10 Tips to Pass the Writing for Cambridge B2 First and C1 Advanced Exams

Cambridge Exams Tips With Dave, Beth and Lucy from Taylor School and Adriana from Expert English.  Links: Exam day tips and podcastsample papers B2 Firstsample papers C1 advanced , cursos presenciales y por Skype.

Tip 1 ─ Practice essays a lot

Part 1: Essay ─ Never forget to include a third idea that is your own.

Tip 2 ─ Learn the possibilities for part 2

Choose one among two of the following: an article, an informal e-mail or letter, a formal e-mail or letter, a review and a report.

Tip 3 ─ Don’t practice every type of writing for part 2

Practice article, email and review. In the exam, you will be given two options, so one of those you have practiced will be there.

Tip 4 ─ Be careful with register

Don’t use contractions, phrasal verbs and informal expressions for formal or semiformal writings.

Tip 5 ─ Learn set phrases for each type of writing

Go to the end of the tips for a list of useful set phrases.

Tip 6 ─ Only use sentence structures that you have seen in English

Even if it means simplifying and not saying exactly what you want to say, stick with what you know and avoid very long and complex sentences that might be wrong in English. Keep it simple!

Tip 7 ─ Plan, plan, plan, plan, plan, plan, plan

You need to know what you are going to say before you start writing. Write down the vocabulary and expressions you’re going to need and make sure you know what you want to say. Also, plan your paragraphs in advance.

Tip 8 ─ Divide your writing into paragraphs

Structure your writing so that it looks like the type of writing you are supposed to be doing. An essay should have five paragraphs clearly defined; a review, a report and an article should have a title; a letter or e-mail should have a greeting and a farewell. In the case of the report you have to use subtitles and you can also use bullet points for one of your subtitles.

Tip 9 ─ Use sign posts and linking words

However, …

On the one hand, … On the other hand, …

Furthermore…

In addition, …

Firstly… / Secondly… / Finally…

In conclusion…

Tip 10 ─ Count words as you go

Don’t count all the words at the end, count them as you write the different paragraphs. Bare in mind you shouldn’t go over the limit.

_____________________

Formal letter or e-mail:

Dear Sir / Dear Madam

I am writing to complain about…

I am writing to apply for…

I am writing in response to…

I would like information on…

I would like to apologize for + noun / verb + -ing

I look forward to hearing from you soon

Yours sincerely (if you know the person’s name) / Yours faithfully (if you don’t know the person’s name)

Informal letter or e-mail:

Thanks for your letter, it was good to hear from you

Could you tell me…

What about + verb + -ing (suggestions)

Sorry about + noun / verb + -ing

How about…? (inviting)

Best wishes / All the best

Essay:

I will discuss both point of view and express my own opinion

In my opinion…

Many people argue that…

It is often/sometimes argued/suggested/said that…

There are two good reasons for…

On the other hand, there are a number of reasons against…

As a result/consequence…

In conclusion…

Review:

I think everyone will enjoy this book/film because…

This… (book/film/restaurant) is really worth (reading/seeing/visiting/etc) because…

End with a recommendation: Would I recommend this film/book? Absolutely/ Absolutely not

Article:

Have you ever found yourself…?

What do you think about…?

Report:

The aim of this report is + infinitive

The purpose of this report is + infinitive

I would recommend + verb + -ing

I suggest that…

It would be a good idea (for somebody) + infinitive

 

_____________________

Writing Game

  1. There are two good reasons for encouraging young people to stay at school.

Essay.

  1. Families in Spain are still very close and family members take a lot of trouble to spend time together and help each other.

Informal letter.

  1. My town, Beauvoir, is quite small, so it does not have a cinema or theatre and there is only one club for young people.

Report.

  1. I wandered nervously down the bus, which was full of noisy kids shouting and laughing excitedly, and found a place beside a quiet girl with fair hair and friendly green eyes.

Article.

  1. Henry is a librarian who has a genetic problem which causes him to move backwards and forwards in time.

Review.

  1. In conclusion, I believe it is a mistake for people to leave school too soon because they will miss opportunities which may arise in the future.

Essay.

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