The CAE Reading and Use of English paper is in eight parts and has a mix of text types and questions. As I mentioned, time allowed for this part of the test is 1 hour 30 minutes. There are 8 parts and a total of 56 questions. Considering the lengths of texts there are 3,000 – 3,500 words to read in total. Texts may be from newspapers and magazines, journals, books (fiction and non-fiction), promotional and informational materials.

Let´s have a closer look at each part:

Part 1 (Multiple-choice)

In Part 1 you will find a text in which there are some numbered gaps, each of which represents a word or phrase. After the text there are four possible answers for each gap and you have to choose the correct answer (A, B, C or D). In order to succeed test takers should practice vocabulary – idioms, collocations, shades of meaning, phrasal verbs, fixed phrases etc. In this part, test takers have to answer 8 questions and they get 1 mark for each correct answer.

Part 2 (Open cloze)

In Part 2 test takers will see a text in which there are some gaps, each of which represents one missing word. You have to find the correct word for each gap. In order to be successful, test takers should practise grammar and vocabulary. There are also 8 questions in this part and 1 mark is given for each correct answer.

Part 3 (Word formation)

In Part 3 test takers will face a text containing eight gaps. Each gap represents a word. At the end of the line is a “prompt” word which you have to change in some way to complete the sentence correctly. In order to excell in this part, test takers are expected to practise especially vocabulary. There are 8 questions in this part and 1 mark is given for each correct answer.

Part 4 (Key word transformations)

In Part 4 each question consists of a sentence followed by a “key” word and a second sentence with a gap in the middle. You have to use this key word to complete the second sentence, in three to six words, so that it means the same as the first sentence. Test takers are advised to practise grammar, vocabulary and collocation. There are 6 questions in this part and there are up to 2 marks given for each correct answer.

Part 5 (Multiple choice)

Part 5 includes a text with some multiple-choice questions. For each question, there are four options and you have to choose A, B, C or D. Test takers should practise reading for detail, opinion, tone, purpose, main idea, implication and attitude. There are 6 questions and 2 marks for each correct answer.

Part 6 (Cross-text multiple matching)

In Part 6 there are four short texts with multiple-matching questions. You must read across all of the texts to match a prompt to elements in the texts. Test takers should practise understanding and comparing opinions and attitudes across texts. There are 4 questions and 2 marks for each correct answer.

Part 7 (Gapped text)

In Part 7 there is a single page of text with some numbered gaps which represent missing paragraphs. After the text there are some paragraphs which are not in the right order. You have to read the text and the paragraphs and decide which paragraph best fits each gaps. Test takers should practise how to understand the structure and development of a text. There are 6 questions and 2 marks for each correct answer.

Part 8 (Multiple matching)

In Part 8 there is a series of multiple-matching questions followed by a text or several short texts. You have to match a prompt to elements in the text. Test takers should practise reading for specific information, detail, opinion and attitude. There are 10 questions and 1 mark for each correct answer.

Writing

In the two parts of the CAE Writing paper, you have to show that you can write different types of text in English. Time allowed for this part is 1 hour 30 minutes. In Part 1 there is one compulsory question, and in Part 2 one question from a choice of three. Task types range from: essay, letter/e-mail, proposal, report, review etc.

Part 1 (Compulsory question)

In Part 1 you read a text, then write an essay based on points included in the text. You will be asked to explain which of the two points is more important, and to give reasons for your opinion. Test takers should practise developing points as fully as possible in order to demostrate a range of structures, vocabulary and language functions, such as evaluating, expressing opinions, hypothesising, justifying, persuading. Test takers are expected to write 220-260 words.

Part 2 (Situationally based writing task)

In Part 2 you write a text from a choice of text types – letter/email, proposal, report or review. To guide your writing, you will be given information about context, topic purpose and target reader. Test takers should practise writing the different types of text that could be included in the exam. There are three questions, from which you must choose one. Again, test takers are expected to write 220-260 words.