Gordon opens his briefcase and takes out his teacher’s notes. He encourages Emma to be attentive to detail. They are getting through a lot of material. Terry is there to lend a hand if need be. In addition all three are getting along like a house on fire.
GORDON: So Emma, please sum up what I have just explained to you.
EMMA: Sure. Let’s see… the reading and listening parts are relatively similar as they require scanning. That means gathering the key information quickly, without reading or listening to every single detail.
TERRY: Indeed. And how many passages are there in the listening section?
EMMA: There are 4 parts of the listening section. The first part has 8 short extracts. In part 2, you will listen to a recording with one or more speakers, so this could be one person talking about an experience or perhaps a conversation. In the third part, there are 5 different speakers talking about a common topic and the last part is the same as part 2, there are one or more speakers so maybe it could be an interview or a conversation between people.
TERRY: And how many questions are there?
EMMA: 30 questions all together. 8 for the first part; a multiple choice question for each recording. 10 for part 2, you need to fill in the gaps in a text about what you have heard. Then, there are 5 for part 3. You need to match up various statements with the speakers, deciding which relate to whom. In the final part, there are 7 multiple choice questions. With all of the multiple choice questions, there are 3 answers to choose from.
GORDON: Very good. Now tell us about the reading section!
EMMA: Sure! There are 7 parts in the reading and use of English section of the exam. You have long and short extracts, with a variety of activity types such as open cloze, multiple choice exercises, rewrite exercises, activities testing logic and comprehension, as well as vocabulary and grammar. I think that is everything…
GORDON: And where do you write your answers?
EMMA: On a separate answer sheet.
TERRY: And why do people find listening harder?
EMMA: If truth be told, there are lots of elements that you can’t control like style of delivery, voice, pace and accent of the speaker. For example, if we consider the voice; if the speaker is very monotonous or very enthusiastic and energetic, either of these things can throw you.
TERRY: And what is a mistake lots of candidates make with the reading?
EMMA: Not managing their time. In fact, it’s important to leave a few minutes at the end of the exam to review all your answers and check that you’re happy with everything. Lots of people get their timing wrong and they land up making lots of silly little mistakes.
Terry, Emma and Gordon make their way to the local café. They spend over two hours discussing the ins and outs of the FCE. FCE stands for First Certificate of English. It is an exam which covers Use of English, Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing skills. Let’s find out more!
SYNONYM or DEFINITION
to get along like a house on fire
to get on really well with someone
to get through a lot of material
to lend a hand
if need be
an excerpt, a passage
to sum up
to summarise, to recapitulate
a recorded broadcast or performance
a matter dealt with in a text or conversation, a subject, a theme
an unfilled space or interval
to match up
to team something with something else appropriate or related
to match with
the expression of an idea or opinion
to relate to
to have reference to, to indicate connections with
a distinct section of a piece of writing (generally commencing on a new line and an indent)
to take out
to split up
a piece of paper
a style of delivery
a way of using language
speed, a person’s manner of speaking
to take a look at
monotonous (of a sound or utterance)
dull, tedious, lacking in variation in tone or pitch
eager, keen, avid, passionate
dynamic, bouncy, lively, animated
to throw someone
to disconcert, to put off, to throw off balance, to confuse
to re-examine, to rethink, to modify, to revise
to make sure, to confirm, to verify
the choice or control of when something should be done
to make a mistake
to do something inaccurately, incorrectly
foolish, mindless, imprudent, stupid
multiple choice questions
questions accompanied by several possible answers from which the candidate must try to choose the correct one
if truth be told
Reading and Use of English part 7 is called Multiple Matching. Here the primary emphasis is on a candidate’s ability to follow a long text’s development or that of a group of up to 6 short texts.
You are given 10 questions preceding 1 long text or up to 6 short texts.
As a candidate you re expected to locate the specific information matching each of the 10 questions. The difficulty lays in the fact that similar ideas can be expressed throughout the text(s). Locating detail or a specific attitude or opinion means discounting ideas in other parts of the text that express similar ideas but don’t reflect the whole of the question with accuracy.