Cambridge English Southern Europe

Experts in Language Assessment

Tips and FAQS for the Use of English paper of the Cambridge English: First for Schools exam

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Here are some tips and answers to questions we often receive on the Use of English paper of the Cambridge English: First for Schools exam.


  • Read the words following the gaps in Parts 1 and 2 as they may have an effect on the answer.
  • Make sure that any verb you write in a gap in Part 2 agrees with its subject.
  • Write between two and five words as your answer in Part 4.
  • Remember that the words you need to write in Part 3 might have to change into a negative or a plural.
  • Check your spelling in all parts of the test.
  • Make sure that you transfer your answers to the answer sheet accurately.
  • Don’t write the answers to any of the examples on your answer sheets.
  • Don’t choose your answer in Part 1 before you have read all the options.
  • Don’t write out the full sentence when answering the questions in Part 4.
  • Don’t leave the base word in Part 3 unchanged.
  • Don’t decide on your answer before reading the whole of a sentence in all parts.
  • Don’t give alternative answers for any questions.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How many marks is the Use of English paper worth?
The Use of English test is worth 40 marks: Reading, Writing, Listening, Use of English and Speaking are each worth 20% of the total score for theCambridge English: First for Schools exam.

Will I lose marks for incorrect answers?
No, you will not have marks deducted if you give an incorrect answer. If you give a wrong answer, it is the same as giving no answer – you get no marks for that question. If you are not sure about an answer, it is better to guess than to leave the question blank.

How do I record my answers?
Write your answers on the answer sheets provided by filling in a box or by writing words (between two and five words allowed for answers in Part 4). Your answer sheet will be scanned on to a computer – make sure you fill in the answers clearly. You must transfer your answers within the time given for the paper (45 minutes).

How important is spelling in the Use of English paper?
All spelling must be correct in this paper. You will not get a mark for answers which are not spelled correctly.

If I think there are two possible answers to one question, can I write them both?
Write only one answer for each question. If you write two or more answers and one of these is incorrect, you get no mark.

In the Use of English test, are words like ‘doesn’t’ and ‘isn’t’ counted as one or two words?
To count the number of words, the full form should be taken into account, e.g. ‘didn’t’ = ‘did not’ = two words.

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

April 29, 2013 at 10:00 am

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