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Home > English > Close reading exam > Exam advice


Exam advice

Managing your time

You have 50 minutes to show how skilful you are at close reading of a passage.

Believe it or not this is plenty of time if you work efficiently and sensibly.

  • Remember this is a test of reading not writing. Most of the answers require only a few words, at most a couple of sentences. It does not take you long to write this much. Do not rush your reading.
  • Always read the instructions at the start. They may give important information about the passage or the author.
  • Answer only what is required by the question. Sometimes you only have to write single words or very short expressions for answers. The space provided can act as a guide. If you find yourself writing extra lines and looking for spare space you probably don't have your answer clear enough.
  • You don't need to answer in sentences unless specifically asked to do so. Never waste time re-writing the wording of the question.
  • No matter how rushed you feel go back and check your answers read well. If you spot you have the same information in more than one answer, double check - it is unlikely that they will both be right.

Alert, detailed reading of the passage is the key to the questions - you must concentrate on the passage as you read. Never go to the questions first.


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