Posted On 22 Jul 2017
Hello my friends and welcome to Practice English with Paul. Today it’s Cambridge FCE preparation. Many people on YouTube have asked for my help and I’m going to answer your calls. I’m going to give you my advice and I’m going to make videos everything about FCE. Now, we are going to start with my Top Tips for Passing FCE Reading. I’m sure many of you have looked for advice online. And you saw things like ‘read instructions carefully, pay attention to the time limits, be relaxed, enjoy the experience. Well, thank you, but no, thanks. I mean it’s not the most helpful advice. Students want to know how to pass the tasks. And I’m going to give you my advice. And if you follow my advice, it’s going to make a difference between failing and passing with an ‘A’. As simple as that. But before we have a look at my wonderful tips, let’s take a look at what the FCE exam or the reading part of the exam actually looks like and then we’ll come back.
So here we are my friends, we have reading and use of English part 5. It’s the 1st one out of the 3. As you can see, it looks quite large, but it’s really not that bad to be honest. We have 6 multiple choice questions below with 4 options: A,B,C,D. If I scroll back up, I’d like to point out that question 1 will be somewhere around the 1st paragraph, and questions 6 will be somewhere towards the end. I know it seems obvious but I’m trying to draw your attention to that the questions are not mixed up so it kind of follow the logical order. Let’s move on to the next one. So we have part 6. As you can see text and we have 6 sentences that have been removed. If we have a look at the options here you’ll see that there are 7.
So one of them we don’t need which is very kind of Cambridge because they are trying to confuse us. But that’s how they test our English. Generally I find that students don’t like this one because if you get 2 wrong answers in say 37-38 you can mess up the entire task to be honest. That’s why students don’t like it, but again I’m going to make some videos on each one on each task and I’m going to explain strategies for completing them successfully so don’t worry. So let’s move on to part 7. I like part 7. We have 10 statements here as you can see numbered 43 to 52.
And we have here normally 4 paragraphs sometimes 5 but here for some reason we have 6. It’s not very common to find 6 but basically what you do is as you read these paragraphs you have to say which statement is found in which paragraph. This could be D, this could be A, this could be D, B,C … whatever. I tend to tell students to complete this reading task first because you can really mess it up so dedicate your time to this one.
I’m going to make a video on how to successfully pass this one because I have some very good strategies. So that’s it. OK. It’s fairly obvious. It takes about on average 30 minutes or so to complete these 3 tasks. Students tend to complete Use of English pretty quickly. So they end up having more time to do the reading anyway. So, let’s go back to the studio. So welcome back, let’s have a look at number 1. Now, I know it’s obvious but pay attention to detail in question as well as the text. For example, in part 6 where you have sentences to put into the paragraphs look for those grammatical connections.
If in the last part of the paragraph it’s singular, the answer is not going to be plural. It’s not going to have a plural pronoun. It doesn’t grammatically work. If, for example, in the part 5 the question has some time relating to the past and in the text it’s going to be present, that’s probably not going to be the answer. You have to really look for the contextual and grammatical connections so you need to learn to be analytical. You need to analyze the language and play with it because so many students make basic mistakes that when we correct the tasks they go: ‘oh yeah, that was answer A’.
And I say: ‘why did you choose it?’ [Students say:] ‘I wasn’t careful enough. Because it said ‘he’ in the questions and the text said ‘she’. I needed to read further.’ [I say:] ’Exactly, be careful.’ Number 2: Distractors. I hate these things. Distractors come from the verb ‘to distract’. The FCE exam and actually all Cambridge exams try to confuse you. They try to point you in that direction to get it wrong and so the idea is: if you know English well enough then you know not to get distracted and you know to kind of analyze the detail and go ‘aha, it’s answer A.’ And so for example, in a question you might have 4 options and you might see these 4 options in the text but the questions might say ‘he’ but in the text it’s … ‘she, she, she, he’. Ah, the last one and therefore, of course it’s answer D. So you know, don’t answer the 1st point that you come across, be careful, pay attention and don’t let yourself get distracted.
Confidence and being focused is the key here. Number 3: so many students make mistakes with this. It’s unbelievable. Don’t make a story out of nothing. So many students, every course, they have done this. What that means, if you reading a text and the text says: ‘John and Marry have been happy together their entire lives.’ And a student goes: ‘oh, it’s answer A, because they are married.’ And I say to the student: ‘where in the text does it say that they are married?’ ‘Well, that’s what it means because they have been happy together their entire lives.’ But together can mean as work colleagues, as best friends. [Student says:]‘But no, it means that they are married.’ Sorry, that’s your understanding but does it say in the text that they are married? No. Then that’s not the answer. Because the word ‘married’ or any synonym of being married is not there, so that’s not the answer. Again, don’t fall for that trap. You need imagination for FCE speaking, for the writing, but not for this. The language is there or it’s not. It’s as simple as that.
And again if you have been practicing and studying hard enough, your English will be good enough to understand that. Number 4: read as much as you can in preparation for the FCE exam. You can’t just go to the FCE without having read nothing. It’s not going to happen. It will not happen at all. Now, I like BBC online materials, but when you read online news, articles, don’t just read the news, read culture, environment, technology, sport, get used to reading different bits of vocabulary from different genres that way you’ll really build up your reading skills and it’s very important.
Also I like these little books: these are called the “Oxford Bookworms.” I’ve mentioned this in some other videos. This one actually comes with CDs to also help your listening. And again this one is for upper-intermediate. You can get advanced, super-advanced. You can find these on http://amazon.com or go to Oxford University Press’s website. I’ll put the address down below. So you can check it out and you can find these yourself and it’s not difficult to find. Just read, read, read and read. And don’t forget when you’re preparing to do the FCE reading you need an FCE Trainer or Practice Tests.
You really need to practice as much as you can. And the last one my friends: follow my videos on techniques to pass each part of the exam. I’m about to make some other videos on FCE reading to help you for the specific parts and my techniques. Subscribe, so you don’t miss any, give a thumbs-up, write your comments below. Maybe you would like to see something very very soon, rather than wait few weeks later and I’ll happily reply and I’ll see what I can do. So my friends, it’s the 8th of March today, if you celebrate Woman’s Day whichever country you are in, Happy Woman’s Day. Take care, I’m now going to watch some kitten and puppy videos on YouTube. Goodbye..
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