First Certificate English - FCE Tips and hints: Paper 3 Use of English

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FCE - Use of English

The ESL exam Cambridge First Certificate English or FCE, has 5 papers or parts. Paper three, "Use of English", has five parts in it. You have 1 hour 15 minutes to complete this part of the FCE test. There are 65 questions in total and you are required to also read 4 short texts. This part of the FCE exam tests your knowledge of word forms, vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure. You have to complete a multiple choice cloze, complete an open cloze, rewrite sentences so the meaning is the same, do sentence transformations, identify errors in sentences and also choose the correct part of speech for given words in a text - word formation.

All parts, except Part 3, are based on a short text and you should read through each text two or three times to familiarise yourself with it before answering individual questions. Questions 1-30 and 41-65 (in parts 1, 2, 4 and 5) carry one mark, and questions 31-40 (in part 3) carry two marks each.

Tips for FCE part 1 - Multiple-choice cloze

This section is based on a short text. Read the text through first to get a good idea of what it is about and then read it two or three times more before answering individual questions. You need to complete 15 gaps in a cloze and can choose from 4 options for each gap in the cloze.
Think about the meaning of each missing word. Think about the grammar and collocation of each word.
Read the whole text through after you have written your answers to make sure the text makes sense.

Tips for FCE part 2 - Open cloze

Look at the title carefully and read the text through to get a good idea of what it is about.
Focus on what part of speech (verb, preposition, conjunction, article etc.) each missing word might be.
Choose the one that best fits in the context of the sentence and the text as a whole.
Make sure you read the text through to make sure everything makes sense before moving on to the next exercise.

Tips for FCE part 3- 'Key' word - sentence transformations

First read the sentence and try to think of different ways to express the same idea.
Next look at the key word. Because you must use his word, you will be making more than one change to the original sentence. Your answer will have at least two but not more than five words.
Think about what grammar or vocabulary points are being tested; e.g. change an active form to a passive form, or a noun to an adjective..

Tips for FCE part 4 - Error correction

Read the whole text through first. Some lines will be correct and some will not be.
Read each sentence carefully assuming all the lines contain mistakes. Some things may look grammatically correct, but they may not be correct in the context.

Tips for FCE part 5 - Word formation

Read through the whole text first and then decide what part of speech is needed in the gap BEFORE trying to change the word you are given.
When you have decided what word form you need, e.g. noun or verb, decide whether you have to add a grammatical ending, e.g. make it plural or add -ing or add a prefix etc.

We have 100s of online English lessons and exercises in our library of online lessons to help you prepare for FCE.

Do you need to practise doing sentence transformations? You can also search our library to find all the lessons with sentence transformations exercises. On our library page, use our Advanced Search and then in the Choose skills to practise box use the drop down menu to select "Sentence transformations" and click on the blue arrow.

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