Hello Exam Seekers,
This week we will continue with the Reading and Use of English part for the B2: First. The previous posts on the exam focused on Use of English, and you can check them here, here, here, and here. For part 5 on, the focus is on text comprehension, and we will start analyzing them here today!
This part is the multiple choice one, in which you will come across 6 questions with 4 options each – A, B, C, D – and only one is correct. Each right answer accounts for 2 marks, therefore, a total of 12 marks. For this reason, save some time and prepare well for the reading exercises, as two of the three found in the text can get you double marks.
Whenever I have to do a reading activity, I will always look into the questions and answers before going to the text. This helps you have a more guided reading, and you have some extra time to focus on other activities, rather than ‘losing’ time reading the whole text more than once. Also, you can save this extra time for a review before marking your answers in the answer sheet.
Something to take into consideration is the key words that you can find in the question and answers. Those will be key not only to your understanding but also to try and identify the opposite or synonym in the text, making sure you can deal with a variety of expressions and ideas and still manage to get to the correct answer.
For instance, in the exercise below, the sentence that will lead you to the answer is ‘and nothing can pass until the tide goes out again a few hours away,’ which is at the end of the paragraph. That is possible to identify once you realize that ‘cut off’ – in option C – means the same as ‘to make a place difficult or impossible to enter, leave, or communicate with,’ as described in the Macmillan dictionary.
Additionally, something that may come in handy is that the questions tend to follow the order of the text. So you are less likely to find the answer to the first question in the last paragraph unless this is a question regarding the main idea of the whole text. What I used to do was read the first question and read the first paragraph, and go in that order until the end.
As suggested by the Cambridge website, some of the things you have to practice are: ‘reading for detail, opinion, tone, purpose, main idea, implication, attitude.’ So make sure you analyze the text in different ways and practice different types of exercises so that you can work all those skills within a balance.
Along with all those reading skills, you should also be able to identify some grammar use as well as cope with a variety of vocabulary – as I said beforehand, regarding different expressions, synonyms and paraphrasing – and one of the best ways to practice those skills is to actually read and jot down new vocabulary as well as its meaning.
For the text below, try reading first the questions and answers and highlight the most important words from each alternative – and question – before reading the text. It may seem a silly tip, but when you get used to doing this, the technique will not only save you time but also give you a more guided look to the text and help you find the answers easier.
As you already know, both samples were taken from the Cambridge English website, which offers two samples of mocks for you to get familiarized with the activities of the test.
Now, check your answers below and let us know your results! Do you find the reading part easier than the use of English one? What is your biggest struggle when it comes to reading? Share with us in the comment section below!
Have a great week,
Eve and Patty