Reading and Writing Part 4

In this article, you are going to learn all the information you need to know about A2 Key Reading and Writing Part 4. I’m going to show you what exactly a typical task looks like, what you have to be careful with and the best tips and strategies so you can it well and get high marks.

Before we get started, think about getting some more general information about A2 Key. I have written an article that shows you what the different parts of the exam are and more useful information. If you are interested, just click the link below.

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

What do you have to do in Part 4?

3-option multiple-choice cloze – In this part, there is a shorter text with six gaps. For each gap, you can choose one word from three options A, B or C.

Example of Reading and Writing Part 4

The text is normally around 130 words long and you can see the different gaps and possible answers below the text.

Part 4 tests your vocabulary. You have to know the meanings of the possible answers very well and you need to find other words in the text that we can combine easily with one of the answer options.

In addition to choosing the correct options, you also have to transfer all your answers onto an extra answer sheet. The examiner gives you this sheet at the beginning of the test.

A2 Key Reading and Writing has seven parts in total and each part works differently. I wrote an article about Reading and Writing where you can get more general information about the different parts. You can click the link below to find out more.

>>> Learn more about A2 Key Reading and Writing <<<

What is difficult about Part 4?

You need to be careful in Reading and Writing Part 4 because there are some very common problems that many of my students have experienced. Luckily, you can avoid these mistakes if you know what they are so you can create a strategy against them.

Don’t get confused by the wrong options

Cambridge makes the exam in a way that confuses you. The three possible answers in Part 4 are always very similar and you have to know exactly what to do about it.

In the next chapter on tips and strategies, I am going to show you how you can stay relaxed and how to do the task the right way so you don’t feel stressed or confused.

Time management

Another big issue when it comes to A2 Key Reading and Writing is time. There are seven tasks you have to complete and, as I have said before, you have to transfer your answers onto an extra answer sheet. If we put all of this together, you get to around eight minutes for each task.

That is not a lot of time so it is very important for you to understand the exam well and to know what exactly you have to do.

Tips and strategies for Part 4

After talking about the problems, let’s have a look at the solutions. With a few small tips and tricks, you can save a lot of time and get through Part 4 easily.

General tips

As the name Reading and Writing suggests, it is a good idea to read regularly in English to prepare for the exam.

I always tell my students to start small. Don’t think that you have to read a whole book every week. Only five minutes per day can make a difference for you and you will see that your grammar and vocabulary can improve and your reading speed gets faster.

Another great way to prepare is to take English classes. You can do a lot alone, but it is always more fun to work with other people that have the same goal and a teacher who can help you directly if you have any questions or problems.

And last but not least, think about the way in which you want to go through Reading and Writing. You don’t have to do the different tasks in the same order as in the test. You could start with the writing tasks (Parts 6 and 7) or start with the grammar and vocabulary tasks (Parts 4 and 5). It is your decision and you should definitely think about it before you take the exam.

Follow a plan

When we look specifically at Reading and Writing part 4, we need to think about the best way to do this task. As I said before, you have to be able to fill in the gaps correctly and be as fast as possible at the same time.

With a good strategy, you can stay relaxed and focused so you get high marks without wasting time.

For Part 4, a good plan looks like this:

  • Read the text quickly
  • Analyse the gaps
  • Choose the correct answers
  • Read the text again

Now let’s have a look at the different steps.

Read the text quickly

The first step is to read the text fast. You want to get a better understanding of the topic of the text. Again, try to be fast because you shouldn’t use too much time here and don’t worry if you can’t understand every single word.

Analyse the gaps

The next step is where you really have to start working. You need to look at the words before and after each gap and look for specific words that can help you find the correct answer.

This is the same example I used earlier. For gaps 19 and 20 I underlined interesting information that can help us when we look at the different answer options.

Choose the correct answers

In the next step, you need to compare the underlined parts with the possible answers and find the one that we can use together with what I’ve underlined.

For gap 19, we have the three options class (A), subject (B) and course (C). When we talk about chemistry or similar areas like physics, maths, English or other things you study at school, we call them subjects so answer B is correct here. In a class, you might study more than just chemistry and because Perkin was a child in this part of the text he probably didn’t take special courses on chemistry.

In gap 20, it says that Perkin wanted ‘to make coal from medicine’, but ‘[t]his didn’t go well’. When you want to do something, but it doesn’t work, we say that you try to do it so option B must be correct. Option A is not possible because we use the verb think with ‘about’ or ‘of, but not with ‘to’. Option C is also wrong because when you decide to do something, you only have the idea in your head, but you are not doing it yet.

Repeat the previous step and this one with the other gaps until your done with everything.

Read the text again

The last step might feel like an extra, but it is still very important. We often focus so much on the details in this task that we forget about the text in general. If you read the text again when you’ve finished, you might find a mistake because it just doesn’t sound correct.

After all the hard work, you don’t want to miss any marks just because you got lazy so make sure that you read the whole text again.


In this article, I have shown you everything you need to be successful in A2 Key Reading and Writing Part 4. We looked at a typical task, common problems and the best strategy to complete all the questions quickly and safely.

You now have to take my advice and start practising. It is never to soon to start and with more practice, you can improve more and feel more confident and I hope this article will help you with that.

Lots of love,

Teacher Phill 🙂

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