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Listening - tips for the FCE learner

Part 1:

Read and listen to the questions and options carefully.


Underline key words in the questions and try to predict what ideas or
vocabulary you may hear connected to that topic.
Listen carefully for key words and choose the best option.
If you get stuck do not panic! Move on and keep up with the flow of the
recording.
Use the second listening to check your answers.
Part 2:
Read through the notes you have and try to predict the type of missing
information (Is it a number, name, place etc?)
As you listen fill in the notes using no more than 3 words.
Listen a second time and check your answers.
Read through and make sure you have not made any spelling mistakes.
Part 3:
Read the instructions carefully to find out what topic the speakers will be
talking about.
Before you listen read the topics A-F and try to predict ideas or words you
expect to hear.
During the first listening decide on your answers.
Use the second listening to check your answers.

Remember that if one answer is wrong, it could mean that most of the other
answers are in the wrong place.
Be aware that this part can be confusing because sometimes a word in one
option may appear in more than one extract. You need to focus on the
differences between the speakers.
Part 4:
Read the instructions carefully to find out what topic the speakers will be
talking about.
Before you listen read the topic sentences and try to predict ideas or words
you expect to hear.
During the first listening decide on your answers.
Use the second listening to check your answers.

Reading - tips for the FCE learner


Part 1:
To start preparing for the topic you are about to read, focus on the title and
instructions. This will help your brain to automatically think about key
words connected with the topic.
To understand the text in the general sense, skim the text quickly without
concentrating on details.
Now focus on the list of headings and underline key phrases.
Then read the text again, paragraph by paragraph, underlining key phrases.
Match the key phrases to the correct headings.
Part 2:

Read the text once all the way through to grasp the general idea of the text.
Without looking at options A-D, underline key words in the question.
Now find the corresponding section in the text and underline related key
words there.
Now choosing the correct answer between A and D should be much easier.
Part 3:
Read the whole text and the example sentence carefully.
Read the text around each gap and try to predict what the missing
information is.
Now read the removed sentences and try to match each one into the correct
gap, bearing in mind your predictions in the previous stage.
You need to check that there are language and topic links between the main
body of the text and the removed sentence, before and after each gap. This
may be in the form of a simile or a pronoun.
Finally, read the completed version of the text to make sure it makes sense
Part 4:
Underline the key words in the questions. This will help you to focus on key
points.
Scan the text to find the relevant section containing the information you
need. Be aware that the same words or phrases will not appear in the text as
they do in the questions. You are looking for key words and phrases that
express the same idea.
When you find the relevant section, read through it carefully and make sure
it answers the question before you transfer your answer.

Speaking - tips for the FCE learner


Part 1:
Try to remain clam. These questions are designed to relax you and give you
the opportunity to tell the examiner a little about yourself.
Answer the examiners questions in full sentences, but try not to talk for too
long.
This part tests your ability to converse in a social context.
Avoid long periods of silence where you are searching for words. If you
cannot remember a word try to talk your way round it by explaining in more
detail or defining what you mean. Never ask your partner to give you the
word you need!
Part 2:
Listen very carefully to the examiner explaining your task.
Do not treat the pictures as two separate themes. Link them constantly by
comparing and contrasting them.
Keep talking until the examiner interrupts you. Then you will be sure that
you have completed the task.
Use expressions of comparison and contrast.
Listen to what your partner says carefully when it is their turn to speak. You
will be expected to comment on their ideas when their one minute is
finished.
Part 3:
Listen very carefully to the examiner explaining your task.
Do not look at the examiner during this task. This part if for you to work
together with your partner.

Use lots of expressions for asking for/giving opinions, agreeing/disagreeing,


making suggestions etc.
Make sure you and you partner speak equally. Do not dominate or interrupt
your partner.
If you happen to be with a candidate who is not willing to collaborate, try to
draw them into the discussion by asking for their opinion and encouraging
them to expand on their ideas.
Make sure you have a dialogue not two separate monologues. Frequent turntaking is required in this part.
Remember to cover all the points of the task and be prepared to tell the
examiner what your final decision is.
Part 4:
Expand your ideas you came up with in part 3.
Personalise your opinions and give some real life or hypothetical examples
to back up your ideas.
Use this part as your last opportunity to show the examiner how well you
can speak in English!

Use of English - tips for the FCE learner


Part 1:
Read the title and whole text all the way through to grasp the general idea of
the text.
Now read the whole text carefully this time. Stop at each gap and identify
what type of word is missing. The word you choose must fit grammatically
and make sense within the whole text.

Finally, read through the completed text to make sure it makes sense.
If you are not sure about an answer, never leave the gap blank. It is always
better to guess than leave it blank. Using the process of elimination should
help you narrow your answers down.
Part 2:
Read the title and whole text all the way through to grasp the general idea of
the text.
Now read the whole text carefully this time. Stop at each gap and identify
what type of word is missing. The word you choose must fit grammatically
and make sense within the whole text.
Finally, read through the completed text to make sure it makes sense.
If you are not sure about an answer, never leave the gap blank. It is always
better to guess than leave it blank.

Writing - tips for the FCE learner


Part 1:
Always read the question carefully and underline the key words of your task.
This will help you focus on the task in hand and you should refer to this
when planning your piece of writing to make sure that you include all
relevant points. You will fail this part if you do not cover all the points the
task requires.
Make sure you write a plan before you start writing. This will help you to
organise your ideas into sections and will result in your piece of writing
being coherent and cohesive.
Use linking words to connect your sentences and paragraphs together.

Start each paragraph with a topic sentence to clearly signal the content of the
paragraph.
Remember to keep the target reader in mind and aim for your letter to have a
positive effect on the reader.

Part 2:

Article: Do not start and end your article in the form of a letter. Make sure
you know who your target reader will be and where your article will appear
(e.g. in a student magazine or newspaper). Bearing this in mind, decide on
the register of your letter (formal or semi-formal). Decide on a title that will
be eye catching and grab the attention of the reader. The aim of the
introduction is to grab the readers attention and make them want to read on.
Your writing should be lively and interesting. Each paragraph should start
with a topic sentence that summarises the content of the paragraph. Your
conclusion should be a suitable ending to your article which will leave a
positive and lasting impression on the reader. You will be marked on your
use of descriptive and opinion language.
Non-Transactional Letter: You may be asked to write a formal letter of
application. The task will include an advertisement and the instructions for
the task. You should read all the details carefully and underline the key
points of the task. This will help you focus on the task in hand and will help
you to refer back to the task when planning and writing to make sure all the
points have been covered. Use consistent formal language do not use
informal language or contracted forms in a formal letter. Write in a positive
manner giving the reader the impression that you genuinely want the job
therefore avoid any comments about weaknesses or lack of experience. Use
a new paragraph to start each topic and start/finish the letter appropriately.

Reports: You may be asked to write a report evaluating a place or facility, or


give recommendations. The target reader may be a superior or colleague,
which will give you the information whether you need to write in a formal or
neutral style. Never write in an informal style in a report. Use the correct
format for a report include headings for your introduction, main body
(with listed points), recommendation/evaluation and conclusion).
Discursive compositions: In the task you are given a statement about a
given topic and you must write a composition based on arguments for,
against or both sides of the issue. You must make sure that your arguments
and opinion are clearly defined and divided into separate paragraphs. You
should make notes of all your ideas (three or four ideas should be enough),
and then separate them into paragraphs. Use linking words to connect your
composition, including a clear introduction and conclusion.
Narrative/descriptive composition: You may be asked to write a short
story for a student magazine or for a competition. You will be given one line
of the story and will be instructed to use this line as the first or last line. You
may also be instructed that you are free to use the line wherever you like in
the story. That is why it is extremely important to read the instructions very
carefully and make sure you position the given line in the correct place. You
must not change the given sentence in any way. You are being given the
opportunity to use your imagination here, although try not to be too extreme
or over complicated. You should plan your story line carefully and divide
ideas clearly into paragraphs. Use a good range of narrative tenses, and to
make your story easy to read, follow a chronological order. Select
vocabulary carefully in order to captivate the reader and create a picture in
their mind of your story.