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 1-4 are 'Use of English' and parts 5-8 are 'Reading'.
The whole paper lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes or 90 minutes. So when you practise this paper before the exam:
- Decide which parts are easier for you. You will probably complete the easier exam parts in less time.
- Time yourself to see how long each part takes. Do this several times and you should get an accurate average time.
- Remember how many marks per question are awarded for each part of the exam (see below).
- 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 1 – 8 marks
Part 2 – 8 marks
Part 3 – 8 marks
Part 4 – 12 marks
Part 5 – 12 marks
Part 6 – 8 marks
Part 7 – 12 marks
Part 8 – 10 marks
QUICK TIP: Never leave a question blank, always write an answer. At the end of the exam quickly check to ensure you have answered every question.
C1 Advanced Use of English - Part 1
In the 'Use of English' section part 1, you have to fill in 8 gaps in a text. You can choose which word fills the gap from four options (A,B,C,D).
Tips And Technique:
First, quickly read the whole text. It is very useful to know what the text is about before answering the questions. This also helps determine the answers.
Your knowledge of collocations is tested throughout many parts of this section. Collocations are a couple of words which are commonly used together. For example: 'interested in'. In English we say “I am interested in....” rather than “I am interested of...”. Find the first gap. Read the whole sentence. Identify the words before and after the gap. Look at options A,B,C and D and think which fits best with the surrounding words.
This section tests how well you understand individual words, their specific meanings and how we use them. Once you have completed points 1 and 2 above, check that the meaning of your word makes sense in the sentence. The four options often have very similar meanings. You have to decide which is best in the context and meaning of the sentence. Here is a video from my Use of English video course (currently at a 67% discount).
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.
Here is one of 7 videos from my C1 Advanced (CAE) Use of English video course, currently at a 67% DISCOUNT.
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.
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.
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.
We have designed this video course to help guide you in detail through every part of the exam. The aim of the course is to teach you the best way to prepare for the exam alone in your own time. There is also loads of useful information and strategies on how to do this here.
This website is useful if you would like some more Use of English exercises.
Support My Work
Every time I help you...you can make a donation. Donate whatever amount is equal to the value you received from my videos/E-book/articles/emails etc. Click “Donate” below and enter your donation (£1....£5....£10).