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Exam Tips

Students are given a short text with twelve gaps and four options for words or expressions that could go into each gap, i.e. a multiple-choice cloze. They have to choose the only correct one from the four options each time, or they could of course cross out the ones they are sure are wrong and guess from the ones that are left. Most students find it is useful to read through the whole text quic ly !efore they loo at the options, as understanding the text will often !e necessary for choosing the correct answer. "hen they first loo at the options it is very useful for students to thin a!out, and pro!a!ly underline, which words around the gap can help them guess which option it should !e, e.g. underlining #doing$ to show them what grammatical pattern the word they choose should go together with or underlining #pleasure$ to show them which word%s& the correct option should form a common collocation with. 'n a similar way, it can also help students if they thin a!out what they are !eing tested on in each question. The most common possi!ilities are(

"ords with similar meanings, e.g. nouns, ver!s, ad)ectives, adver!s and prepositions with similar meanings "ord plus word collocations, e.g. %non-phrasal& ver! plus preposition, ver! plus noun, ad)ective plus noun, preposition plus noun, noun plus preposition, ad)ective plus preposition, and adver! plus ad)ective *ixed phrases+idioms ,hrasal ver!s -er! patterns .in ers

%/iven in approximate order of frequency according to my analysis of four past papers issued !y 0am!ridge.& 1fter they have chosen one of the four options, they should read through the whole sentences with the word%s& in to chec if it ma es sense and sounds right. 'n fact, some students who use English more than study it should !e a!le to get the ma)ority of the answers )ust from the correct option feeling right. 'f they have time at the end of the test, they could also dou!le chec !y seeing if the other three options are actually wrong. 2owever, it has !een show that most last-minute changes of mind in multiple choice tas s involve choosing a worse option, so they should only change their mind if they are a!solutely certain that the original answer is incorrect.

Exam ,reparation Tips


1ny of the things on the list of language points mentioned a!ove can of course !e studied, often with the help of a specific grammar and+or voca!ulary !oo for *0E. This could potentially ma e for years of study, however, especially given that there is no list of phrasal ver!s that might !e in the exam3 1 much !etter general approach is to )ust read a lot of English, including a mix of high-level graded readers and fairly easy authentic texts, to get a feel for the language. Exam practice tas s are also of course a great help. "hen chec ing their answers, they should ma e sure they now why the option they chose is correct and why the other three are wrong. Some exam practice !oo s provide this information in the answer ey.

0lassroom 1ctivities
An easy start

4ne option is to give the tas with the correct answers already circled, and as the students to discuss why the circled option is correct and the others are wrong. 1lternatively, you can give them a text with answers circled !ut with a small num!er %e.g. two& of those answers !eing incorrect. 't also ma es it easier if they have fewer options to choose from, something that can !e easily prepared !y ta ing an exam tas and crossing off one or two of the options for each space. This can also !e turned into a game, e.g. having #1s The 1udience$ and #56+56$ options li e the quiz showWho Wants To Be A Millionaire or having four )o ers they can use to cut down the options at any time. 1nother option is to give them )ust the correct answers mixed up at the !ottom rather than the multiple choice questions. 't is also possi!le to create texts that test only a single language point such as ver! patterns, someone+anyone+no-one+everyone or collocations with do+ma e+ta e+have. 1lternatively, you could ma e the tas easier while eeping the text the same !y rewriting the three wrong options to ma e them more o!viously incorrect. More challenging activities 4ne option is to give students the text with )ust the wrong options, telling them they should discuss why those options are wrong and then try to guess the right answer. They could also )ust read the whole text without the options and guess as much as they can a!out words that should go in each gap !efore !eing given them. The opposite is )ust to give them the options to discuss first. Students tal a!out the %grammatical, meaning and collocation& differences !etween all the options !efore !eing a!le to see the text, then do the tas %o!viously without loo ing at any notes they made during the discussion&. 7ou could also give all the options for all the questions mixed up at the !ottom of the text and get students to choose the right ones, may!e also guessing what the wrong options were for each question. *inally, you could give them the text with the right answers in and as them to predict the tric options that were given. Testing each other 4ne way of getting students to test each other is to give them the four options and as them to ma e sentences that match one of the answers %either the original right answer or any of the four that they choose&. They can then test other people with their questions. 1lternatively, you can give them the text with the correct answer and tell them to ma e false options to try to fool other people+groups. This can mean them writing all three false options, or )ust adding one or two to the ones you have left in. 7ou could also give them all four options and get them to write a fifth. 1 third option is to )ust give them the three wrong options. They choose a fourth one that should !e the answer and then write a sentence that matches that.