First (FCE): Use of English and Reading questions (III)

Part III of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Use os English and Reading papers in First Certificate (FCE)

Will I get one or two scores for the Reading and Use of English paper?

Your Statement of Results will show two scores for this paper – one for Reading and one for Use of English. They are equally important when calculating your overall score.

How are the separate scores for Reading and Use of English determined?

On your Statement of Results and your certificate, you receive a Cambridge English Scale score for Reading and a separate Cambridge English Scale score for Use of English (as well as Writing, Listening and Speaking). On the Reading and Use of English paper, the Reading score is derived from Parts 1, 5, 6 and 7, and the Use of English score is derived from Parts 2, 3 and 4.

What aspects of reading does this paper test?

You will need to show that you can understand specific information, main idea, text organisation and structure, tone, gist, opinion, attitude, detail and purpose. You will also need to be able to deal with occasional unknown vocabulary.

How long should I spend on each part?

Within this 75-minute paper, there is no time limit for each task. Some tasks may take longer than others and you should be aware of how long you need for different tasks. However, remember that each of the seven parts is worth approximately the same number of marks overall. Doing some practice tests should help you with timing your answers.

How do I write my answers for the Reading and Use of English paper?

Write your answers on the answer sheet provided by filling in boxes or by writing words (between two and ve words are allowed for answers in Part 4). Make sure that you fill in the answers clearly. Your answer sheet will be scanned into a computer. You must transfer your answers within the time given for the paper (75 minutes).

What is the range of text types in each part of the Reading and Use of English paper?

It is possible for any of the following text types to appear in any part of the paper: newspaper and magazine articles, reports, fiction, advertisements, letters, messages, informational material (e.g. brochures, guides, manuals). Make sure that you are familiar with all these text types and with the di erent test focuses for each part. Appropriate tasks are selected to suit the individual text.

How do I fill in the answer sheet correctly?

You should use a pencil and not a pen. For Parts 1, 5, 6 and 7 mark ONE letter for each question. In Parts 2, 3 and 4 write your answer clearly in capital letters and in Parts 2 and 3 write one letter in each box. If you make a mistake you can use an eraser and rub it out.

Will I lose marks for incorrect answers?

No. You will not lose marks if you give an incorrect answer. If you give a wrong answer, it is the same as giving no answer – you get no marks for that question. If you’re not sure about an answer, it is better to guess than to leave the question blank.

How important is spelling?

All spelling must be correct in the Reading and Use of English parts of the paper. You will not get a mark for answers that are not spelled correctly. American spelling is allowed if used consistently.

If I think there are two possible answers to one question, can I write them both?

No. You should write only one answer for each question.

Are words like ‘doesn’t’ and ‘isn’t’ counted as one or two words?

Two words. To count the number of words, the full form should be taken into account, e.g. didn’t = did not = two words.

What if I use a plural instead of a singular, or the other way round, in the word formation task (Part 3)?

A singular in an answer where a plural is required is marked as incorrect (and the other way round). You are expected to look at indicators in the text to decide whether a singular or plural form is appropriate.

What happens if I make one small mistake in the key word transformation task (Part 4)? Does it mean I get zero points?

The two parts of the sentence are always treated separately, so you will receive 1 mark for correctly completing one part of the sentence, even if a small mistake means that you get no points for other part.

Example: The last time Enrico saw Gloria was the day they left school. SEEN

Enrico has …………. the day they left school.

Answer: not/ n’t seen Gloria ][ since

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