B2 First (FCE) Reading and Use of English – Part 5

The B2 First (FCE) exam is the middle exam in the Cambridge suite of English language tests. B2 level on the CEFR is quite high and that’s why this exam is accepted by some universities as an alternative to IELTS. You can get a grade A, B, C or B1 level acknowledgement of your language skills by taking this exam. The test is 3.5 hour long and covers 4 skill areas as the reading and use of english.

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What’s in Part 5?

This part of the paper focuses on your reading skills. You will need to be able to read for details, opinion, tone, purpose, main idea etc. The question type here is multiple choice. This is a very common question type that you probably already have some experience with. You will read a text and have questions below. You choose the correct answer – A, B, C, or D. Nice and simple. There are 6 questions in this section and each question is work two marks each, so lots of marks to be made here.

Answering this type of question.

Many people when they get a reading text start reading the text first. This is a mistake. The first thing I would do it to look at the questions and highlight the key words in them – what are they asking? Specific words that help understand what details they want. Then you read the answer options and do the same. It is not uncommon for some options to be very similar but still have enough difference in meaning to be right or wrong. Be careful! Now you can start reading, using the keywords and your understanding of the question to find the part of the text that has the answer. Repeat for each question. This should save you time.

Here is an example of a part 5 question.

Everybody knows that the Australians are very relaxed. And so am I these days. I am so relaxed that I don’t even know which state of Australia I’m currently in. After having planned trips through seven countries in nine months, I am now glad to have someone else taking care of these things for me. I am travelling with my friend Michael. He has very kindly taken a sabbatical from his job as a firefighter just in time to go on a road trip with me. Since he is Australian, it makes perfect sense that he should do the planning for this section of our trip. Michael has one of those big four-wheel-drive cars, and it is jam-packed with the most exciting selection of camping equipment. Just like the olden days when my dad used to load up the car with us three children and my mum, as well as an entire camping household to drive us all to Italy for a holiday. In the same way as my dad did back then, it is now Michael who is in charge. He knows where everything goes, and I have no choice but to let him do all the organising, packing, unpacking, cooking, and tidying up. All I can do to help is lie in the hammock and eat the yummy food he cooks. After dinner, Michael and I sit together and play cards, which, however, is not that much fun because we are only two people and neither of us know any card games. The campsites I had seen on trips elsewhere were quite sad and usually not the kind of places where I’d want to spend a holiday but in Australia they are quite spectacular, right by the water and with amazing views. The water is often icy-cold, but very clean and refreshing. In the beautiful Wye River area we were even staying in a gorgeous beach house that Michael managed to get for us. The terrace was overlooking the bay and we spent many hours there chilling out and chatting. Every now and then, Michael went fishing. One day I decided to go with him and to challenge him to a fishing competition. This was a little daring of me, because I had never fished before. As soon as Michael showed me how to attach the bait to the hook I decided to be a bystander, because it made your fingers smell fishy. When Michael caught a little fish, I was disgusted. The poor little creature looked so scared. I was relieved when he chucked him back in the water to let him grow for a few more seasons. Michael won the fishing competition that day. And we had sausages for dinner.

An important part of my Australian adventure was the sighting of kangaroos in the wild. We had been looking for them for a while. One morning we saw a big mob of them right at the campsite. They were just hanging out there, looking at us. None of them had any babies in their pouches but I was excited, nonetheless, because I had never seen kangaroos in the wild before. The closer I looked at them, the stranger they appeared. Kangaroos almost seem to be like different animals melted together. Their hind legs are about ten times bigger and stronger than their front legs. On closer inspection they actually look a bit like a giant rat, with their long tails and big bums. Their heads, however, remind me of a dog – with donkey’s ears. Very strange creatures they are, especially when you see them hopping away on their strong and muscular hind legs. Seeing those kangaroos was definitely the highlight of my Australian adventure.

What has Michael done so that he could accompany the author on her trip through Australia?
A. He took a longer period off work.
B. He bought a 4×4.
C. He put together all the necessary equipment.
D. He asked an Australian friend to help organise the trip.

The camping equipment reminds the author of…
A. road trips with her dad.
B. her dad’s old truck.
C. similar trips with her folks when she was young.
D. her three children and their father.

How can I get more practice like this?

Global Exam is an exam preparation platform that can help learners to achieve the grades they want. They provide support for many language exams, including B2 First (FCE). They have full exam practice and areas to develop your language. Take a look www.global-exam.com

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