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Text type definitions
Writing useful phrases (from FCE guide)
Samples & activities (some answer keys)
Checklist to improve your writing
Assessment scale
Avoiding repetition
Formal & Informal Language
Punctuation rules

FCE Paper 2 Writing

How to pass the Cambridge
First Certificate Writing Section

6. Writing essays
Introduction and tips (Writing essays)


PLAN your essay
REVISE your essay to correct mistakes.
4 or 5 PARAGRAPHS, with Introduction and Conclusion
The first paragraph should be a general introduction to the subject
Develop your arguments in the middle paragraphs
Give reasons to support your argument
Use a variety of discussive words and phrases
Give examples where possible
Use formal language
Don't use contractions (we're, I've etc.)
Sum up your argument in the final paragraph
The final paragraph is the best place to express your opinion clearly.

Useful Phrases (Writing articles)

Presenting two advantages or disadvantages together:

not only but also

not only but also

Presenting two opposing views:

on the one hand, on the other hand

Expressing Contrast:


even so
even though
in spite of

Writing essays

FCE Paper 2 Writing

How to pass the Cambridge
First Certificate Writing Section

Expressing results:

because of this
as a result
for this reason

Giving examples:

such as
for example
for instance

Expressing the opinion of someone else:

some people say

some people say that
many people say
many people say that
people often say
it is said
it is said that
according to

Sample Questions (Writing articles)

1. You have done a project on transport in your English class. Your teacher has
asked you to write an essay giving your opinions on the following statement.
Because cars are so convenient public transport has no future.

Write your essay in 120-180 words in an appropriate style.

2. You have had a discussion on fashion in your English class. Your teacher has
asked you to write an essay, giving your opinions on the following statement.
Young people never want to dress the same as their parents
Write your essay in 120-180 words in an appropriate style.


Writing essays

7. Writing reports
Writing reports

Introduction and tips (Writing reports)

PLAN your report.
Make sure you have at least 4 paragraphs.
Every paragraph should have a heading which explains what the paragraph is about.
You first paragraph heading will be INTRODUCTION and your last, CONCLUSION or RECOMMENDATIONS
Use formal language.
Use impersonal language: the 3rd person, it constructions and/or the passive voice:
Do not use contractions.
Try to make recommendations in the final paragraph.
REVISE your report to correct mistakes.

Useful phrases (Writing reports)

Headings - to include:
Subject of each paragraph
Conclusion or recommendation(s)

Introductory Paragraph:
The aim of this report is to outline and to make some recommendations on...
This report outlines (the issues, etc)
This report is intended to inform about.

You may wish to consider
It is therefore recommended that(present clause)
It needs
A conditional clause : (The museum, the club, etc) would have a brighter future if its (displays, facilities,etc)
were improved or If the opening hours could be extended and the prices reduced slightly, the new caf would
undoubtly be more popular with students.
It is clear that

Use of impersonal tone:

3rd person examples: (some examples have been taken from text act. 1 p. 44, a sample answer for act. 5 p. 45)
The lack of choice puts many
students off using the caf

There is nowhere to sit


The majority of the people claimed


The opening hours are too


The tables and chairs in the present

caf are old and basic

These explanations are

difficult to read...

It constructions examples:
It could be argued that

It appears that

It can be seen that

It is clear that

It was found that

It seems that

It is doubtful that

It is widely accepted that

Passive voice examples

If possible, this needs to be reviewed

Vegetarians feel that they

are not being catered

The (museum, the club, etc) would have a

brighter future if its (displays, facilities,etc)
were improved

The opening hours could

be extended

25 |

Adapted from: FCE Paper 2 Writing How to pass the Cambridge First Certificate Writing Section

CAE - review
Model questions and answers
Review - Model question 1
You see this announcement in an international magazine called Cinefilia.
The most UPLIFTING and the biggest DOWNER.
It's sometimes hard to choose a film that fits your mood purely on the basis of the poster or the
description on the cover of the DVD. That's why we want to publish reviews of the most uplifting and the
most depressing films our readers have seen, so that others know what to watch and what to avoid.
Send in a review which describes the most uplifting film you've ever seen and the one you found the
biggest downer. Make sure you give reasons for your choices.
Write your review in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.

Review - Model answer 1

In this review I am going to compare two contrasting tales about overcoming adversity. Whereas The
Blind Side (2009) left me with a huge grin on my face, sadly, Doctor Zhivago (1965) left me feeling the
weight of the world on my shoulders.
Doctor Zhivago, directed by five-time Oscar winner David Lean, is set in the Bolshevik revolution and
follows the title character, who must adapt to the new order while pining for Lara, the beautiful wife of a
political campaigner. The director succeeded in creating a film that is thoroughly engaging but full of
gritty realism, cruelty and tragic irony. Take the tissues!
The Blind Side, which is based on a true story, is also a bit of a tearjerker, in a completely different way.
Starring Sandra Bullock, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a rich white mother in
Tennessee who takes a homeless black teenager under her roof. Understandably, the gentle giant thinks
he isn't good at anything but his new mother sees his potential to become a football star and part of the
family. The plot is based on a true story, making it all the more touching.
I would strongly recommend The Blind Side. It will appeal to a range of people and is a great choice for a
movie night. Although Doctor Zhivago is a classic, I think it has more of a niche audience and is best
saved for when you want a dose of gloom!
[+/- 245 words]

Review - Model question 2

You see the following advertisement in a music magazine.
Ever fancied yourself as a music journalist? Now's your chance.
We're looking for enthusiastic music lovers to write a review of their favourite album of all time. We want
to know why you love it and why you think everyone should listen to it. It doesn't matter who the artist is
or how old or new the music is.
Send in a review of your favourite album of all time giving reasons for your choice.
Write your review in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.

Review - Model answer 2

A thrilling album
I'm certainly not alone in my choice of favourite album. In fact, Michael Jackson's "Thriller" has sold over
50 million copies worldwide since being released in 1982, and still currently holds the much coveted title
of "best-selling album of all time". A toe-tapping blend of pop, funk and R&B, it's sure to get everyone
grooving at a party, yet also contains unexpected emotional power in the lyrics.
Jam-packed full of catchy melodies such as the opening "Wanna be startin' something" and the famous
"Beat it", almost every song makes you want to hum along. It's like a feast for the ears, with a range of
styles from the soft duet ballad with Paul McCartney "The Girl is Mine" to the rock/pop of the title track.
The album will leave you with no doubt of the unique and extraordinary talent of the King of Pop. What
disco would be complete without a few of his renowned numbers?
Unlike much of today's mordern pop, this album actually deals with a huge number of deep themes such
as jelousy, loneliness and obsession. The song "Billie Jean", for example, chronicles a story of a crazed
fan who insists that she has his baby. Not hard to imagine that the artist was channelling some real
experiences in his writing.
It doesn't surprise me at all that this remains the best-selling album of all time and I challenge evern the
most cynical listener to play "Thriller" without tapping along.
[+/- 245 words]
- See more at:


Cover letter
Many employers will ask you to write to them or phone them for an application form and
further details when they advertise jobs. Sometimes you will be asked to send your CV or
Your CV or curriculum vitae lists your educational and career history and is a useful
summary for an employer of all your educational and employment achievements up to the
present time. You must always ensure that it is up to date.
A covering letter may then be very useful because you can enclose it with your CV or a
completed application form. In your covering letter you can draw attention to particular
information which you wish to highlight. Such a covering letter might look like this:
Dear Mr Sorefoot
Fashion Shop Manager
Please find enclosed my completed application form for the above position.
As you will see from my form, I have ten years experience with Bates Retail
as a Fashion Shop Manager.
I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you will be able to invite
me for an interview. I can be contacted at any time by phone, fax or email
at work or at home. I would very much welcome an opportunity to discuss
my application in greater detail and convince you that I am the right person
for the job.
Yours sincerely

Frances Slimwaist

If you have filled in an application form you do not need to send a CV because all the relevant
information should be on your form.

Letter of application
If you are responding to a job advertisement you may be asked to write a letter of application.
This is the letter which lists all your work experience and qualifications and should also
explain why you want the job.
Dear .......... ,
Begin your letter by telling the reader where you saw the advertisement:
I am writing to apply for the post of Fashion Shop Manager advertised in
the 'News Shopper' of 14 February 2002.

Main body
(2nd paragraph) You would then go on to list your experience and relevant qualifications:
I have worked in the retail industry for a total of ten years, first as a sales
assistant in a department store and for the last three years as a Section
Head and Deputy Manager at Jones the Bootmaker.

(3rd paragraph) You might then go on to mention the particular abilities and skills that you
I believe I have all the skills, knowledge and expertise that you are looking
for. I have lots of retail initiative, can schedule and prioritise tasks and can
work to strict deadlines. I also work particularly well with people and would
enjoy leading the team and working with clients and customers.

(4th paragraph) Say why you are particularly interested in this job:
I am applying for this position as I am looking to progress from junior to
senior management. I have always been interested in the latest fashion
trends and developments and I believe your organisation is a well-run
quality fashion business. I would very much like to work for your company.

Final paragraph
(Final line)You might then close the letter with the following formula.
I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you will be able to invite
me for an interview.

(Closing) Close the letter

Yours faithfully
Your sincerely

FCE & CAE- Writing

Cohesion and avoiding repetition

This lesson shows you different ways you can improve the cohesion of your writing
and avoiding repetition killing two birds with one stone. These are extremely
important skills to master and the good news is that much of the language you
need here is simple language. Simple is very often best.

See how it works

This paragraph is a model of how you should write your sentences and paragraphs
so that they are cohesive and avoid repetition. As you read it, you should see there
are different ways I link my sentences together. Most of techniques have something
in common in that I use a word in every sentence that links back to something that
has come earlier. What this means is that the readers finds it easier to follow my
argument, because as they read they can make the connections between my
sentences. This is cohesion. You might also notice that I tend not to repeat words
very often, but that I do choose words with a similar meaning which is also
something you should aim to do. There areseveral different ways I achieve this.
Perhaps the most important one is by the use of pronouns which are among the
most common words in English. Although you should also not forget about using
synonyms and different word forms two more advanced language skills.

Think about pronouns

Pronouns are words such as:

The way these words work is that they refer back to something already mentioned and
replace that word. So used well, they help you avoid repeating words and link your writing.

These words work in much the same way and are typical of more academic writing.
You should note:

former and latter are used with the

such is typically used with a word following it: e.g. such a case

There and then

Another way you can use this type of linking language is when you are writing
about times and places. The key words here are there and then, though you can
also use at that time and in that country

This is a key technique. The idea is that you dont repeat the word, you use another
similar word or phrase. Very often, you will need to use phrases and not individual
words to do this well.

Change of word form

Sometimes it is often enough to change the form of the word from a verb to a noun
or a noun to an adjective. By doing this, you are showing how you can use
language flexibly. You should note that when you are learning words, you should
learn the different forms of the words (see my academic word list exercises for
more on this).

Read more: Cohesion and avoiding repetition |

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Checklist to improve your writing Level C1

When writing any text it is useful to have a checklist to refer to so you can improve your written
English. The same checklist may also be useful to look at if you are checking a classmates work.
It can be used for any piece of writing that you do, as well as exam practice. This checklist is
useful for English learners who have a C1 level of English and it relates to the Cambridge
English C1 Assessment Scale, which our examiners use when they assess writing.
To assess a piece of writing, examiners consider these four things, called subscales:
Content how well the task has been completed; for example, has all the important
information been included in the piece of writing?
Communicative Achievement how appropriate the writing is in terms of genre; for
example, what sort of text do you have to produce a letter, a report, a review, an essay?
Does the text communicate the ideas appropriately and effectively to the target reader?
Organisation the way the text is organised; for example, are the ideas presented coherently
and are they connected through the text across sentences and paragraphs?
Language vocabulary and grammar; for example, is there a range of vocabulary and
grammatical structures and how accurately are they used?
Look at the list below and try and match the examples of performance to the correct subscale.
1. Selecting the correct format and style for specific tasks.
2. Presenting the information using a coherent structure.
3. Controlling a range of grammatical structures.
4. Using a range of cohesive devices to connect ideas.
5. Showing awareness of the function of the text.
6. Presenting different aspects of a topic to inform the reader.
7. Demonstrating use of a wide range of vocabulary.
8. Fulfilling the purpose of the task.

a. Organisation
b. Communicative Achievement
c. Content
d. Language
e. Organisation
f. Content
g. Communicative Achievement
h. Language

Here are some questions from the checklist and some explanations about why these questions
are important. Match the question with the correct explanation.
1. What relationship do you have with the

a. Texts can be constructed in different ways,

depending on the topic and the readers needs.

2. What effect do you want to have on the


b. When writing to someone in a senior position

you may need to moderate your language.

3. Have you presented a balanced view of the


c. Constructing varying sentence patterns can

show control and sophistication in your writing.

4. Is functional language used to the best


d. How the reader will respond to your text should

be one of the main purposes for writing.

5. What is the most effective structure for your


e. If you are complaining, to ensure a positive

reaction from the reader, a polite tone is best.

6. Is there a variety of sentence structures?

f. If you are asked to discuss a topic, your text

needs to focus on the different aspects equally.

Checklist for writing C1

When you are producing a piece of writing, there are some questions that are useful to ask
yourself when you are writing. These will help you edit and revise your work as you write. These
questions are also useful if you are checking a classmates work and can help you check and
improve any text to make it more appropriate in terms of:
Communicative Achievement

Have you developed the topic and provided details about all aspects of the task?
What do you need to include and how can you develop the topic?
What is the purpose of the text and what does the reader need to know?
Can the topic be approached from a different perspective?

What is the purpose of the task and have you achieved the desired outcome from
your text?
What is the purpose of the task and what effect do you want to have on the reader?
Do you need to persuade, agree, argue, suggest, apologise, infer, compare ?
Does the reader need to know your personal opinion as well as the facts?
What is the relationship between you and the reader and does this make a

Have you organised the information appropriately for the task?

What is the most effective structure for your text? A linear or a comparative
Does each paragraph focus on one aspect of the task and have a clear structure?
Is your text balanced? Have you given equal weight to the issues under
Are the cohesive devices used appropriate to specify how the ideas are

Have you demonstrated control of a range of language?

Have you used grammar structures correctly?
Can you use more specific words or structures to express your ideas?
Have you used functional language to persuade, agree or compare to the best
Have you correctly used any common phrases which are appropriate to the task?
Is there any repetition of phrases, expressions or words which can be
Is there a variety of sentence structures showing control over a range of grammar?

1. Use capital letters:
a) At the beginning of every sentence.
b) For proper nouns, abbreviations of proper nouns, names of languages and nationalities,
days, months and the pronoun I.
Dont use capital letters for other words.
On Monday and Wednesday Juan and I go to our English class at the University of Seville. Our
first exam is going to be in February.
2. Use a period/full stop, question mark or exclamation point/mark at the end of every
sentence (only one per sentence). Dont put a question mark or exclamation point/mark at
the beginning of the sentence. Dont join sentences with commas.
- Where did you go on holiday?!!!
- We went to Kenya, the weather was good, we went on a safari, we took photographs of the
wild animals. It was very exciting!
- Where did you go on holiday?
- We went to Kenya. The weather was good. We went on a safari and took photographs of
the wild animals. It was very exciting!
3. Dont end a list of words or a sentence with suspension points.
I saw the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower,Versailles. . . when I was in Paris.
I had dinner with my parents, my grandparents, my brother . . .
On the flight you can drink coffee, tea, Coke . . .
I saw the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and Versailles when I was in Paris.
I saw the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Versailles and other interesting places when I was in Paris.
I had dinner with my parents, my grandparents and my brother.
I had dinner with my parents, my grandparents and other relatives.
On the flight you can drink coffee, tea or Coke.
4. Dont put a comma after so or but in sentences like these:
I was hungry so, I ate a hamburger.
I wanted a hamburger but, I didnt have any money.
I was hungry, so I ate a hamburger.
I wanted a hamburger, but I didnt have any money.
5. Put a comma when a) making lists
I like playing tennis, listening to music and watching TV.

b) To separate adjectives when there are a number of adjectives before the noun
Hes an enthusiastic, hard-working student.
6. Put a comma after for example, however, moreover, nevertheless, in fact, as a
result, later, therefore, all in all, generally, finally, in my opinion, etc. and after a
time phrase at the beginning of a sentence. Put a comma after Also and Besides if they
are at the beginning of a sentence.
He was tired. However, he couldnt sleep.
He likes lots of sports. For example, he plays football, basketball and tennis and goes
swimming every week.
He was hungry. Also, he was very tired.
He was hungry. Besides, he was very tired.
In 2014, he left school and went to university.
7. Put a comma before and after a non-defining relative clause. Dont put a comma before
defining clauses:
My friend John, who went to the same school as me, has just written a best-selling novel (nondefining)
He gave me the letter which/that was in a blue envelope (defining)
8. When you put the subordinator at the beginning of a clause to introduce the main clause,
need to put a comma between the two clauses. When you put a subordinator between
two clauses to connect them, you should not use any punctuation
Before he turned on the TV, he did his homework.
He did his homework before he turned on the TV.
When everyone in a family helps with the housework, they have a better relationship.
They have a better relationships when everyone in a family helps with the housework.
Sources: - rea de ingls (IDI)
- Compiled by author