C2 Proficiency Exam Guide: Key Word Transformations

Reading & Use of English Paper


Context: Part 4 of the Reading & Use of English paper consists of six key word transformations. Each question is structured with a lead-in sentence, a key word, and a second response sentence with a gap.

Task: Candidates must use the key word to fill the gap in the second sentence, ensuring it has a similar meaning to the lead-in sentence. The transformation may require altering the grammatical form of the key word, and the answer should consist of three to eight words, including the key word.

Objective: To test grammar and vocabulary skills by manipulating structures and lexical phrases to create a similar meaning sentence.

Scoring & Marks: The six questions are worth twelve points, so two points for each. There are 72 points available for the whole Reading & Use of English paper.

How to Approach

  1. Word Limit Adherence: Remember that the answer must consist of three to eight words. Contractions (e.g. don't, can't, shouldn't) count as two words.
  2. Key Word Usage: The key word provided must be used as it is and should not be altered in any way.
  3. Sentence Structure Analysis: Pay attention to the verb form and the words immediately before and after the gap, as they give clues about the correct form of the answer.
  4. Paraphrasing Practice: Practise rewriting sentences from texts or listening activities for paraphrasing skills. This can involve identifying the original sentence from a paraphrase.

Example Question

3. He failed the exam as he didn't work as fast as the rest of the class.
His failure was blamed on his inability _____________________ rest of the class.

Assessment Focus

This part focuses on grammar and vocabulary, particularly the ability to manipulate sentence structures and lexical phrases while maintaining meaning.


How It Looks

example Key Word Transformations question from C2 Proficiency
C2 Proficiency, Example Key Word Transformations Question

Student Suggestion

"Rewriting sentences and focusing on the transformation of key words greatly helped me understand this challenging part of the exam." - Lina Kovacevic

Practice Exercises

We have a page on the site to practise: C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformations Exercises

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