Are you studying for the B2 First exam? You’re in the right place!

In this series of blogs we want to show you all you need to know about passing the B2 First with flying colours! We’re going to offer you tips and tricks, as well as explore some examples. Last time we covered Reading and Use of English Part 2, and now we’re diving into Part 3.

Read on to find out more about how to get top marks in this section.


What is in Part 3?


So let’s start by explaining what exactly Part 3 is about.

This section is called Word Formation and it consists of 8 questions – like Parts 1 and 2. You will receive one mark for each question answered correctly.

There will be a text with gaps and corresponding words in capital letters at the end of the sentences shown in the example here:


You have to change the word in capital letters in some way to fit the sentence structure. The word you are given is the root of the new word you’ll need to form to fit in the gap.

What are they testing me on in Part 3?


This section tests your understanding of English vocabulary. Not only does this mean your range of vocabulary, but also your ability to change the form of a word by creating the noun, adjective, adverb and other types of the word.

For instance, if you have the word sleep, it could be changed to sleepy, sleepily, sleeping, asleep etc., depending on context. This often involves changing the suffix. See examples below:

Cambridge English B2 First Example 1 | Oxford House Barcelona

Make sure to be aware of any spelling changes you need to make to create the new form of the word. For instance, the verb obey becomes the adjective obedient by replacing the ‘y’ with a ‘d’ and ‘i’. Similarly, the verb approve becomes the noun approval without the ‘e’.

Furthermore, this section tests your general comprehension. It’s important to be aware of positive and negative forms of the word depending on the context. For this, you may need to add a prefix. See the examples below:

Cambridge English B2 First Example 2 | Oxford House Barcelona

Similarly, look out for which words should be singular or which would make more sense to be plural. For instance, this sentence calls for the plural noun ‘vacancies’:

‘I’ve been trying to find a new job but all the vacancies are for part-time work only.’ VACANT


How should I answer the questions?


1. Read the text for understanding

First and foremost, we recommend that you read through the whole text to get an idea of what it’s about. This is important because it will help you with the meaning, and make comprehension easier. At this point, don’t try to fit the words in capital letters into the gaps.

Start by reading the title – it’ll help you figure out the topic. This one is entitled ‘An incredible vegetable’. This implies that the text may talk about the amazing properties of a specific vegetable or its dietary benefits, for example.


2. Take one gap at a time

Now you know what the text is about you can turn your attention to the words on the right hand side. Firstly, think about the type of word that may fit in the gap.

For example, does the gap need an adjective or a noun? Then think about whether the word should be positive or negative, singular or plural. Make sure to read the entire sentence containing the gap to help you make your decision.

Write your answers in pencil so that you can make any corrections later on.

3. Read over it again once complete

Now you’ve got your rough answers in place, read over the whole text again to check that the words fit the context. If you haven’t been able to answer any of the questions, guess! It’s a good idea to always put something in the gap – you never know, it might just be right!

4. Check your spelling

Before finishing, double-check all your answers for the correct spelling. Unfortunately, you won’t get a point if you’ve got the incorrect spelling of a word. However, you can use both British or American spellings, but make sure you are consistent!

5. Write answers on your answer sheet

Finally, when you’re happy with your answers, put them on the answer sheet provided in CAPITAL LETTERS. The paper instructs you to do it as follows:

Cambridge English B2 First Example 4 | Oxford House Barcelona

Tips for studying


Proofread – Don’t forget to proofread all of your work for spelling and context. By simply taking a few minutes to check over your work at the end, you might spot an error and have time to correct it.

Answer all the questions – We always recommend that you answer all the questions, even if you’re just guessing. There’s always an opportunity to get marks even if you’re not 100% sure.

Watch your timing – Remember, you only have 1 hr 30 mins to complete the Reading and Use of English paper. Therefore, don’t spend too long on one section. Keep the flow going and practise timing yourself before exam day.


Related articles


For a little more practice, you can download two free B2 First sample tests from Cambridge English.

Find more online resources for practising for Cambridge English exams.

If you’re interested in learning how to get top marks in the other Use of English sections, check out our posts for Reading and Use of English Part 1 and Reading and Use of English Part 2.

We also offer tips for other sections of the exam. Check out our blog posts for the Writing section: essay, review, report, article, informal email/letter and a formal email/letter.


Looking for more support?


We know that studying for the B2 can be tricky! If you’re currently preparing for it or would like to begin doing so, then we’re here to help. At Oxford House, we offer exam courses specifically designed to help you get ready for the exam. Sign up now!

Glossary for Language Learners


Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

With flying colours (exp): do something with distinction.

Dive into (pv): become enthusiastically involved in or occupied with something.

First and foremost (exp): most importantly.

Figure out (pv): solve a problem or discover the answer to a question.

Rough (adj): approximate or not exact.

Guess (v): estimate or conclude something without enough information.

Spot (v): see, notice, or recognise something.

Tricky (v): difficult.


exp = expression

pv = phrasal verb

adj = adjective

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