|EE-020c| C2: Proficiency – Reading and Use of English [Part 3]

Hello ExamSeekers,

Last Tuesday, I posted the second part of the C2: Proficiency Exam – Reading and Use of English. If you didn’t have time to check parts 1 and 2, please do before reading the third part, okay?

Both parts 1 and 2 involve fill in the blank situations, but differently:

Part 3 is very similar to parts 1 and 2, because you do have to fill in the blank with a word, but you don’t have options to choose from. In part 3, you are given the exact word to fill in the bank, but you have to make some changes to it so that the word can fit the space properly. This part is called:


Part 3 – Word Formation

In this part, all of the eight gaps correspond to a word provided right beside it, take a look:


This is the kind of test that assesses your knowledge regarding vocabulary, in particular the use of affixation, internal changes, and compounding in word-formation.

So let’s go through the first paragraph:

Power napping is an (0) …….…. strategy. It involves taking an intense sleep which dramatically improves (17) …….… , making it especially useful for those with a demanding schedule such as mothers of babies or travelling business (18) …….… . However, the conditions must be right and practice is required to (19) …….… the effects.

The example is usually the easiest, but let’s go through it so that we can understand the task. (0) requires you to complete the blank with an adjective that will qualify the word strategy. The word given is EFFECT. The logical conclusion is to say that the correct phrase is (0) effective strategy.

(17) offers the word ALERT, and we have to change it, so it becomes a fittable noun. How do I know that? Well, the word that comes before is the verb “improves” and after (17), there is a comma, so I need to improve something! How can I change the word “alert” so that it can become a noun?

Many people may say that “alert” is also a noun, which means “a warning to people to get ready to deal with something dangerous”. And that is true, but alert is one of the rare words that can be used in the same form as a noun, verb, and adjective. However, in this specific case, “alert” doesn’t fit, we need a word that means some “awareness concerning dangerous situations”, so we need to change “alert” a little bit.

The best way to transform this word in a way that it becomes another noun is by adding a “ness”. So (17) improve alertness.


The word provided in (18) is EXECUTE. It comes right after travelling business, which means, in this case, that we require another noun. If you analyze the whole sentence, you understand that a noun is required because we are talking about types of people: mothers of babies or travelling business (18) executives. There is not another word that would fit here.

If you paid close attention:

  • (0) EFFECTive
  • (17) ALERTness
  • (18) EXECUTive

The word above asked for suffixes, sometimes the changes require prefixes (and/or prefixes and suffixes). There is not a rule, you do have to be aware of word formation in general. Moreover, some words change entirely. It was not the case, but in “executive”, you had to take the E from “executE” out and put an “i” before adding the “ve”. That’s way, part 3 is “word formation” and not only “affiliation” (LOL).

This used to be one of the worst exercises for me, now it’s not the worst, but you do have to study the topic! 🙂


Well, I hope I was able to help you and understand how part 3 works. It is simple, but it requires some attention! 🙂 If you still have questions, please comment in the comment session below. Don’t forget to check the overview of C2: Proficiency Exam here to get an idea of what C2: Proficiency Exam looks like. And also… don’t forget to follow the blog at:

Have a great week,
Patricia Moura

PS: All samples (and dictionary meaning) are provided by Cambridge. And here are the answers:

17. alertness
18. executive
19. maximise / maximize
20. disorientation
21. comparatively
22. designated
23. accompany
24. desperation


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