FCE Reading Paper: Running Out of Time?

Bad reading techniques are one of the main reasons for running out of time on the Reading paper on the FCE exam. Not only do you have to read about 2,000 words, you will also need to answer in total 30 questions in the space of one hour.

Good reading techniques are vital and can only be built up over time. The two most used speed-reading techniques are skimming and scanning.

You use this technique when you want to roughly know what a text is about. Move your eyes rapidly across the text to get its gist – that is, so that you get the general meaning of the text without any of the details.

Effective skimming can be difficult if you are not familiar with the vocabulary as the eye tends to stop when it comes across an unfamiliar word. The trick is for you to train yourself to avoid this problem. Why not try out the “Reading for Gist” method described in the FCE Reading Paper: The Key to Success (Step 2) blog post?

You use this technique when you need to find answers to specific questions. The answers you will be looking for are often short and factual and may be numbers or names.

The most effective way to scan a text is to first read the question and then let your eye run over the text until you find the relevant section. To find the answer, concentrate on this section only. This technique allows you to answer the questions without having to read the whole text. Something that will save you time on the FCE exam.

Unfortunately, to become a rapid reader there is only one thing for it: practice, practice, practice using FCE practice tests and other English reading material.

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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