|EE-020a| C2: Proficiency – Reading and Use of English [Part 1]

Hello ExamSeekers,

Today I start posting about the C2: Proficiency Exam – Reading and Use of English. Last week I wrote some info about how the Proficiency Exam works, so if you didn’t read, take a look at it before reading this post.

First things first, this is a pdf sample, but if you are taking the computer-based version, don’t worry, it follows the same pattern concerning the exercises. The few differences start with the cover page: if you are taking the paper-based version, you are going to come across with this:


If you are sitting for the computer-based version, the info is pretty similar, but you won’t have to write in an answer sheet, nor will you use a pencil… And other differences can be seen in how the exercises are presented to you. But they are essentially the same thing.

So things to focus here: 

  • You have 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the whole exam (7 parts in total);
  • Each part of the exam carries different marks.

Let’s start with Part 1 – Multiple-Choice Cloze.


In this part of the exam, there is a single text with eight gaps. Candidates must choose one word or phrase from a set of four to fill each gap. For this exam, you need to know: idioms, collocations, fixed phrases, complementation, phrasal verbs, and semantic precision.



According to the example at the beginning (0), we can see how the test works:

Wilfred Thesinger, the (0) ……….  explorer once said, ”We live our lives second-hand”. Sadly, his words are true for far too many of us, as we (1) ………. in front of the television, (2) ………. in ”reality” television,

0     A   descriptive       B   imaginary       C   fabled           D   legendary

1     A   droop                B   slump               C   sag                 D    plunge

2     A   captivated        B   gripped            C  engrossed      D   riveted

As I mentioned, you have to have studied things like collocation and fixed phrases. By doing that, you know you can eliminate descriptive/imaginary/fabled from alternative (0). Because they don’t match with explorer.

For the (1), again, if you have been reading a lot and you know the phrase, you know which word to use. Here, we need a word that matches the idea of being sitting still in a position that is not upright. As you can see, the words provided mean “fallen” somehow. If you check Cambridge Dictionary:

  • droop:  to hang down in a weak way (eg: drooping eyelids);
  • slump: to fall or sit down suddenly because you feel tired or weak (eg: She slumped back in her chair, exhausted);
  • sag: to sink or bend down (eg: Our mattress sags in the middle);
  • plunge: to fall or move down very quickly and with force (He plunged into the water).

As you can see, the best definition is B slump. Now, continuing the analysis, for the alternative (2), the idea is that you are slumped in front of the television focused on what you are watching. The words “engross”, “captivate”, and “grip” have the shared meaning of attracting and occupying someone’s attention. So you can eliminate “riveted” and focus on the other three words. If you pay attention to the meaning of the words:

  • captivate: holds the attention because of an INTERESTING and FASCINATING nature.
  • grip: holds the attention with compelling FORCE and URGENCY (for a short period).
  • engross: occupies the attention ENTIRELY and CONTINUOUSLY for a while.

You would go with C engrossed. However, if you are not sure about the meaning or intensity of each of the words, you can try and remember the dependant prepositions:

  • captivated by
  • gripped by/with
  • (be) engrossed in

Which means that the correct option is really C engrossed.

I hope I was able to help you and understand how part 1 works, but If you still have questions, please comment in the comment session below. Don’t forget to follow the blog at:

Have a great week,
Patricia Moura

PS: All samples are provided by Cambridge. And here are the answers:

  1. B
  2. C
  3. A
  4. C
  5. B
  6. B
  7. A
  8. C


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