Well done you! You’ve made it to Part 6 of the Cambridge English C1 Advanced Reading and Use of English exam. Not long to go now – just three more reading sections. And it will all be worth it in the end, we promise.

Part 6 of the exam is quite tricky and requires some patience and strategy. The text is very long, and each of the segments (A, B, C and D) seem really similar. This is intentional as they all focus on the same topic, but they are written by different authors, and the attitudes and opinions are all different.

To help you get the marks you deserve, we’ve put together this handy guide on how to answer Reading and Use of English Part 6. So, without further ado – let’s get reading!


What’s in Part 6?

The first thing you’ll see is a page of four different texts on a related theme (A, B, C and D). Here’s an example of extract A from a C1 Advanced sample paper.

Whats in part 6 Cambridge Advanced | Oxford House Barcelona

Cambridge English C1 Advanced Sample Paper 1 (zip)

Next, you’ll be given a list of four questions. This might seem like very few, but they are all worth two marks. So, there’s a total of eight marks up for grabs on this paper alone.

C1 Advanced Part 6: Reading and Use of English Sample Questions | Oxford House Barcelona
What are they testing me on in Part 6?

This part of the exam is called the cross-text multiple matching task. It’s named this way because you need to match the attitudes and opinions of four different people. They may agree on some ideas, but disagree on others – it’s your job to identify these different opinions.

There are two ways the examiners might frame the question. They might ask you to identify an opinion, and then find which other text shares or contradicts this opinion.

e.g. Which reviewer shares A’s opinion whether architects should take note of de Botton’s ideas?

On the other hand, they may ask you to identify which text differs from the three other texts in terms of opinion.

e.g. Which reviewer has a different opinion from the others on the confidence with which de Botton discusses architecture?


How should I answer the questions?

Before you get ahead of yourself, this particular Reading requires a bit of planning. The questions are worded in a particular way that’s designed to confuse you. And without the right strategy, it’s easy to get tangled up in all the different texts. Here are the steps you should follow in order to guarantee success:

1. Read the title and the rubric first

The title is there to help you – it’ll give you the topic and give you an idea of what’s to come. In this, the title and theme is The Architecture of Happiness.

This will be followed by the rubric, which will give you further information about the topic: “Four reviewers comment on philosopher Alain de Botton’s book.”

So, you know you’re dealing with four book reviews, all about the same book, written by a philosopher, on the topic of architecture. Or maybe happiness. Or both.

2. Skim read the main text

It is recommended you do this with all the Cambridge English exam Readings. But what’s the point? Well, it’s called “reading for gist.” It means getting all the main ideas and information of a text without focusing on the details.

This step is particularly important for Part 6 of the exam, as you’ll get a sense of whether the author has overall positive or negative attitudes towards the topic. Be careful though! They also have mixed opinions too.

3. Start with the easiest questions first

Unlike other parts of the Reading and Use of English paper, it’s not necessary to complete the questions in order. So, you should always start with the easiest questions first. Take a look at these examples:

C1 Advanced Part 6: Reading and Use of English - Identify the easier question | Oxford House Barcelona

The first question (37) is the most difficult. Why? Because you would have to read all four texts to identify the correct answer. The others, on the other hand, give you a clear starting point by asking you to compare with either A, B or C’s opinions. Therefore, you should leave question 37 until last, and focus on the other questions first.

4. Identify A’s opinion

Imagine you decide to start with question 38. First you need to identify reviewer A’s opinion on “whether architects should take note of de Botton’s ideas”. Underline this in the question to help you remember what you’re looking for.

Now, start reading A and find their attitude. Read it carefully, and when you think you’ve found the answer, stop and underline it.

5. Now compare it with the other texts

Now’s where the detective work comes in. Remember, you want to find which other author shares A’s opinion.

Start by reading text B and try to identify the part where they comment on the topic. Once you’ve found it, underline it. And decide if it agrees or disagrees with A’s attitude. If it agrees, then great – you’ve found the correct answer!

If it disagrees, move on to text C (and then D).

*Just in case, you might want to check with the other two remaining texts even if you think you’ve found the one that agrees. Like we said, the attitudes are often very similar. And sometimes it’s difficult to identify which two are the same.

6. Repeat the steps for the remaining questions

Now, you should go back to step 4 and repeat the process for the rest of the questions. Remember to leave question 37 until last. That way, you will have already read the four texts a few times, and have more of an understanding of everyone’s opinions and attitudes to answer the question.

7. Check your answers

Don’t forget to leave a couple of minutes at the end to check your answers. But be careful of changing them at the last minute. You’re more likely to change a right answer to a wrong answer if you’re feeling rushed!


Tips for studying and resources

  • Timing: You only have 90 minutes to complete the whole Reading and Use of English paper. That means time is of the essence. We recommend spending about 30 minutes on the first four parts and the remaining hour on Parts 5-8. You should therefore spend about 15 minutes on Part 6.
  • Look at other opinion texts: Book reviews, film reviews, newspaper articles and academic writings all often look at presenting different arguments. Read these and practise identifying varying points of view throughout.
  • Always answer the questions: There is no negative marking in Cambridge English exams. So if you run out of time or really aren’t able to answer the question – take a guess!
  • Practise: Cambridge English has two sample practice papers on their website for you to try at home. We’ve also put together this list of online resources for preparing for the C1 Advanced exam.


Related articles

Don’t forget to read our other articles for the C1 Advanced exam!

Looking for more help in passing your C1 Advanced? Check out our Cambridge English preparation courses – designed to get you the best results on exam day.

Glossary for Language Learners


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

Tricky (adj): difficult.

Without further ado (exp): without any delay.

Up for grabs (exp): available.

Frame (v): to formulate an idea.

Get ahead of yourself (exp): to act prematurely.

Get tangled up (exp): to become involved in a difficult situation.

Get a sense of sth (exp): to find out or discover.

Move on (pv): proceed.

Rushed (adj): hurried or without being given much time.

Time is of the essence (exp): time is important.

Run out of time (exp): to not have enough time to complete something.


adj = adjective

exp = expression

v = verb

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