Use of English Part 3

The Cambridge B2 part 3 word formation exercise asks you to put in the right form of the word in each gap. On this page we will look at how to do this and how you can improve your score.

What do I have to do in the word formation exercise?

Sample Part 3


For questions 17-24 read the text below. Use the word given in capitals at the  end of some of the lines to form a word that fits in the same line. There is an example at the beginning (0).



The best way to _____________(0) that you get all your daily vitamins is         SURE
to eat a __________________  (17) diet. That includes  the right amounts of     BALANCE
fat, protein and carbohydrates.


How to do the exercise

In this exercise you always need to change the form of the word given at the end of a line.

There are three simple steps you can use to complete the exercise.

  1. First of all you need to decide what type of word is missing. There are four types of words you can expect
    • Nouns
    • Adjectives
    • Adverbs
    • Verbs
  2. Next decide if the word is positive or negative from the context.
          You need to think about which prefix you might need. 
  3. Finally if you think the word is a noun decide if it is plural.
           Think of what suffixes are likely and how to spell the word correctly. 

Doing Part 3 word building better!

In comparison to other parts of the Use of English this exercise can often be easier to complete and  we have some suggestions on what you can do to improve your score on it.

Learn English prefixes

Prefixes in English largely divide into two groups:

A fairly small group of negative prefixes which can easily be learnt

in-, un-, dis-, il-, im-,ir-, de- 

A larger group of prefixes, whose meanings we can explain.

For example

anti = against or opposite,      pro = in favour

hyper = very big                           micro = very small

Group suffixes according to word types.

In general this is mainly about adjectives and nouns.

For example


-ous  dangerous, nervous, adventurous

-al     original, practical, comical


-ian   musician, electrician, politician

-ant   participant, applicant, assistant

Make word lists

Make lists of words in their different forms. You can create a table like this.






action, acting





Make an opposites list

This can work very well in recording adjectives and their opposites.

For example



Completed Use of English Part 3 Example


0 interested

If you’re (0) interested in getting fit, then what you need is a training programme.         INTEREST

Although aimed at improving physical 1 FITNESS,                                                               FIT

this problem can also be 2 DESIGNED in such a way                                                           DESIGN

that it helps in the 3 DEVELOPMENT of particular athletic skills.                                       DEVELOP                                   
There is a range of different 4 ACTIVITIES to choose from                                                 ACTIVE

and a growing amount of scientific 5 KNOWLEDGE to explain the effects of each one. KNOW

When you begin training, is important to start 6 GENTLY                                                    GENTLE

raising the 7 INTENSITY of the programme in a gradual way.                                              INTENSE

Although it is important to work hard to make an  8 IMPRESSION on 
your physical condition the activities shouldn’t be painful.                                                    IMPRESS

Final thoughts

The Cambridge First part 3 word formation exercise does give candidates an opportunity to score well.  To do this you need to build up your knowledge of the different forms of words. Apart from helping you to do this exercise more confidently, you should also improve your vocabulary range, both in writing and speaking.

Part 1

Put a word in each gap by choosing the best option from the four multiple choice answers.

Part 2

Put a single word in each of the gaps.

Part 4

Write a new sentence, with the same meaning as the example, by using the keyword given.