CPE Example Article: Long-distance Travel
An international travel magazine is running a series of articles on alternatives to travelling by plane. The magazine has invited readers to send in articles briefly describing a memorable long-distance train or bus journey they have made. The article should explain the advantages of travelling a long distance by train or bus and consider whether in general travelling to your destination more slowly may result in a more satisfying travel experience.
Write your article.
The Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, used to say that he travelled ‘not to go anywhere but to go.’ In other words he loved travelling for its own sake. Although I enjoy being at a new destination, I agree that the journey there can be the most exciting and rewarding part of any holiday.
Some years ago I studied Russian at university and used to travel frequently to Russia. I usually went by train, by far the cheapest way to get there then. This involved a three-day train journey across the Channel and then over the North European Plain through Belgium, Germany, Poland and Byelorus to Moscow. The train from Ostend was a Russian one and once on board you felt as if you were already in Russia, especially as you poured yourself a glass of tea from the samovar at the end of each carriage and made yourself comfortable for the two nights you’d spend in your sleeping compartment.
I loved the sense of gradually making my way into a different world. Towns and villages became less frequent and fields turned into forests as we chugged eastwards. The children who waved at the train as it passed began to have high Slav cheekbones. Travelling slowly gives you time to savour the gradual changes, to think about where you’re going or where you’ve just been, to adapt to a new way of being. This opportunity to reflect is immensely enriching.
These days it’s cheaper to hop on a plane than a train and you can now get to Russia in three hours instead of three days. Lunch in London and dinner in Moscow has become possible thanks to the jet engine. In many ways the journey could be seen as easier now. But in my opinion travelling by rail is still much more satisfying, providing a real sense of the distance – both geographical and social – between different countries.
|Content||5||All content is relevant to the task and the target reader is fully informed.|
|5||A complete command of the conventions of the article is demonstrated, with ideas communicated in an effective and convincing way, holding the target reader’s attention with ease and fulfilling all communicative purposes.|
The introduction is particularly effective, with the reader drawn in by the use of a highly appropriate and interesting quotation from a famous writer.
|Organisation||4||The text is organised very well and is coherent throughout, using a good range of cohesive devices and organisational patterns with flexibility (Although, Some years ago, But in my opinion, These days).|
|Language||5||A wide range of vocabulary including less common lexis is used effectively, precisely and with style (chugged eastwards, immensely enriching, hop on a plane, to savour, samovar, for its own sake).|
The use of grammar is sophisticated, fully controlled and completely natural. It is worth noting that there are no grammatical errors at all, not even slips
CPE Example Article: Ambitions
A magazine has been running a series of articles under the title Pursuing a Dream in which successful people describe how they achieved their ambitions and the risks they had to take to do so. The magazine has now invited readers to contribute articles with the same title and you decide to write one. Write your article, describing an ambition you have or had, the risks that you had to take or would have to take in order to achieve it and your attitude to taking risks in general.
Write your article.
It is said that dreaming is a wonderful thing. But much better is -of course – when our dreams do not stay just wishes, but when they come true. Well, some people, realizing what it possibly could cost them, give up at the very beginning and remain in that sweet state of consciousness trying to escape from reality.
I suppose I’ve always been a tough cookie since my early childhood. Poor Mum. She was really happy when I gave up the idea of being an electrician and found my passion for art but I found later that it wasn’t the thing I had been looking for. Something was still missing. And suddenly, like a spark of fire, I realized what it was – music. I fell in love with my uncle’s piano.
His job was to repair and tune the pianos. My parents took no notice of my suggestion to buy one for me. My mum icily said: ‘No way. I know you. It would be like with your ‘famous’ painting. You’ll give up after a while. All the stuff I bought for you is left in the corner in your room. It cost me a fortune. And by the way, your fingers are too short for playing. Did I make myself clear?’ I had a proper look at my fingers. I wanted to cry. She was right.
I was really stubborn. I pretended that my interest in possibly being a famous piano player had left me but .. . . I took up lessons after my school finished in the afternoon; passionately learnt the notes and slowly discovered the secrets of keys, tones and chords. My passion grew more day by day and kept me continuing. A friend of mine put her piano at my disposal for I didn’t have any at home and I could go to my uncle’s house just occasionally. We used to play and learn together. Her parents were great. I used to say at home that we had had some games like football (trustworthy enough for Mum) and basketball after school to keep us fit and have some kind of interests – not just TV.
My ‘little secret’ was revealed when my Mum discovered my exercise book. She lost her tongue and couldn’t believe her eyes. And later even her ears. I was rather happy and immediately suggested: ‘So now that YOU KNOW (I emphasized) you can buy me a piano.’ But she needed proof of my ability. I was forced to go to my uncle’s house and play for her. She was amazed. This happened two weeks before my birthday. I kept playing behind her back almost for two years. Quite stubborn, hm? On my birthday we had a performance in the local theatre. I felt so happy. My parents sat among the other parents waiting to see their beloved child performing on the stage. The concert itself was a great success. I played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. My parents were so proud of me and couldn’t stop clapping at the end. When we returned home, a surprise waited for me in my room: a brand-new polished piano. Tears appeared on my face. I remember kissing and stroking it like a pet.
I persisted in spite of the stubborn attitude of my parents and achieved what I had been dreaming of. And today, I just smile at these memories while playing on my own piano. A strong passion can make miracles.
|Content||5||The article fully covers everything mentioned in the question – it is entirely suited to the title, it describes the writer’s aim, details what the writer did to achieve it and includes the writer’s general view about taking risks in life.|
The reader would have no trouble at all in understanding what the writer wanted to achieve, how she went about achieving it, how she finally achieved it and how she felt and feels about it all. The writer’s enthusiasm is clearly conveyed in an article which fulfils entirely the instructions given in the question
|5||The register here is fairly informal, and this is entirely appropriate for an article that is about the writer’s personal experience and contains anecdotes. The style is lively and engaging, with some short sentences aimed at having impact on the reader, some direct speech and a rhetorical question aimed directly at the reader (Quite stubborn, hm?) – these features are particularly suited to the style and format of an article.|
|Organisation||5||The article is extremely well-organized. The brief opening paragraph presents a general statement that the rest of the article is clearly going to illustrate. The second paragraph begins the narration with the background, the third paragraph describes a long period in which the writer tried to achieve her aim and the fourth paragraph moves on to the outcome of all this. In the last part of the article, the writer looks back on the whole experience and the final sentence links back to the attitude expressed in the opening paragraph. Everything is linked together well, so that the narration of events moves on logically and at a good pace.|
|Language||4||The language used is very sophisticated, with some excellent use of vocabulary and structure.|
CPE Example Article: Journey
A monthly travel magazine has invited readers to contribute an article to a special edition entitled The Best Way to Travel. Write an article describing a memorable and enjoyable journey you have made and giving reasons for the means of transport used.
Write your article.
In our days it seems a little unusual to think that traveling by train is the best way to travel; yet, many elements might make a trip by train far more enjoyable and unforgetable than the rushed, frenetic trips that we make by air or by car. I remember a wonderful trip by train that we took with my husband about 8 years ago. By that time, we were living in Mozambique, a Southern African country, and, as we had heard a lot about the famous ‘Blue Train’, we decided to jump in that adventure.
First, we had to go from Maputo (Mozambique’s capital), to Nelsprit, a city just at the entrance of the famous Krüger Park. When we arrived at Nelsprit railway station, we couldn’t believe our eyes; in the middle of a, let us say, wild region, there stood, elegant, spotless, imposing, a train that had been manufactured 102 years ago! Incredible, it looked so well taken care of, nobody would have imagined his age. The station itself was comfortable and quite English, even in its small details; we knew, afterwards, that it had been constructed through a joint work with the ‘Boers’ (first Dutch settlers).
We started on time, as the English tradition imposes, and we prepared ourselves for a trip that would take 7 days and 8 nights. Our booth was perfect, I still remember its Victorian decoration; the restaurant coach seemed an English club: everybody very well dressed, listening to music, smoking, etc.
We headed Southwards and we crossed five Provinces; in each capital city we got off to enjoy typical food and music. There was a guide who told endless stories of local flavour, although some of them seemed vivid legends to us. The final stop was at Cape Town station, we were lucky to spend two days there. Shopping at Cape Town is breathtaking! and the sea looked to me as blue as the train itself.
After feeling the sensations of that wonderful trip, I sometimes stop to think about the advantages of a train trip. There is, of course, the urge for time; this is undeniable, but on the other hand, a trip like this one we took, offers the passengers elements not to be found in other type of trips: I remember how deeply we could enjoy nature, we could even smell the daffodils when crossing the meadows! Could we smell daffodils from a plane? Yes, I think that for the purpose of enjoying nature and better relaxing the best way to travel is by train.
|Content||4||The candidate has written a good description of a train journey which makes it clear why the trip was both memorable and enjoyable. The journey is set in context and there is a description of people and places. This is a good realisation of the task. This piece of writing has a positive effect on the reader.|
|4||The register is appropriate – neutral in tone but making the writer’s feelings clear.|
|Organisation||4||In the final paragraph, which is an effective conclusion, there is a comparison with other forms of transport which neatly echoes the introduction. The article is well organised with competent use of paragraphing.|
|Language||3||The language is fluent and natural, a range of structures is used competently and the vocabulary is varied and generally appropriate.|
There are some errors, but these are unobtrusive – awkward expression, e.g. in our days, decided to jump in that adventure and some slightly inaccurate use of vocabulary, e.g. as the English tradition imposes, booth.