USE OF ENGLISH 

USE OF ENGLISH PART 1

This section tests your understanding of various grammatical structures, vocabulary, and your ability to understand the context and meaning of the text.

Luckily, it is a multiple-choice cloze exercise, where you need to choose the most appropriate word or phrase to fill in the gaps in a text. Unfortunately, the word choices can be tricky!


***Tip:

Look around the gap in the sentence. sometimes there are little clues (i.e., a preposition next to it or is the subject is expressed in a negative way or is there a grammar rule that the other words do not follow, etc.)  to help you choose the correct word.


EXAMPLE: 

There are (few/several/much/many) students in the library studying for their exams. 

many - This is the correct answer as it means there is a large number of students in the library. "Few" means a small number, "several" implies a moderate number, and "much" is used with uncountable nouns, not countable nouns like "students." 

This is a simple example but it still follows an example of what you might see on this section of the exam.



Practice: 

Read the following passage and choose the best word or phrase (A, B, C, or D) to fill in each gap. 

Growing Your Own Vegetables Are you considering (1)______ your own vegetables? It's not as challenging as you might think! Home vegetable gardening has become increasingly popular in recent years, (2)______ more and more people recognizing the benefits of producing their own food. The first step in (3)______ a vegetable garden is choosing a suitable location. Vegetables generally require (4)______ hours of direct sunlight each day, so find a spot in your garden that gets plenty of sun. (5)______, make sure the area has good drainage to prevent waterlogging. Next, you'll need to prepare the soil. Remove any weeds or grass from the area and dig in plenty of compost or well-rotted manure to (6)______ the soil's fertility. This will provide the necessary nutrients for your plants to grow. Now it's time to (7)______ your vegetables. Decide what types of vegetables you'd like to grow and (8)______ the seeds or young plants accordingly. Follow the instructions on the seed packets or consult gardening books for (9)______ guidance on planting depth and spacing. Once your vegetables have started to grow, it's important to (10)______ them well. Water them regularly, especially during dry spells, and keep an eye out for any signs of pests or diseases. (11)______ these occur, take appropriate action to protect your plants. Finally, (12)______ the fruits of your labor! Harvest your vegetables when they are ripe and enjoy the fresh, homegrown produce that you have nurtured from seed to plate. 


ANSWERS

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USE OF ENGLISH PART 2

"Open Cloze" is the name of Part 2 of the B2 First (FCE) Paper. This part has a short text with eight blank spaces. In Part 2, you don't get to choose which one word you need. You have to use what you know to fill in the blank with the right word.


***Tips:

     -Read the phrase before and after the text, looking for clues to what could fill the gap.

Example:

Every Christmas Tom returns ______ England and visits his family.

Using the idea of travel that comes from two phrases, we know there is a preposition needed and that is commonly used with the word “return”: to

Example:

Every Christmas Tom returns to England and visits his family.

  

    -Think about what type of word might go in each gap.

Commonly used words and grammar:


    -Once completed, read the whole passage and make sure it seems correct. If you’re not sure try putting in a different word and reading it again.


      -Only use ONE word in the blank!




Grammar practice with the common grammar points:

 

(1) ________ people believe that (2) ________ education is the key to success. In this modern age, (3) ________ access (4) ________ knowledge and information is easier than ever. However, (5) ________ learners, online courses might not be the best fit, as they require a high level of self-discipline. On the other hand, (6) ________ students find it convenient to study at their own pace and time.

 

When it comes to (7) ________ English language, practice is essential. Learners often struggle with (8) ________ phrasal verbs, but with dedication, they can become proficient. Additionally, using (9) ________ modal verbs appropriately can add depth and nuance to one's language skills.

 

In language learning, (10) ________ small steps and setting achievable goals can lead to significant improvements. (11) ________ the more effort you invest, (12) ________ better your results will be. Don't be disheartened by setbacks; (13) ________ progress takes time.

 

Learning a language requires consistent practice, and (14) ________ are no shortcuts. Joining language clubs or finding language exchange partners can be beneficial. Practicing with (15) ________ who are more proficient can be intimidating, but it accelerates learning.

 

Remember, (16) ________ is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Don't be afraid to ask for help or clarification. (17) ________ you have doubts, seek guidance from teachers or language experts.

 

In conclusion, (18) ________ education is a journey that (19) ________ individual must undertake with dedication and enthusiasm. With the right approach, anyone can become proficient in a foreign language and open doors to new opportunities.

 





Unsure? Use these hints to help:

Choose one to fill in the blanks with the appropriate word:

1. Some, Many, Few, Most

2. that, which, whether, what

3. having, having had, to have, to having

4. for, to, of, with

5. some, few, many, most

6. some, any, no, every

7. learning, learn, learned, learnt

8. remembering, understand, understanding, memorize

9. some, no, any, certain

10. making, take, taking, taken

11. hard, the harder, harder, the hardest

12. good, best, better, better than

13. fast, quickly, quick, quickening

14. it, they, them, theirs

15. someone, everyone, no one, anyone

16. Nobody, Somebody, Anybody, Everybody

17. when, while, if, whether

18. study, studying, studied, to study

19. each, any, every, some


ANSWERS

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USE OF ENGLISH PART 3

In this part, understanding the use of nouns, adverbs, adjectives, and verb is very helpful. You will be given a word that you have to reform into a word that fits the sentence.

                    Remember:

·        Noun: a person, place, or thing

·        Verb: an action

·        Adjective: describes a noun

·        Adverb: describes an action or another adverb


Knowing which type of word to use will help to form the correct answer.

 

Example:

The cozy, circular lake had a _________ view, and seemed as though it had been inhabited for a long time.

 

Now we must change the form of the word “fantasy” to fit the sentence grammatically.

Noun: fantasy

Verb: fantasize

Adjective: fantastic

Adverb: fantastically

 

In the sentence, we need a word that describes the lake (=a noun) so we will use the adjective to complete the sentence:

The cozy, circular lake had a fantastic view, and seemed as though it had been inhabited for a long time.

 

***Tips:

-Figure out the situation: Pay attention to the words and lines around the missing word to figure out what it means and what it does.

 

-Look for hints. Often, there are grammatical or meaning hints that can help you choose the right word. Pay close attention to word tenses, prepositions, articles, and other grammatical patterns.

-Read the entire thing to make sure it makes sense of what it's about and it sounds correct.

-Use your time well: Make good use of your time. If you can't figure out how to fill in a certain gap, move on to the next one and come back to it later.

-Practice often: Learn how to answer different kinds of questions and practice with sample exercises or old tests to get better at this part.

 

PRACTICE:

1.      ______, I thought having a mentor was incredibly helpful, and I'd absolutely suggest it to other students. never

2.      As the day moved on, the crowds __________ increased in size. steady

3.      After I landed in Budapest, I had to catch another __________ to London. fly

4.      He ________ a reputation for being a brilliant mathematician. earning

5.      The company faced ________ challenges in the highly competitive market. form

6.      The reading of the book left readers with a _______ point of view. fresh

7.      They threw a lavish party to celebrate their wedding _________. annual

8.      The plot of the film took the audience on an _________ rollercoaster. emotion

9.      The government measures were _______ implemented. force

10.   She made an effort to _______ in her studies and achieved top grades. excellence

11.   I have a riddle for you: How do you _______ success? definition

12.   Some people said that this hike could  ______ be challenging. possibility

13.   He has an ________ ability to remember names and faces. canniness

14.   The outcome of the experiment was met with skepticism by the __________ community. science

15.   They made _______ sacrifices to achieve their goals. giant

16.   The concert ________  captivated the audience from start to finish. perform

17.   The ________ of the painting revealed hidden layers of meaning.   interpret


ANSWERS

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USE OF ENGLISH PART 4

This part tests your ability to use a variety of grammar structures, collocations, and phrasal verbs in a paraphrasing skill.

Here, you are given a sentence, a word in bold, and a second sentence to fill in the blank.

When changing the sentence with a keyword, keeping the meaning exactly the same is important. So, make sure to read both your first and second sentences to make sure they still mean the same thing.

But there is a trick, you must write between two and five words, including the word given. And contractions (don’t = do not) count for two words.

 

Example:

A very nice waiter took our order.

taken

Our order ____________________ by a very nice waiter.

 

#1: Pay attention to the grammar used:   took (past simple)  and taken (past participle) and by

            This hints at a grammar point the exam wants you to use: the passive.

#2: If necessary cross out repeated words to focus on the words that must be changed:

Example:

A very nice waiter took our order.

taken

Our order ____________________ by a very nice waiter.

 

#3: Think about what words are connected to your word in bold:

Example:

A very nice waiter took our order.

be + taken + by

Our order ____________________ by a very nice waiter.

                           ANSWER: was taken

#4: Read both sentences. Do they have the same meaning?

Example:

A very nice waiter took our order.

taken

Our order was taken by a very nice waiter.

 

 

Commonly Used Grammar in First Certificate:

 

Practices:

1. John doesn't have enough money to buy the car.

   Key Word: afford

   Second sentence: John _____________ the car.

 

2. Susan started working with us two years ago.

   Key Word: joined

   Second sentence: Susan ________ two years ago.

 

3. The concert tickets were expensive, so I didn't buy them.

   Key Word: too

   Second sentence: The concert tickets ___________ for me to buy.

 

4. They last saw each other five years ago.

   Key Word: since

   Second sentence: They ______________ five years ago.

 

5. The weather was so bad that the event was canceled.

  Key Word:  such

   Second sentence: It was ______________ that the event was canceled.

 

6. The hotel was fully booked, so we couldn't stay there.

   Key Word: enough

   Second sentence: The hotel has _____________ for us to stay there.

7. They last went on vacation two years ago.

   Key Word: since

   Second sentence: They ________ two years ago.

 

8. The movie was so boring that I left the cinema early.

   Key Word: enough

   Second sentence: The movie was ________________ to leave the cinema early.


ANSWERS

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READING 

READING PART 5

Part 5 of the FCE exam is the "Multiple Choice" section, where you need to read a series of short texts and answer multiple-choice questions based on the information provided in the texts.

The answers are usually designed to require a good understanding of the context and the ability to infer information from the given text. This inference comes from knowing the synonyms and antonyms of words. Cambridge will provide clues in the text which have similar meanings to the answers you must choose from.

 

**Tips:

Read the texts carefully

Pay attention to specific details by underlining (if possible) the idea which answers the question.

Avoid making assumptions based on your existing knowledge.

rely on the information provided in the texts to make your choices.

Remember the questions are in order of the text.

 

Example:

The Green Earth Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable practices and environmental conservation. Our mission is to raise awareness about the importance of preserving our planet for future generations. One of our ongoing projects involves working with local communities to plant trees in deforested areas. Through this initiative, we have successfully planted over 50,000 trees in the past year, helping to restore vital ecosystems and combat climate change. We also organize educational workshops and events to engage people of all ages in environmental stewardship. By supporting The Green Earth Initiative, you can be part of the solution to protect our natural world.

What is the primary goal of The Green Earth Initiative?

a) To educate people about the importance of eco-friendly methods.

b) To plant trees in deforested areas.

c) To practice organizing environmental workshops and events.

d) To combat climate change.





Let's analyze the answers:

b) To plant trees in deforested areas.

While the paragraph mentions that one of the ongoing projects of The Green Earth Initiative involves planting trees in deforested areas, it is not stated as the primary goal of the organization.

 

c) To practice organizing environmental workshops and events.

Again, while the paragraph mentions that The Green Earth Initiative organizes educational workshops and events, this is not stated as the primary goal. These workshops and events are likely part of their efforts to raise awareness and engage people in environmental stewardship, which aligns with their primary goal. And just because the answer states the word practice does not make it the answer.

 

d) To combat climate change.

Although the paragraph mentions that the tree-planting initiative helps combat climate change by restoring vital ecosystems, it is not explicitly stated that combatting climate change is the primary goal of The Green Earth Initiative.

 

Answer:

a) To educate people about the importance of eco-friendly methods.

The text states that “organization dedicated to promoting sustainable practices and environmental conservation”. The primary goal is something the organization is “dedicated to” and “sustainable practices” can be meant as “eco-friendly methods”.

This is an example of how Cambridge exams use synonyms to convey the same meaning.


A FREE PRACTICE:

https://engxam.com/handbook/practice-test-reading-part-5-b2-first-fce/

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READING PART 6

In this part of the exam, you will be given a text with missing sentences. The text usually has paragraphs that a gap (blank space) where a sentence should be inserted. Next to the text, you will find a list of possible sentences that could fit each gap. But one sentence is not to be used. Your task is to choose the most appropriate sentence from the list for each gap.

 

***Tips:

 

1. Skim the text: Start by quickly skimming through the entire text to get an overall understanding of the topic and structure. This will help you anticipate the type of information you may need to fill in the gaps.

 

2. Read the text carefully: Read the text more closely by looking at the sentences surrounding the gap. Try to get an understanding of what the text is talking about and which sentence links the ideas together.

 

3. Read it again. Read the text with your chosen sentence. Does it follow the same ideas given in the paragraph?

 

6. Check your answers: Once you have completed all the gaps, read the entire text again to make sure your chosen sentences create a coherent and cohesive passage.

 


Example:

Choose the sentence (A, B, C, or D) that best fits the gap in the paragraph above based on the context and coherence of the passage.


Technology has revolutionized the way we communicate and interact with each other. Social media platforms, for instance, have connected people from different corners of the world, enabling them to share their thoughts and experiences instantly. Additionally, smartphones have made it possible for us to stay connected on the go. However, the widespread use of technology has also raised concerns about privacy and security. (1)_____ Some argue that our personal information is constantly at risk of being exploited by cybercriminals, while others believe that technological advancements will eventually address these issues.

 

A) On the other hand, technology has introduced innovative encryption methods to safeguard user data.

B) As a result of this, there is a growing need for stricter regulations to protect users' digital privacy.

C) In contrast, many individuals remain indifferent to the potential risks and continue to embrace technology wholeheartedly.

D) Moreover, companies have started implementing two-factor authentication to enhance security measures.






Answer:

Technology has revolutionized the way we communicate and interact with each other. Social media platforms, for instance, have connected people from different corners of the world, enabling them to share their thoughts and experiences instantly. Additionally, smartphones have made it possible for us to stay connected on the go. However, the widespread use of technology has also raised concerns about privacy and security. (1)_____ Some argue that our personal information is constantly at risk of being exploited by cybercriminals, while others believe that technological advancements will eventually address these issues.

 

The sentence before the gap talks about worries about privacy and security with technology.

The sentence after the gap talks about the details of the worries about personal information.

 

Explanation:

Option A introduces a new point ("innovative encryption methods") rather than discussing the need for stricter regulations regarding privacy.

Option C introduces an unrelated point about individuals' attitudes towards technology, which doesn't directly address the issue of privacy and security.

Option D mentions "two-factor authentication" as a measure to enhance security, but it doesn't specifically address the need for stricter regulations to protect users' digital privacy.

Option B relates to the concerns about privacy and security raised in the paragraph, making it the most appropriate sentence to fill the gap and maintain the coherence of the passage.


A FREE PRACTICE:

https://engxam.com/handbook/practice-test-reading-part-6-b2-first-fce/

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READING PART 7

This part of the exam involves matching short texts with statements. These statements are meant to represent parts within each text. This section tests your understanding of the context and main ideas presented in the text. Often, the questions will require you to identify specific information or infer implied meanings from the passage.

 

***Tips:

Read the text carefully and pay attention to the details:

·        Pay attention to headings and subheadings: They can provide valuable clues about the content of different sections of the text. Skimming these headings can give you an idea of what each part is about.

·        Read actively: Underline key ideas in the statements. When you start answering the questions, read the relevant part of the text carefully. There are a few misleading phrases. Underline or highlight key information that might match the statements or sentences.

·        Use context clues: Rely on context to understand the meaning of unfamiliar words or phrases. Sometimes, the answer might not be an exact match, but it will have the same or similar meaning.

·        Don't rely on memory alone: Even if you think you remember the information from the text, go back and verify your answers. It's easy to make mistakes, so double-checking is crucial.

·        Elimination strategy: If you're unsure about an answer, try to eliminate the options that are clearly incorrect. This can increase your chances of selecting the correct answer.

·        Watch out for synonyms and paraphrasing: The questions and the text may not use the exact same words, but they could be expressed differently (synonyms or paraphrased). Be vigilant for such variations.

 

Example:

A) The History of Tea

Tea is one of the most popular and widely consumed beverages in the world. Its history dates back to ancient times in China, where it was initially used for medicinal purposes. According to legend, the Chinese Emperor Shen Nong discovered tea in 2737 BCE when tea leaves accidentally fell into his boiling water. He found the resulting infusion to be refreshing and began promoting the drink's health benefits.


B) Tea Cultivation and Varieties

Tea plants, scientifically known as Camellia sinensis, are primarily cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates. The plant can grow into a small tree if left undisturbed, but for tea production, it is usually pruned to waist height. The leaves and buds of the tea plant are handpicked to ensure the best quality tea. There are four main varieties of tea: green tea, black tea, white tea, and oolong tea, each with its unique processing methods and flavors.


C) The Global Tea Trade

Tea became an essential commodity in international trade during the 17th century. European traders and explorers discovered tea in Asia and brought it back to Europe, where it quickly gained popularity among the upper classes. The British East India Company played a significant role in establishing the tea trade between China and Britain. However, the demand for tea eventually led to social and economic issues, such as the Opium Wars, which were fought between Britain and China.


D) Tea Rituals and Ceremonies

Tea drinking has become an integral part of various cultures worldwide, and many countries have their unique tea rituals and ceremonies. For example, in Japan, the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, also known as "chanoyu," emphasizes aesthetics, preparation, and serving of matcha, a powdered green tea. Similarly, the British have their tea culture, with afternoon tea being a famous tradition involving tea, sandwiches, scones, and cakes.


E) The Health Benefits of Tea

Tea is not only a flavorful beverage but also offers several potential health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, particularly catechins, which are believed to have various health-promoting effects. Regular tea consumption has been associated with reduced risk of heart disease, improved weight management, and enhanced cognitive function. However, it's essential to consume tea in moderation and avoid excessive added sugar or high-calorie accompaniments.

 

Statements:

1. The British East India Company had a major part in the tea trade between China and Britain.

2. The traditional Japanese tea ceremony, "chanoyu," hightlights the use of matcha.

3. Tea was initially discovered by Emperor Shen Nong for its health benefits.

This can be misleading. This statement is partly correct, but it doesn’t clearly mention in section A that Emperor Shen Nong discovered tea for its health benefits. It only states that he discovered tea when tea leaves accidentally fell into his boiling water and found the resulting infusion refreshing.



Your Turn:

4. Tea leaves are picked by hand to ensure high-quality tea.

5. Different varieties of tea are produced from the Camellia sinensis plant.

6. Tea gained popularity quickly among the upper classes in Europe.

7. Drinking tea regularly has been associated with various health benefits, including improved cognitive function.

8. The Opium Wars were a result of the demand for tea.

 

ANSWERS

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WRITING

In the writing, there are 2 parts. The first part is a140-190 word essay.

For students who are not used to writing essays, this can be a strenuous and upsetting task. But it’s okay. I’m here to help you.

The scoring of the essay is broken down into 4 areas:

CONTENT = Answer the question correctly (the easiest of the four)

COMMUNICATIVE ACHIEVEMENT = This can be a bit confusing. Basically:

ORGANIZATION = Linking words and connectors. Also, set up your paragraphs.

LANGUAGE= At the B1 level, you are allowed a few spelling and grammar mistakes as long as they do not confuse the reader’s understanding of the text.

WRITING PART 1

This part is a must which makes this section very important.


***Tips:

For a more in-depth explanation of how to write a great essay, check out Write Boost.

WRITING PART 2

In part 2 of the writing, you can choose one of the tasks to complete. Since there is a large amount to choose from, I would suggest getting familiar with all of them at first. Then narrow it down to 3 or 4 to really study and practice with. That way if one of the 3 or 4 you have studied comes up on the exam you can be prepared and focused to complete it correctly. This is better than looking over 7 different writing structures and getting them all confused.


Here are the different writings available on the exam: (Remember the exam will only give you three of these to choose from.)


For a more in-depth explanation of improving your exam writing skills, check out Write Boost.

SPEAKING PART 1

In this part, you are asked your opinion about things in your life.


Use these to begin your answer:

Well, I’d much rather … because/since…

Actually, I’d prefer…because/since…

I’m not very keen on/fond of…… because/since…

I find that….. because/since…

 

***Tips:

 

Practice Questions:

Your Home


For help in practicing the speaking section of the exam, check out Talk Tactics.


SPEAKING PART 2

In this part, there are two sections: (1) you have 1 minute to compare and contrast the photo as well as answer the prompt question. (2) you will have 30 seconds to answer your personal opinion about a question connected to the photos’ topic.


Section 1: Use these phrases to start:


(COMPARE AND CONTRAST) Okay, as you can see both pictures ……… However, the similarities stop there. The first picture ……..whereas in the second picture……. (Don’t spend too much time here. Use one sentence to compare and one sentence to contrast.)


(ANSWER THE QUESTION) I would say that.../Regarding the question,…

 

Section 2: Use these phrases to start:


In my opinion, …./ I’d prefer.../ For me,… because/since…

 

***Tips:



Example Practice:

Why are the people celebrating these occasions?


Imagen de Adina Voicu en Pixabay


Imagen de Pham Trung Kien en Pixabay


Section 1: Why are the people celebrating these occasions?

Example Answer:

Okay, as you can see both pictures are celebrating a special occasion. However, the similarities stop there. The first picture has people at a birthday party whereas in the second picture, they are celebrating their graduation.

I would say that birthdays are important when you are younger. Children are happy to be one year older. They can play and eat cake with family and friends who are happy for this special day. When we are older, it is less important but still special because it is a reminder that we were born on this day.

In the second picture, people are celebrating the end of studying. They have spent a long time in school, and this is the last of it. Now they can be excited about the future which is a new experience for them. They have prepared for this day for a long time and now they are happy to start the next step in their lives.”


Section 2: What occasion do you enjoy celebrating?

For me, celebrating Thanksgiving is the most enjoyable since I can spend time with family, cook good food, and have lots of leftover food for the week.”


For help in practicing the speaking section of the exam, check out Talk Tactics.

SPEAKING PART 3

In this part, there are two sections: (1) you will have 2 minutes to discuss with your partner a group of ideas related to a question. (2) you will have 1 minute (30 seconds for each person) to decide the option that best suits the question from the examiner.


Section 1:


You have 15 seconds to look at how the options relate to the middle question or idea. Use that time to focus on starting points for half the side of the diagram. (If possible: Speak to your partner before the speaking exam and agree that each of you will cover the topics on side you are facing.)

Why? 15 seconds is not enough time to think about the connections between the question and  the ALL the ideas. Focusing on two or three ideas gives you more time to think of good responses. Plus, this is a discussion so when you partner says something you can truly react to their ideas to have a more authentic conversation.

Answer your partners question and give a reason before moving to next topic. It’s important to listen and response to each other like a regular conversation.

Don’t repeat what your partner says unless you are saying you agree with their statement.

Talk in possibilities. You don’t want to say something is the best or worst idea. You can point out the negatives and/or positives of the topics but don’t decide which is best or worst. That decision is for the next section.


Section 2: Decision time!

This is where you will be given a question and must make the final decision about one of these topics on the paper. Each person has roughly 30 seconds to give their final answer.

It is not important to agree. It is actually easier to disagree. But if you do agree, please do not repeat your partner’s statement. Add new ideas to the reasons why you agree with your partner.


Use these phrases like:

In my opinion, …./ The best option would be…. / I’m in favour of ………because/since…


For help in practicing the speaking section of the exam, check out Talk Tactics.

SPEAKING PART 4

Here you have about 4 minutes to talk about ideas from part 3 in detail. The examiner will give you a question to start the discussion which you will have with your partner.

 

Level up your speaking score tips:

 

Helpful question starters:

Have you ever….?

Is there a time when you….?

Would you prefer …. or ….?


For help in practicing the speaking section of the exam, check out Talk Tactics.


LISTENING 

LISTENING PART 1

COMING SOON but now here is a great website to practice strengthening your active listening skills: https://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/6-minute-english

LISTENING PART 2

COMING SOON but now here is a great website to practice strengthening your active listening skills: https://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/6-minute-english

LISTENING PART 3

COMING SOON but now here is a great website to practice strengthening your active listening skills: https://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/6-minute-english

LISTENING PART 4

COMING SOON but now here is a great website to practice strengthening your active listening skills: https://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/6-minute-english

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