a) If the missing word is at the start of the sentence, ask yourself if a gerund fits. Many answers were -ing forms -
✅ having and being were very frequent.
b) Of the relative pronouns, the most common by far was
✅ which. Study defining and non-defining relative clauses!
c) ✅ 'With' came up frequently, but so did 'without'. That's why you should read the text as a whole before you start thinking of the answers.
d) Similarly, '✅ if' was very common, but so was 'unless'. Unless means 'if not', so again, reading the whole text to get the writer's opinion is vital!
e) While ✅ 'to be' was, naturally, the most common verb and has its own section, other verbs were quite common. Mostly they are verbs which are useful in some advanced grammatical structures.
For example, ✅ 'have' (and has, had, etc) are useful for making perfect tenses.
✅ Do is useful for emphatic language.
✅ Take is used in many phrasal verbs.
f) Linking phrases! You need to know these for the writing and speaking parts, but if you have mastered the words
✅ whereas, although, however, despite, spite (in the phrase in spite of), there are many easy points to collect in this part of the exam. Also but, so, while, and such things.
g) Prepositions. Everyone's least favourite part of English. Except Cambridge. Cambridge LOVES prepositions. Look for uses of✅ in, of, by, out, before, after, and all the rest.
h) These words aren't the most frequent, but there will be 3 or 4 in your text - no, there, once, even, such, since, it, myself (or themselves etc), what, either, and these.
i) The! I was amazed how many times ✅ 'the' was the answer. Poor little 'a' was much less common.