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FCE Use of English Part 4: Tips for key word transformation

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We come back again today to talk about FCE, one of the most popular Cambridge exams. As many students around the UK are preparing for their exams, we would like to give you some tips today about the Use of English.

This part requires a great knowledge of grammar and vocabulary and you should also be able to have a good time management.

Not only will we focus about this part of Use of English but about a specific task: the key word transformation. This is normally part 4 of this section. Read carefully these tips to make the most of your time and get good marks in your FCE.

1. As we mentioned, this part requires a proper knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. You must work hard in these two areas. Some typical structures that are frequent here are: passive voice, conditionals, reported speech and comparatives and superlatives.

Have a look at this video by Peter Travis from Flo-Joe, where you can see more examples:


2. Read the instructions and allow yourself enough time to do this part. You should dedicate a bit more of your time to this one, so if you dedicate 10 minutes to each other section, have 15 minutes for this one.

3. As the instructions say, you must complete the gap with no more than five words. If you use a contraction, it will count as 2 words!

people reading

4. Read both sentences and compare them. Find what they have in common and underline this information as this will help you to focus on the part it needs to be transformed.

5. Each question is worth 2 points, 1 point for using the word correctly and another point for using the correct grammar and vocabulary. Therefore, you could get at least 1 point for half of the correct answers so it is worth it to answer every question!

6. You must include the word given and you cannot alter it. For example if the word provided is ‘have’ to cannot use ‘had’ or ‘has’.

woman writing on a paper

The most important is that you go confident and confront each question calmly.

Share other tips and advice for this part, comment where you struggle and share your experience in the comments!