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CAE Reading and Use of English Part 1 Tips and Practice

April 25, 2018

CAE Reading and Use of English Part 1 Tips and Practice

Are you planning to take the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) test soon? The CAE test has different sections (called “modules”): Listening, Speaking, Writing, and Reading and Use of English. Each of these modules has different sections. We are focusing on Part 1 of the CAE Reading and Use of English module. With these tips, you will be prepared for this short yet important (and difficult) part of the test!

CAE Reading and Use of English Part 1 Tips

Overview of Part 1

The CAE Reading and Use of English Part 1 is “multiple choice cloze”: a paragraph with eight words missing. For each missing word, you have four choices. You must choose one of the four words to correctly complete the sentence.

This is the official practice test provided by Cambridge.

CAE Reading and Use of English Part 1 Tips

 

Tips for CAE Reading and Use of English Part 1

Tip #1: Read the paragraph first

Read the title and try to predict the meaning of the paragraph. Then read through the paragraph with its missing words. Try to understand the main points of the paragraph. Do not look at the possible answers.

Tip #2: Read each sentence

After reading the paragraph, go back and read each sentence and try to understand the sentence’s main point. Remember that a sentence’s meaning can be changed depending on the content of the sentences before and after it.

Tip #3: Identify the missing word’s part of speech

What part of speech is the missing word? Is it a verb? Adjective? Noun? Phrasal verb? Identify the parts of speech of all of the other words in the sentence and you will be able to identify the missing word easier.

Tip #4: Try to guess the missing word

Without reading the multiple choice options, try to guess the missing word. Then look to see what the options are for your answer.

Tip #5: Remember that differences can be slight

Do not be surprised if two words seem very similar in meaning: this portion of the exam is made to test your vocabulary. Remember that collocations, idioms, fixed expressions, and phrasal verbs play a large part in this section: try to study both as best you can.

Tip #6: Never leave an answer blank

You will not miss points because you marked an answer wrong: always guess! You have a 25% chance of getting the question right.

Tip #7: Make sure the answer creates a grammatically correct sentence

After choosing an answer, make sure that it completes the sentence so that it is grammatically correct.

CAE Reading and Use of English Part 1 Tips and Practice

CAE Reading and Use of English Part 1 Practice

Practicing tip #1: Read the paragraph first

Read the title and the paragraph. What do you think the main meanings are?

The title is “Studying Black Bears.” Maybe this is about a person who studies black bears? Or maybe it’s a group of researchers who studies them? The paragraph will most likely contain information about bear behavior and perhaps some information about a person who studies black bears. Perhaps this person is a scientist; perhaps this person (or persons) is a nature lover.

Now read the paragraph.

After years studying North America’s black bears in the (0) …….. way, wildlife biologist Luke Robertson felt no closer to understanding the creatures. He realised that he had to (1) …….. their trust. Abandoning scientific detachment, he took the daring step of forming relationships with the animals, bringing them food to gain their acceptance. The (2) …….. this has given him into their behaviour has allowed him to dispel certain myths about bears. (3) …….. to popular belief, he contends that bears do not (4) …….. as much for fruit as previously supposed. He also (5) …….. claims that they are ferocious. He says that people should not be (6) …….. by behaviour such as swatting paws on the ground, as this is a defensive, rather than an aggressive, act. However, Robertson is no sentimentalist. After devoting years of his life to the bears, he is under no (7) …….. about their feelings for him. It is clear that their interest in him does not (8) …….. beyond the food he brings.

We know that this paragraph is about a scientist who studies bears.

 

Practicing tip #2: Read each sentence

Read each sentence. What do they mean?

After years studying North America’s black bears in the (0) …….. way, wildlife biologist Luke Robertson felt no closer to understanding the creatures.

  • This paragraph is about a scientist named Luke Robertson who is in North America. Luke studied bears for years, so he must be older.

He realised that he had to (1) …….. their trust. Abandoning scientific detachment, he took the daring step of forming relationships with the animals, bringing them food to gain their acceptance.

  • Robertson’s scientific methods weren’t working so he tried something new: befriending the bears.

The (2) …….. this has given him into their behaviour has allowed him to dispel certain myths about bears.

  • He learned some truths about bear behavior through this new method.

(3) …….. to popular belief, he contends that bears do not (4) …….. as much for fruit as previously supposed.

  • Robinson learned something new about bears and their desire for fruit.

He also (5) …….. claims that they are ferocious.

  • Robinson does not agree with the claims that bears are “ferocious” (angry and aggressive).

He says that people should not be (6) …….. by behaviour such as swatting paws on the ground, as this is a defensive, rather than an aggressive, act.

  • Robinson has an interpretation of bear behavior that is different from many people’s. Typical bear behavior is not aggression: this is the bear’s way of defending itself.

However, Robertson is no sentimentalist. After devoting years of his life to the bears, he is under no (7) …….. about their feelings for him.

  • The word “however” shows us a relationship between this sentence and the sentence before. In the sentence before, Robinson says bear behavior should be interpreted as defensive and not aggressive. The next sentence begins with “however” so it will probably contain information about bear behavior and aggression. “Robertson is no sentimentalist” means that he has rational feelings toward bears.

It is clear that their interest in him does not (8) …….. beyond the food he brings.

  • Who is “their” and who is “him” in this sentence? This sentence states that the bears are interested in Robinson because he brings them food.

 

Practicing tip #3: Identify the missing word’s part of speech

Identify the parts of speech of all of the other words in the sentence and you will be able to identify the missing word easier.

Studying black bears

After years studying North America’s black bears in the (0) …….. way, wildlife biologist Luke Robertson felt no closer to understanding the creatures.

  • This sentence uses the construction the + X + way. The missing word is probably an adjective that modifies the word “way.”

He realised that he had to (1) …….. their trust.

  • This sentence uses the construction had to + X. The missing word is probably a base verb (verb without “to”).

The (2) …….. this has given him into their behaviour has allowed him to dispel certain myths about bears.

  • This sentence uses the construction the + X. The missing word is probably a noun because most nouns have A, AN, or THE before them.
  • This sentence also is missing a subject. This is another reason we can guess the missing word is a noun.

(3) …….. to popular belief, he contends that bears do not (4) …….. as much for fruit as previously supposed.

  • What could this first word be? It is followed by “to.” It could be a word that is always followed by to. (The same way that “in order to” and “due to” use the word “to.”)
  • The second missing word is part of the construction do not + X. It is probably a base verb: “do” is a helping verb that always comes with another verb.

He also (5) …….. claims that they are ferocious.

  • The missing word is a verb. What verbs do we use with “claim?” The word “claim” is the object of this sentence.

He says that people should not be (6) …….. by behaviour such as swatting paws on the ground, as this is a defensive, rather than an aggressive, act.

  • This missing word is part of the construction “should + not + be + X.” What comes next in this construction? It is probably an adjective/past participle. Here are some examples:
    • You should not be scared by bees.
    • Cars should not be driven without gas.

However, Robertson is no sentimentalist. After devoting years of his life to the bears, he is under no (7) …….. about their feelings for him.

  • This one is difficult. It is followed by a preposition: could it be a phrasal verb? Or maybe it’s part of an expression? Do you know any expressions with “under no + X?”

It is clear that their interest in him does not (8) …….. beyond the food he brings.

  • This is another sentence with the construction does + not + X. It is probably a base verb. However, notice that it is followed by a preposition. Therefore, it could also be a phrasal verb.

 

Practicing tip #4: Try to guess the missing word

Without reading the multiple choice options, try to guess the missing word. Then look to see what the options are for your answer.

#1 He realised that he had to (1) …….. their trust.

A catch

B win

C achieve

D receive

 

#2 The (2) …….. this has given him into their behaviour has allowed him to dispel certain myths about bears.

A perception

B awareness

C insight

D vision

 

(3) …….. to popular belief, he contends that bears do not (4) …….. as much for fruit as previously supposed.

#3

A Opposite

B Opposed

C Contrary

D Contradictory

 

#4

A care

B bother

C desire

D hope

 

#5 He also (5) …….. claims that they are ferocious.

A concludes

B disputes

C reasons

D argues

 

#6 He says that people should not be (6) …….. by behaviour such as swatting paws on the ground, as this is a defensive, rather than an aggressive, act.

A misguided

B misled

C misdirected

D misinformed

 

#7 However, Robertson is no sentimentalist. After devoting years of his life to the bears, he is under no (7) …….. about their feelings for him.

A error

B doubt

C illusion

D impression

 

#8 It is clear that their interest in him does not (8) …….. beyond the food he brings.

A expand

B spread

C widen

D extend

 

Practicing tip #5: Remember that differences can be slight

The exam will try to trick you: do not be surprised if two words seem very similar in meaning:. this portion of the exam is made to test your vocabulary. Remember that collocations, idioms, fixed expressions, and phrasal verbs play a large part in this section: try to study both as best you can.

What are the differences between:

  • catch, win, achieve, and receive?
  • Perception, awareness, insight, and vision?
  • Opposite, Opposed, Contrary, and Contradictory?
  • care, bother, desire, and hope?
  • Concludes, disputes, reasons, and argues?
  • Misguided, misled, misdirected, and misinformed?
  • Error, doubt, illusion, and impression?
  • expand, spread, widen, and extend?

 

Practicing tip #6: Never leave an answer blank

You will not miss points because you marked an answer wrong: always guess! You have a 25% chance of getting the question right.

 

Practicing tip #7: Make sure the answer creates a grammatically correct sentence

After choosing an answer, make sure that it completes the sentence so that it is grammatically correct.

 

More CAE practice

For more study tips and practice, check out our other articles:

 

Cambridge Exams Learning Materials Listening Practice

Tips and Practice for CAE Listening Part 3

November 26, 2017

Tips and Practice for CAE Listening Part 3

Students preparing for the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) Exam often have difficulty preparing for the Listening Module. How can you actively improve your listening skills for this part of the exam? Follow these tips for Part 3 of the CAE Listening test.

Tips and Practice for CAE Listening Part 3

CAE Listening Part 3 Overview

  • There are 4 parts to the CAE Listening Module. (To improve Parts 1, 2, and 3, read the articles listed at the end of this page.)
  • Part 3 includes interviews and discussions between two or more speakers.
  • The recording is often an interview or a discussion.
  • The recording is 3–4 minutes in length.
  • Part 3 tests the ability to listen to longer interviews and discussions, then show an understanding of the speakers’ attitudes and opinions.
  • The test focuses on agreement, gist, feeling, purpose, function, and detail.
  • A series of six 4-option multiple-choice questions focuses on the attitude and opinions of speakers.
  • Questions follow the order that information is presented in the recording.

Tips and Practice for CAE Listening Part 3

Tips for CAE Listening Part 3

  • This is the longest part of the Listening test. To practice, make sure to listen to longer interviews and conversations.
  • When listening to conversations and interviews, try to follow the flow of the conversation. Recognize when conversations move from one topic to another, or when a person’s opinion changes.
  • For multiple-choice tasks, focus more on the question and not the possible answers. Try to answer the question based on listening and not based on the options.
  • Remember that multiple-choice questions use synonyms or language that paraphrases and reports ideas from the text.
  • Questions often focus on attitudes or opinions of speakers. Make sure you understand  reporting verbs (such as agrees, regrets, admits, resents, claims).
  • Also be sure to understand words that are used to describe attitudes and feelings (such as disappointed, frustrated, unexpected).
  • Also identify words that are used to report opinions, such as insists, suggests, denies), and degrees of certainty (e.g. doubtful, convinced).

Tips and Practice for CAE Listening Part 3

Practice for CAE Listening Part 3

To practice for CAE Listening Part 3, try the following things:

  • Watch the news in English. Use subtitles if you need to.
  • Listen to podcasts. Need ideas? Try our list of Podcasts for Academic English.
  • Focus on longer interviews. Search for your favorite English-speaking celebrity on YouTube and watch their interviews for practice.

Further practice

For more listening practice, visit the following articles:

Converse International School of Languages has provided quality English language training in San Diego and San Francisco since 1972. CISL has also provided Cambridge FCE and CAE test preparation instruction for more than 25 years (and is an official Cambridge Testing Centre). To learn more about Cambridge FCE and CAE preparation classes in California’s San Diego and San Francisco, contact CISL. 

Cambridge Exams Featured Listening Practice

CAE Listening Part 1 + Podcasts for CAE Listening Practice

September 24, 2017

CAE Listening Part 1 + Podcasts for CAE Listening Practice

Are you planning to take the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English Exam soon? Don’t stress: in addition to structured test preparation classes, there are many ways to prepare for the exam using self-study! Do you know these CAE Listening Part 1 tips and how to prepare for this part of the test when you’re not in the English classroom? These tips and suggested podcasts will help you improve your score.

The Listening Module of the Cambridge CAE Exam consists of 4 parts. Need more help with the Listening Module of Cambridge FCE or CAE? Check out our other articles, CAE and FCE Listening Part 2 Tips and Listening Part 4 Tips.

 

CAE Listening Part 1 + Podcasts for CAE Listening Practice  

Before learning tips and tricks for the exam, make sure that you understand the basic requirements and components of Listening Module, Part 1.

Listening Part 1 Overview

  • You hear an audio recording
  • The recording has three conversations
  • Each conversation is between two people
  • You will listen to the recording twice
  • Each conversation has two multiple choice questions
  • Each correct answer earns you one mark

What the test is looking for:

According to Cambridge, this part of the exam is testing your ability to understand feeling, attitude, purpose, function, agreement, course of action, gist, or detail. Examples of this in the test might include the following:

  • Feeling: In the conversation you hear, a person might tell another person their current emotions or how they are reacting to a certain situation. Vocabulary words related to emotion are common.
  • Attitude: A person might tell another person their opinion about something. Opinion-related vocabulary might be used, such as “I don’t care for X” or idioms such as “X isn’t my cup of tea.”
  • Purpose: The reason for doing something is communicated. First recognize what the purpose that is being communicated is: perhaps a person is leaving a job (or moving, or going back to school) and is describing why. Phrases such as “that’s why” and “which is why” could indicate this; the speaker could also use transition words such as “therefore” and “because.”
  • Function: A person could describe how something works (or doesn’t work when it should). Listen for how something works and descriptive language.
  • Agreement: It is natural in a conversation for two people to agree or disagree; therefore, in this section, agree/disagree vocabulary might be used. Of course, the words “agree” and “disagree” are hardly used (that would be too easy!). Instead, listen for expressions that illustrate agreement/disagreement, such as “I totally understand,” “That makes sense,” or “I see.”
  • Course of action: How will something occur? These details of a conversation might be tested. Listen for words that indicate steps in a process, such as “then” and “after that” and “following this.”
  • Gist: “Gist” is the main point of a conversation. What point was the speaker trying to make? This could be tested.
  • Detail: In addition to testing your overall understanding of a conversation (gist), “detail” can also be tested. Listen for dates, numbers, and other specific information.

CAE Listening Part 1 + Podcasts for CAE Listening Practice

How to practice

Part 1 is probably the easiest part of the CAE Exam to practice because it’s based on a conversation between two people. To practice, try listening to as many conversations as you can. These can be conversations between characters on TV, interviews on YouTube or the news, or podcasts.

CAE Listening Part 1 + Podcasts for CAE Listening Practice

Podcasts to Prepare for CAE Listening Module

Try listening to these podcasts to prepare for Part 1 of the CAE Listening Module. Each of these podcasts includes a transcript, so you can read and listen at the same time (until you become comfortable reading without the transcript).

American Stories for English Learners

Experience some of the best short stories written by American authors, but experience them in audioformat. American Stories for English Learners has more than 14 hours of listening content: each podcast is 57 minutes long and is a story from a famous American author (some of the longer stories are in two parts). Users can download the MP3 and the transcript and then read and listen to Mark Twain, O. Henry, Willa Cather, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Edith Wharton, and many others. The project is from Voice of America, which provides content written in plain American English with short sentence structures, no idioms, and a limited vocabulary. Each lesson is specifically designed for the English language learner.

CAE Listening Part 1 + Podcasts for CAE Listening Practice

BBC 6-Minute English

BBC 6-Minute English is a popular listening resource for Cambridge preparation students. The lessons are quick (just 6 minutes, as the name suggests), cover an interesting variety of topics, and include learning materials such as vocabulary lists. You can access the archives (lessons before 2014) here, and see updated lessons on its new website.

Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!

National Public Radio (NPR) produces many interesting podcasts on different subjects. “Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!” is special because it covers the news, but in a quiz format: listeners can guess which of the news stories are real and which are fake. It’s fun, informative, and great English listening practice! You can download “Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!” here.

 

Do you need to prepare for the Cambridge CAE Exam? CISL’s small class sizes (never more than 8 students per classroom) and intensive curriculum provide the materials and one-on-one instruction necessary to succeed. Contact CISL to learn more about our effective teaching methods and our beautiful locations of study in San Diego and San Francisco.

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5 Podcasts for the Academic English Student

July 22, 2017

Forget listening to podcasts about learning English: instead, learn about English through podcasts about interesting subjects! If you need to improve your academic English skills for the American college or university setting, spend some time listening to these fascinating podcasts about science, the humanities, culture, and technology.

5 Podcasts for the Academic English Student

Astronomy Cast

5 Podcasts for the Academic English Student

Travel through space all learn all about the cosmos! Where did the Earth’s water come from? Do planets have seasons? How can you make a telescope at home? Who are some famous astronomers throughout history? Hosts Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela L. Gay answer questions you’ve always had about the universe.

http://www.astronomycast.com

National Public Radio (NPR)

5 Podcasts for the Academic English Student

Science, news, comedy, education, culture, technology: take your pick! NPR has many award-winning, well researched and well produced podcasts on various subjects. The content will keep you interested as you improve your listening skills with one speaker, two speaker, three speaker, and interview style recordings.

http://www.npr.org/podcasts

NASA Science Casts

5 Podcasts for the Academic English Student

NASA offers many podcasts on different subjects. Some focus more on specific projects (such as the Space to Ground podcast about the International Space Station), some focus on education (check out The Beautiful Universe), and others are news-focused, like This Week@NASA.

https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting/index.html

 

RadioLab

5 Podcasts for the Academic English Student

Philosophy, history, science, and the human experience come together in RadioLab, and incredible podcast produced by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich.

http://www.radiolab.org

Converse International School of Languages offers English courses in San Diego and San Francisco, California. Improve your English through CISL’s small, eight-student classes: students can choose from Standard English, Intensive English, or specific courses such as TOEFL Preparation, IELTS Preparation, Cambridge Exam Preparation, and English for Academic Purposes. After EAP, students can attend college in the U.S. through CISL’s Academic Year Abroad and Pathway programs. 

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5 Things You Need To Know Before Taking The Cambridge CAE or FCE Exam

July 8, 2017

Are you taking the Cambridge CAE or FCE Exam soon? Studying can be stressful, and so is test day! How should you study? What should you study? And what should you expect on test day? There are so many questions students have! Here are 5 things you need to know before taking the Cambridge CAE or FCE Exam.

5 Things You Need To Know Before Taking The Cambridge CAE or FCE Exam

There is a right way to study

Cambridge CAE and FCE exams have four official parts: Reading and Use of English, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. In each of these parts (called “modules”), there are many smaller parts; for example, Reading and Use of English for FCE has 7 parts (8 for CAE); Speaking has 4 parts, Listening has 4 . . . it’s a complicated test! Many students do not know where to begin.

Self-study is possible using the materials Cambridge has purchased. However, with such a complex test and so many parts, students often get confused . . . plus, there is no way to improve your speaking with self-study. A qualified instructor is necessary to help you understand each part of the test and the tips and tricks for passing each section. A teacher will also help you improve your pronunciation and speaking confidence.

On test day, know what to bring (and what not to bring)

Make sure you bring your valid photo ID, pencils, and erasers to the test. Electronics cannot be brought into the room, so if you want to watch the time, bring a watch (or use the clock that will be in the room). Food and drinks are also not allowed.

For more information, read these documents about Exam Day Tips for the paper-based test and the Speaking Module. They are from Cambridge ESOL.

Exam Day Tips, Paper-Based Test

Exam Day Tips, Speaking Module

You can also read Cambridge’s official Summary of Test Day Regulations for Candidates.

Understanding the test format saves time

Picture this: the Speaking Module recording begins, and the beginning of the recording is the instructions for the test. If you know the test rules, you do not have to listen to this portion of the test: instead, you have extra time to read the contents of the test.

For some, the test format is a little strange; for example, in the CAE Reading and Use of English Part 4, you must rewrite a sentence. Half of the new sentence is already written: you must use one given word plus 2-5 more words to complete the second sentence. What a strange format! If you know this in advance and have practiced this many times, this section is not a problem . . . but if you’ve only seen it a few times, you will probably have to read the instructions again. This is a waste of precious time.

5 Things You Need To Know Before Taking The Cambridge CAE or FCE Exam

When you consider that the entire test has many different parts (and that each part has different instructions and rules), then you see how understanding the test format saves time.

You can request your partner for the Speaking Module

Did you know that you can request your partner for the Speaking Module? You can! Talk to your Cambridge instructor about how to do this.

If you do not request your partner, you can still know who your assigned partner is before the speaking test. This gives you time to meet your partner and practice, which is very important to do before test day.

If you are assigned a partner who is very shy, check out our article on How To Deal With A Shy Speaking Test Partner.

Knowing what Cambridge wants will improve your score

Many parts of the Cambridge Exams (like Writing and Speaking) are not “right” or “wrong”; therefore, they are graded by trained teachers. But how are these instructors grading your test? Knowing what Cambridge wants will improve your score.

For example, the Writing Module is graded on the following:

Content (Did you answer the prompt? Did you include enough information?)

Communicative Achievement (Did you create the letter, report, review, essay, etc. as you were instructed? Did you correctly present your ideas to the reader?)

Organisation (Are your sentences and paragraphs well connected?)

Language (Did you use appropriate vocabulary, and a wide range of vocabulary? Did you use varying and complex sentence structures?).

A good Cambridge instructor will base his or her lessons on these things so that you have the tools you need to succeed in each module. Once you have these tools, you will use them as you write . . . and your score will improve.

Converse International School of Languages has been a trusted Cambridge Testing Centre for over 25 years and is proud to provide quality English instruction in small classes (no more than 8 students). To learn more about our Cambridge FCE and CAE programs, contact us.

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