You are on page 1of 28

Preparing for Cambridge

English: Advanced Writing


(from 2015)
5Y09
Handout: True or False?
Read through the following statements on the Cambridge English: Advanced Writing
paper and decide if they are True or False.

TRUE FALSE
A) The Writing test is 2 hours long.

B) There are two parts in the test.

C) Part 2 is worth twice as many marks as Part 1.

D) Candidates are required to write up to 260 words for Part 1,


and up to 220 words for Part 2.

E) Candidates write their answers in spaces on the question


paper.

F) The first part is a compulsory task.

G) In Part 1, candidates have to write a formal letter.

H) The input for Part 1 consists of a short text to read, and some
opinions that people have expressed on the topic.

I) For Part 1, candidates should choose two points from the


input, explain which of the two points is more important, and
give reasons for their opinion.

J) For Part 1, candidates must include the given opinions in their


essay.

K) In Part 2, candidates choose one task from a choice of three.

L) The Part 2 text types can include essays, letters/emails,


reports, reviews and proposals.

M) There is a task based on a set text.

N) Candidates answers are assessed according to four


separate assessment scales.

PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015) 3


Handout: Task types: situations and purposes
1. Look at the situations described below. Decide which task type (AE) you
would write for each situation (15).

A B C D E

an essay a letter/email a proposal a report a review

Situations:
1) Your boss wants to know which of two venues would be more suitable for the
annual staff conference.

2) Your student magazine wants people to write about films or concerts that they
have seen recently, so that other students can decide what they might be
interested in going to.

3) Your tutor has asked you to decide which facilities in your town you think are
more important and why, and should therefore receive funding from the local
council.

4) Your line manager wants to know what you feel you have achieved in the first
six months of your new role, and what support you still feel you need.

5) A friend is applying for a job and has asked you to provide a reference for the
company.

2. Match the purposes below to each of the situations above. There may be
more than one purpose for each.
Purposes:
a) describing
b) giving opinions
c) justifying opinions
d) persuading
e) making suggestions or recommendations
f) providing factual information
g) presenting an argument

4 PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015)


Handout: Suggestions for student motivation
Here are some suggestions for motivating activities when dealing with the Part 1
essay task.

Brainstorm in small groups the ideas behind a typical Cambridge English:


Advanced Writing task, for example, a Part 1 essay discussing ways in which
adults can influence younger peoples behaviour, then elicit ideas from the whole
class.

Have a group discussion about which way is more effective and why.

Divide the class into three groups, and give each group one of the suggestions
from a Part 1 essay task they have to come up with as many reasons as they
can to justify this, for example, why this is an effective way of influencing
behaviour. Then hold a debate.

Divide the class into three groups, and give each group one of the suggestions
from a Part 1 essay task they have to come up with several pros and cons for
this suggestion. Then regroup the class into threes, with one person from each of
the original groups in their new groups. Ask them to present their ideas to each
other, then discuss which they think overall is the best suggestion, and why.

Come up with several reasons yourself why each of the suggestions from an
essay task is good or bad. Put each on a separate card, and ask the class to
match them to the suggestions.

PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015) 5


Handout: Structuring an essay
There are many ways to start an essay. Match these types of introductions to the
examples on the right.

1) Using a rhetorical A) Adults can influence younger people in a good


question on the topic way, but also in a bad way. There are various
possibilities how this can happen.
2) Using a general B) Recently, I was surprised to see a group of
statement on the topic teenagers help a mother get her young baby and
her shopping onto a bus outside a busy shopping
centre. I realised that this isnt the typical way that
teenagers behave.
3) Stating what you are C) Footballers behaving badly and politicians being
going to discuss exposed for telling lies are certainly not examples
of good behaviour. But unfortunately this is the
sort of thing that can influence the younger
generation.
4) Giving provocative D) Many people complain about the way the youth of
examples today behaves. But how should the younger
generation know what is right and what is wrong?
How should they know how to behave in the right
way?
5) Referring to a past E) Many parents struggle with bringing up their
experience thats children into being responsible adults and are
relevant to the topic
unsure how to influence them. There are, of
course, many ways of influencing young adults,
and I want to present and discuss two of them:
giving rules to obey, and offering your children
advice.

How many ways of structuring the main body of the essay can you think of?

What are the features of a good conclusion?

6 PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015)


Handout: Part 2 tasks
2 There are plans to demolish an old and unused building in the town where you
are a student. You feel that the building should be saved. You decide to write a
proposal for the town council explaining why you think the building should be
preserved, suggesting what could be done to modernise it and saying how the
building could benefit the local people.

Write your proposal.

who: ................................................................................................................

why: ................................................................................................................

what: ................................................................................................................

how: ................................................................................................................

3 You have just finished a three-week study and work programme in an English-
speaking country. You studied English language in the mornings and worked for
a local company in the afternoons. The programme organiser has asked you to
write a report about your experience. In your report, you should evaluate the
programme, explaining which part of the programme was more useful, and
suggest changes you would recommend for next years programme.

Write your report.

who: ................................................................................................................

why: ................................................................................................................

what: ................................................................................................................

how: ................................................................................................................

PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015) 7


4 A travel website has asked you to write a review of a holiday resort you have
been to, explaining what kinds of people the resort is likely to appeal to, and
which aspects of the resort you would most recommend to other visitors. You
should also suggest at least one way in which you feel the resort could be
improved.

Write your review.

who: ................................................................................................................

why: ................................................................................................................

what: ................................................................................................................

how: ................................................................................................................

8 PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015)


Handout: Sentence structure cards

1) Not only did I ...

2) Having done that, ...

3) What impressed me most ...

4) If it hadnt been so ...

5) It cant have been ...

6) By the time I ...

7) No sooner had we ...

8) If only ...

PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015) 9


Handout: Sentence structure answers

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

6)

7)

8)

10 PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015)


Handout: Classroom activities
Classroom activity: Focus on Part 1
Timing up to 75 minutes (if the writing activity is done during class time)
Materials worksheet: Part 1 task (this task can be found on Sample Paper 2 in
the Handbook for Teachers)
Rationale The aim of this activity is to motivate learners to write a Part 1 task, by
getting them to engage with the topic, brainstorm ideas and have a
discussion in groups. Learners look at a range of functional language
for expressing opinions, contrasting ideas and adding supporting
points or reasons. Then they produce their own answer to the
question.

Procedure
1. Ask learners in pairs to think about what writing involves. Ask them to note down
all the skills that are required in order to produce a written text (it doesnt matter
which text type at this stage). Allow a minute or so for this.
2. Elicit some feedback from the class, e.g. coming up with ideas for the content;
organising the ideas; thinking about register, format and layout; choosing suitable
language; editing; proofing.
3. Write who, why, what and how on the board. Explain that these skills can be
summarised by thinking about four points: a writer needs to consider who the
target reader is, and why they are writing (what their purpose for writing is), in
order to be able to decide what to write and how to write it.
4. Give learners the worksheet: Part 1 task. In pairs, ask them to discuss the four
points (who, why, what and how) for this task.
5. Elicit from the class that the target reader is the teacher; they are writing because
the teacher has asked them to and because they heard a radio discussion on the
topic; they need to write about two ways that adults can influence younger
peoples behaviour, and which is most effective; they have to write it in the format
of an essay, using semi-formal or formal language, with an introduction,
paragraphs giving their opinions and reasons, then a conclusion.
6. Divide the class into small groups (34 learners). Ask them to brainstorm the
ways in which adults can influence younger peoples behaviour, and to note down
their ideas. Allow 2 minutes, then elicit ideas from the whole class.
7. Put the class into three groups, and give each group one of the suggestions from
the task (giving rules/setting an example/offering advice). If you have a large

PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015) 11


class, then you can subdivide the three groups into smaller groups. Ask the
learners in their groups to come up with several pros and cons for their
suggestion. Allow 2 minutes, then regroup the class into threes, with one person
from each of the original groups in the new groups. Ask them to present their
ideas to each other, then discuss which they think overall is the best suggestion,
and why.
8. Elicit some feedback from one or two groups, asking learners to say which they
thought the best suggestion was, and why.
9. Ask learners what sort of functional language they used for this activity. Elicit that
they used language to give opinions, to contrast ideas, to add another
point/reason, and so on. Draw a table with three columns on the board, and put
give opinions, contrast ideas and add another point/reason at the top of the
columns. Elicit a few examples that were actually used, and write them on the
board as they come up: e.g. for giving opinions: I think ..., In my opinion ...; for
contrasting ideas: although, but; for adding another point: also, and, etc. Ask
learners if they can come up with any more examples, and add them to the
columns on the board. Point out that it is a good idea to use a range of this type
of language in writing, but not to overuse it this can make writing repetitive.
10. Ask learners to write their response to the Part 1 task, using any of the ideas
discussed as a class, and to focus on using a good range of language for giving
opinions, contrasting ideas, and adding points. Allow at least 30 minutes. This
stage can also be done as homework if you prefer.
11. As learners finish writing, ask them to spend a few minutes checking their own
work. Then put learners in pairs, as they finish, and ask them to swap their
essays with each other. Tell them to read each others work, and to write three
comments at the end: one positive comment, and two constructive suggestions
as to how the learner could improve it. Point out the suggestions should be
written in a positive way, rather than being critical.
12. Learners take back their work, read the comments, and spend a few minutes
making improvements to their work.
13. Collect in the essays so you can read and mark them.

12 PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015)


Worksheet: Part 1 task

who: ...........................................................................................................................

why: ...........................................................................................................................

what: ...........................................................................................................................

how: ...........................................................................................................................

PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015) 13


Classroom activity: Holiday resort review
Timing up to 75 minutes (if the writing activity is done during class time)
Materials worksheets: Normal and extreme adjectives (cut up into cards, one
set per pair); Holiday resort review; Review sample answer
Rationale The aim of this activity is to motivate learners to write a review and
develop general writing skills in an integrated skills lesson.

Procedure
1. As a quick warmer, ask learners to think about their last holiday. Ask them to
briefly tell the person next to them where they went, and what it was like allow
just a minute or two for this stage.
2. Now ask learners to imagine they are going to a place they have never been to
before. Ask them how they could find out about the place beforehand either to
decide whether or not to go, or just to prepare themselves for their holiday. Elicit
suggestions, including the fact that they could read reviews (e.g. in a travel
magazine or online). Write Review of a holiday resort on the board.
3. Now ask them to think about what kind of information might be included in a
review of a holiday resort. Ask them to brainstorm some ideas in pairs, then elicit
ideas from the group, and write them on the board, e.g. a description of the hotel,
the activities, the staff, the food, and so on.
4. Write two or three sentences on the board, e.g. The staff were friendly. The view
from our room was beautiful. It was exciting to go scuba diving. Point out that
there is nothing wrong with these sentences, but they could be improved at
Cambridge English: Advanced level, learners need to show that they can produce
better language than this. Ask learners how they could improve the language
used in these sentences elicit ideas, e.g. using more extreme/interesting
adjectives (e.g. stunning, thrilling); using adverbs too (e.g. absolutely stunning);
using more complex language, e.g. adding clauses, and so on.
5. Tell learners they are going to look at using more extreme/interesting adjectives
first. They are going to do a vocabulary activity, which involves matching pairs of
words one of each pair is a normal adjective, e.g. beautiful; the other is a
more extreme/interesting adjective, e.g. stunning. Divide learners into pairs, and
give each pair of learners a cut-up set of adjectives (from worksheet: Normal
and extreme adjectives), which they have to match up. Allow a few minutes,
and while they are matching the pairs, monitor closely, and point out any pairs of
words that are incorrect.

14 PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015)


6. Check the answers as a group, and ask learners if they have any questions. If
many of the words are new, it is also a good idea to focus on their pronunciation
drill the words by modelling them yourself, then getting the class (or groups and
individuals) to repeat. Make sure learners produce the word stress correctly when
they repeat.
7. Ask learners how they can make an extreme adjective even stronger elicit that
they can add an adverb before it. Ask if you can say very stunning (no as very
is used to qualify a normal adjective) it would be absolutely stunning.
8. Practise using adverbs and extreme adjectives for a few minutes, by asking
learners questions about their last holiday, such as What was the weather like?;
What was the view from your window like?; and so on. You can also ask some
questions using normal adjectives, e.g. Was the view nice? and elicit answers
using extreme adjectives. Make sure you focus on word stress while doing this,
i.e. It was absolutely stunning! You could extend this stage by letting learners
ask each other some more questions in their pairs, while you monitor to check
that they are using the language correctly.
9. Now write who?; why?; what?; how? on the board. Give each learner a copy
of the Part 2 task on worksheet: Holiday resort review, and ask them to read
the question and in pairs, to discuss who the target reader for this task is, and
why they are writing it (what their purpose for writing is), what they need to write,
and how to write it. Allow a minute or so, then elicit their ideas.
10. Next, give out the copy of a sample answer for this task on worksheet: Review
sample answer. Ask learners to read it quite quickly, then to discuss in pairs if
this writer has done everything that the question asked them to. Elicit that the
answer is fine, but point out that this is a fairly bland description of a holiday
resort, as the language used in it isnt very interesting or particularly good for a
Cambridge English: Advanced learner. Tell them that you would like them to
cross out and amend any language that they can improve, in particular by
thinking about using a wider range of adjectives and adverbs. Tell them that they
can focus on other parts of speech, as well as sentence structures, linking words,
and so on, if they like.
11. Monitor carefully while learners are making changes to the sample answer, and
give suggestions if necessary. As learners finish, put them in small groups and
ask them to compare their ideas point out that there is no right or wrong answer
to this activity, as there are many ways of expressing different ideas. Ask them to
comment on each others improvements, and give constructive suggestions as
well.

PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015) 15


12. To finish this activity, ask learners to write their own review of a place they have
been to. This can be done in class (allow at least 30 minutes) or as homework.
Before you collect in their work, ask pairs of learners to swap their writing with
each other. Tell them to read each others work, and to write three comments at
the end: one positive comment, and two constructive suggestions as to how it
could be improved. Point out the suggestions should be written in a positive way,
rather than being critical. Learners then take back their work, read the comments,
and spend a few minutes making improvements to their work.

16 PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015)


Worksheet: Normal and extreme adjectives

hot sweltering

cold freezing

angry livid

interesting fascinating

bad awful

big huge

hungry starving

frightened petrified

tired exhausted

small minute

good wonderful

dirty filthy

tasty delicious

wet drenched

shocked horrified

surprised astonished

funny hilarious

happy delighted

PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015) 17


Worksheet: Holiday resort review

Have you been on holiday recently?

We would like you to send us a review of a holiday resort you have been to,
explaining what kinds of people the resort is likely to appeal to, and which aspects of
the resort you would most recommend to other visitors. You should also suggest at
least one way in which you feel the resort could be improved.

The most interesting reviews will be published in next months magazine!

World Traveller magazine

who: ...........................................................................................................................

why: ...........................................................................................................................

what: ...........................................................................................................................

how: ...........................................................................................................................

18 PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015)


Worksheet: Review sample answer

Our dream holiday

Have you ever imagined yourself sitting under a palm tree with a nice cool drink and
lots of clear blue water in front of you?

I had this experience last year, when my family decided to have a dream holiday and
we chose the Dominican Republic, and more specifically Punta Cana, as our
destination.

We had lots of resorts to choose from, but finally we chose Palladium resort, which is
a big, beautiful complex of villas, each with their own terrace. Its the perfect place for
families, especially those with young children.

There are six restaurants at the resort, offering many different kinds of food. But the
best thing is the pool big, clean, with sun beds right next to the water. If you come
to the Palladium resort, its a must. The only problem was that the pool wasnt open
in the evenings that would really have been good.

I had the chance to try scuba diving in the sea, and I can tell you that it was the most
exciting experience. Swimming along with lots of little creatures around you in the
water, and seeing the beautiful colours of the fish and the corals, was a dream come
true.

There are also lots of places to visit, like cacao and coffee farms in the mountains.
We went there in a big old truck, which had a very noisy engine. It was a good
experience to see the farms, and we also learned something about the history of the
island on these trips.

Overall, this was a wonderful holiday, and if you get the chance to go to the
Palladium resort, then you wont regret it!

PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015) 19


Classroom activity: Task types, situations and purposes in the Cambridge
English: Advanced Writing paper
Timing 30 minutes
Materials worksheet: Task types: situations and purposes
Rationale The aim of this activity is:
to increase learners awareness of the task types used in the
Writing paper
to increase learners awareness of the typical situations in which
these text types are used
to highlight the main purposes of each text type.

Procedure
1. Ask learners to quickly note down all the things they have written in the last few
days, and the reasons why they wrote them. Give an example or two to start
them off, e.g. writing a list of food to buy from the supermarket; writing an email to
invite a friend to a party.
2. Work around the room, eliciting a different example from each learner. Point out
the range of different things we write in real life.
3. Give out the worksheet: Task types: situations and purposes. The five task
types at the top of the page are all tasks that are included in the Writing paper.
Learners need to:
decide which task type would be required for each of the situations.
match the purposes listed at the bottom of the page to each situation.
4. Allow learners to work together and discuss their answers. After a few minutes,
elicit the answers for each situation (see key to worksheet, below).

Key to worksheet
Task types situations and purposes:
1) C: a proposal a, b, c, d, e and f
2) E: a review a, b, c, e and f
3) A: an essay a, b, c and g
4) D: a report a, b, c, e and f
5) B: a letter/email a, b, c, d and f

To check understanding, ask a few questions as follows:


Which of these text types would you write for your boss? (B, C, D, E)
Which of these text types could be about a book you have read? (B, E)

20 PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015)


Which of these text types is likely to have an introduction and conclusion? (A, C)
Which of these text types should have an opening salutation and closing
phrasing? (B)
Which of these text types should include description and evaluation? (C, D, E)
Which of these text types would be written about a product or service? (C, D, E)
Which of these text types might include headings? (C, D)

PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015) 21


Worksheet: Task types: situations and purposes

Look at the situations described below. Decide which task type (AE) you
would write for each situation (15).

A B C D E

an essay a letter/email a proposal a report a review

Situations:
1) Your boss wants to know which of two venues would be more suitable for the
annual staff conference.

2) Your student magazine wants people to write about films or concerts that they
have seen recently, so that other students can decide what they might be
interested in going to.

3) Your tutor has asked you to decide which facilities in your town you think are
more important and why, and should therefore receive funding from the local
council.

4) Your line manager wants to know what you feel you have achieved in the first six
months of your new role, and what support you still feel you need.

5) A friend is applying for a job and has asked you to provide a reference for the
company.

Match the purposes below to each of the situations above. There may be more
than one purpose for each.
Purposes:
a) describing
b) giving opinions
c) justifying opinions
d) persuading
e) making suggestions or recommendations
f) providing factual information
g) presenting an argument

22 PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015)


Classroom activity: Sentence structure development (proposal)
Timing 3040 minutes
Materials worksheets: Sentence structure cards (cut up, enough for one card
per student); Sentence structure answers
Rationale This activity focuses on the proposal task and looks at ways that
students can improve and develop their sentence structure.

Procedure
1. Show students the sample task: Proposal (see below) on a slide or on the board
and give them time to discuss ideas for the content of the text in small groups.
Elicit these ideas and write them up on the board.
2. Tell learners that they are going to revise some useful structures they can use in
the proposal.
3. Give out worksheet: Sentence structure answers and distribute the cards from
worksheet: Sentence structure cards so that each student has one card. You
will need to make further cards depending on the number of students in your
class. Give the students up to 2 minutes to complete the sentence in a way
relevant to the proposal and write the sentence on the answer sheet.
4. After 2 minutes, clap your hands. Each student must pass their card to the next
person and then write a new sentence with the new structure on their card.
5. Repeat this three times (or more if you wish).
6. In feedback, collect examples from the answer worksheets from the class and
encourage self/peer correction if there are errors.
7. In class or for homework, the students must write the proposal, using as many
of the sentences as possible.

Sample task: Proposal


There are plans to demolish an old and unused building in the town where you are a
student. You feel that the building should be saved. You decide to write a proposal
for the town council explaining why you think the building should be preserved,
suggesting what could be done to modernise it and saying how the building could
benefit the local people.

Extension
This activity can easily be adapted for any task/text type. Make a list of several
structures relevant to the text type that your students have learned or that you have
focused on in class. Create cards, one per student, with the beginning of a different
sentence on each card (or if you have a large class, divide them into two groups, and
make two sets of cards). Each sentence starter should use a different structure.

PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015) 23


Worksheet: Sentence structure cards

1) Not only should the building ...

2) In order to

3) What needs to be considered is ...

4) Despite its age and condition

5) In addition to this

6) If the building is to be saved

7) It is considered to be

8) Modernisation could benefit local people by

24 PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015)


Worksheet: Sentence structure answers

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

6)

7)

8)

PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015) 25


Writing checklist

When you have finished writing, check it carefully!

Have you answered the question?!

Will your writing have the right effect on the target reader?

Have you used appropriate language for the task e.g. is it too formal, or too
informal?

Is your layout clear, and have you used paragraphs?

Are your ideas in a logical order, and are they well linked?

Have you avoided repeating ideas and/or language?

Have you included some examples of more complex vocabulary and grammar?

Is your writing accurate? Think about the following points:


Is your spelling correct?
Have you used correct punctuation?
Is your word order correct?
Have you used articles where necessary?
Do verbs and subjects agree? (e.g. it has, not it have)
Have you avoided using double subjects? (e.g. the postman, he ...)
Are your verb tenses correct?

26 PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015)


Notes

PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015) 27


Notes

28 PREPARING FOR CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: ADVANCED WRITING (FROM 2015)