Use of English Part 3

Part 3 of the Reading section in the Cambridge English: First (FCE) examination is known as the “Word Formation” task. This section assesses candidates’ ability to use affixes (prefixes, suffixes) to form new words. The focus is on vocabulary knowledge and understanding the morphological structure of words.


  • Type of Text: The text in Part 3 is typically a longer passage, such as an article or report, with gaps in the text. Each gap corresponds to a word that needs to be formed.
  • Number of Gaps: There are usually eight gaps, and you are required to fill in each gap with a word formed by adding a prefix, suffix, or both.

Skills Assessed:

  1. Vocabulary Knowledge: You need to be familiar with a range of prefixes and suffixes to form words that fit the context.
  2. Morphological Awareness: The task assesses your understanding of how words can be modified through the addition of affixes.
  3. Contextual Understanding: You must consider the overall meaning and context of the passage to choose the most suitable word forms for each gap.

Tips for Success:

  • Read the Passage First: Begin by reading the entire passage to grasp the main ideas and context.
  • Underline Gaps: As you read, underline or mark the gaps to make it easier to locate them when filling in the words.
  • Consider Context: Choose word forms that make sense in the given context. Pay attention to the meaning of the sentence.
  • Prefixes and Suffixes: Brush up on your knowledge of common prefixes and suffixes, as well as how they can change the meaning of a base word.
  • Time Management: Keep track of your time, as you need to complete the entire Reading section within the allocated time.

**Practicing with sample passages and focusing on building your vocabulary, especially in terms of word formation, can help you prepare effectively for Part 3 of the Reading section in the FCE exam.**