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Being Special

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being specialFor this exercise about why being special is important to us, you read the text and choose the correct answer to each of the five questions. It provides practice for this reading section of the Cambridge English B1 Preliminary exam. 

About 5-10 minutes.Reading Skills.Expanding stage.
Enhanced Accessibility.
Read the text about being special and then answer the questions that follow.

Everybody likes to feel special. Sadly, many of us grow up believing that we're not special at all. We wish that we could be more attractive or better at sports. We wish we had more money or more beautiful clothes. Like the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, or the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, we think we're not good enough just as we are. In the film, The Tin Man wishes he had a heart. The Scarecrow wishes that he had a brain, and the Lion wants courage. Eventually, each of them realizes that he already has what he wants.

Nearly all parents want us to be the best we can be. They occasionally attempt to encourage us to do better by comparing us to others. They mean well, but the message we usually get is that we're not good enough. We start to believe that the only way we can be special is by being better than somebody else, but we are frequently disappointed. There will always be somebody out there that is better than we are at something. There are a lot of people around who may not be as intelligent as we are but who are better at sports. Or they may not be as handsome, but they have more money. It is unthinkable for us to be better than everybody else all the time. Like the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion, we all need what we believe will make us better people.

What we don't understand is that often we already have inside us the very things that we look for in life. Our parents often forget to tell us that we are special, that we are good enough just as we are. Perhaps no one told them when they were growing up, or maybe they just forgot. Either way, it's up to us to remind them sometimes that each of us, in our own way, is special. What we are is enough!

1. What is the writer's main aim in writing the text?

Question 1 of 5

2. This essay was most likely written by ...

Question 2 of 5

3. What does the writer say about our parents?

Question 3 of 5

4. The author of this essay believes that ...

Question 4 of 5

5. Which of the following would be the best title for this passage?

Question 5 of 5


Here are new words and phrases from this exercise for the B1 Preliminary Part 3 reading section of the test:

  • attractive
  • being special
  • believe
  • comparing
  • courage
  • disappointed
  • growing up
  • handsome
  • intelligent
  • remind
  • unthinkable
We add reading and writing exercises on a regular basis. Why not bookmark our site, so you can come back to practice anywhere or at any time of the day?

Part 1 - Read five real-world notices, messages and other short texts for the main message.

Part 2 - Match five descriptions of people to eight short texts on a particular topic, showing detailed comprehension.

Part 3 - Read a longer text for detailed comprehension, gist, inference and global meaning, as well as writer’s attitude and opinion.

Part 4 - Read a longer text from which five sentences have been removed. Show understanding of how a coherent and well-structured text is formed.

Write about 100 words, answering the email and notes provided.

In addition, we add listening and speaking exercises in order to practise for this part of the A2 Key test.

Part 3 - Gap-Filled Exercise

The B1 Preliminary Speaking test has four parts and you take it together with another candidate. There are two examiners. One of the examiners talks to you and the other examiner listens.

The more words you encounter and understand, the broader your day-to-day vocabulary will become. Our word games and puzzles are an excellent way to help to reinforce spellings in your mind.
Especially helpful are exercises that are focussed on a theme or topic as these provide word retention practice so you can be confident to read, write, speak and listen successfully.

Cambridge English Examinations:

Cambridge English exams are designed for learners at all levels from the pre-intermediate level Cambridge English: Key (KET) to the very advanced level Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE). These exams give candidates proof of their ability to use English in a wide variety of contexts, relevant to work, study and leisure activities.

A2 Key | B1 Preliminary | B2 First

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