Preparation Tips for Cambridge English: Advanced Reading
- Your students should read as widely as possible both in class and at home. This will enable them to become familiar with a wide range of language. In class encourage your students to interact fully with each text by focusing on pre-reading questions. This will help train them in prediction techniques.
- It is helpful to introduce a programme of reading at home. As part of the weekly homework assignments, an idea might be to introduce a reading scheme which involves the students in providing verbal or written reviews on the texts they have read. These could include: unabridged short stories or novels, newspaper and magazine articles, leaflets, non-fiction, etc. Where possible, your students should be encouraged to follow up on their hobbies and interests by reading magazines or looking on the internet for articles in English about sport, computers, fashion, etc. Research in these areas could also lead to a series of short class talks or articles for a class project. A class or school magazine may also encourage interest in reading.
- It is important to make sure your students are familiar with the format of the Reading paper. It will be helpful to spend time going through sample papers. The Reading paper has a standard structure and format so that students will know what to expect in each part of the paper.
- Students should be encouraged to read a text without thinking that they need to understand every word. They are not allowed to use a dictionary in the examination and they should be trained to deduce the meaning of unknown words from the context. Students often spend time worrying about the text at word level rather than trying to get a more global view of what it is about. Focus your students’ attention on understanding the overall function and message of texts or sections of texts.
- Your students need to read the instructions, title and sub-title of each reading text carefully. This is meant to give them an idea of what to expect from the text; it will tell them where the pieces come from and/or what the text is about. If there is a visual, it is usually included to help with a reference in the text that the students may not be familiar with, for example, a photo of a certain animal or place.
- It is important that your students are familiar with the instructions on the front page of the question paper, and for each part of the test. Your students should also be familiar with the technique of indicating their answer on the separate answer sheet so that they can do this quickly and accurately. Students need to be shown how to do this and have practice doing this in a timed exercise. They must record their answers on the answer sheet.
- When your students are familiar with the different task types, it is a good idea to discuss which part(s) take them longer to complete. Following this discussion you can suggest possible timings for each task. Your students need to be reminded that Parts 1, 2 and 3 are allocated 2 marks per question, while Part 4 is allocated 1 mark per question. Students at Cambridge English: Advanced level need to process large quantities of text in a defined time-scale and therefore need practice in planning their time carefully.