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FCE Writing

Introduction of the FCE writing paper .......................................................................3
TYPE 1: FORMAL LETTER ....................................................................................5
1. How should I approach the task? ..................................................................5
2. Formal letter structure ...................................................................................5
3. Useful language .............................................................................................6
4. Sample letters ................................................................................................6
5. Exercise .......................................................................................................10
PART I .............................................................................................................10
PART II ............................................................................................................15
TYPE 2: INFORMAL LETTER ..............................................................................18
1. How should I approach the task? ................................................................18
2. Informal letter structure ...............................................................................18
3. Useful language ...........................................................................................19
4. Exercise .......................................................................................................20
TYPE 3: ARTICLE ..................................................................................................24
1. How should I approach the task? ................................................................24
2. Article structure ...........................................................................................24
3. Useful language ...........................................................................................25
4. Exercise .......................................................................................................27
TYPE 4: STORY .....................................................................................................34
1. How should I approach the task? ................................................................34
2. Story structure .............................................................................................34
3. Useful language ...........................................................................................35
4. Exercise .......................................................................................................37
TYPE 5: REPORT ...................................................................................................41


FCE Writing

1. How should I approach the task? ................................................................41

2. Report structure ...........................................................................................41
3. Useful language ...........................................................................................42
4. Exercise .......................................................................................................46
TYPE 6: ESSAY ......................................................................................................51
1. How should I approach the task? ................................................................51
2. Essay structure .............................................................................................51
3. Useful language ...........................................................................................51
4. Exercise .......................................................................................................55
TYPE 7: REVIEW ...................................................................................................61
1. How should I approach the task? ................................................................61
2. Review structure ..........................................................................................61
3. Useful phrases: ............................................................................................61
4. Exercise .......................................................................................................63
TYPE 8: SET BOOK ...............................................................................................65
1. How should I prepare to write about the set book? .....................................65
2. How should I approach the task? ................................................................65
3. Set book structure ........................................................................................66
4. Useful language ...........................................................................................67
5. Exercise .......................................................................................................70
ANSWER KEY........................................................................................................71


FCE Writing

Introduction of the FCE writing paper

The Writing paper is paper 2 of the FCE exam and it lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes.
In this paper you have to complete 2 writing tasks.

Task 1 is compulsory - you have no choice and you have to write about 120-150
words. This sounds a lot but if we say sentences are about 10 words long then it's
only about 12-15 sentences. If you have average handwriting it's also only about 12
lines. A piece of cake. In task 2 you have a choice of 4 possible tasks and you have
to write just a bit more 120-180 words. You should try to write at least 150 as it is
difficult (but not impossible for a skilled writer) to complete the task and impress
the examiner in task 2 if you only write 120 words. Generally time shouldn't be a
problem for you in this part of the exam if you have had plenty of practice before
the exam.

In task 1 you will be asked to write either a letter or an email. They give you some
material to read and you must respond to that material with your letter or base your
letter on the material given. For example, you might have to respond positively to
an invitation, give or ask for information, express an opinion, give reasons for
doing or not doing an activity or convey a preference. It's really important to show
that you understand the reasons you are writing and to whom.

In Task 2 you could be asked to write an article, an essay, a letter, a report, a

review or a story in questions 2-4. They are based on general topics such as health
and fitness, sport, music and so on. Questions 5a and 5b are based on two set texts.
There will be one question on each of the set texts (so question 5a and 5b). You
might be asked to write the same kind of piece as in questions 2-4 apart from a

What are the examiners looking for?

The examiners are highly trained and have many criteria for marking your writing.
As a general summary they are looking at the following aspects:

- Content - have you included what you are asked to include - not just part of the
required content, but all of it? This is where writing a plan really helps. It takes just


FCE Writing

3 minutes but can save you time when you are writing and help you not to miss
important information. There's an example at the bottom of the article.

- Organisation and cohesion - is it organised? Are all the ideas linked together?
Does it read like 1 piece of writing or lots of little bits thrown together?
Paragraphs!!! (Generally speaking 3 is minimum and more than 5 would probably
be an exaggeration). If you have written a good plan this part shouldn't be a
problem for you.

- Appropriacy and format - if it's a letter, does it look like a letter? If it's a report,
does it look like a report? E.g. A letter starts with Dear, a report doesn't. This also
includes 'register' - this means the level of formality of language - if you are
writing to a friend you should write more informally, if you are writing to someone
in authority you should use a more formal style.

- Range - this is the area you really show off in. You must show that you know a
variety of grammar structures and vocabulary. This will also make your work more
interesting for the reader.

- Accuracy - mistakes!! Try not to make them! Spelling, punctuation, wrong

vocabulary, grammar mistakes. When you check your work it's a good idea to
check at least 3 or 4 times, but each time you check for something different. E.g.
many people have problems with a/the - so check your work by looking at the
nouns and seeing if you have the right article or no article. Tenses are tough in
English, so check through your work by looking at the verbs. Spelling could be
another check. What about checking to find ways to improve your range (see the
point above)?

- Target reader. When he or she is checking your work, the examiner puts himself
in the position of the target reader and wants to see what impression you make.
Does your letter, email, article, essay etc. have the right effect on the readers? For
example if you are asked to write a letter of complaint don't be too critical and
aggressive because this would have a rather negative effect on the reader in real
life and you may not get what you want - compensation etc. Remember the Brit's
are generally a polite lot. So if you do the same in the FCE exam the examiner puts
himself in the position of the target reader and will give you a lower mark because
of the bad effect on the target reader.
FCE Writing


1. How should I approach the task?

What is the purpose of the letter? The task will tell you exactly what you have to
do. This may include: asking for or giving information; initiating action or
responding to a request; giving feedback on suggestions; making complaints,
suggestions, or corrections.

Who will read it? Probably someone who you do not know well, if at all. This
may be a named individual, or an unnamed representative of an organisation,
possibly a person in a position of authority or responsibility.

What style should I use? Be polite. Use indirect expressions, formal linking
phrases and set phrases wherever appropriate. Avoid being too familiar, or using
contractions and colloquial language.

What information should I include? In a transactional letter you will need to

read all the information you are given. This will include the task itself, plus one or
more additional texts, such as letters, memos, adverts, and hand written notes. You
must respond to all the questions and points in the texts or notes.

2. Formal letter structure


Paragraph 1 Say why you are writing. Clearly state the subject or
Paragraph 2 Organise all the essential information from the task
prompts in a clear and logical way in the main paragraphs
of the letter. You may need to add some extra ideas of
your own.
Paragraph 3 Say how you expect the other person to respond to your
letter if this is appropriate.
Paragraph 4 More ideas
Closing expression(s)
Signing off Yours…………………….,


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First name + surname

3. Useful language

Greeting Name unknown: Dear Sir/ Madam,

Name known: Dear Mr. …/Dear Mrs. …/Dear Ms. … +
Reason for - I am writing to …
- I am writing with regard to…
- I am writing on behalf of...
Asking questions - I would be grateful if…
- I wonder if you could…
- Could you…?
- I would like/ be interested to know…
Referring to their - As you stated in your letter, …
- Regarding …/ Concerning …
- With regard to…
Closing - If you require any further information, please do not
hesitate to contact me.
- I look forward to hearing from you.
Signing off - If Dear + name: Yours sincerely
- If Dear Sir/Madam: Yours faithfully,
- If Dear + name or Dear Sir/Madam: Yours
Name Your first name + surname

4. Sample letters
 Sample question 1

You have just seen the following advertisement in your local newspaper:


FCE Writing

Write your letter of application to Mrs Green. Do not write any addresses.

 Model answer

Dear Mrs. Green,

I am writing in response to your advertisement, which I saw in the „Daily News‟

yesterday. I would be very interested in applying for this position.

I am a nineteen year-old student, currently studying Math‟s at Warwick University.

I love being with children. I have three younger brothers and sisters, who I
regularly look after when my parents are at work. They also love sports and games-
basketball, swimming, tennis, hide-and-seek- and I would be very happy to
organize similar activities for your children.

I speak English very well. I was awarded an A grade in the Cambridge First
Certificate in English examination last year.

I would be very grateful if you could let me know what the rate of pay per hour
would be, and which hours during the summer I would be expected to work. I
could be free everyday if necessary, from the beginning of June until the end of

If you require any further information, or wish me to attend an interview, please do

not hesitate to let me know.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Taylor


FCE Writing

 Sample question 2

You bought the personal stereo advertised in a mail order catalogue.


POCKET! (Very big and too heavy for my pocket)

This high-quality stereo comes to you at the unbeatable price of $19.99, (not true –
found one for $14.99 in shop) including cost of postage, lower than you will find in
any shop.

It comes compete with:

- Headphones (missing)

- Convenient carrying case (zip broken)

- Batteries

It has a recording facility (didn‟t work), will pick up any radio station, and plays all
your tapes (destroyed two tapes) with high-quality sound.


Write a letter to Home Mail Order, complaining about the stereo, and asking for
your money back, or a new stereo.

 Model Answer:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing in connection with a personal stereo which I saw advertised in your

mail order catalogue. Last week I bought one of these, and I am sorry to say that I
was very disappointed when I received it.

First of all, your advertisement stated that the price would be lower than in any
shop but I saw the same stereo at a price of $14.99 instead of $19.99.


FCE Writing

Furthermore, your advertisement promised that it would be a high-quality stereo

complete with all necessary accessories. However, when I received it, the
headphones were missing and there was a broken zip on the carrying bag. As well,
the recording facility did not work, and I have already destroyed two tapes that
contained my favourite musical compositions.

Finally, you also promised that it would be a compact and portable device.
However, the stereo was so big and heavy that it could not be carried in a pocket.

Could you please arrange for me to receive a new one or refund my money in full?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Petrov.

 Sample question 3

How much?SEA CREATURES – a fun sea life

centre for the whole family. Visit one
of Dorset‟s finest attractions and
Where in Dorset?
meet some of the sea‟s most amazing
creatures. Don‟t miss dolphin feeding
What time?time!

 Model answer

Dear Sir or Madam,


FCE Writing

I recently saw an advert for the Sea Creatures and would like to visit the sea life
centre with some friends. I am writing to ask for some more information.

My friend and I are all fifteen, so please could you let me know the price of tickets
for this age group? Your advert does not say exactly where Sea Creatures is. Could
you send me a map or give me details of your website so that I can find out.
Finally, dolphin feeding is mentioned in your advert. Please let me know what time
of day this usually happens.

I would be grateful if you would send me this information as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully

Joe Hall

5. Exercise

1. Read this example of a part I task and answer the questions.
a. What is the main purpose of the letter?
b. What key fact should be included?
c. How formal or informal should the style be?

You have recently joined a leisure center which has not lived up to your
expectations. You decide to complain to the management, pointing out the
differences between their publicity and what you have found. Read the leaflet
and the notes you have made. Using this information, write a suitable letter to
the leisure center. Write between 120 and 150 words in an appropriate style.

2. Read this letter written in answer to the task. Is the relevant information
included, and is the style appropriate?


FCE Writing

3. Underline and correct any errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Then rewrite any parts that are in an inappropriate style.
4. Find and underline five phrases in the letter which express a contrast. There
are two each in paragraphs 2 and 4, and one in paragraph 3. The first has
been underlined in the letter.
5. Which of the five words or phrases cannot be used to join contrasting ideas
within one sentence?
6. Complete these sentences with appropriate contrasting phrases. More than
one answer may be possible.
a. --------it was raining, I went for a run.
b. Jon usually beats me at tennis. ---------, yesterday I beat him easily.
c. I enjoy playing golf, -------I‟m not very good at it.
d. I tried to ring you yesterday, ---------I couldn‟t get a reply.
e. He went to work by car, -------he knew the traffic would be very
f. -------the fact that I felt terrible, I got up and went to work as usual.


FCE Writing

7. Complete these sentences with your own ideas.

a. Even though I take regular exercise, ------------.
b. I enjoy watching sport on TV, but---------------.
c. Despite the fact that she couldn‟t drive,--------.
d. I‟ve never been to Australia. However, ---------.
e. Although I learn to swim when I was quite young, --------------.

8. You are going to write a formal transactional letter. First, read the task and
the other information provided. What key points should be included?

When you write, use contrasting language to highlight good and bad points or to
point out the difference between your expectations and your actual experience.

9. Read the information and the task. Then use the writing guide to help you
write the letter. Remember to use informal language and some of the useful


FCE Writing

Your parents have offered to pay for a climbing course for you and a friend. Look
at the advert and the notes you made. Write a letter to your friend inviting him or
her to do the course.

Paragraph one ask how your friend is and tell him/ her what you‟ve been

Paragraph two invite him/ her to go on the course and give details.

Paragraph three explain how much you want your friend to come

10. Read the information and the task. Then use the writing guide to help you
write the letter. Remember to use linking words and some of the useful


FCE Writing

You went to see the band Storm. Unfortunately, some things went wrong. Read the
advert and your notes, and then write a letter of complaint to the manager of the
Octagon explaining what happened.

Paragraph one explain why you are writing

Paragraph two describe what happened

Paragraph three say what you want


FCE Writing



FCE Writing


FCE Writing


FCE Writing


1. How should I approach the task?

What is the purpose of the informal letter? To respond to a request for action
from somebody else, such as to give information or make suggestions.
Alternatively, it could be to initiate action, for example, to request information or
invite somebody to do something. The task will tell you exactly what you have to

Who will read it? The person or people you have been asked to write to.

What style should I use? An informal style. Slang and colloquial expressions are
sometimes appropriate, for example, if you are writing to a friend, but not if you
don‟t know the person. Contractions are always appropriate.

What information should I include? In a transactional letter you will need to

read information which is included in a variety of texts, for example, letters,
memos, adverts, and your hand-written notes. You must answer all the questions in
the texts or notes and make reference to any other comments.

2. Informal letter structure


Paragraph 1 Begin by asking some personal questions or

making some personal comments
Paragraph 2 Say why you are writing. If you need to change
agreements or turn someone down, give
Paragraph 3 Give the information that you have been told to
give. Add some more details of your own if you
Paragraph 4 Like paragraph 3

Closing expression(s) Finish your letter with an appropriate comment.


FCE Writing

Don‟t just stop abruptly.

Your first name ………………………………..

3. Useful language

Greeting Dear + first name

Asking about them Hi! How are things?
How are you?
How‟s it going?
Referring to their news Great news about …
Glad to hear that…
Sorry to hear about…
Giving news Listen, did I tell you about …
You‟ll never believe that…
Oh, and another thing.
Making suggestions Why don‟t you…?
Maybe you could…
How about…?
Closing expressions Well, got to go now.
Give my love to…
Say hello to…
See you soon!
Signing off Love,
Lots of love,
Name Your first name

 Sample question:

Your Italian pen friend, Antonia, wrote and asked about your lifestyle in England.
Read part of Antonia‟s letter and reply.


FCE Writing

I think I have a very healthy lifestyle. I eat a lot of fruit and I get a lot of fresh air.
My family lives near the mountains, so we often go walking. Last weekend, we went
rock climbing. I saw a lot of wildlife and I took a lot of photos. What kind of
lifestyle do you have?

 Model answer

Dear Antonia,

Thanks for your letter. Your lifestyle sounds really interesting! We don‟t live near
the mountains so I‟ve never been rock climbing, but I‟d love to try it.

You asked me about my lifestyle. I think I‟m quite healthy too. I sleep for about
eight hours every night and I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. I like doing exercise.
I‟m quite good at tennis and I often go swimming with my friends. Last month, I
decide to do something different. I did a snorkeling course at our local swimming
pool. While I was doing the course, I met some really great people! The course was
hard, but we were all in the same boat!

I‟d love to visit you one day. I think we‟d get on really well!

Please write soon!



4. Exercise
1. Read this example of a Part I task including the email and handwritten notes,
and answer the questions.
a. What information should be included in the reply to the email?
b. What style will the reply be written in? Why?


FCE Writing

You have received an email from an English- speaking friend, Sam, who is coming
to stay in your town. In the email, Sam, who is coming with a friend, has asked you
for some information and suggestions. Read Sam‟s email and the noted you have
made. Then write an email to Sam, using all your notes. Write your email in 120-
150 words.

2. Read this reply written in answer to the task. Is the relevant information
included, and is the style appropriate?


FCE Writing

Formal and informal language

3. Answer the questions with F (formal) or IFM (informal).
Which kind of writing is more likely…?
a. To have short sentences?
b. To have an impersonal tone?
c. To use contractions (shortened verb forms)?
d. To include polite phrases?
e. To use passive verbs?
f. To use phrasal verbs rather than single-word verbs?
g. To leave out certain words such as pronouns?
h. To use very simple words or slang?
4. How many of the informal features from the list a-h above can you find in the
sample answer? Read the letter again and check.

Think, plan, and write

5. You are going to write an email. Read the task below and decide what style-
formal or informal – is more appropriate.


FCE Writing

You have received an email from an English- speaking friend, Jo, who is
planning to spend a year in your country, learning your language and doing
some part- time work. Read Jo‟s email and the notes you have made. Then
write an email to Jo, using all your notes. Write your email in 120- 150

7. Decide in detail what information you can give your friend.

8. Here is a paragraph plan:
Paragraph 1 Greeting/ react to friend‟s news.
Paragraph 2 Answer the questions about the part- time work
Paragraph 3 Answer the questions about language classes
Paragraph 4 Suggest where your friend could look for
End the letter appropriately.
9. Finally, read through your letter, checking grammar, spelling and punctuation.


FCE Writing

1. How should I approach the task?

Who will read the article? Readers choose articles that interest them and ignore
those that look dull.

What information should I include? You may have to describe personal

experiences or express opinions and ideas which people of young age can identify
with. What you write need not be true.

What is the purpose of the article? To inform readers about a particular topic in an
entertaining way.

What style should I use? The style can be light or serious, depending on who the
target reader is. Magazine articles, especially for young adult readers, are often
written in a light-hearted style. The title and opening paragraph should try to
capture the reader‟s attention. We may use some rhetorical questions: e.g. Can you
imagine a school where every student enjoys themselves?

What language should I use? Probably some use of descriptivelanguage and

language of opinion.There should be some examples.

2. Article structure

Title - Articles usually have a title. The title should be

informative (give the reader an idea of the
subject) and attractive (make the reader want to
read the article).
- Think of an interesting title which will make
people want to read your article.
Opening - Start your article in an interesting way. You could
ask the reader a question or make a strong
- Should be clearly defined, not too long and
clearly linked.


FCE Writing

Paragraph 1 The first paragraph should involve the reader in some

way. Try to end the paragraph in a way which makes the
reader want to continue reading.
Paragraph 2 Build on the interest you have raised in the first
paragraph. This may mean answering the question or
telling the next part of the story.
Paragraph 3 Use each paragraph to mark the next stage of your

Ending Finish the article in an interesting way. This could be

humorous or thought-provoking.
3. Useful language

Engaging the reader - Have you ever…?

- Do you find that…?
- Are you one of those people who…?
Making suggestions - Imagine…
- Let‟s suppose…
- Why not…?
- Have you thought of…?
- Try...
Giving examples - Take… for example/instance…
Expressing opinion - As I see it, …
- To my mind, …
- I believe (that) …
- As far as I‟m concerned…
- In my view, …

 Sample question 1


FCE Writing

Your teacher has asked you to write an article for your school magazine about your
professional achievements.

Write an article for your teacher.

 Model answer


I‟m very proud of some of the things I‟ve done in my life. Here are two of my
greatest achievements!

Every year, we have a sports day at school. I‟m not very good at sports and I don‟t
usually win any races. However, two years ago, I decide to get fit. I went running
three times a week and I joined a karate class. On sports day, I entered three
running races. I didn‟t win any of them, but I came second in the 100 metres. I was
really pleased.

People have always said that I‟m good at singing, but I‟ve never been very
confident. So, six months ago I started singing lessons. Then my teacher asked me
to sing in the school concert. I sang a song by AvrilLavigne. I don‟t think I‟ll ever
be a pop star, but I felt it was a real achievement!

There are a lot of things I want to achieve in my life. My next goal is to pass my

 Sample question 2

You have seen this notice in an international magazine.


Inventions have affected all our lives!

Write us an article about one invention, explaining why you think it is

important and saying how it has affected your own life.

The best article will be published in the magazine.


FCE Writing

 Model answer


Nowadays, cars have become irreplaceable and people cannot stop using them.
Cars have been invented to improve the quality of our lives but recently we have
become addicted to them.

Not only do we use vehicles to do shopping but we also use them as the way of
travelling. Getting to work by using public transport is very difficult sometimes,
dependenton traffic. There are some other advantages of having a car such as
spending less money on buses and trains.

My life has changed since I collected my driving license. I have become more
independent which is very important. I can decide the same day when I want to go
and visit my uncle, who lives in different town. Having a car also is needed if I
want to get a good job.
There are some disadvantages to having a car such as pollution, increasing noise
and number of accidents on the roads. I try not to go by car everywhere because I
know how important is to take care of environment. From my point of view the age
of drivers is terrifying low. Young people are irresponsible and don't really care
much about anything. Honestly, I think a car is a good invention but we need to
think before using it. The time goes so fast and must be aware of our future.
However serious the problem is, I don't think we can stop using car.

4. Exercise
1. Read this part 2 task and answer the questions.
1. In what situations do people read magazine articles?
2. Why do people choose to read or not to read a particle magazine article
3. What would be an appropriate style for this kind of article?

An English- language magazine for students is running a series of articles

entitles “I‟m just crazy about…” in which young people write about their
personal interests. Write an article for the magazine in 120-180 words
about an activity you are enthusiastic about.


FCE Writing

2. Read this article and answer the questions.

a. How does the writer try to interest the reader?
b. How interesting does you find the article?
c. How would you describe the style? Formal or informal? Personal or
impersonal? Serious or humorous?
d. In which paragraph does the writer describe a personal experience?
e. What descriptive language does the writer use?

3. Which of these are essential features of an article tittle?

a. It should attract your attention.

b. It should make you want to read the article.

c. It should tell you exactly what the text is about.

d. It should give you an idea of what the text is about.

e. It should be short.


FCE Writing

4. Which of these titles would make you want to read an article about the sky-

Give reasons.

5. Which of these opening sentences would make you want to continue reading?

Give reasons.

6. You are going to write a magazine article. First, read the task.

An English- language magazine for students of your age is running a series of

articles entitled “I‟ve always wanted to….” in which young people write an
activity they‟d be keen to try. Write your article for the magazine in 120- 180

7. Decide on an activity to write about and note down some key ideas. If possible,
choose an activity you would really like to try.

8. Plan your article. Make brief notes as you work through these stages.

a. work out a paragraph plan. Think particularly about what you will write in your
first and last paragraphs. Hoe many paragraphs will you need? Remember to plan a
new paragraph for each main idea.

b. think of a suitable title and an interesting first sentence.


FCE Writing

c. who is going to read this article? Think about people of your own age: what kind
of things interests them?

d. can you include your own opinions and personal anecdotes?

e. what style and tone would be appropriate- informal? Personal? Humorous?

9. Write an article based on the notes you have made. Don‟t forget to check
your grammar, spelling and punctuation.
10.In part 2 of the First Writing test, you may be asked to write an article. Look at
the following Part 2 question.
You have seen this announcement in an international magazine.

My Favorite Holiday Destination

Tell us about a holiday destination you know well, giving details of the
 What is the best time to visit?
 What can tourists see and do there?
Write us an article answering these questions. We will publish the most
interesting articles next month.
Write your article in 120- 180 words.

1. Answer the following questions in pairs.

a. What should a good article have?
b. How can you interest the reader at the beginning of an article?
c. Discuss your ideas about what to include in the article?
d. Think of two or three interesting tittles for your article and share your
ideas with the rest of the class.
2. Read the following statements and in groups decide if they are true (T) or
false (F) and correct the false ones.
1. These article should be based on your experiences and include some


FCE Writing

2. You must answer both parts of the question. If you do not do this, you
will lose marks.
3. You should begin with Dear Sir and Madam.
4. You have to write about 100 words.
5. You should write your article in a neutral style as it is for an international
6. You can write your article in pencil.
7. You should make a plan before writing, and try to connect your ideas
8. You must remember to use paragraphs and make sure the language is
suitable for your target audience.
9. You don‟t need to worry about spelling and grammar mistakes when you
10.You can use subheadings and numbered points.

11.For questions 1-12, read the text below and think of a word which best fits each
space. Use only one word in each space. There is an example at the beginning


FCE Writing

Use the text on Portugal above as a model answer and discuss the following
1. How many paragraphs are there?
2. What tense is used throughout the article?
3. Find some interesting vocabulary in the article. If necessary, check its
meaning in a dictionary.
4. Are there any other expressions which you could use in your own article?

12.Write your article, using three or four paragraphs. Remember to read through
the task again carefully and include all the information needed.
13. Write a description for youe school magazine of somebody you get on well
with. Use the writing guide to help you. Remember to use linking words and
some of the useful expressions.


FCE Writing

Paragraph one

Who is the person?

Paragraph two

What qualities does he/ she have?

How does he/ she make you feel?

Paragraph three

When do you spend most of your time together?


FCE Writing

1. How should I approach the task?

What is the purpose of the story? To entertain and interest the reader.

Who will read it? Your story may be for a competition or a magazine. The task
may say who will read it, for example, your teacher or other foreign language

What style should I use? Use a neutral style- not formal but not too informal
either. Use descriptive language: adjectives and adverbs make a story more

What information should I include? A good story has an interesting beginning, a

middle which maintains our interest and a definite end. You need to set the scene
and choose two or three events to describe in detail.

2. Story structure
Title …………………………………..

Paragraph 1 -Begin or end your story with the words given, if this is
asked for in the task.
-Unless you are writing in the first person, introduce the
main characters. Say where and when the events took
place, and give any other important background
information. Make your beginning interesting so that
people will want to read on.
Paragraph 2 Develop the story: event 1.
Add descriptive detail to make it more real.
Paragraph 3 Develop the story: event 2
Add descriptive detail to make it more real.
Paragraph 4 Bring the story to an end.


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3. Useful language
Time phrases It all began…
It was one of those days when…
At first…
Some time later, …
Later, …
Eventually, …
In the end, …
Finally, …
Dramatic devices Suddenly, …
All of a sudden, …
Just at that moment, …
Direct speech „…,‟ said x. “… .” said x
Verbs with Tell whisper shout think cry
direct/indirect speech
Concluding It had all been…
After everything that had happened, …

 Sample question 1

You have decided to enter a short story competition. The competition rules say that
the story must begin with the following words:

As John got off the train, he couldn‟t believe how cold it was.

Write your story for the competition.

 Model answer


As John got off the train, he couldn‟t believe how cold it was. He quickly put on
his warm hat and gloves and walked carefully in the snow. He looked around


FCE Writing

excitedly and saw his Uncle Bill at the end of the platform. With him were John‟s
cousins. Alex and Tony.

The train left the station and John came up to his relatives. He hadn‟t seen his
uncle for a long time, but he hadn‟t changed. He was still short and fat, with a
round, bald head. They all said hellp nervously and then they laughed and kissed
each other. The boys started talking loudly and began to walk towards the car.

„ Where are your bags, John?‟ asked Uncle Bill, suddenly. John stopped.

„ Oh no,‟ he cried, sadly. „They‟re on the train!‟ They all looked. In the
distance, the train was slowly disappearing. John felt so foolish.

Uncle Bill quickly found a guard and spoke to him. He came back a second later.
„It‟s okay.‟he explained. „They are going to send them back from the next station.‟
They all smiled and John knew it was going to be a great holiday, after all.

 Sample question 2

Your English teacher has asked you to write a story for the college magazine. Your
story must begin with the following words:
Alice knew that it was going to be a very special day for her.
Write your story.

 Model answer

Alice knew that it was going to be a very special day for her.

She knew her name as she had been hearing it for the last nine months.

She thought it was a beautiful name and she felt very happy each time somebody
said her name.

That day she felt really strange.She moved as she never did before. The most
confusing thing was that even though it had been her room, her space, she felt she
didn't fix there any more as she was bored with the same things all the time.

Suddenly, she started hearing people shouting like in a real rush but happy at the
same time; she hasn't any idea about what was going on in that external world and


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her desires of getting out of that unbearable place were increasing each time. She
had to work very hard for it but finally she succeeded, she did, she was out. It was
like a shock but a great adventure and she just cried and cried

Now she is at home with her parents who take care of her all the time. Besides she
has brought a lot of happiness to many other people. Certainly it was a very special

4. Exercise
1. Work in pairs. Find out what makes your partner feel bored, excited and

2. Reads the part 2 task and tell your partner about a situation when you got
very angry.

Your language school is running a short story competition. The story must
begin or end with the following word:
I had never been so angry in my whole life.
Write your story in 120-180 words.

3. The sentences in the answer to the question have been jumbled. Put them
in the correct order, ignoring the gaps. The first one has been done for

3. The following adverbs have been removed from story. Complete the text by
putting them into the most appropriate spaces.
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Carefully furiously noticeably patiently politely

4. Read this answer to the same question. Make it more dramatic by adding
the adverbs in italic at appropriate places in the graph.

5. Replace the parts in italic in each sentence with more descriptive verbs from
this list, making any other necessary changes.

Crawl creep dash stroll whisper yell

a. He ran across the road very quickly.

b. She told me the answer very quietly
c. The traffic moved slowly through the town center.
d. He walked upstairs very quietly.
e. She shouted very loudly, “Look out!”
f. She walked slowly through the park arm in arm.
6. You are going to write a short story. First, read the task.


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7. Before you write, spend some time thinking of some ideas to include in the
story. Use the questions below to help you. Choose one of the answers given or
use your own.

8. Write your ideas into a story. Remember to

- Set the scene (where and when did it take place?)
- Give any necessary background information (what happened before?)
- Conclude the story (what was in the envelope? a letter? happy news? sad
9. Imagine you were the witness to a burglary at your school. Write a story.
Answer the questions below before you begin. Remember to use time words
and phrases and some of the useful expressions.


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When did you first see the burglar?

What did the burglar look like?

Did the police catch him/ her? How? Why not?


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1. How should I approach the task?

What‟s the purpose of the report? You may be asked to give information,
evaluate something, or make suggestions and recommendations.

Who will read it? The people who are asking for the report will read. This may be
an official group or somebody in authority, like a boss or a college principal.

What style should I use? Be clear and avoid unnecessary detail. Give essential
information and recommendations. An impersonal style is often appropriate,
avoiding overuse of the pronoun “I”.

What information should I include? Make a number of points in answer to the

question. Give some description and explanation. Conclude with a personal

2. Report structure
Reports should have a clear factual heading and may also have subheadings which
divide the writing into shorter sections. The information should be organised and
presented as clearly and logically as possible, with a short introduction explaining
the aims of the report and how the information was obtained and a
suitable conclusion, summing up the information and making recommendations if

To: ………………………………….
Introduction  Use heading: Introduction
Normally we state the aim or purpose of the report at the
 Avoid repeating exactly the words of the
question, e.g. the question says recommend
improvements. The report says how these could be
made better.
Paragraph 2: Heading:…………………………………..


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Paragraph 3: Heading:………………………

Paragraph 4: Heading:……………………………….
Conclusion  Use your conclusion to summarize briefly. Make
sure that you express your personal
recommendation if this is asked for in the
question. Make points clearly and directly.
 Give reasons for your recommendations.

3. Useful language

Initial inforation To: From: Subject: or Re: Date

Headings Introduction conclusion Recommendation
Introduction As requested,…
This involved visiting/ speaking to…
This report is intended to
This report looks at / describes
It is based on
It draws on
It uses...
Having visited/spoken to…
My findings are outlined/presented below.
The aim of this report is + infinitive
The purpose of this report is + infinitive
Reporting an It seems/appears that
The majority / minority of
It was found that
It was felt that
Quoting According to
As X said
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In the words of
Speculating It may / could / might (well) be that
Generalising In general
On the whole
In the main
Commenting Interestingly
As might be (have been) expected
It is interesting that

Recommending Having considered the options,…

I would lik eto suggest/recommend…
I therefore suggest/recommend…
You may wish to consider…
I recommend that……
I would recommend+ v-ing…
I suggest that…
It would be agreat idea (for somebody)+ infinitive…
It is recommended that
(Perhaps) it would be advisable for X to (do)
(Perhaps) X might /should consider
Summing up To sum up / To summarise
On balance
In short

 Sample question 1


FCE Writing

Look at this task:

An English friend of yours is working on a series of articles called “Young and

Old around the World” which looks at different towns and cities through the
eyes of teenagers and senior citizens. She has written asking for your help and
this is an extract from her letter.

What I want is some first-hand information about what it‟s like to live in your
town from the point of view of the two different age groups. You would need to
interview, say, ten people in each category on the main topics of public
transport, entertainment, and shopping and write me a brief report. Could you
also include a short introduction about your town and give a little summing up
at the end?

Write your report in about 250 words.

 Modal answer


The aim of this report is to describe and assess the leisure facilities available in
Grimthorpe. It is based on information made available by the Grimthorpe
Tourist Office, and on views expressed by local people who were interviewed.
Grimthorpe has a wide range of sports facilities, both public and private. There
is a large modern leisure centre in the High Street and facilities include a
swimming pool, a sports hall for judo, fencing and other activities, and tennis
courts. The centre runs courses in all these sports and these tend to be very
popular. Membership costs £150 a year, which was felt to be rather expensive,
but a special temporary membership is available to visitors. The public
swimming pool on the outskirts of the town is older, less attractive and often
overcrowded, but entry is only £1.50.
There are two theatres in town, the Kings Theatre in Bee Street, which offers
mainly “serious” drama and has a good reputation for its productions of
Shakespeare, and the Little Theatre in Sea Street which specialises in lighter
entertainment and the occasional pop concert. In general, it seems that the
Kings Theatre is more popular with the older members of the community while
the Little appeals more to people in their teens and twenties.


FCE Writing

Museums and Art Galleries

The City Museum has an extensive collection of maps, pottery and other
articles connected with Grimthorpe‟s history. The attendants are said to be very
friendly and helpful, and there is also a small café with reasonably priced home-
made snacks. Interestingly, few of the local people interviewed had ever been to
the museum but it was recommended highly by several tourists.
Grimthorpe is well provided with leisure facilities for a town of its size and
these are well used by the townspeople on the whole. Sport seems to be the
most popular leisure activity, while cultural activities like visiting the museum
or art gallery appeared to be the least popular among the Grimthorpians who
were interviewed. Perhaps the City Council should consider launching a
publicity campaign to show how much these facilities have to offer.

 Sample question 2

Your teacher has asked you to write a report on things for young people to do in
their free time in the area where you live. In your report, you should mention what
free-time facilities there are and recommend improvements.

Write your report.

 Model answer



The aim of this report is to outline what young people do in my area in their free
time, what facilities exist for them and how these could be made better.

Free time activities

My town, Beauvoir, is quite small, so it does not have a cinema or theatre and there
is only one club for young people. As a result, young people have to take the train
or bus to Nantes, which is about 30 kilometers away if they want these things. On
the other hand, it is situated by the sea; so many young people spend their free time
on the beach or doing water sports.


FCE Writing

Other facilities

Beauvoir has a sports center with tennis courts, a football pitch and a swimming
pool. There are also a number of cases where young people normally go to meet
each other and spend their free time.


I recommend that the town council should set up a youth club where young people
could meet, do other activities and also see films. This would encourage young
people to stay in the town at weekends and improve their social life.

4. Exercise
1. Read this example of a Part 2 task and answer the questions below.
a. Who is going to read the report?
b. How formal and informal should the style be?
c. What information is it essential to include in the report?

Your town would like to attract more foreign visitors, especially young people.
The local council has asked students to write reports suggesting how the town
might update its image to attract more young visitors. Write your report in 120-

2. Read the report and answer the questions.

a. Is it written in an appropriate style?
b. Does it contain everything that is asked for in the task?
c. What features of the layout make this report clear to follow?
d. What is wrong with the clause in blue?


FCE Writing

3. The passive may be used in reports to express ideas in an impersonal way.

a. Underline all the uses of the passive in the answer above?
b. The words in italic in the introduction to the answer are too informal.
Rewrite these words using the passive.
4. Rewrite these sentences using the passive to make them more appropriate for
report. The beginnings of the new sentences have been given.
a. We should replace the old- fashioned hotels with youth hostels
The old- fashioned hotels---------------------------------------------.
b. The town should provide better sports facilities for foreign visitors.
Better sport facilities---------------------------------------------------.
c. We could put adverts in the local papers asking for the host families
where foreign students could stay.
d. Lots of foreign students come to our language schools. We could open
more of these.
More language schools------------------------------------------------.
e. The town should get someone to design an up- to- date website.
An up- to- date website------------------------------------------------.
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5. You are going to write a report. First, read the task and decide
a. Who is going to read the report?
b. What information is it essential to include in the report?

The director of the language school you attend is considering making

improvements to the general appearance of the school. He/ She has asked you to
write a report making your recommendations on how this might be achieved. Write
your report in 120- 180 words.

6. Plan what you are going to suggest in your report and make some notes.
Remember: you are making recommendations about a school- not a leisure
center, and about the school‟s appearance – not what happens there. Think
g. The approach to the school, the entrance and the reception area. Are
these areas warm and welcoming?
Is there always a receptionist to welcome visitors?
h. The classrooms.


FCE Writing

Are they lights, spacious and well- decorated?

Are they comfortable to work in?
Are they well equipped with learning aids, like a video machine,
computers, etc.?
i. Other areas.
Is the café or dining room a pleasant place to spend time? Are the
menus interesting?
Are the notice boards kept up to date? Is it easy for students to find
the information they need?

When you write, don‟t forget to include all the information required in the
task. Make sure the layout and style are appropriate.

7. Read the task. Then use the writing guide to help you write the report.
Remember to use appropriate adjectives and some of the useful expressions

A group of English students are coming to visit your school. You have been
asked by your teacher to write a report recommending a suitable day trip. Write
about where to go, what to do, how to get there and the cost.

Paragraph one recommend a place to go

Paragraph two suggest how to spend the day
Paragraph three recommend how to get there
Paragraph four suggest how much money students will need
Paragraph five write a conclusion


FCE Writing


FCE Writing

1. How should I approach the task?

What is the purpose of the essay? Essays are usually set by teachers for students.
They give students the opportunity to express their opinions on subjects which may
be controversial.

Who will read it? Probably only the teacher will read, but possibly other students
in your class do.

What style should I use? Essays are formal pieces of writing. Your opinions
should be expressed in a clear and logical way. Use discourse markers to make
clear how your different points are related.

What information should I include? A good essay includes clearly –stated

opinions supported by well-chosen examples and convincing reasons.

2. Essay structure
The opening paragraph should establish the general topic of the composition and
the conclusion should give a balanced personal comment on the topic. There is
more than one way of structuring this essay:
• Introduction, arguments for, arguments against, conclusion
• Introduction, one argument for, several arguments against and obvious
conclusion (as in the sample essay 3)
• Introduction, argument for or against only, conclusion

3. Useful language
Stating an aim I will discuss both point of view and express my own
Introducing the first First,…
point in a list of points
First of all,…
To start with, …
To begin with. …
Introducing a further Second(ly),…
point in a list of points


FCE Writing

Furthermore, …
In addition,…
What‟s more, …
Apart from that,…
Also, …
Another point to be made is that…
Introducing a final point Finally,…
in a list of points
Presenting two …not only… but … also …
(dis)advantages together
Presenting two opposing On one hand, … on the other hand,…
points of view
Expressing results For this reason,…
Because of this,…
As a result,…
Therefore, …
Expressing contrast However
Even though
In spite of
In contrast to this, …
On the other side of the argument,
Giving examples For example for instance such as like
Expressing your opinion In my opinion …
As I see it,…
To my mind, …


FCE Writing

I believe (that)…
As far as I‟m concerned,…
In my view,…
I do believe that …
On balance, it seems to me that …
Expressing someone Some people believe (that)…
else‟s opinion
According to …
It is said (that)…
Scientists argue/claim/ say that...
Introducing a To conclude,…
In conclusion,…
To sum up,…
In summary,…
Conclusion The advantages of … outweigh the disadvantages.

 Sample question 1

Your teacher has asked you to write an essay giving your opinions on the
following statement:

It is better to have a low-paid job you enjoy than a highly-paid job you dislike.

Write your essay.

 Model answer

“It is better to have a low-paid job you enjoy than a highly-paid job you dislike”

Many of us would like to have a job which is both well paid and enjoyable.

Unfortunately, however, monotonous and badly-paid work is the reality for most
people. Nevertheless, it is interesting to reflect on which is more important to us:
job satisfactory or money.

On the one hand, earning a high salary allows you to do the things you want. It
enables you to have holidays in exotic places, own the house of your dreams and


FCE Writing

buy the latest technology. Even if you do not like your job, at least you will be
happy in your free time.

On the other hand, a well-paid job would mean working long hours, with little free
time to enjoy your wealth. By contrast, a satisfactory job may not make you rich,
but it might give you more control over your time and make you more contented
with your life.

In my opinion, the ideal solution would be to spend several years earning a large
salary, and then find a job you really want to do and live on your savings.

 Sample question 2

You have been doing a class project on the environment. Your teacher has asked
you to write a composition about the following statement:

Everybody can help to protect the environment.

You should state whether you agree or disagree with this statement, explaining
your reasons clearly.

Write your composition.

 Model answer

There is no doubt that the environment is in danger. Mankind has caused the
world‟s environmental problems, and only man can solve them. But can we, as
individuals, do anything to help?

There are many environmental problems that only governments and businesses can
solve. For example, one of the causes of global warming is pollution from factories
and cars. Governments must persuade factories to take responsibility for reducing
their pollution, and car manufacturers to produce cars which do not give out
damaging exhaust fumes.

Nevertheless, there are things that individuals can do. Firstly, we can recycle our
used plastic, glass and paper. If we do this, factories will not have to produce so
much. As a result, there will be less pollution. Secondly, we can use our cars as
little as possible. This will also reduce pollution. Finally, we can raise awareness
FCE Writing

about environmental issues, and put pressure on governments and businesses to act

In conclusion, one individual has little effect on protecting the environment.

However, if we work together, we can all make the world a cleaner place.

 Sample question 3

You have had a class discussion on shopping. Your teacher has now asked you to
write an essay, giving your opinions on the following statement:

Shops should be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Write your essay.

 Model answer

Should shops be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week? I totally disagree with it.

Of course, if shops were open all day all time, it would be very convenient for us.
There are some times when we want something suddenly, and how nice it would
be if we could get that exact thing immediately!

But think about the other aspect of it. If shops had to be open all the time, someone
would have to work for those shops. Then people would have fewer holidays
because of the more work that has to be done, and it would not be good for our
mental health. What is more, to open the shops even at night, we would have to
consume much more electric energy, and it is not environmental at all, needless to
say. Contrary, what we should do is to cut down our energy as much as possible to
protect our earth.

To sum up, shops should NOT be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I think
we‟d better consider about our environment first, before meeting our selfish and
individual demands.

4. Exercise

1. Read the following Writing Part 2 task and underline the key words.
FCE Writing

You have had a class discussion about social networking websites. Your teacher
has now asked you to write an essay giving your opinion on the following
Is Facebook good for friendship?
Write your essay in 120- 180 words.

2. Think of as many ideas as possible either in support of Facebook or against


Reasons in favor of Facebook Reasons against Facebook

3. The following statements are all about Facebook. In pairs decide if each one is
for or against Facebook.


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Are any of the ideas similar to yours? Which of the above points would you
include in your essay?


1. Read the model answer below. What is the purpose of each of the four


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2. In an essay, it is important to link your ideas. Look at the underlined linking

expressions in the model answer and say which ones are used to:
j. List/add points
k. Show contrast
l. Introduce a conclusion


1. Read this discursive essay, ignoring the gaps. Then answer this question.
m. What is the purpose of each of the four paragraphs?
n. What are the main points made in the second and third paragraphs?
o. Where are the writer‟s opinions expressed?
p. Is the style appropriate?
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2. Complete the essay using appropriate words and phrases from this list. More
than one answer may be possible.

3. Match each phrase in the list below with its purpose a, b, c.

a. to introduce additional information
b. To introduce information which contrasts with that has gone before
c. To summarize or conclude an argument

4. You are going to write an essay. First, read the task


FCE Writing

a. What is your first reaction to the statement about advertising?

b. Would you prefer to write only your own opinions on the subject or both
sides of the argument?

5. Before you write, think about the topic. Discuss some of these questions in

11.Make a list of two or three points on each side of the argument:


FCE Writing

1. How should I approach the task?

Who will read the review? Your review will be read by readers of a magazine.

What is the purpose of the review? The review is intended to give information to
the reader which will help them decide whether to attend the event themselves.

What style should I use? Use a style similar to an article which is likely to
interest the reader.

What information should I include? Give essential information about the story,
cast, band members, etc. Say what you like and didn‟t like about the performances.
Make a recommendation to the reader about whether or not they should go.

2. Review structure
Title State the name of the film, play, concert, ect.
Paragraph 1 Introduce the topic of the review
Paragraph 2 Give the positive features
Paragraph 3 Give the negative features
Paragraph 4 Finish with a final recommendation.

3. Useful phrases:
Say what you are - The (film, book…etc) I would like to review is…..
- The last Film I saw / book I read was…….
Giving background - This show stars…
- The play is directed by…
- The film is about…
- It‟s set in……….
- The story is based on (a book...) …..
- It‟s about…..
- There are many memorable characters
including ….
- The main theme of the film is…..


FCE Writing

- - What the film is saying is…..

Expressions which - On the plus side,…
introduce a contrast
- On the down side,…
- On the one hand,…
- On the other hand,…
Recommending - Overall, I‟d recommend…
- All in all, the film was…
- I wouldn‟t hesitate to recommend…
- I wouldn‟t encourage anyone to …
- I would recommend this film to anyone.
- Although I enjoyed it, I would not recommend
it for….
- It‟s one of the best (shows) I‟ve ever seen.
- Although I am not normally keen on (musicals),
I am glad that I decided to go.
- The (film) lifts you out of your everyday life.

 Sample question

You have seen this notice in your school library:


We want to buy some new books for the library. Have you read a good book in
English recently? Write us a review of a book you enjoyed, explaining why you
liked it and why you think it would be a good choice for the school library.

We will use your reviews to help us decide which books to buy.

Write your review.

 Model answer



FCE Writing

„The thieves of Ostia‟ by Caroline Lawrence is the first in a series of books entitled
„The Roman Mysteries‟ and I think it‟s an absolute must for the school library.

The book is set in the Roman port of Ostia nearly two thousand years ago. It tells
the story of Flavia and her three friends, and their attempts to discover who has
been killing the dogs of Ostia and why. It‟s full of mystery and excitement, and the
plot has many twists and turns, which make you want to keep reading.

The book is aimed at ten – to twelve – year –old native English speakers, but it is
very popular with older children and would be ideal for teenagers studying
English. What‟s more, it gives a fascinating insight into life in Roman times, so
readers learn about history as well as improving their language skills.

After finishing „The Thieves of Ostia‟, students will want to borrow further books
from the series. By buying it, then, the library would be doing a lot to encourage
students to read more in English.

4. Exercise
1. You have seen this announcement in your local English- language

Have you eaten at a local restaurant recently? If so, why not write a review for our
Food section, telling other readers what the restaurant and its food is like?
All reviews published will receive a free meal at the restaurant.

Write a review.

Which of these elements do you think a restaurant review should contain?

Yes/ no/ maybe

1. The type of restaurant
2. The writer‟s general opinion of the restaurant
3. A description of its design and surroundings
4. A description of the food
5. A description of the other customers
6. A description of the service
7. An explanation of how to get there


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8. A recommendation
9. An indication of the price
10.The location

2. A review is a good opportunity to show your range of vocabulary. Write

each of the adjectives below in the appropriate column. You can write some
adjectives in more than one column.
Airy cozy fresh friendly modern reasonable
Satisfying tasty wonderful informative

The waiters The interior The food The price

3. Read the following writing task.

You have read this announcement in your college magazine.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in town? If so, why not write a review for
our Free time section, telling other readers what the establishment is like and
giving us a recommendation? The three best reviews will receive a prize of
Write a review. Write 120- 180 words.
Write a plan for your review. Your plan could include:
Paragraph 1: Introduction: name and type of restaurant + where situated;
your overall opinion of it.
Paragraph 2: Particular dishes the restaurant serves + your opinion: the
décor, service,…
Paragraph 3: Things you particularly like + price(s)
Paragraph 4: A general recommendation


FCE Writing


1. How should I prepare to write about the set book?

Get to know the book

- Read it several times. For 2013, the set books are:

 William Thackeray: Vanity Fair (Black Cat or any edition)
 Mary Stewart: This Rough Magic (OUP)
- Watch a film version. Make notes about the differences.

The story

- Write a short summary of each chapter.

- Make a list of the main events.

The characters

- Make a list of the main characters. Make notes about their appearance and
personality. What adjectives could you use to describe them?
- Make notes about the most important relationship in the book.

The time and place

- Make notes about where and when the story is set.

- If it is set in the past, think about any differences there are with the modern

Your opinion

- Write notes about why you like the book. Think about adjectives to describe
the story, e.g. exciting, unusual, etc.
- Write about your favorite part. What happens?
Why do you like it?
- Write about anything you don‟t like about the book.
2. How should I approach the task?

What is the purpose of the task? You may be required to express an argument in
an essay or an article, or to give your opinion of the book in a letter, a report or a


FCE Writing

Who will read it? An essay or a report would be written for your teacher or for
someone in authority. An informal letter is likely to be to a friend. An article or a
review would be read by the readers of a magazine.

What style should I use? Follow the notes given on writing styles in the relevant
Writing Guides.

What information should I use? In each case, only include information about the
book which is relevant to the question. Don‟t be tempted to retell the story or to
give unnecessary details.

3. Set book structure


Paragraph 1 Begin with suitable expressions
Paragraph 2  Answer part 1 of the question.
 Refer to the book you want to talk about early
 Give reasons for your opinions.
Paragraph 3  Answer part 2 of the question.
 Give reasons for your opinions
Closing expression(s)
Your first name ………………………………..


Introduction Introduce the subject of your composition in your first

Refer back to the question
Paragraph 1 Make a number of points for one side of the argument
Paragraph 2 Make a number of points for the other side of the
Conclusion Refer back to the question.


FCE Writing

4. Useful language

Nouns used in books Main character villain opening minor characters

setting ending hero/heroine plot main event(s)

Adjective to describe Positive: kind, generous , clever, sensitive, brave

characters Negative: unkind/cruel, mean, stupid, insensitive,
Adjectives to describe Positive: mysterious, exciting, original, interesting
the story Negative: ordinary, unexciting/dull, unoriginal,

Key words:

Author: the writer of a novel or short story

Example: The author manages to bring the past and the present together by setting
half the novel in the eightteenth century, and half in the twentieth century.

be set in: Most stories are set in a certain time and place.

Example: The novel is set in eighteenth century London.

Chapter: Most novels are divided into chapters. These are usually numbered and
sometimes have a title.

Example: When we are introduced to Kose in the first chapter, she is lonely and

ending: the end of the story

Example: this novel does not offer a traditional happy ending.

main/central character: a very important character in the story

Example: Eliza Doolittle, one of the two main characters, is a working-class

flower-seller who does not speak English in an educated way.


FCE Writing

minor character: a character who does not play a central role in the story.

Example: Although Tom is only a minor character, he greatly affects how Angela
views relationships.

narrator: the person telling the story

Example: The narrator of the story is Ishmael, so we see everything that happens
through his eyes.

novel: a book which tells one long story.

Example: The plot revolves around five members of a family sailing across the
Pacific Ocean.

short story: Sometimes, the set book will be a collection of short stories. These
stories are much shorter than novels.

Example: In the short story „The Devil‟, we see that humans do not always have
control over their actions.

twist: a sudden plot development which the reader was not expecting

Example: The twist in the final chapter, where we discover that Mr. Davenport is
in fact Helen‟s long-lost father, is totally unexpected.

 Sample Question 1

A J Cronin – The Citadel

You have received a letter from a friend asking about books you would
recommend reading. Write a letter to your friend, explaining what you liked or
disliked about The Citadel. Describe your favourite or least favourite part.

 Model answer

Dear Ben,

Thanks for your last letter. It‟s always great to hear from you!


FCE Writing

I want to tell you about a really good book I‟ve read. It‟s called The Citadel. I like
it because it shows the difficult decisions people face in real life situations. It‟s
about a doctor who works first in a mining area. While there, he starts with strong
moral ideas about helping poor people get good health care. Later, when he and his
wife move to London, he uses his medical skills to make money from richer
patients. These developments make the story really interesting.

My favourite part of the story is the part where the doctor, Manson, helps to save
the life of a miner trapped underground. It shows the qualities of bravery and
intelligence that a good doctor should have. It also illustrates the terrible working
conditions in the early twentieth century.

Read the book! It‟s fantastic!

See you soon.


 Sample Question 2

Jules Verne – Around the world in Eighty Days

Phileas Fogg and Passepartout travel around the world together experiencing
various adventures on the way. Write an essay saying which character learns most
from their journey.

 Model answer

Phileas Fogg and Passepartout are unusual travelling companions. Their different
experiences of travel provide the novel Around the World in Eighty Days with
some of its most fascinating moments. From these experiences, Fogg learns most,
ending the journey a different person to how he started.

When we meet the two characters, we learn that Passepartout has lived a very
varied life. In this sense, he has more experience of the world than Fogg.
Passepartout gets into many difficulties, such as when he is drugged in Hong Kong
or kidnapped by indians in America. However, I think that, if the journey
continued, he would carry on having experience like these.
FCE Writing

On the other hand, Fogg breaks his usual lifestyle by accepting the bet to travel
around the world. He starts off as a very typical Englishman, with a slightly cold
exterior. By the end of the novel, however, he has fallen in love.

To sum up, under the influence of a woman,Phileas Fogg learns to become a

warmer and more sensitive character by the end of the story.

5. Exercise

Answer the following question based on one of the tittles below.

1. Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Who was the Phantom of the Opera and what information is given in the
story about his past life?
Write your essay.
2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
You have seen a notice in an English language magazine asking for
articles about strange characters in books.
Write an article describing Miss Havisham in Great Expectations,
explaining why she is so strange.
3. Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
This is part of a letter from your English- speaking friend Clare:

I‟ve finished reading “Phantom of the Opera” now. At the end, I felt
sorry for Erik. How did you feel about him? Write and tell me. Clare

Write your letter.

4. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
What are Pip‟s “Great Expectations”? Give your opinion on whether he
was what he expected by the end of the book.
Write your essay.


FCE Writing



1. Key
a. The main purpose is to get a written explanation or full refund of the
membership fee.
b. The letter should include the specific examples of how the leisure centre
disappointed the member.
c. The style should be formal.
2. Key
All the information has been included. The styles is too informal, specifically the
phrases pretty impressive, didn‟t have a clue, I am furious. The style is also very
aggressive, especially in the final graph.
3. Possible answer
Dear Sir,
I‟m writing to complain about Centre 2K, which I visited yesterday evening. This
was only my second visit. I became a member two weeks ago having seen you
publicity leaflet which was very impressive.
First of all, I went for a workout in a gym and found that two of your machines
were out of order. I thought one of the staff might be able to help, but it took me
ten minutes to find someone. Although he was very friendly, he did not know
anything about the machines.
Next, I went for a swim. Unfortunately, the water was not heated, despite the fact
that it was a cold evening.
Finally, I decided to go to the café for a hot drink. However, when I got there it
was closed, even though it was only 10:45 p.m.
As you can imagine, I am extremely disappointed. I would like to a full
explanation in writing form you within seven days or I will cancel my membership
and request a refund of my membership fee.
4. Key
Paragraph 2: But, although
Paragraph 3: Despite
Paragraph 4: However, even though
5. Key


FCE Writing

6. Key
a Although/even though
b However
c even though
d but
e even though/although
f Despite

7. Possible answers
a Even though I take regular exercise, I am still overweight.
b I enjoy watching sport on TV, but I don‟t like taking exercise.
c Despite the fact that she couldn‟t drive, Sue bought a car with her first salary.
d I‟ve never been to Australia. However, I‟d love to go.
e Although I learnt to swim when I was quite young, I get scared when I go in the
9. Example answer

Dear Katy,

How are you? I‟ve been going to the cinema a lot recently. It‟s been great!

What are you doing on the second weekend of July? Do you fancy doing a three-day
climbing course? The course is at Snowy Peak Mountain, which is about two hours away
on the train. We can stay in a local youth hostel, which sounds really good. It has a games
room with table tennis. I think you‟d love it! The instructors are all experienced, so you
can tell your parents we‟d be very safe! Anyway, the course costs £200 per person, but
that includes all the equipment. My parents have said they‟ll pay for us both because it‟s
my birthday next month!

I reckon it will be fantastic, so I really hope you can come!


10. Example answer

Dear Sir or Madam,

On Saturday 29 July, I saw Storm in concert. I was disappointed about some things that
happened. Therefore I wish to make a complaint.


FCE Writing

Firstly, it said on the ticket that the band were playing at 8.30 pm. However, they didn‟t
come on until 10.30 pm. Secondly, the tickets were £40, which is very expensive, but I
had a terrible view. Thirdly, I phoned several times to complain, but there was no answer.

As a result of this bad experience, I would like you to refund the cost of my ticket and
also send me some free tickets for another concert.

Yours faithfully,

John Reeves


1. Key

b. Dear Sir/Madam, Yours faithfully

c. The style will be formal.

d. You should include details of knowledge of local history, proof of

organizational skills and reliability, also any qualifications, languages and relevant
experience (although not a requirement).

2. Key

b. Yes, they have: she has studied English for five years; she is a reliable person;
she has been responsible for organising sports and games; she is interested in the history
of Palermo.

3. Key

I would like to apply for …

… as advertised in …

I have just finished …

I am looking for …

I would be available to work for …

With regard to your requirements, I believe I meet all of them.

I have been told that I am a…person


FCE Writing

I was responsible for …

I look forward to hearing from you and wish to advise you that I am available for
interview at any time.

4. Key

Dear Sir or Madam,

Studying English

Organizing activities. Last summer

… said („) he would be happy to employ me again („)

Palermo, I am interested

Your („)

5. Key

b. Last year, but I had (but is used to join two sentences and is normally preceded
by a comma when the second sentence has its own subject)

c. good. I can (These are two sentences which must be separated by a full stop)

d. In an interview, I am available (If-clauses which come at the start of a sentence

are followed by a comma)

e. Wednesday, when I attend (a comma must be used before a non-defining

relative clause)

f. my school, although (clauses beginning with although, despite, and in spite of

are preceded by a comma)

g. twenty – two – year-old (this phrases needs hyphens when it occurs before the

h. university, so this (clauses beginning with so are normally part of the same

i. references? (Questions always require a question mark)

j. referee („) s (plural nouns do not require an apostrophe before the„s‟)


FCE Writing


1. Key

a. The letter must mention that Nicky is invited to the wedding, that she can bring a
friend, the time and place of the wedding, that she needs to reply (RSPV), and that the
wedding list can be found on the Internet.

b. The style is too formal in places. The writer has used an impersonal tine occasionally
(She has requested that an invitation be passed on to you), passive verbs (be passed on to
you), single –word verbs (purchasing), and polite phrases (yours sincerely). The writer
has also forgotten to give details of the location of the wedding.

Formal and informal language

3 Key

a INF eF

bF f INF


dF h INF

4 Key

a Short sentences – Alice is getting married, They‟re not too expensive.

c Contractions – She‟s sent, She‟d love, The wedding‟s at, ect.

f Phrasal verbs – I‟ve come up with a few ideas

g Words left out – Look forward to seeing you (missing I)

h Simple words or slang – the kind of thing




FCE Writing

1. Possible answers
1. on the train/bus, in the bath, when they are relaxing, in doctors‟ or dentists‟
waiting rooms.
2. It may depend on whether they are interested in the subject, whether the
writing style is accessible, or how well the article is presented on the page.
3. Informal- the article is intended for young people, it is about a light- hearted
subject and the title I‟m just crazy about… is an informal expression.
2. Key
b. by talking about it from a personal viewpoint
c. informal, personal, serious
d. paragraph 3
e. extreme adjectives, e.g. fantastic, terrifying

Creating interest

3. Key

It should attract your attention,

It should make you want to read the article.

It should give you an idea of what the text is about.

4. Possible answers

The title No, I‟m not completely mad is the most likely to make somebody want to read
on because it creates an element of mystery. It gives no idea what the article is going to
be about but suggests that it is something unusual. Readers may be curious to find out
what that is.

Sky-diving for beginners-This title is fairly bland, although it might attract somebody
who wants to learn about sky-diving.

So you‟d like to sky-diving- This is also fairly bland, although it is intended as a question
directed at the reader, which might attract attention.

A complete history of sky-diving –This title suggests something that is serious, dense and
possibly dull.

5. Possible answers


FCE Writing

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fall out of an aero plane? This
sentence immediately engages the reader by asking a dramatic question.

The other sentences in comparison are not so interesting.


Exercise 1

a) A good article shpuld have:

 A title, students could use „My Favourite Holiday Destinantion‟ as their
title but they could also think of a more direct and attractive title to interest
the reader. Often a question works well as a title.
 An introductory paragraph linked to the title. Students can also use
questions in their article to involve i.e. „speak to‟ the reader as if they are
having a conversation.
 One(or two) central paragraph(s) where students can go on to expand their
opinion and experience. In this task they should focus on the two questions,
i.e. the best time, what tourists can do and see there.
 A final paragraph that summaries the main points.
b) You could use: a question; a controversial or funny statement; a powerful
description; speak directly to the reader „you‟, or about yourself „I‟; dialogue, ect
c) Here are some suggestions:
 Same place by the pool again this year?
 When did you last go on an adventurous holiday?
 Why not head for ( the name of a country or city)!
 Sun, sand and sea!

Exercise 2

1. T
2. T
3. F(This would be relevant to formal letters.)
4. F(Your writing for Part 2 should be between 120-180 words.)
5. T
6. F(You must use a pen in the writing paper.)
7. T
8. T


FCE Writing

9. F(Your writing will be assessed on accuracy, including grammar, spelling and

10. F (This would be relevant to reports.)


1. Key

1) for 7) which
2) its 8) who
3) more 9) the
4) are 10) around
5) of 11) up
6) if 12) be


1. four
2. present tense
3. learners‟ own answers
4. learners‟ own answers

13. Example answer

Dear Carlos

Thanks for your letter. It was great to hear from you. It sounds like you have a really
healthy lifestyle. I‟ve been on a sailing course, too. It was a long time before I learnt the
ropes! I‟d love to try jet-skiing!

I think I have a healthy lifestyle, too. I love sleep! I usually sleep for about nine hours
every night. I don‟t like vegetables very much, but I eat a lot of fruit and I don‟t eat much
fast food. I enjoy all types of sport, but I‟m really good at basketball and I‟m in the
school team. Last summer, I went on a course to improve my basketball skills. It was
great fun and I met a lot of really nice people.

Why don‟t you come here in the holidays? It would be great to get together!


FCE Writing

Hope to hear from you soon.



3. Key

2C 4B 6E 8D

3F 5A 7H

4. Key

A politely E Patiently

B noticeably F carefully

D Furiously

Dramatic effect

5. Possible answers

Paragraph 1: I shouted angrily:… shrugged her shoulders casually…/walked


Paragraph 2:…briskly walked across the road/ walked briskly across the
road/walked briskly across the road: hurriedly

straightening my tie…

Paragraph 3:…looked strangely familiar…

Paragraph 4: Reluctantly opening the envelope,…/Opening the envelope


6. Key
a. He dashed across the road.
b. She whispered the answer.
c. The traffic crawled through the town centre.


FCE Writing

d. He crept upstairs.
e. She yelled, „Look out!‟
f. They strolled through the park arm in arm.

9. Example answer

I had a strange experience last week while I was walking home from my friend‟s house. I
had to go past our school and I was walking past the entrance, I saw a man coming out of
the gates. He was tall and thin. He was wearing a blue jacket and he was carrying a
computer. I remember feeling surprised, but I didn‟t imagine he was a burglar.

The next morning at school, our teacher told us that somebody had stolen a computer
from our school. I remembered the man I‟d seen and told my teacher about him. Then I
gave a description to the police.

That afternoon, I went to my friend‟s house. On the way home, as I walking past the
school, I saw the man again. I couldn‟t believe it! He was wearing the same blue jacket
and was carrying another computer. I ran round the corner and rang the police on my
mobile phone. They arrived five minutes later and arrested him.


1. Key

a. The report will be read by members of the local council.

b. The style should be quite formal.

c. It is essential to include ideas for things which would attract young people, and how
these people can be made aware of these things.

2. Key

a. Yes, report is often written in the passive.

b. Yes, suggestions are given.

c. the headings (Introduction, Recommendations, Conclusion)

d. It is inappropriate to question the council‟s commitment to actually doing this by

saying „if it really wants to attract people…‟


FCE Writing

3. Key

a. following ideas should be considered by the local council

local council

local council

rock groups could be invited to play

it is not known to foreign visitors

accommodation could be provided

the town needs to be advertised

b. the town‟s image could be updated

4. Key

a. The old-fashioned hotels should be replaced with youth hostels instead.

b. Better sports facilities should be provided for foreign visitors.

c. Adverts could be put in local papers asking for host families where foreign students
could stay.

d. More language schools could be opened.

e. An up-to-date website should be designed.

Think, plan, write

5. Key

a. The director of the language school

b. It is essential to include suggestions to improve the general appearance of the


7. Example answer

Report: Day Trip for English Visitors



FCE Writing

In this report, I‟m going to recommend a day trip to Athens for our visitors from England.

What to do

I suggest we travel to Athens early in the morning and visit the Acropolis first. In the
afternoon, we can explore the city and go shopping.

How to get there

Athens is easy to get to by road and is only a one-hour trip, so I suggest we travel by

The cost

I propose that the cost of travel and the cost of the entrance fee to the Acropolis is paid
for by the school. I suggest everybody brings their own picnic, which means that students
will only need spending money.


To conclude, I strongly recommend taking our English visitors to Athens for the day, as
it‟s an interesting and historic place to visit.



Exercise 1, 2

your teacher – essay – your opinion – Facebook – friendship

a) Students should decide whether they are going to consider both sides of the
complex because of the comparison of positive and negative aspects. Explain
that students will get marks in the exam for using a wide range of expressions,
so it is good to be ambitious.
b) No, because discursive essays are written in a formal style.

Exercise 3


a); c);d);g);h);i) b);e);f);j)



FCE Writing

Exercise 1

Paragraph 1: a general introduction

Paragraph 2: positive aspects/advantages of Facebook + examples

Paragraph 3: negative aspects/disadvantages of Facebook+ examples

Paragraph 4: conclusion/ a balanced summary of the topic

Exercise 2

To list/add points To show contrast To introduce a conclusion

Another advantage is On the other side, All things considered
Furthermore, On the negative side To sum up
Moreover, On the one hand In conclusion
Finally On the other hand To conclude
To start/begin with However
In addition (to this)
What is more
Another disadvantage is
Besides this


1. Key
a. A discursive composition should star with an introduction and finish with a
b. By giving both sides of the argument
c. A formal and impersonal style is best, although the conclusion may express a
more personal view.
2. Key
a. Paragraph 1: introduction
Paragraph 2: the opinions of famous people as understood by the writer

Paragraph 3: the opinion of newspapers as understood by the writer

Paragraph 4: the writer‟s opinion and conclusion


FCE Writing

b. The second paragraph describes how the relationship between a person and the
media changes the more famous they become. The third paragraph describes
the argument about a famous person‟s private life.
c. The writer‟s opinion are expressed in the last paragraph
d. Yes, the argument is presented impersonally and structured appropriately.
3. Key
1. Although/ whereas
2. On the other hand
3. However
4. In fact
5. On the other hand
6. On balance
7. Although
4. Key
a. As well as, what is more, furthermore, apart from that, beside this
b. Nevertheless, on the contrary, by contrast
c. In conclusion, in short, on the whole, to conclude, to summarize, to sum up
5. Key
They- the newspapers
These different points of view – the views of newspapers and famous people.
They- the famous people
Their- the famous people
They- the newspapers
This- the writer‟s opinion that stars deserve some privacy
8. Possible answer
In favor of a ban
It‟s morally wrong to advertise something that can damage your health.
Advertising often makes dangerous products seem glamorous to young people.
People are not always fully informed about the bad effects of smoking/
Against a ban
A ban would be against freedom of speech /ideas.
People should be allowed to make up their own minds
Enough warnings are already given on cigarette packets



FCE Writing

Suggested answers
2. Yes 3. Maybe 4. Yes 5. No 6. Maybe 7. Maybe 8. Yes 9. Yes 10. Yes

3. Suggested answers
The waiters The interior The food The price
Friendly Airy Delicious reasonable
informative cozy Fresh
Modern Satisfying

4. Alternative writing


Essay should explain who the Phantom of the Opera was and give information
about past life.
Organization and cohesion
Clear organization of ideas, with suitable paragraphing and linking.
Language of describing, explaining and expressing opinion.
Vocabulary relating to story and characters.
Appropriacy of register and format
Consistent register suitable to the situation and target reader.

Article should describe Miss Havisham and explain why she is strange.
Organization and cohesion
Clear organization of ideas, with suitable paragraphing and linking.
Language of describing, explaining and expressing opinion.
Vocabulary relating to story and characters.


FCE Writing

Appropriacy of register and format

Consistent register suitable to the situation and target reader.
Example answer:
While I am reading a book, I can find each of character have their own
individuality. I realize that a few of them are unique and rather strange.
Miss Havisham in “Great Expectations” was the strangest character for me. After
she was deceived by her finance, she could not get over and thought about it
tragically. Eventually, she decided to revenge to all men in the world by bringing
up Estella as a “heartbreaker”. She ruined herself and Estella also became unhappy
without any belief of love.
After finishing reading book, I could understand why she became so depressed. It
comes from the fact that nobody had given her love, so he could not live

In conclusion, the author described a variety of lifestyles. Sometimes there is

strange character like “Miss Havisham”. However, it is based on our life; I think
they also can be understandable.


Letter should say whether or not candidate feels sorry for Erik.

Organization and cohesion

Clear organization of ideas, with suitable paragraphing and linking.


Language of describing, explaining and expressing opinion.

Vocabulary relating to story and characters.

Appropriacy of register and format

Consistent register suitable to the situation and target reader.

Essay should describe Pip‟s “Great Expectations” and give opinion whether he got
what he expected at the end of the book.


FCE Writing

Organization and cohesion

Clear organization of ideas, with suitable paragraphing and linking.


Language of describing, explaining and expressing opinion.

Vocabulary relating to story and characters.

Appropriacy of register and format

Consistent register suitable to the situation and target reader