What is the Advanced (CAE) Writing test like?
The test has two sections and takes 1 hour 30 minutes:
Part 1 – Write an essay with a discursive focus (compulsory question, 180-220 words)
You need to read some material (up to 150 words) which may include texts taken from advertisements, extracts from letters, emails, postcards, diaries, short articles, etc. Using this information, you have to write an essay with a discursive focus.
Part 2 – Situationally based writing task (1 question from a choice of 5, 220-260 words)
In this part you are asked to choose one of five questions. You have to read some input material and write one of the following pieces of writing: a letter/email, a proposal, a report or a review, article, review.
The Advanced (CAE) Writing Test makes up 20% of the entire exam.
Your writing is assessed using the following four criteria:
Have you fully answered the question? Have you included all the points you had to deal with in this task?
- Communicative Achievement
Have you completed the task in the right sort of language (formal, semi-formal or informal)? If the question asks for an article, have you written an article? Is your piece of writing engaging and attractive to your reader?
Have you structured your writing with paragraphs? Is your piece of writing logical and ordered?
Have you used a good range of grammar and vocabulary?
TIPS FOR WRITING:
PRACTISE WRITING REGULARLY
Writing is the same as any other skill – if you would like to master it and achieve high marks in the exam, you have to practise on a regular basis. You should write regularly in English and always remember to establish first who your reader is, the reason you are writing and what sort of text it should be (report, article, review, letter, etc.). Use an appropriate style of language, e.g. you have to write a report in a formal style and essay usually in semi-formal style.
READ A LOT TO BUILD UP YOUR VOCABULARY
It is important to use a range of complex language. Reading can really help you with this! Also, it could be very helpful to learn a range of words and expressions in different categories, e.g. health, work, education-related words and expressions. Remember to try to learn whole expressions and collocations instead of learning single words only.
USE COMPLEX GRAMMAR
In CAE exam you should demonstrate that your grammar knowledge is impeccable and you can use a variety of tenses accurately and appropriately.
MAKE A PLAN
Make a plan before you start writing. Firstly, carefully choose a question that you are interested in. You will write better if you know the subject thoroughly. Plan in advance what grammar you could use to show you have an advanced level of English (passive voice, modal verbs in the present and past tenses, relative clauses, inversions, collocations, etc.) and note down some topic collocations and phrases. Decide what information to put in each paragraph. Remember that your plan is a skeleton of your writing and can really help you with getting it right.
READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY
Make sure you are you have done what you were asked to do in the task – read the instructions carefully before you start and underline key words. This will help you to fully respond to the question as you must address all the points included in the writing instructions. Your answer should be relevant and not general. In Part 1, always double check if you have included all the information you’ve been asked to and in Part 2, make sure you select the question that you can write about most comfortably.
MANAGE THE TIME WISELY
Time management is one of the most crucial aspects of the exam. While you are preparing your plan, think about the time too. You have 1h 30min for the two parts so make sure you plan your time sensibly.
CHECK YOUR WORK
Check your work after finishing and more importantly, leave enough time to check what you have produced. Make sure you don’t have any particular mistakes you always tend to make, e.g. leaving out articles. Be aware of the typical mistakes you tend to make and check your work carefully for them.
Good luck with your exam!