4 Mar 2020

Training students to tackle C1 Reading Part 6

Many students (and teachers) fear C1 Reading Part 6.

It’s a new task, which doesn’t appear in any other Cambridge Assessment English exam.

It tests a reading skill which isn’t often tested in English exams:

Reading to compare and contrast information across different texts.

It is a typical academic reading skill, which makes is appropriate for use in an exam which is widely accepted as proof of high-level achievement in English language learning.

To help students do this reading task, I have come up with some suggestions.

Let’s take a look at a sample task, available from Sample Papers 4, here:


C1 Part 6 questions Sample Paper 4

My suggestions

1  Tell your students to take 4 different coloured pens.

2  After reading the rubric, which tells them what they are going to read about, tell them to look at the questions.  They will use a different coloured pen for each question.  

They should highlight whose opinion is the starting point (here, D in question 38, B in question 39 and C in question 40).  

There is no starting point for question 37, so we leave this till last.

And also, if they are looking for a shared/similar or different view.

3   Next, using the same coloured pen, write the question above each relevant text:

4   Find what each person says about the topic in question.

You can see the matches to the questions highlighted here.  I first highlighted the information in the text to discover the writer’s question, then I looked for matches to the topic in the other texts.

And I noted down the sides of the texts whether the writer agreed or disagreed with the reasons for sleep.

This gives me the answers to questions 38, 39 and 40.

38 Both D and B say that sleeping is a way for animals to remain safe. We are looking for a shared opinion.

(*Expert A disagrees with this point and there is no mention of the topic by expert C. )

So, our answer is B.

39 B does think that sleep aids memory. We are looking for another person with a different opinion.

Expert A disagrees that sleep aids memory because they feel that the evidence is still not confirmed. (*Expert C also thinks that sleep aids memory but we are looking for a different opinion. And there is no mention of memory by Expert D.)

So Expert A is our match!

40 Expert C thinks that sleep is important for body repair and maintenance. We are looking for a similar opinion.

Expert A also states that they believe that sleep is important for body repair and maintenance. (*Experts B and D disagree with sleep being important for body repair and maintenance.)

So, Expert A is our match!

5 We still have one question remaining – question 37. We have to find what the Experts say about whether all animals sleep. So, let’s take a different coloured pen, write this question above each text, and underline in the texts what the four experts say about this topic.

Experts A, B and D all say that all animals need sleep.

Expert C says that some animals have no need for sleep. That’s our answer, because we were looking for the person who expresses a different view.

I hope these staged instructions will help your students do this part better, and, more important, quicker, because, as we all know, candidates are always short of time in Paper 1 of C1 Advanced!

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