Cambridge Reading Test – Cambridge Podcast Ep2

Cambridge Reading Test – Cambridge Podcast Ep2

Cambridge reading test - Student preparing for English exam


Cambridge Reading Test

Some ways you can improve your skills for the Cambridge reading test:

  • Reading as widely as possible
  • Read in areas that interest you (don’t make it a chore!)
  • Try graded readers
  • Try to set aside a certain time every day to read, make it a habit 
  • Find a balance between taking notes of new vocabulary, looking up words & getting into the flow of a book 
  • Read a book you’ve already read in your own language (or seen the film of, etc). 
  • Read a book in a series so you already know the characters
  • Try comics/graphic novels – you get pictures too!
  • Practice skim reading (very important for the Cambridge Reading Test) as well as more in-depth reading


The structure of the reading section of Part 1: Reading and Use of English :


Advanced First
5. Multiple Choice 5. Multiple Choice
6. Cross Text Multiple Matching
7. Gapped Text 6. Gapped Text
8. Multiple Matching 7. Multiple Matching



  • Multiple Choice (the first part of both papers)


There are 6 questions. You have 4 options for each. 

There will be texts with opinions and ideas, as well as more factual texts

  • Skim the text, read the questions (maybe underlining key words), go back to the text and pick out the answers
  • Use a process of elimination. At least one will be a fairly obviously wrong answer
  • Make sure there’s evidence in the text for the answer (not just something that you know or feel to be true anyway)
  • Be careful with “distractor” words
  • Make an educated guess if you’re not sure – don’t leave anything blank! 



  • Cross Text Multiple Matching (only Advanced)


Four short texts and multiple-matching questions (e.g. “which of the writers has a different opinion about dogs?” “which writer shares A’s views about the cinema?”)

Students often find this section very difficult

Read the texts first and try to keep as much of the info in your head as possible as you read the questions

Think about the overall tone of each short piece – is the writer positive or negative, optimistic, concerned, angry? 

Are there any standout ideas, strong opinions? Underline if necessary



  • Gapped Text (Adv: Part 7; First: Part 6)


First – sentences have been removed (with one extra)

Advance – paragraphs have been removed (with one extra)


Read the text and the paragraphs to get a general idea of the topic

Think about how paragraphs/sentences link back in. They need to match grammatically as well as logically

Look at key words referring back or forward (previously, subsequently, this/that, pronouns, etc)

Think about synonyms which refer to something in the previous or next section



  • Multiple Matching (last section of both papers)


You are quickly scanning and looking for specific information (e.g which of the texts /people /paragraphs mentions X?)

10 questions in total

Synonyms and rephrased sentences are very important here (including idioms and phrasal verbs)

E.g. which text mentions “investigating a problem” and the text might have “looking into the issue”

Again, be careful of distractor words. If the answer seems too obvious, it’s usually wrong.


Vocabulary for the Cambridge Reading Test

To get bogged down – if you are trying to solve a problem, and you try again and again and get really frustrated because you can’t get the answer, you get bogged down.

To skim read – to read just to get the surface meaning of a text, not in depth

To get the gist – to get the general idea of something

A half-way house – a mid-point between two things which is a good compromise

Against the clock – when you have a deadline or time pressure

To play to your strengths – to take advantage of something if you are good at it.

A jigsaw – a type of puzzle where the pieces fit together

Read more about the difference between the exams

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