Part four (key word transformation)
Love it or hate, part four tests your ability to express yourself in different ways. You're given a sentence in one form and you must change it into another sentence of a similar meaning but with a different grammatical structure and using the 'key word' given. You CANNOT change the word you are given and must use between two and five words, including the word given.
Normally you will have to change two things and so each question carries two marks - so if you get half of it right you should get at least one mark.
The example above is a typical part four exam question of changing a sentence in the active form into a passive form. There's usually at least question you'll have to answer where you're asked to change the sentence from active to passive or vice versa.
Other grammatical structures and vocabulary commonly tested:
Top tips for this part
Just like in part three, it's imperative that you look at the grammatical form of the first sentence and compare it to the key word you're given along with and the rest of the new sentence. You need to think about the meaning but don't just try and make up a sentence that you think has the same meaning without analysing the grammar.
Remember that contractions count as two words. E.g. "Isn't" would be two words.
Check the number of words you're using - no less than two but no more than five (including the word given).
Last but not least, the best way to prepare for the FCE exam is to take exam-focused classes at a good English academy. Your teacher will be able to work through exam questions with you and demonstrate to you how you should answer each question, so if you're not at a very good English academy that isn't accredited or you would like to find a reputable one near to you, then go to our homepage and search for one. You can compare the different qualities and facilities language schools have and also their reviews.
For the next part of our article we will write out a tutorial outlining how you should tackle this question.
1. Paula can't wait to hear the band's new album
Paula is really ............................ the band's new album.
In this first question, you're being asked to change "can't wait" to another phrase with a similar meaning.
Recall the phrase 'to look forward to' and think about how you might put this into the rest of the sentence.
If you can also remember how gerunds are used, you will know that gerunds can both complement the verb 'to be' and are also followed by prepositions. So, can you think how you must write the sentence now?
If you put:
Paula is really looking forward to the band's new album
You would score one mark. Notice that in the sentence you're given there is an extra verb, 'to hear', so you should put this into your sentence. Would it be correct, however, with just the infinitive form? As mentioned above, we must use the gerund form after prepositions.
Answer: Paula is really looking forward to hearing the band's new album
2. Buying a daily newspaper seems pointless to me
I can't ........................ a daily newspaper
You're given the adjective form, 'pointless' in the first sentence and they want you to use the noun form, 'point'. Hopefully this should get you thinking about phrases you've heard with this word. You're being tested on your knowledge of collocations and two might come to your mind:
to get the point
to see the point
Which would would you use?
Similarly to the question before, you'll need to correctly place the gerund in the sentence after a preposition. (Hint - the gerund form is already at the beginning of the first sentence).
Answer: I can't see the point of/in buying a daily newspaper
3. Daniel thought the flight would be more expensive than it actually was.
The flight .......................... as Daniel thought it would be
OK so in this question you've got 'more expensive than', i.e. a comparative and you're given 'not' as the key word and 'as' after the space in the second sentence. Immediately you should be thinking about the different comparative forms we can make with adjectives. So, how could you make one here using 'as' and 'expensive'?
Answer: The flight wasn't as expensive as Daniel thought it would be.
4. It's a shame i'm not able to come to your party on Saturday.
I ............................... to your party on Saturday.
In our next example, the first sentence is about something you wish you could do. Does that give you a hint?
Answer: I wish I could come to your party on Saturday.
5. There were no trainers left in Denzel's size anywhere on the website.
The website had ............................... trainers in Denzel's size.
What phrasal verb could you make with 'sold'? Also, which preposition would you need to use after it?
Answer: The website had sold out of trainers in Denzel's size.
6. Gwenda deleted her sister's photographs by accident
Gwenda ................................ her sister's photographs
Can you think of another similar phrase to 'by accident'?
Answer: Gwenda didn't mean to delete her sister's photographs.
A word of caution for this part
Each question of the exam is designed to take you around 10 minutes and for this question, there might be some sentences you're asked to transform where you simply haven't got a clue and it would be a waste of time spending too long trying to work out just one of them.
So, do the ones you think you know the answer to and for the ones you can't think of the answer for, come back to them at the end of the test if you have time. There are three other parts left after this one and they're worth a lot more marks than what you could score here.
Perhaps more importantly, don't allow this question let you to think that you don't know anything about English and that you're going to fail etc etc. Most people find this question to be one of the most difficult ones.
Hopefully now you can see the way you need to think about this question in order to maximise your score. Follow the strategy outlined in this article you should be able to score better than most.
Rob Hamburg is a trained English teacher from England who has numerous years of experience teaching English to young learners, teenagers and adults in Spain. He completed his bachelor degree in 2010 at The University of Manchester and obtained CELTA certification in 2015. As well as being an active teacher on Verbling, Rob teaches English online for SayABC and gives classes via Skype and Google Hangouts.