The third reading task in the exam is Task 7 in the Reading and Use of English Paper: a single long text from which six fragments have been removed so that you must match each gap with one of the seven fragments provided (yes, one is fake!).
In my opinion, this is the most difficult part of the whole exam – if I ever make any mistakes myself in the exam, it’s here. I suppose it’s because sometimes (although it usually happens in course books and not in the exam as such) the task writer got too subjective while removing a fragment and it is only him or her that can see the match.
Don’t worry. however. As I said, it usually happens with course book materials, and although it’s frustrating to have absolutely no idea why the answer to the question is D and not G, there are plenty of other tasks in the exam for which you can get really well prepared. Also, remember, that you don’t need to pass each paper to pass the whole exam and that you only need 60% to pass.
My procedure for Task 7 is the following:
1. Read the text until the first gap. Have a look at a sentence or two that follow the gap. What information is missing? Maybe there is a “he” or an “it” right after the gap and you don’t know who or what that is?
2. Read the fragments provided, trying to find the right one.
3. In theory there is something just before or just after each gap that matches something in the fragment that fits in.
4. If you think you have a match, mark the gap with a correct letter, then cross out the fragment you have used, and finally, highlight or underline the adequate fragments in the text and in the fragment.
5. If you are not sure, move on to the next gap immediately. Don’t waste your time on thinking at this point. Come back to the gap at the end of the task or the whole paper.
6. If you still have no idea and the time is running out, just choose any letter from the ones left – you might be lucky. Just remember to do this on the answering sheet and not in the text!