How to write a CAE essay/letter/report/proposal
I rate a student’s Writing part 1 Essay, give suggestions on then simple tips to rewrite it. Can we take it from a B to an A?
I also made a video about writing essays – start to see the section below.
Our Videos about CAE Writing
A Skype chat with Marina in Italy – we discuss just how to plan the essay in part 1 of the CAE Writing test. I emphasise the significance of planning, and my theory you will use and which vocabulary fits the topic that you should not only plan your paragraphs, but also which structures.
In this video I put myself within my students’ shoes and try to write a CAE Writing Part 1 essay. Watch as I destroy my poor keyboard while writing an essay. Laugh as I am rudely interrupted as I fail to type the word ‘government’ 7 times out of 8. Cringe.
BACK AGAIN TO TOP
Most CAE students don’t make obvious, basic mistakes like your/you’re or its/it’s. Nevertheless they do struggle with things such as:
You will need to learn the essential difference between defining and non-defining clauses that are relative. Your non-defining clauses need commas, while your defining clauses should never have commas.
I experienced lunch with my grandfather, who is 90 yrs . old. (the next 50 % of the sentence informs you more about my grandfather. It is bonus information do my homework, generally there has got to be a comma.)
I experienced lunch with my friend who lives in Prague. (i will be very cool and popular – We have a lot of friends. If I say ‘I experienced lunch with my friend’ you don’t know which friend i am talking about. So the ‘who lives in Prague’ clause provides you with information that is essential. Therefore, no comma!)
Remember that pronouns that are non-defining be changed to ‘that’, therefore you should never write a comma accompanied by ‘that’. (this can be especially a challenge for German speakers because in German you need to use a comma before ‘that’.)
Gerund vs infinitive
Gerund means the form that is-ing of verb. This can be a tricky section of grammar since there are not any rules and you have to learn every verb one at a time. English! Argh! Anyway, make certain you know these structures:
I used to live in China (= I lived in China).
I’m used to hearing German (= hearing German is normal for me).
I look forward to meeting you.
I stopped smoking (= I quit).
I stopped to smoke (= I stopped what I was doing because I wanted to own a cigarette).
I recommend buying new computer equipment. (Suggest and advise may also be accompanied by gerunds.)
I would recommend you buy new computer equipment.
So difficult! So prepositions that are many! So many mistakes! Just learn as much as you can easily and don’t forget, every student that is single has ever taken the CAE exam has struggled with prepositions. You are not alone!
If I get the work i shall move to Zurich. (The speaker is confident.)
I would move to Zurich if I got the job. (The speaker just isn’t confident.)
I would have moved to Zurich if I had got the job. (however the speaker didn’t have the job and didn’t relocate to Zurich.)
Not risks that are taking
Lots of students always write the same, safe, things they always write. To understand advanced vocabulary and structures you need to use advanced vocabulary and structures!
It is hard enough to produce a piece that is well-structured of with good vocabulary that fits the content. But keep in mind that the examiners read hundreds and a huge selection of essays and most of them are extremely boring! Yours interesting (though the style, unexpectedly good vocabulary, maybe even a joke or two) the examiners will be VERY happy and you will be REWARDED if you make.
RETURNING TO TOP
Students often ask if I offer a writing correction service. Well. to be honest I’m not so motivated to accomplish this right now. You should find a trained teacher on italki instead. Click on this link to read about italki. (Watch the video with David to listen to more info on writing correction.)
Q – Do I have to use British spelling?
A – No, it does not matter. However, if you employ American spelling, be consistent during your writing.
Q – How important is spelling and punctuation?
A – It is pretty important – it won’t be a big deal if you make a trivial mistake. In the event that mistake stops the reader from understanding everything you mean you will lose points.
Q – How important may be the word count? What the results are if I write too many words?
A – The word count is a guide, not a rule. But should you the job properly you will come up with 220-260 words. In the event that you write 300 words then you might have written plenty of stuff you don’t need. In the event that you write 200 words no doubt you’ve forgotten something.
DO NOT waste time in the exam counting what amount of words you have got written! Rather than add or remove words simply because regarding the word count – it will come out clumsy and weird.
All that said, when you are practicing for the writing section, i would recommend you adhere to the suggested word count.
Note that the computer-based exam will automatically count what number of words you are using. Handy! See this short article for more information about the computer-based CAE exam.
Q – i understand I need to use complex sentences to obtain a grade that is good but i am concerned about making mistakes. Can it be easier to have a text that is simple no mistakes?
A – Cambridge says that students who make mistakes while attempting to use complex structures will get credit for trying (provided that the mistake does not stop your reader from understanding).
Q – My handwriting is terrible! No-one can see clearly! Can I lose points?
A – No. Your handwriting is not too important. Just be sure it could be read. Also, you don’t need to rewrite your text (and you also do not have time and energy to rewrite it) – if it’s got lots of bits crossed out, don’t be concerned. Every student’s writing looks the exact same!