+44 (0)20 7605 4123 Student Login

Exam Answer Time

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my group of Swiss students who are taking both the CAE and the BEC Higher exam. We are now into the third week of the course and I’m happy to say that they are still applying themselves to the course and doing well. In my previous post, I gave you all a test by strategically placing 15 gaps in the text to provide an example of a CAE exam question.

Well, as promised, here are the answers:

(1)  have (“As part of their training programme, they have come to the London School of English…”).  This part of the exam often tests your knowledge of verb forms, in this case the Present Perfect.

(2)  order (“... for twelve weeks in order to improve their English skills …”).  Fixed expressions are also tested.  In this case, in order to + infinitive expresses purpose, or the reason for doing something.

(3)  for (“and to prepare for the CAE...”).  This is a dependent preposition – a preposition which commonly follows a verb.  Knowledge of these is essential for the exam. 

(4)  can (“Over the next three months, the students can expect to improve their reading…”).  This is a verb pattern meaning it is possible to improve.  If you used can’t here, it would be incorrect as the text would not make any sense.

(5)  of (…as well as widen their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary”).  This is another example of a dependent preposition. 

(6)  than (“More than ever…”).  This is a comparative structure, and is followed by a phrase which describes what it is that is important.

(7)  in (“a good knowledge of English is needed to succeed in international business…”) Another dependent preposition, not to be confused with to succeed at something.

(8)  much (“…students will have a big advantage in the job market and much greater flexibility…”) In this case, the sentence makes sense without adding anything.  When this happens, you probably need to use a comparative adverb so be careful to check whether the noun which follows is countable or uncountable.

(9)  been (“we have been looking at…”) Like number 1; an auxiliary verb is missing from the verb form.

(10) complete/read (“…students have to read/complete a short text on a general topic”).  Sometimes there is more than one correct answer, so you need to find a verb which collocates with the noun text

(11) but (“…tests not only vocabulary but also grammar”) This is an emphatic comparative structure not only X but also Y

(12) is (“…think about the kind of word which is needed in each space”).  Sometimes the correct answer is quite straightforward.  Here your knowledge of the passive voice is being tested (by me!).

(13) by (“Don't make an elementary mistake by putting in something which doesn't fit”).  A verb pattern, to make a mistake by doing something.

(14) a (“It's usually easy to spot a missing article”) Knowledge of articles – a/an/the – are often tested!

(15) though/but/although (“…or preposition though/but/although it may be harder to decide which linking word to use”).  You also need to know about linking words and when to use them.

So how did you do?  Was the task easy or hard?  If you’re planning to take any exam soon, then good luck from all of us at the school.


  • to apply yourself to sth - (verb pattern.) to try very hard to achieve something
  • strategically - (adj.) carefully and thoughtfully for a specific reason
  • essential - (adj.) very important, necessary
  • straightforward - (adj.) simple

By Andy

All articles Next article

Post your questions and comments:

Why study at The London School of English?

  • Rated “Excellent” in over 450 independent client reviews
    Over 100 years’ experience
    Tailored training delivers clear results
    Memorable experiences in London, Canterbury or online
Find out more