From Paper 1 (Reading) of the CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English) of the University of Cambridge , Part 1. In this part candidates are asked to read three extracts and to answer a total of 18 questions, six per extract.

Here are some directions and suggestions given in the CPE handbook for this task:
Students should be aware of the different aspects of vocabulary tested in this part of the paper. They should read through each text carefully, not forgetting the title, to get a general idea of the text type and meaning before looking at the options. They could also be encouraged to think about the possible forms and meanings of the gapped words at this stage. They should be aware that the missing word(s) may form part of an idiom, fixed phrase or collocation, so they should always check the words around the gap carefully. The missing word(s) must also fit the whole context of the passage so they should also check that the completed sentence makes sense in the passage as a whole. This is particularly important in the case of linkers.

Are you ready to read the extract and decide which answer best fits each gap?

________________________________

Bert vs Mrs Colly


Soon after his seventieth birthday, Bert ran into a (1) of bother with his next-door neighbour. He never told us exactly what had happened, just saying that it was all a (2) of nonsense; all we knew was that he'd had what he called a ‘misunderstanding' with his neighbour, Mrs Colly, and as a result she'd taken him to court. Bert decided to have a (3) at conducting his own defence and although he had no legal training, he made short work of the prosecution. The judge said he was satisfied there wasn't a grain of (4) in the accusations, and that Mrs Colly must have taken (5) of her senses, since she didn't have a shred of evidence to support her accusation. The case was widely reported in the local press, and Bert was made out to be something of a hero. But the whole thing (6) years on Bert, and his neighbours never regarded him in quite the same light again. As for Mrs Colly, she moved away soon after that, and we never did find out the truth about the ‘misunderstanding'.



From: Newbrook J. and Wilson J. (2001) New Proficiency Gold Coursebook. Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd.

1 2
Hi, Tanit,
Not sure what kind of a reply you're looking for. I guess I'm too grammar oriented.

Mrs Colly is missing a period.

Why the extra full stop between (1) and (2)? Emotion: smile
(It's ungrammatical, as you deprive the second "sentence" of its verb.)

Won't (2) accept both "pile" and "load"?

I guess "stab" works in (3), but in the US, "go" would be more idiomatic.
We say "have a go" and "take a stab."

- A.
5 out of 6 Emotion: smile
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Hi Avangi,
AvangiNot sure what kind of a reply you're looking for.
I'm not looking for anything here. Emotion: smile This is a test taken from a book (I put the reference in the first post) to help our members practise their English.
The CPE is a test for ESL students here in Europe. It tests knowledge of general English (I mean, not academic English or business English) at a very advanced level, and it's designed by a British university, so it's kind of 'biased' towards BrE. Here are some info about it: http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/general-english/cpe.html
AvangiWhy the extra full stop between (1) and (2)?
(It's ungrammatical, as you deprive the second "sentence" of its verb.)

Thanks! I made a mistake copying the test and I've now edited my post!
Avangi Won't (2) accept both "pile" and "load"?
No, it won't. Do you think both are acceptable? In that case, the test requires that takers choose the best/most likely/most common option (remember, it's about BrE Emotion: smile)
AvangiI guess "stab" works in (3), but in the US, "go" would be more idiomatic. We say "have a go" and "take a stab."
Thanks for this additional info. Unfortunately, in this kind of test one can only choose between the given options ...

Aha! I thought I was zinging the author! Emotion: big smile

When you choose the "posts with no reply" route, you're sometimes sneaking into these fora by the back door!
AvangiAha! I thought I was zinging the author!
LOL, were you? Emotion: winkEmotion: stick out tongue
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I didn't do too well in this one Emotion: sad

As Avangi pointed out, I also thought that in (2) both pile and load were suitable. Why is one right and the other wrong?

I am also unfamiliar with the expression (6) "put years on". Can anybody explain what it means, please?
Hi, Kerowin,
Some experiences are so stressful they cause us to age rapidly. I think of Poe's classic short story, The Descent Into The Maelstrom, or however you spell it.
AvangiHi, Kerowin,
Some experiences are so stressful they cause us to age rapidly. I think of Poe's classic short story, The Descent Into The Maelstrom, or however you spell it.
Thank you Avangi, that does make sense. I think it was the sentence "his neighbours never regarded him in the same light", which followed, that had me confused over the meaning of the first expression.
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