Reading and Writing Part 3

In this article, I’m going to show you everything you need to know if you want to get high marks in A2 Key Reading and Writing Part 3. You are going to see a typical exam task, common problems as well as tips and strategies so you can answer the questions quickly and correctly.

Before we continue, I would like to recommend reading my other article about the whole A2 Key exam. You can find out some more general information, which can be useful before you look at each individual paper in detail. If you are interested, just follow the link below.

>>> Everything you need to know about A2 Key <<<

What do you have to do in Part 3?

3-option multiple choice: You have to read a longer text and answer five questions. For each question you need to choose from three possible answers A, B or C.

This is the longest text you have to read in A2 Key Reading and Writing. It is usually around 250 words long so you have to be able to read quickly.

Here are the five example questions that belong to the text. For each question, there are three possible answers A, B or C and you have to choose the correct one.

Please remember that you also have to write your answer on an extra answer sheet. The examiner gives you this piece of paper at the beginning of the test so plan a little bit of time for that.

In A2 Key Reading and Writing, there are seven different parts and each task can give you different problems and challenges. You can get a better idea of how the exam paper works by clicking the link below.

>>> Get more information about A2 Key Reading and Writing <<<

What is difficult about Part 3?

There are two very common problems that I often see with my students when we practise Reading and Writing Part 3. You might find that you have experienced one or both of them, but don’t worry because in this article, I am going to show you exactly what you can do so these problems go away.

Students use too much time

In A2 Key Reading and Writing, you only get 60 minutes to complete seven different tasks. Also, you have to transfer all your answers onto an extra answer sheet. If this takes around five minutes, you have just 55 minutes left or about 8 minutes for each task.

It is very easy to run out of time and you have to be really careful, but with the right strategy, you can make sure that this will not happen to you.

Be careful with the wrong answer options

For many students, Reading and Writing Part 3 can be difficult because each question comes with three possible answers. Most of the time, there is some information in the text that matches all the different answers, but only one of them is correct.

The problem is that Cambridge designs the exam so you get confused very easily so it is important that you practise the task often and carefully. This way, you will learn to understand the information in the text better and to spot the little things that make the difference between the correct answer and the wrong options.

Tips and strategies for Part 3

Now that you know the biggest problems in Reading and Writing Part 3, it is time for the right strategy so you can avoid making the same mistakes.

General tips

Because Part 3 is a reading task where you have to look at a longer text, I recommend reading regularly in order to improve your speed and understanding of different texts. You can start with only a few minutes every day until you have formed a habit. You can then read more and more depending on how much time you have. For example, read while you are on the bus or train from and to work/school.

After some time, you will notice that you can understand different texts better and faster and that will help you a lot in the exam.

If it is difficult for you to study alone, you can also look for English classes in your town or online. There are many options for you and it can be very helpful to work with other students or a teacher.

Follow a plan

As I said earlier, you should always have a strategy when you go into A2 Key. Making a plan can help you with your timing because you always know what to do next and it minimizes the chance of making mistakes.

For Reading and Writing Part 3, this could be a good plan:

  • Read the text quickly
  • Analyse the questions and answers
  • Answer the questions

Read the text quickly

At the beginning it is a good idea to read the text once to get an idea of the topic and what it talks about.

You should read as quickly as you can because you don’t want to spend too much time here. Again, you just want to get a general idea of the text. You don’t have to understand every single detail.

Analyse the questions

The next step is to look at the questions and answers to find out what exactly you are looking for in the text. Underline the keywords so you can always look at the questions again and you know immediately what the keywords are.

In our example task from earlier, this looks like this:

You can see that it is very simple. You just look at the questions and underline what is important. That can sometimes be almost all of the question and sometimes just a few words, but it always helps you stay focused.

Answer the questions

The last step is the one where you do the real work. You read the text again, but this time you look at it in more detail trying to find the answers to the questions.

Here, you have to be very careful because you might find information about all the different answer options.

Let’s have a look at our example from before again.

I underlined all the information that tells you what the correct answers are, Can you guess which answers are correct?

For question 14, for example, the correct answer is B. Alice is a teacher (‘gives ballet lessons’) now (‘These days’). A is not correct because she ‘was’ a dancer in the past and answer C is wrong because Alice’s mother Hannah was a dress-maker, not Alice.

The other correct answers are: 15A, 16C, 17B, 18A.

It is always a good idea to think about why the wrong options are wrong when you practise this task. This way, you learn to look for little things like verb forms, names and other small pieces of information that make the answer option incorrect.


In this article, you have learned what you have to do in A2 Key Reading and Writing Part 3, what some of the most common problems are and how you can go through the task as quickly as possible without making mistakes.

With the new things you’ve learned, go and start practising. If you start early, you can improve and get faster before the exam. I hope this article helps you with that.

Lots of love,

Teacher Phill 🙂

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