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Paper 1 (Reading Exam) - Part 1 (Multiple Choice)


Here is a brief overview of Paper 1.

Total exam time: 1 hour

Paper 1 = 20% of marks

Overview of FCE Paper 1

(Source: FCE Paper 1 Reading)


A. Answer the questions about Paper 1.

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1)How much time do you have to complete Paper 1?
2)How many questions are there in total?
3)Which part has the most questions?
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Part 1 - Multiple Choice

In Part 1, you read a text which is approximately 700 words and answer 8 multiple choice questions. You have 20 minutes to complete Part 1.

In this lesson, we are going to look at some techniques to help you answer multiple choice questions.


Technique 1

In order to answer multiple choice questions quickly, you should skim read the text to find out where you can find the information to answer the question.

Skim read = move your eyes rapidly over the text with the aim of understanding the main ideas and getting a general overview of the content.



B. Skim read the text about a driving experience to find out in which paragraph the writer mentions these ideas.



Paragraph 1

It was my sixteenth birthday and my whole family had clubbed their money together to buy me my first motorbike. It was like a dream come true. I remember coming home from school, opening the front door and my mum handing me a key. “What’s this mum?”, I said. “It’s your birthday present”, she claimed. The first thing that came across my mind was that she had bought me a power scooter or an electric toy car. You know, the ones for kids which go at about 5 miles an hour. But no, she rushed me into the garden, where my dad, sister, auntie and uncle were standing and as soon as they saw me, they parted way, only to reveal a shiny red motorbike. What a surprise! It was the same one I had seen in a magazine a couple of months ago.


Paragraph 2

After thanking everyone profusely, I asked if I could take it for a ride. “Go for it!”, my dad exclaimed. “I’ll have a go after you”, he added. My auntie handed me a red helmed which matched the bike perfectly and off I went. “Be careful” they all shouted behind me. I was too excited to reply. I sped off down the road. I felt on top of the world.


Paragraph 3

After about ten minutes of driving cautiously, I decided to test the bike’s speed. After all, it was my birthday and there weren’t any cars in front of me. I accelerated and watched the speedometer….55, 60, 65, 70 “Come on, you can go faster than that”, I shouted. At that point, I noticed a sharp bend on the horizon. I applied the brakes, but squeezed just a little too tightly and the bike started to skid. I couldn’t control it and before I knew it, I was on the grass verge and heading straight for a large oak tree.


Paragraph 4

When I woke up, there were lots of strangers milling around. I was in a bit of a daze and didn’t know where I was. I tried to focus and that’s when a lady came up to me and shouted “He’s awake”. It was at that moment my mum came running over to me. “Thank goodness you’re alive, son” she said. “We’ve been so worried about you”, she sobbed. She explained what had happened.


Paragraph 5

A man had found me in a ditch by the roadside and had called the ambulance. The ambulance had taken me to hospital, where I was rushed immediately into surgery. Where I had smashed into the tree, I had managed to puncture my lung and so I needed an emergency operation to fix it. I also needed stitches on my leg and my arm had to be put into plaster as I had broken it.


Paragraph 6

To be on the safe side, I was made to stay in hospital for 5 days. During that week, I realised how lucky I had been. I was on a ward with other children that had experienced all different kinds of accidents and some of them had not been as lucky as me. One boy, Kevin had been told that he would have to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair because the damage to his legs was so severe. A girl named Sophie was on her motorbike and hadn’t been wearing a helmet. She had to have over 70 stitches across her forehead and was told that she would have a permanent scar and she might not be able to see out of one eye.


Paragraph 7

During my stay, I was looked after my some wonderful people. The doctors and nurses treated me so kindly. One lady, Doris, liked to sing and although she wasn’t very good at it, she always brought a smile to my face. Then there was, Eileen, she told some really funny jokes and had the whole ward in stitches.


Paragraph 8

Without a doubt I will always remember my sixteenth birthday. Not because I spent it in hospital, but because I was lucky to meet some extremely caring people. Now that I’m 21 and earning some money, every year on my birthday I take Eileen and Doris out for lunch to thank them for looking after me. They enjoy taking a break from the ward and I love listening to Doris sing, and Eileen tell her jokes.


In which paragraph does the writer mention?

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1)A bad singer?
2)The boy's injuries?
3)A nasty bend?
4)Other patients?
5)A nice surprise?
6)A strange awakening?
7)An annual reunion?
8)A helpful stranger?
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Check your answers.


Exam tips

Try to follow these steps when you answer the multiple choice questions in Paper 1.

1. Start by reading the text quickly so you understand what the text is about.

2. Try not to translate the text into Spanish. It will take too long and you'll end up getting confused.

3. Look at the first question and try to find the answer. Always start at the beginning of the text. Usually the question will not repeat the same words as the text, so look for synonyms (words with similar meaning) or antonyms (the opposite meaning).

4. If you are unsure of the answer, begin by rejecting the answers which are incorrect. Then look at the text and try to find the same as the options you have left. Look again for synonyms and antonyms.

5. The answer for Question 2 will always come after the answer for Question 1 so don't go back to the beginning every time you start a new question.


C. Now answer the multiple choice questions.

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  1. Why was the author so surprise on his birthday?
  2. What does the author mean by “I felt on top of the world” (Line 14)
  3. Why did he crash?
  4. During his stay in the hospital, the writer
  5. Every year on his birthday, the writer
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1.      C

2.      A

3.      B

4.      A


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