FAQs (use of english)

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 the Cambridge English: First 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’re 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 onto 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?
If you write two or more answers and one of these is incorrect, you get no mark. You should write only one answer for each question.

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.

What happens if I miss a negative in the transformations, thereby giving the opposite meaning to the original?
The instructions state that the second sentence must have a similar meaning to the first. However, in the mark scheme the answer is divided into two parts (see below). The two parts of the sentence (either side of the dividing line) are always treated separately, so you will receive one mark for correctly completing one part of the sentence, even if a negative has been omitted from the other part.

e.g. The last time Enrico saw Gloria was the day they left school.

Enrico has …………. the day they left school.
n’t / not seen Gloria ][ since

How is the word formation task evaluated when the form of the word is right, but it should be plural instead of singular, or the other way round?
A singular in an answer where a plural is required is marked as incorrect. You are expected to look at indicators in the text to decide whether a singular or plural form is appropriate. The same applies for positively/negatively prefixed adjectives.

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