C1 Advanced Use of English CAE | 4 Powerful Methods

C1 Advanced Use of English Format

This page is full of useful tips and good techniques to help you get higher marks in the Use of English part of the C1 Advanced: CAE exam. The C1 Advanced Use of English section is combined into one exam paper with the Reading section. In total the paper has 8 parts. Parts 2-4 are 'Use of English' and parts 1, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are 'Reading'.

The whole paper lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes or 90 minutes. So when you practise this paper before the exam:

  1. Decide which parts are easier for you. You will probably complete the easier exam parts in less time.
  2. Time yourself to see how long each part takes. Do this several times and you should get an accurate average time.
  3. Remember how many marks per question are awarded for each part of the exam (see below).
  4. Decide which parts of the exam to complete first based on the time it takes and how easy each part is. You may decide to do part 3 first, then part 2, then part 1 etc.

Use of English

Part 2 – 8 questions - 8 marks

Part 3 – 8 questions - 8 marks

Part 4 – 6 questions - 12 marks

Total: 22 questions - 28 marks


Part 1 – 8 questions - 8 marks

Part 5 – 6 questions - 12 marks

Part 6 – 4 questions - 8 marks

Part 7 – 6 questions - 12 marks

Part 8 – 10 questions - 10 marks

Total: 34 questions - 50 marks

C1 Advanced Reading & Use of English Tip: sorry, this is available for Gold members only. Register/upgrade here >>

C1 Advanced Reading & Use of English - Part 1

This has now moved to the reading section due to 2019 exam updates.

You can find tips and techniques for part 1 in my longer CAE course >>

C1 Advanced Use of English - Part 2

In the 'Use of English' section part 2, you have to fill in 8 gaps in a text. You do not have any options to choose from, you just have to think of the word which fills the gap.

Tips And Technique:

The first thing to do is quickly read the whole text, just like for part 1.

Locate the first gap and read the whole sentence. Use the meaning of the sentence to guess what word might go in the gap.

Look at the words surrounding the gap. If you understand sentence structures in English, you should have an idea what type of word you need. Is it an adjective, a noun, a relative pronoun etc. This article will be useful as a starting point for understanding sentence structures. The ending of a word often indicates what type of word it is, for example words ending: -ment, -ion, -ance, -ence – are normally nouns. Recognising word endings and understanding sentence structures, will help you get higher marks in the exam.

You normally need to use short connecting words, prepositions, verbs and relative pronouns in this part.

There are more part 2 exercises in my long CAE course >>

C1 Advanced Use of English - Part 3

In the 'Use of English' section part 3, your knowledge of word types and word affixes is tested again. You have a text with 8 gaps and you are given a word that you need to change to fill in the gap. The word may be a verb, noun, etc. and you need to change this word. For example, they might give you the adjective relevant and you might need to change this to the noun relevance. So, you need to know what type of word you need and how to spell this word.

Tips And Technique

First, quickly read to understand the meaning of the text. Try not to spend more than 1 minute doing this.

Locate the first gap and read this whole sentence. Identify the words surrounding the gap by their form and their position in the sentence. This will help identify the type of word required. This article gives some useful information about this.

Before doing the exam, spend some time learning about word endings (see part 2 tip 3 above). Also study prefixes, if a word starts with an 'r' will the prefix be 'ir'?

In this part of the exam, you often need to add a prefix to the word to make it negative. E.g. irrelevant. After filling in all the gaps, quickly read every paragraph containing a gap. Depending on the overall meaning of the sentence or paragraph, decide if you need to use a negative word. Select the appropriate prefix for this word (-un, -dis, -im) etc.

Check your spelling! You lose marks when you do not spell words correctly. This applies for every part of the 'Use of English' section.

I'm sorry, you need to be a Gold member in order to watch the video below. Become a Gold member here >>

cae use of english part 3

There are more part 3 exercises in my long CAE course >>

C1 Advanced Use of English - Part 4

In the 'Use of English' section part 4, you need to write between 3 and 6 words to complete 6 sentences. You have a sentence with some words missing and you must complete the sentence. Your sentence must have the same meaning as another sentence they give you. They also give you one word which you must use in your sentence. Use this word to decide which other words you require.

Students struggle with this part of the exam, that's why I created a book and video course to specifically help with part 4:

Ebook/Paperback >>

Video Course >>

Key Word Transformations Course

You can also access the course above by becoming a Gold member >>

Tips And Technique

The best way to prepare for this part is by doing sample practice papers and exercises. Do as many of these exercises as you can before the exam.

They give you an example sentence with the same meaning as the sentence you need to complete. Read this first. Then look at the word they give you. Think how you can use this word in your sentence.

Do you know the word they give you from any expressions or can it be used in a phrasal verb?

When you have completed your sentence, read it again and make sure the words match each other. For example, if you use an uncountable noun, do not write 'many' before it.

You should buy at least one CAE book to practice with and see what vocabulary, grammatical structures, expressions etc. you might be tested on. Even though you don't know what the questions will be, it will still be useful.

If you become a C1 Advanced member of my website, you'll get loads more resources and courses to help guide you through every part of the exam. The aim of the courses is to teach you the best way to prepare for the exam alone in your own time. You can register today and receive free access to some of these courses and extra resources for free >>

There is also loads of useful information on my CAE preparation online page.


You can watch me testing the Perfect Method from the video above with some example questions in this video...



This website is useful if you would like some more Use of English exercises.

There are more part 4 exercises in my long CAE course >>

C1 Advanced Use of English Course

My C1 Advanced (CAE) Use of English Course has great ratings!

"Rory is a great teacher, sharing with his students the best advises to be applied on CAE exam. This course will give you a concept totally different about how to pass Use Of English part. I really recommend to everybody to enroll this course if you want to have the best tips." Jonatan, CAE Use of English. *****

The course forms part of my larger CAE course >>



CAE Use of English

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