UPDATE: We have a new and updated article which includes a FREE Practice Test: FCE Practice Test: Try Out FCE Reading Paper 5
Eight multiple-choice questions – sounds easy enough. However, with four options, there is a very high chance of getting it wrong! So, how do you narrow the odds on the FCE Reading paper 1?
First of all, you need to find a good reading technique. Here is an 18-step plan that will help you:
Starting off: Q1
1. Skim quickly through the text.
2. Keep in mind that the questions are in chronological order.
3. Read Q1 and Q2 – do not read the options.
4. Note the key words for Q1 and Q2.
5. Scan through the text until you come to a part of the text where you find key words
matching Q2 and stop reading.
6. You now know that your answer is between the beginning of the text and the point
where you stopped reading.
7. Read through the relevant text again and try and answer the question yourself.
8. Check the four possible answer options.
9. Choose the option that best answers the question according to what you have
found in the text.
The Middle Bit: Q2 – Q7
10. Now read Q2 again as well as Q3 – do not read the options.
11. Start reading from where you found the answer for Q1.
12. When you come to a part of the text where you find key words matching Q3,
13. You now know that your answer is between where you found the answer for Q1
and the point where you stopped reading.
14. Read through the relevant text again and try and answer the question
15. Check the four possible answer options.
16. Choose the option that best answers the question according to what you have
found in the text.
17. Continue like this until you have answered Q2 – 7.
The Last One: Q8
18. The last question may require you to look at the text as a whole.
Here are some more Top Tips:
Read the Instructions
Make sure you know what to do – always start by reading the instructions first!
Don’t Get Bogged Down
If you are struggling to find an answer, move on to the next question and go back to the question later.
Check the answer options and see if you can replace the pronouns with nouns they refer to in the text – this will make it easier to find the correct answer.
Avoid “word spotting” – finding the same word in the answer option and text, doesn’t necessarily mean the option is correct. Instead, try looking for synonyms for words in the options and choose the one that is closest in meaning to the text.
If the question is structured as incomplete sentences, make sure you read both parts of the sentence carefully. Make sure that whole sentence matches the text, not just the options.
Keep an Eye on the Clock
Don’t run out of time! If you have developed your final FCE exam strategy, you will know how much time you have allocated to this part of the test. Stick to your timetable. Remember, each part of the FCE Reading Paper carry approximately the same amount of marks. If you do one of the other two parts quicker, you can always go back and finish this part – it is all about maximising your chances to pass your FCE exam!
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