use a clause with a subject and verb. We have the subject ‘the weather’ and the verb ‘was’. What about D? It’s irrelevant because, with it, the sentence would have the meaning ‘we went for a walk because the weather was rainy’. Well, one may prefer to walk in the rainy weather, but it’s not common. So it’s grammar order.
For collocations, we can consider the next sentence. He … a successful career in medicine.
A pursued B did C gained D won
The right answer is A pursued. You can pursue, build, carve out or make a career but not do, gain or win it. It’s an example of a collocation.
Mind the context! It always defines what word is suitable.
It’s clear that in the format of an audio lesson, we can’t do a complete task with 8 gaps. I wouldn’t like to exhaust you in any way. But a paragraph with 4 missing words might be suitable. So, listen to the sample text. Let’s say, its title is Make advantage of unhappy love. It reads:
That awful morning started with the WhatsApp message from her boyfriend saying he was dumping her. He added that he would love her forever in his own way, and he wished things had 1) … differently. Nancy was down, heartbroken. For a while, she got lost, but then her artistic nature took over her. She knew how to turn private 2) … into a piece of art. So, two days after 3) … the message a new project of hers appeared. Nancy sent the message she got to a variety of women of different occupations and asked them to interpret it 4) … their job.
The options for the 1st gap:
A turned out B turned off C turned up D turn around
For the 2nd gap:
A fear B pain C joy D distraction
For the 3d:
A getting B sending C writing D designing
For the 4th:
A instead of B according to C because of D despite
Well, let’s see how to deal with all that.
Because of the title, you understand that the text is about an unhappy relationship. So, sadness and pain are implied. Also, there’s the word advantage which has a positive meaning. These might be necessary to understand which is the right choice.
Take the sentence with the 1st gap. He added that he would love her forever in his own way, and he wished things had 1) … differently. Think of a possible word here. First of all, it must be a verb due to grammar. We have “had” before the gap and “differently” after it. Differently is an adverb. Adverbs define verbs. “Had” is the part of the past perfect.
Next, the logic of the context demands some softening, apologizing from her boyfriend. So, we could suppose he wanted things to go differently. Now, look at the options.
A turned out B turned off C turned up D turn around
What is your answer?
The right one is A turned out. We turn off electronic devices, we say sb turns up when they appear in some place, and we turn around when we move our body to face in a different direction. Turn out means to result in a particular way.
I’ll skip the process of analyzing for the rest of the gaps. You can do it yourself, and I’ll be glad to hear your reasons in the comments below. But I’ll give you the right answers.
She knew how to turn private 2) … into a piece of art. So, two days after 3) … the message a new project of hers appeared. Nancy sent the message she got to a variety of women of different occupations and asked them to interpret it 4) … their job.
2) A fear B pain C joy D distraction
3) A getting B sending C writing D designing
4) A instead of B according to C because of D despite
Let’s stop for now. In the next audio lesson, we’ll consider the 2nd part of the FCE Reading and Use of English.
This was ABC English Levels and Valentine.