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Reading and Use of English – Part 1

There are seven parts to the B2 First in order to master the reading and use of English paper. They cover a range of question types and test a candidates grammar, vocabulary, and different reading skills (such as reading for details, and gist etc). Answering all questions in the paper is really important.

In sections 1-4 the questions involve reading a variety of texts and answering grammar and vocabulary questions.

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Part 1 – what’s in it?

There are eight questions in this part and each one is worth one point. You will be given a text to read and some multiple-choice questions to answer about it. Each question has four options for the answer and you have to select the one you think is right e.g. A, B, C, or D. It is a common question type that most people have answered at some point in their education.

This section tests your vocabulary – including idioms, collocations, shades of meaning, and phrasal verbs etc

Approaching reading

Before you start reading the text you need to read the question and highlight or underline the key words that will guide you to the answer in the text. As an example, these could be references to places, time, nouns, or action verbs etc. Looking at the type of question is also important – what, why, why, how etc. Then read each answer option and do the same. If it is completing sentences in a text, then you need to read the sentence before, that sentence, and the one after to get a better understanding. This is a basic exam reading skill and should help you throughout the B2 First exam.

Here is an example of a text. It has 8 gaps that need filling. Your multiple-choice questions will be options to complete these sentences, either with missing grammar or vocabulary.

Example Text

Picasso’s hidden paintings

Pablo Picasso, famous (0)……………….. his use of Cubism, was a prolific Spanish painter who is considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century. His work is continuously (1)……………….. examination and recently a team of scientists discovered that underneath one of his most well-known paintings, The Blue Room, there is a second hidden painting. Researchers from three different European universities interested (2)……………….. Picasso’s techniques worked together for three years to prove the existence of this hidden painting, which they had (3)……………….. for a long time. Using infrared cameras and other high-tech equipment, the scientist were (4)……………….. to identify the hidden painting. It was a bearded man, sitting in a chair, who was (5)……………….. on his hand. Researchers are now trying to find out the identity of the mysterious man and the reason (6)……………….. Picasso covered up his portrait. The most accepted theory is that Picasso didn´t have a lot of money at the beginning of his career and (7)……………….. of buying new canvasses for his paintings, he simply reused them. Experts believe they will (8)……………….. many more fascinating findings under Picasso’s masterpieces because of the increasingly advanced technology used to examine the paintings.

A. about
B. to
C. for
D. at

A. under
B. on
C. at
D. over

A. on
B. in
C. at
D. about

An online provider that can give you more practice, like the examples above, and help is available from Global Exam. They have been assisting people achieve their desired grades for the least few years. The online system they build helps you practice your grammar and vocabulary, which is great for this section and the test in general, and access to full practice exams. This is invaluable. Take a look at their website and see for yourself

We also have written articles on the other FCE Reading Use of English Part 4Part 2Part 3Part 5Part 6 and Part 7.

Good luck in B2 First!