FCE Reading Paper: Tackling Part 2

UPDATE: We have a new, updated article which includes more tips and advice as well as a FREE FCE Practice Test: FCE Practice Test: Try Out FCE Reading Paper 6

Filling in the gaps – probably the most difficult of the three FCE Reading papers. Following this simple 6-step plan should give you a good starting strategy for tackling Paper 2:

  1. Skim quickly through the text.
  2. Pick a sentence to fill a gap.
  3. Look at the text before and after a gap and ask yourself these questions:
    a)  Are there any useful linking devices I can use? (E.g. linkers)
    b)  Are there any useful references I can use? (E.g. pronouns)
    c)  Are there any connection between the missing sentence and the text through vocabulary?
    (E.g. nouns or adjectives)
    d)  Does the sentence fit the topic?
    e)  Does the storyline develop in a logical manner?
  4. Continue until you have one sentence left over.
  5. Read through the entire text and check if it makes sense.
  6. Double check to make sure that the extra sentence really doesn’t fit into any of the gaps.

However, following this plan is not enough in itself – make sure you read up on your linkers and read extensively so that you get a feel for how text flows. To set you on your way, 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 match a sentence, move on to the next one and go back to the sentence later.

As the sentences are jumbled, there is no need to do the sentences in chronological order. Start with the sentences that you find the easiest and leave the more difficult ones till last.

Word Spotting
Avoid “word spotting” – finding the same word, name, etc. in the sentence option and text, doesn’t necessarily mean the sentence is the correct one to fill the gap. Instead, make sure that it fits into the meaning by reading the sentences before and after the gap. Look out for linkers, they are great indicators.

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!

If you are not happy with the scores you get on the FCE Practice Test, our Knowledge Checks will help you in focusing in on the vocabulary and grammar you will need to study.

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