CISL has been offering intensive Cambridge CAE and FCE classes for over 25 years. We are also a certified testing center, so all CISL students have the advantage of taking their exam in the comfortable CISL setting they are comfortable with! In honor of our intensive classes and dedicated staff, we are looking at each part of the exam in depth. Today we are looking at CAE Reading and Use of English, Part 4.

We have already looked at parts 1-3 on the CISL Blog. To review the other parts of the Reading and Use of English Module, read the following articles:

CAE Reading and Use of English, Part 4

CAE Reading and Use of English, Part 4 is Key Word Formations. In this section, there are 6 questions. Each question has three parts:

  • a “lead-in” sentence
  • a key word
  • a second sentence with a gap in the middle (the beginning and the end of the sentence are given)

Students are asked to complete the second sentence. They must:

  • use the key word
  • use 3-6 words



Important things to note

Contractions count as two words.

Students cannot change the key word. It must be kept in the form given (for example, students may not add an “s” to a noun to make it plural).

What’s being tested?

In this section, Cambridge is looking for the student’s ability to:

  • understand a variety of sentence structures
  • express a message in a different way (which shows one’s capability and flexibility with the language)
  • Illustrate awareness of expressions and idioms with similar meanings

Tips and tricks

Follow these tips and tricks to master Part 4 of the Reading and Use of English Module!

  1. Make sure you fully understand the meaning of the lead-in sentence. What exactly is this sentence saying? Be sure you fully understand before you try to complete the second sentence.
  2. Pay close attention to the words before and after the gap in sentence 2. Are they parts of a phrasal verb? Or perhaps part of a tense such as the Present Perfect?
  3. Ask yourself what idioms or expressions you know with the key word. Take a second to brainstorm before trying to complete sentence 2.
  4. Attempt to understand the sentence structure. What’s missing? Is it a noun clause? A participle? A relative clause? Understanding these structures and how to identify them will help tremendously.
  5. Give it your best guess! Never leave a sentence blank! You won’t lose points for guessing, and in this section, you can actually earn 2 points per answer. There’s a chance that you could still earn 1 point, even when you’re not 100% sure of your answer.