HomeAdvanced Reading and Use of English Part 3


  1. In this task, there is a text with eight gaps (plus one example).
  2. At the end of each line with a gap, you will see a word in capital letters, e.g. USE.
  3. You have to form a new word based on the word in capitals to fill the gap. So from USE, you might form useful, usefully, usefulness, useless, userusage, etc.
  4. You need to decide what kind of word goes in the gap – an adjective (e.g. strong), a verb (e.g. strengthen), a noun (e.g. strength) or an adverb (e.g. strongly).
  5. You must spell each word correctly to get the mark – US and UK spellings are both accepted.
  6. You need to know how prefixes and suffixes are used in forming words – you might add the prefix im- to PERFECT to make imperfect, for example, or the suffix -ion, to make perfection, or even both, to make imperfection.
  7. You need to know about compound words in English – kind-hearted, cold-hearted and hard-hearted, for example, are compound adjectives (formed by combining two words).
  8. You also need to think about the meaning of the text – if the gap needs an adjective, should it be positive (e.g. comfortable, useful) or negative (e.g. uncomfortable, useless), for example?

TIP 1 · identifying parts of speech

What part of speech is needed to complete each gap – an adjective, an adverb, a verb or a noun?
How do you know? Suggest a word that could fill each gap.

Camco is one of the most ❶  companies in the country. A few years ago, it hit the
 because of its controversial research programme. Since then, scarcely a month has gone by when it has not ❸  in the news for some ❹  or another. But if you visit company headquarters, there is every likelihood that you will be ❺  impressed by what you see.

Complete this list. The first item has been completed as an example.


  1. noun: comparison
    verb: compare
    adjective: comparative, (in)comparable
    adverb: comparatively, (in)comparably
  2. noun: (in)stability, stabiliser
  3. noun:
    adjective: high
  4. noun: power
  5. noun:
    verb: observe
  6. noun:
    verb: develop
  7. noun: doubt(er)
    adverb: [/five_sixth]

[one_sixth_last]When you learn a new word, use a good dictionary to find out what other words are in the same word family (e.g. broad, broaden, breadth, broadly, broadminded, etc. = a word family). Learning about prefixes and suffixes will also sometimes help you work out the meanings of words you do not know, which can be useful for the Reading and Use of English and Listening papers.[/one_sixth_last]

TIP 2 · understanding suffixes

Here are just a few of the suffixes used in English. Complete the list with some examples.

  1. suffix: -er, -or
    effect: makes a noun from a verb
    meaning: person who does something; object that does something
    examples: computer, hairdryer, fighter, commuter, sailor, infiltrator, processor, compressor
  2. suffix: -dom
    effect: makes a noun from another noun or an adjective
    meaning: state or condition; realm or territory
  3. suffix: -ee
    effect: makes a person noun from a verb
    meaning: person affected by the verb
  4. suffix: -en
    effect: makes a verb from an adjective
    meaning: cause to have a quality
  5. suffix: -hood
    effect: makes an abstract noun from a person noun
    meaning: the state of being a particular type of person
  6. suffix: -less
    effect: makes an adjective from a noun
    meaning: being without something
  7. suffix: -ment
    effect: makes a noun from a verb
    meaning: process or result of making or doing something
  8. suffix: -proof
    effect: combines with a noun to form an adjective
    meaning: cannot be harmed by

Make new words from the words in CAPITALS at the end of each line to complete the sentences.
The words all use a suffix from Exercise ❶.

  1. The writer spent his  in a quiet seaside village. (BOY)
  2. We were so busy at work that there was no time to suffer from . (BORE)
  3. Can you lend me your penknife? I just need to  my pencil. (SHARP)
  4. We had four good applicants for the job, so it was hard to decide who would make the best . (APPOINT)
  5. It was very  of you not to give Sue a call on her birthday. (THINK)
  6. The presidential car will, of course, be completely . (BULLET)
  7. The morning trains to the city are always packed with . (COMMUTE)
  8. We are looking for staff who will offer total  to the company. (COMMIT)

TIP 3 · understanding prefixes

Match the underlined prefixes in these sentences to the meanings of the prefixes in the list.
Then explain the meanings of the words with the underlined prefixes.

again · not · not against · not below · not enough · not too much

  1. Luke’s very late – I guess he must have overslept again. 
  2. The teacher asked us to rewrite the exercise correcting all our mistakes. 
  3. We underestimated the amount of money we would spend on holiday. 
  4. There have been a number of anti-government demonstrations in the last year. 
  5. The little boy excitedly unwrapped the parcel. 
  6. It’s very irresponsible to go climbing without telling anyone your plans. 
  7. Unfortunately, this work is sub-standard. 
  8. Fletcher thought he had scored, but the goal was disallowed by the referee. 

Suggest three more examples of words for each of the prefixes in Exercise ❶.

Make new words from the words in CAPITALS at the end of each line to complete the sentences.
The words all use a prefix from Exercise
❶. You may need to add a suffix as well.

  1. We had an unusually cold winter, with  temperatures for two months. (ZERO)
  2. Everyone  his story – it just didn’t seem at all plausible. (BELIEVE)
  3. Teachers sometimes complain of being  and overworked. (PAY)
  4. Students often tend to be a bit , but they usually become less radical with age. (ESTABLISH)
  5. I’m sorry to be so  – l’d like to think things over for another day or two. (DECIDE)
  6. George means well, but his contributions to our meetings are often rather . (HELP)




  1. Read the title and, if there is one, look at the picture – these tell you the topic of the text.
  2. Read the whole text through before filling any of the gaps.
  3. For each gap, think about what part of speech is needed – a noun, verb, adjective or adverb.
  4. When you have completed the task, read through the text to make sure it makes sense.
  5. Check you have spelt the words you write correctly. Remember that US and UK spellings are both accepted.
  6. At the end of the test, carefully transfer your answers (using CAPITAL LETTERS) to the answer sheet.


[one_sixth_last]There are often clues both before and after the gap. If an adjective or adverb is needed, remember to think about whether it has a positive or a negative meaning.[/one_sixth_last]


For questions ❶-❽, read the text below. Use the word given in capitals to form a word that fits in the gap in the same line. There is an example at the beginning (0).
Write your answers IN CAPITAL LETTERS.


People have been carrying out (0)  (EXPLORE) by sea for thousands of years.
Our distant ancestors set out on ❶  (PERIL) voyages on primitive rafts and ships with no guarantee of ever seeing land again. ❷  (BELIEVE) though it may seem, there is evidence to suggest that sailors from Polynesia began to undertake long and ❸  (RISK) journeys, as far back as 1200 BC. They may even have travelled as far as South America. ❹  (ANALYSE) of fossilised chicken bones found in Chile suggests that Polynesian sailors had made their way to South America long before the ❺  (ARRIVE) of the Spanish. While Polynesians were exploring the Pacific, Vikings were sailing the Atlantic. Viking explorers reached North America but did not establish a permanent ❻  (SETTLE) there. They returned home with tales of a land where grapes grew in profusion and fish were ❼  (PLENTY) too . It is impossible not to feel great respect for the ❽  (BRAVE) of these intrepid early explorers.


  1. What part of speech do you need here?
  2. Is a positive or a negative word likely to be needed here?
  3. Which suffix is required to form the adjective here?
  4. Is a singular or a plural word needed here?
  5. Which suffix is needed to make the part of speech you need here?
  6. Do you need a singular or a plural word here?
  7. Do you need an adjective or an adverb here?
  8. Here you need a relatively unusual suffix for forming abstract nouns.

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