FCE word formation card game

This FCE word formation card game helps to revise and consolidate forming verbs, adjectives and adverbs from nouns; the skill that comes in handy when dealing with FCEUse of English, Part 3. Competition, time limit, and peer correction all make it a fast-paced and engaging activity for both adult and teenage students.

The Task

Students may play in pairs or small groups (up to 4 people). Each group will need a dice and a set of 30 cards, put on the table face down. Students draw a card from the stack (every card has a NOUN written on it), roll the dice, and then need to form new words depending on the numbers rolled, and use them in a sentence.


1,2 – make a VERB

3,4 – make an ADJECTIVE

5,6 – make an ADVERB

Example: a student drew SIMPLICITY and rolled 2; they need to make a verb SIMPLIFY and use it in a sentence e.g. They should simplify exam instructions.

For each correct word players get a point.

Some noun cards have an asterisk * next to the word: there is an extra point if the player can name the noun with the opposite meaning (e.g. BELIEF –> DISBELIEF).

You might choose a different word column to serve as the starting word, I usually play with nouns or verbs.

The teacher has all the word forms written down and helps clarify problematic cases, however, students should correct each other and keep the score. They can play in teams or individually. To spice up the game, you might impose a time limit to come up with the right answer (20 seconds), which works pretty well with more advanced FCE groups. To wrap up the game, you might want to go through the most difficult / problematic words from the game and see how your students used them in context.

For more vocabulary games, see Pass the Bomb and Beep.

For more word formation activities, see here, here, and here.

Personal Experience

One of the most challenging things as far as teaching exam preparation courses has been keeping my students motivated and engaged. It might seem ironic since both teachers and students tend to think the approaching exam will be motivation enough. I have discovered the hard way that it is NOT. Words like “boring”, “regurgitation”, “always the same” were popping up to describe First Certificate courses I have been teaching or co-teaching, and at some point I realised I could not really blame my students.

Trying to stay true to the spirit of the course, but slightly cutting down on the amount of exam papers and exam like exercises (sometimes even the layout would make some students gag) I have decided to explore the potential of gamifying the FCE content. This game is super simple and really effective. Competition, time limit, and peer correction all make it a fast-paced and engaging activity for both adult and teenage students. Having students use the words in context makes them think about the meaning and not only the form, which brings them a step closer to successfully completing the exam task.


Word Formation Game_cards

Word Formation Game_teacher



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