22 Nov How to pass with flying colours
your Cambridge writing exam
FIVE MAIN TIPS
Firstly, reduce your mistakes.
Secondly, answer the question fully.
Thirdly, use the right formality.
Forthly, use the right format with
In addition, put in high level grammar and vocaulary.
Futhermore, use linking words like the ones here: firstly, in addition, however etc.
Finally, use the time.
1) How to reduce mistakes.
Write an answer to the question. Typically a FCE candidate will have around 10 mistakes. Get it corrected either by your teacher or Cambridge writing corrector on the internet.
Look at the mistakes. These are gold because we can learn from them Write them down in your notebook. Learn them.
Answer another question and without looking at your ‘chuleta’ include the same structures or vocabulary mistakes- now corrected in your new esssay. This way you will know that you have these
words and sentences correct. Don’t write a completely different answer as it will probably contain another 10 new mistakes.
2)Answer the question exactly and fully.
Two common errors are that a student only half answers the question, In FCE essay you must write 5 paragraphs: introduction and conclusion and 3 relating to the question. Two ideas are given and a third is of your choice. If you don’t have much imagination the third can very often be ‘Cost’.
Another typical error is not reading the question completely.
In the question ‘Famous sports people are paid too much, do you agree? Many students answered only about Famous people ignoring Sports people. This brings down your score.
Finally write the right amount of words.
Anything less will be marked down. Writing more won’t be read, so you run the risk of not answering the question in the words given.
In letters to friends, articles and reviews you can be fairly informal but in reports and letters to an organization you must be formal. So for these two use longer more ‘latin’ words like ‘contact me’ instead of ‘get in touch’. Also the passive structure is very formal.
Use: It is thought rather than I think , or it is recommended, suggested etc…No contractions
For essays be neutral but avoid contractions.
For ESSAYS see above in answering the question. At the top a short informative title.
For REPORTS and proposals use 4-5 paragraphs each one with a sub-heading. The first INTRODUCTION, the last CONCLUSION or RECOMMENDATIONS.
PROPOSALS are like reports only suggesting something new rather than reporting on what happened.
For ARTICLES and reviews have an interesting title, a question to the reader at the start. ‘Have you ever wondered…..?’ Use lots of descriptive adjectives.
For articles – finish with a quotation; this can be invented. For an article about fishing ‘ To fish or not to fish that is the question’.
For a REVIEW you must recommend the play or film etc that you are reviewing.
For LETTERS have at least three clear paragraphs
- Why you are writing
- The details
- What you want.
5) Include more advanced grammar.
Which includes third conditionals If I hadn’t…inversion; Had I Known how difficult….
Vocabulary; Use collocations like ‘highly effective’ absolutely essential’ utterly dreadful ‘ etc
Linking words as suggested above. It’s good to use firstly, on the other hand, therefore, futhermore, in contrast etc..
Use the TIME. PLAN for 10 minutes, write for 20-25 minutes and then correct your mistakes for 5. Don’t rewrite your essay. You waste valuable time and get no extra credit for this. Crossing out mistakes is accepted.
If you follow these tips you will certainly pass your exam.
Follow them carefully and you will get an extemely high grade.