Improve Your Grammar Skills and Confidence with Cambridge Grammar for First Certificate 2nd Edition
Cambridge Grammar for First Certificate 2nd Edition: A Review
If you are preparing for the B2 First exam (formerly known as First Certificate in English or FCE), you may be looking for a grammar book that can help you improve your language skills and boost your confidence. One of the most popular and widely used grammar books for this level is Cambridge Grammar for First Certificate 2nd Edition (CGFC), published by Cambridge University Press. But what is this book about and how can it help you achieve your goals? In this article, we will review the main features, advantages and disadvantages of CGFC, and give you some tips on how to use it effectively.
Cambridge Grammar for First Certificate 2nd Edition
CGFC is a grammar reference and practice book that covers all the key grammar areas that you need to know for the B2 First exam. It is designed for intermediate to upper-intermediate learners who want to improve their accuracy and fluency in English. It can be used as a supplementary material for a coursebook, or as a self-study resource. It consists of 25 units, each focusing on a specific grammar topic, such as verb tenses, modals, conditionals, reported speech, etc. Each unit has two parts: a grammar reference section that explains the rules and gives examples, and a practice section that provides exercises to check your understanding and apply what you have learned. The book also includes an audio CD that contains recordings of some of the exercises, as well as online resources that offer additional practice and support.
The book is structured in a clear and logical way, following the order of the grammar syllabus of the B2 First exam. It also has a user-friendly layout, with colour-coded sections, tables, charts, diagrams and illustrations that make it easy to follow and navigate. The book also has an introduction that explains how to use it, a glossary that defines key terms, a list of irregular verbs, an answer key, a recording script and an index.
Main features of CGFC
As we have seen, CGFC is more than just a grammar book. It also offers a range of features that make it a valuable resource for exam preparation. Here are some of the main features that you can find in CGFC:
Grammar reference and practice sections: These are the core parts of each unit, where you can learn about the form, meaning and use of different grammar structures, and practice them in various contexts. The grammar reference section provides clear explanations, examples and notes on common errors and exceptions. The practice section offers a variety of exercises, such as multiple choice, gap fill, error correction, transformation, rewriting, etc., that test your knowledge and skills. Some of the exercises are based on authentic texts from newspapers, magazines, books or websites, while others are based on exam-style tasks from the B2 First exam.
Audio CD and online resources: These are the supplementary parts of the book that enhance your learning experience and provide extra practice and support. The audio CD contains recordings of some of the exercises from the practice section, such as listening, pronunciation and dictation. You can listen to the CD on your own or with a teacher or a partner, and check your answers with the recording script at the back of the book. The online resources include interactive exercises, games, quizzes and tests that cover the same grammar topics as the book. You can access them through a code that comes with the book, or by registering on the Cambridge Learning Management System (CLMS). You can also download audio files and transcripts from the CLMS.
Exam tips and strategies: These are the helpful parts of the book that give you advice and guidance on how to approach and succeed in the B2 First exam. They are found at the beginning and at the end of each unit, as well as in some of the exercises. They cover topics such as how to analyse exam questions, how to avoid common mistakes, how to manage your time, how to check your answers, etc. They also explain how the grammar points are tested in different parts of the exam, such as Reading and Use of English, Writing, Listening and Speaking.
Authentic exam papers and tasks: These are the realistic parts of the book that give you a taste of what to expect in the actual exam. They are found at the end of each unit, as well as in two complete practice tests at the end of the book. They are taken from past papers or sample papers from Cambridge English Language Assessment, the organisation that produces and administers the B2 First exam. They include all the types of tasks that you will encounter in the exam, such as multiple choice cloze, open cloze, word formation, key word transformation, essay writing, email writing, article writing, etc. They also follow the same format, level and marking criteria as the real exam.
Advantages of using CGFC
Now that we have seen what CGFC offers, let's look at some of the benefits of using it for your exam preparation. Here are some of the advantages that you can get from CGFC:
Comprehensive and clear grammar explanations and examples: CGFC covers all the essential grammar points that you need to know for the B2 First exam, from basic to advanced level. It explains them in a simple and accessible way, with plenty of examples and notes to illustrate them. It also highlights common errors and exceptions that you should be aware of and avoid. You can use CGFC as a reliable reference source whenever you have doubts or questions about grammar.
Varied and engaging practice activities: CGFC provides a lot of opportunities for you to practice and consolidate your grammar knowledge and skills. It offers a wide range of exercises that suit different learning styles and preferences. Some of them are more controlled and focused on accuracy, while others are more free and focused on fluency. Some of them are more fun and interactive, while others are more serious and challenging. You can use CGFC as a flexible practice tool that allows you to choose the type and level of difficulty of the exercises that you want to do.
Relevant and up-to-date exam preparation: CGFC is closely aligned with the requirements and expectations of the B2 First exam. It follows the same grammar syllabus, format and level as the exam. It also includes authentic exam papers and tasks that reflect the latest changes and updates in the exam. You can use CGFC as a realistic practice resource that helps you familiarise yourself with the exam and prepare for it effectively.
Suitable for self-study or classroom use: CGFC is designed to be used either on your own or with a teacher or a partner. It has an easy-to-use structure and layout that makes it suitable for self-study. It also has an answer key, a recording script and an index that make it easy for you to check your answers and find information quickly. It also has an audio CD and online resources that make it more interactive and engaging. You can use CGFC as a self-contained study resource that helps you learn independently and at your own pace. Alternatively, you can also use CGFC in a classroom setting, with a teacher or a partner who can guide you, correct you and give you feedback. You can use CGFC as a supplementary study resource that complements your coursebook or other materials.
Disadvantages of using CGFC
Disadvantages of using CGFC
Of course, no book is perfect, and CGFC is no exception. There are some drawbacks or limitations that you should be aware of when using it for your exam preparation. Here are some of the disadvantages that you may encounter when using CGFC:
Some topics may be too difficult or too easy for some learners: CGFC covers a wide range of grammar topics, from basic to advanced level. However, not all learners have the same level of grammar knowledge or skills. Some learners may find some topics too easy and boring, while others may find them too difficult and confusing. You may need to adapt your use of CGFC according to your own level and needs. You may need to skip some topics that you already know well, or review some topics that you are not confident about.
Some practice tasks may not reflect the latest exam format or style: CGFC includes authentic exam papers and tasks that are taken from past papers or sample papers from Cambridge English Language Assessment. However, the exam format and style may change over time, and some of the tasks in CGFC may not be up to date or accurate. You may need to check the latest information and updates about the exam on the official website of Cambridge English Language Assessment (www.cambridgeenglish.org). You may also need to supplement your use of CGFC with other sources of exam practice and preparation.
Some online resources may not be accessible or compatible with some devices: CGFC offers online resources that provide additional practice and support. However, these resources may not be available or compatible with all devices or browsers. You may need to have a stable internet connection and a suitable device or browser to access them. You may also need to register on the Cambridge Learning Management System (CLMS) and enter a code that comes with the book to access them. You may encounter some technical difficulties or errors when using them.
In conclusion, CGFC is a comprehensive and useful grammar book that can help you prepare for the B2 First exam. It offers clear grammar explanations and examples, varied and engaging practice activities, relevant and up-to-date exam preparation, and suitable for self-study or classroom use. However, it also has some disadvantages, such as some topics may be too difficult or too easy for some learners, some practice tasks may not reflect the latest exam format or style, and some online resources may not be accessible or compatible with some devices. Therefore, you should use CGFC wisely and flexibly, according to your own level and needs, and supplement it with other sources of information and practice.
If you are looking for a grammar book that can help you improve your language skills and boost your confidence for the B2 First exam, CGFC is a good choice. However, remember that a grammar book alone is not enough to guarantee your success in the exam. You also need to practice your other skills, such as reading, writing, listening and speaking, as well as develop your vocabulary, pronunciation and communication strategies. You also need to familiarise yourself with the exam format and style, and take regular mock tests to check your progress and performance. Most importantly, you need to have a positive attitude and motivation to learn and improve.
Here are some frequently asked questions about CGFC and their answers:
What is the difference between CGFC 2nd Edition and 1st Edition?The main difference is that the 2nd Edition has been updated and revised to reflect the changes in the B2 First exam that took place in 2015. It also has more online resources than the 1st Edition.
How long does it take to complete CGFC?It depends on your level, needs and pace of learning. However, as a rough guide, each unit takes about one hour to complete (30 minutes for the grammar reference section and 30 minutes for the practice section). Therefore, if you do one unit per day, you can finish the book in about four weeks.
Can I use CGFC without a teacher?Yes, you can use CGFC without a teacher. It has an answer key, a recording script and an index that make it easy for you to check your answers and find information quickly. It also has an audio CD and online resources that make it more interactive and engaging. However, if you have a teacher or a partner, you can also use CGFC with them. They can guide you, correct you and give you feedback.
Can I use CGFC for other exams or purposes?Yes, you can use CGFC for other exams or purposes. Although it is designed for the B2 First exam, it covers the grammar that is relevant and useful for other exams or purposes at the same level or lower, such as B1 Preliminary (formerly known as Preliminary English Test or PET), IELTS, TOEFL, etc. You can also use CGFC to improve your general grammar knowledge and skills for personal or professional reasons.
Where can I buy CGFC?You can buy CGFC from various online or offline sources, such as Amazon, Book Depository, Cambridge University Press website, etc. You can also find it in some libraries or bookshops.