As the world gets increasingly globalized, it is becoming a lot easier to share knowledge, ideas, and cultural values with people who are different than you. Whether you travel to study, work, or relax, it is a learning experience like none other. However, while immersing yourself in a different culture is excellent, there needs to be something that binds everyone together and makes it easier for them to connect. That something, more often than not, is language.

English, over time, has become one of the most global languages. It is spoken and understood in many parts of our world, and the fact that it is the primary language in countries like the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom makes it quite mandatory that people be proficient in English if they want to study at top-class institutes or work at multi-national companies. Various tests exist to measure one’s English proficiency and, therefore, their eligibility to study or work abroad. One such test is Cambridge Advanced English or CAE. This article will discuss CAE Reading and tips to score well.

An Introduction to C1 Advanced (CAE)

The University of Cambridge accredits CAE and covers CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) levels from B2 to C2. This equates to IELTS bands from 6 to 9. While IELTS may be the more popular language proficiency test, a very good thing about CAE is that it is valid for a lifetime as opposed to just two years.

The test comprises four sections: Reading & Use of English, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. In this guide, we will focus on Reading & Using English and go through some tips that will help you do better on your test.

Overview of C1 Advanced (CAE) Reading

The Reading Section tests not only your reading skills but also your vocabulary and grammar. It has the following 8 parts comprising 56 questions that have to be attempted within 90 minutes:

  1. Multiple-choice cloze
  2. Open cloze
  3. Word formation
  4. Key word transformations
  5. Text with multiple-choice questions
  6. Cross-text multiple matching
  7. Text with missing paragraphs
  8. Multiple matching

Tips & Techniques to Increase Your C1 Advanced Reading Score

Now that we’re all familiar with the test a slight let’s take a look at some of the tips that can help you score well:

Tip 1: Get Some Graded Readers

Many people will tell you that you need to start reading to improve your vocabulary and reading skills, and they’ll be right. But you can be more efficient about the process by using graded readers. A graded reader is a book based on an original novel, but the language of which is adjusted according to different CEFR levels. Graded readers are great to help you do well on the Reading Section of the CAE test because they are more specific in training you at different levels as opposed to an original novel which may have language that is either too simple or too complicated.

Tip 2: Learn the Difference Between Fact and Opinion

During the CAE Reading test, you will be tested on your understanding of facts and opinions. This might seem simple, but the difference between the two can be so subtle at times that it can confuse even the most avid readers. So, before walking into the test, read some texts that give you a better idea about these sentences. Let’s take a look at an example of each:

“It was determined that the accident was the driver’s fault”

“The witness said that the accident was the driver’s fault”

The first sentence is a fact, while the second is an opinion. Words like ‘determine’, ‘reveal’, and ‘aware’ usually represent facts, and those like ‘think,’ ‘say,’ and ‘possible’ indicate opinions.

Tip 3: Skim, Read, Locate

Skim the paragraph first when you’re reading a paragraph to answer questions. Try to note essential facts and keywords during this first read. After that, go on to the questions and read them carefully. Almost every question has a keyword that you can locate in the paragraph. Most of the time, you can find the answer to your question near that located keyword.

However, this does not mean that reading the whole paragraph carefully is unnecessary because the context sometimes matters a lot. It’s essential to have a general understanding of the paragraph itself to determine better the answers to the questions in the CAE Reading test. This is especially helpful when you have to fill in blank spaces in the paragraph from a few choices given to you.

Tip 4: Try to Guess the Words

When required to fill in black spaces in sentences, try guessing the word that fits in the space. To do this, you have to read the complete text very usually, ignoring the blank spaces, to understand the context. If you’re used to reading books or novels, you will automatically be able to think of a couple of possible words while reading the paragraph. When you have a couple of possibilities, you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact word from the choices at your disposal much more quickly.

Tip 5: Ensure Grammatical Sense

Whenever you are given a multiple-choice question in the CAE Reading test, fit each word into the sentence and see if it makes grammatical sense. These tests are designed to trick you, and, at times, you’ll find that two or more words look very similar. This is where your vocabulary and grammar are tested, so ensuring that the word you have selected fits in perfectly with the sentence goes a long way in helping you pick the correct answer.

Tip 6: Read the Instructions Carefully

This may seem simple, but you’d be surprised how many people lose marks because they attempted a portion of the test wrong. It is, therefore, crucial that you read the instructions for each of the 8 portions of the test carefully to figure how what you need to do and, equally importantly, how you need to do it.

Tip 7: Manage Your Time

Remember not to spend too much time on a single question. If you don’t know the answer, move on and return to it when you can because the test has to be attempted within a specific time limit, and managing your time is very important.

Tip 8: Attempt All Questions

And finally, try not to leave anything blank. There is always a chance, especially in the multiple-choice cloze, that you will get the answer right even if you don’t know what to choose. So, always attempt each question to improve your chances of scoring well, even if you’re unsure of your choice.


So, there you have it. Some very simple yet highly effective tips are sure to aid you in scoring high on your CAE Reading Test. We urge you to go through them carefully and apply them wherever possible.


Hopefully, this article was very helpful, and you were able to take away some valuable points. Make sure also to check out our Scholarships Page for different information on scholarships and universities across the globe!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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