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What to study for Key Word Transformations - Cambridge B2 First

B2 First: Reading and Use of English - Part 4 (Key Word Transformations)

Are you preparing for the Cambridge B2 First exam? Are you feeling nervous about the 'use of English paper'? Do you struggle with part 4?

Key word transformations (part 4) is a great test for your English because it assesses your control and command of the language in both grammar and vocabulary. The task is not complicated - use the key word to complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first sentence. However, preparing for this part of the exam can be overwhelming since it can cover so many different areas of English.

Here's my check list of areas to study which will help you master this part of the exam:

1. Comparative/Superlatives

Make sure you are clear on structures relating to comparative and superlative adjectives. Revise so/such, as + adjective + as, and too/enough which often appear in this part of the exam.


2. Passives

Transforming active to passive or passive to active is often required. Practise doing both.


3. Direct and Indirect Speech

You are sometimes asked to transform a sentence from direct speech to indirect speech or from indirect to direct speech. Look at key phrases for this and how to recognise the requirement for indirect speech.


4. Auxiliary verbs

You will often find questions that test your knowledge of auxiliary verbs (primary auxiliaries and modal auxiliaries). Make sure you are clear about this fundamental part of the English language.


5. Conditionals

Any type of conditional sentence is likely to appear.

6. 'Unreal' past tenses

You will sometimes find sentences using 'If only ...', 'I wish ...', I'd rather ...' etc that require the use of past tenses.


7. Verb patterns

Your knowledge of verb patterns (gerund and infinitives) is frequently tested in part 4 of this paper.

8. Multi-word Verbs

Sentences requiring phrasal verbs often appear in this part of the exam. Learn as many as you can, and don't forget to also note their flexibilities and limitations.

Structure your revision around these key areas, and before you know it, you'll be feeling much more confident.

Bonus tip: For each question, start by asking "what does the examiner want me to do?" In most cases, you will be able to identify one of the above areas. This will allow you to narrow the problem down, recall necessary structures and patterns, and apply your knowledge effectively to the task.

Read more about how to prepare for exams here.


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