Hello Exam Seekers,
I am almost at the end of the analysis of the B2: First – Reading and Use of English Exam – former FCE, so, if you have just landed on the blog, you can check out the previous parts:
- [Part 1: Multiple-Choice Cloze] [Sample 1A] and [Sample 1B]
- [Part 2: Open Cloze] [Sample 2A] and [Sample 2B].
- [Part 3: Word Formation] [Sample 3A] and [Sample 3B].
- [Part 4: Key-Word Transformations] [Sample 4A] and [Sample 4B].
- [Part 5: Multiple Choice] [Sample 5A] and [Sample 5B].
If you haven’t read them yet, make sure you check out both samples!!!
As I mentioned previously, parts 1 to 4 focus on grammatical aspects of the English language:
- Multiple-Choice Cloze: choose the correct word [Vocabulary] from a list of words provided to complete the sentences;
- Open Cloze: figure out the words [Vocabulary] to complete the test – no words provided;
- Word Formation: transform the provided word into one that fits correctly [Vocabulary – Part of Speech];
- Key-Word Transformations: rewrite part of a sentence using the words provided [Vocabulary/Grammar].
As for parts 5 to 7, the focus is on analyzing the candidate’s reading skills:
- Multiple Choice: read the text and choose the correct alternative to answer the question.
Part 6 – Gapped Text consists of a text with sentences removed, and your job is to put them in the correct place. Just like part 5, this activity accounts for two marks for every correct answer. Therefore, since there are six gaps, you can score up to 12 marks here. So, it may be a good idea to save some extra time to do this exercise. Also, even though there are six gaps, the exercise provides seven sentences; thus, there is one you will not need.
Since this exercise focuses on understanding the structure and development of texts, something I’m used to doing when studying for this part of the exam (or when giving it to my students) is to get an article, for instance, and remove some parts of its paragraphs. Then, I try to put the parts back in the correct gaps according to the flow and what I think makes more sense. I should say that this is one of the parts I struggled with the most. Therefore I practiced it even more than the other ones.
Different from Part 5 – Multiple Choice, when it’s better to read the questions first before delving into the text, for Part 6 – Gapped Text, you should read all the text thoroughly, somehow ignoring the gaps so you can have a broader idea of the text. Doing so will make it easier to find the most relevant extract for each gap.
Also, when you need to match the sentences, focus on the paragraph’s previous and the following sentences: which words end the sentence before the gap, and which words start the following sentence? Additionally, if the gap is at the beginning of the paragraph, it is also a good idea to check out the previous paragraph to grasp the idea they will develop in the following paragraph, as well as what comes next. The reason for that is, that you will need to find an extract that connects both ideas. Thus, it will begin with a connection to the previous sentence, and it will end with the idea that will be continued in the following one.
Check out the example below.
Check out the sentences around the first gap. If you try and read the previous and the following sentences solely, chances are the choice of the right fragment will still be dubious. However, once you read the previous paragraph and mainly the last sentence, you will have a clearer idea of the most appropriate answer.
What we ballet dancers do is instinctive, but instinct learnt through a decade of training. A dancer’s life is hard to understand, and easy to misinterpret. Many a poet and novelist has tried to do so, but even they have chosen to interpret all the hard work and physical discipline as obsessive. And so the idea persists that dancers spend every waking hour in pain, bodies at breaking point, their smiles a pretence.
As a former dancer in the Royal Ballet Company here in Britain, I would beg to question this. 37. _____________________ With expert teaching and daily practice, its various demands are easily within the capacity of the healthy human body.
Since it talks about pain and bodies at breaking point, and the sentence after the gap mentions something about human capacity, you look for an alternative that involves these issues. Therefore, the correct fragment is the letter “D”, “Ballet technique is certainly extreme but it is not, in itself, dangerous”. It connects the idea of being extreme – pain and bodies at breaking point – to the idea of not being dangerous – within the capacity of the healthy human body.
Moving on to the second gap, the main idea is the ritual of a ballet dancer:
Over the course of my dancing life I worked my way through at least 10,000 ballet classes. I took my first at a school of dance at the age of seven and my last 36 years later at the Royal Opera House in London. In the years between, ballet class was the first thing I did every day. It starts at an early age, this daily ritual, because it has to. 38. _____________________ But for a ballet dancer in particular, this lengthy period has to come before the effects of adolescence set in, while maximum flexibility can still be achieved.
The sentence before the gap talks about this routine and the need for it to start early. Then, the following one talks about an extended period – a lengthy period – and also mentions flexibility, which is a physical aspect. The fragment that connects both sentences would be the one in the letter “G”, “It takes at least a decade of high-quality, regular practice to become an expert in any physical discipline”, which suggests regular practice – the daily ritual – and highlights the time taken to become an expert in any physical discipline – lengthy time and flexibility.
Did you get the idea of how to tackle this part of the exam? Well, it’s your turn to try. Now, finish doing the task above before moving on to the second sample! Try to use the strategies mentioned above to help make it easier to match the sentences to the gaps.
After finishing, check the answers below and share your thoughts about this activity on the comment section below. Was it a piece of cake? Did you have a hard time doing it? What were the easiest and hardest parts? Are you still a bit insecure about this exercise? Why? Let me know so I can bring you some extra tips to help you excel on the exam!
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Have a great week,
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OBS: All samples provided by Cambridge.