Flo-Joe for Cambridge English Exams

Cambridge English: First

Practise the specific areas of language that feature in the Key Word Transformation task in the FCE Use of English paper.

FCE Key Word Transformation

Video tutorial

Part 4 of the FCE Reading and Use of English Paper is called 'Key Word Transformation'. Watch our short, 5 minute video explaining this task. Please note that reference to the 'new' exam format relates to the update that took place in 2015.



My name’s Peter Travis from Flo-Joe and in this video we’re looking at Part 4 of the Reading and Use of English Paper - Key Word Transformation. Here’s an example Key Word Transformation task from the FCE handbook - which you can download from the Cambridge English website. The task contains 6 questions. Each question consists of a lead-in sentence and a second gapped sentence. The gapped sentence must be completed using between 2 and 5 words. The word in capitals must be used and the form of the word cannot change. The example here contains the key word DRIVEN and as we can see the answer contains this word in the same form and with the maximum of 5 words used.

Part 4 tests your ability to paraphrase through your knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. A wide range of language could be tested here. However, some patterns appear quite often. Let’s look at a few of them.

Knowledge of structures like ‘so’/‘such’, ‘…er’/‘…est’ and ‘too’/‘enough’ are often tested in this task. Here’s an example.

You will sometimes be required to turn an active sentence into the passive in the Key Word Transformation task. Here’s an example.

Direct/Indirect Speech
You will sometimes have to turn direct into indirect speech or the other way round. For example.

Your ability to use conditional forms will often be tested in this task, such as in this example.

Exam tips
Finally, let's look at some tips for the exam. Be sure to follow the instructions: use the key word given, don’t change the form of this word and use between 2 and 5 words - no more. Remember that contractions count as two words.

We’ve noted several patterns that tend to appear, such as passives or reported speech. Pay attention to any new ones you come across during your preparation. This will help you to identify what’s required in each question in the exam.

Try to learn these new patterns by personalising the two sentences. Rewrite each one using the same structure so they describe something about you, your experience or feelings. Personalising in this way will help you remember the structures.

That’s the end of this video. If you’d like further practice in the new FCE exam visit the Flo-Joe website at www.flo-joe.co.uk.


Practice Key Word Transformation exercises using the structures listed above:

Ready to try some practice tests? Try these:

FCE Exam Success Plus!


Could you benefit from further insights into how the Key Word Transformation task is tested with weekly practice opportunities?

FCE Exam Success Plus!
Find out more

Your Feedback

"I passed FCE, now I'm preparing to CAE. Thanks to all Flo-Joe's crew for creating this wonderful site."
Anna Karbowska, Poland