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Essay – examples & model answers | C2 Proficient (CPE)

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CPE Model Essay: Advertising
CPE Model Essays: Traffic & Motoring
CPE Example/Model Essays: Teenagers

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CPE Model Essay: Advertising

Example exam task:

Write an essay summarising and evaluating the four key points from both texts. Use your own words throughout as far as possible, and include your own ideas in your answers.

The Excitement of Advertising

Outdoor advertising has to attract, engage and persuade potential customers; it is themost important way of grabbing customers’ attention and outdoor media continue toundergo a transformation. At the core of this transformation is the digital screenmedia, which encompass everything from giant screens to digital billboards. Thetechnology is cheap and advertising agencies rave about the creative possibilities foradvertisements which entertain, amuse, inform, inform, make the environmentbrighter and enliven the world we live in.

Advertising: an undesirable business

Once upon a time outdoor advertising was straightforward. Posters were stuckup on anything from a bus shelter to a motorway hoarding. Many peopleconsidered this kind of advertising to be fairly dull, a harmless blot on thelandscape and chose to ignore it. These people now regard digital advertisingas a form of unwanted, creeping commercialization: it attracts a buzz simplybecause it is new. They feel that any advertising which targets children orvulnerable adults is a dubious practice at the best of times, and digitaladvertising is, moreover, wasteful, damaging to the environment andcompletely unnecessary.

Example Answer:

The two texts contrast the pros and cons of outdoor advertising, in particular in its latest digital form. Text 1 claims that outdoor advertising, like any advertising, is designed to appeal to potential customers, even creating in them a need for which it promises immediate satisfaction. In this respect, outdoor advertising is the most effective type and digitalisation considerably broadens the ways in which advertising professionals can reach and hence manipulate customers.

While outdoor advertising undoubtedly has an alluring power for customers, I seriously doubt its importance and overall impact. At least from the point of view of a European citizen, everyday exposure to outdoor advertising, digital or not, appears to be minimal. And the cheapness of digital media has to be offset against the continuous need for power to run these media, a fact that renders the term ‘cheap’ short-sighted and unconvincing.

Text 2 argues that traditional, paper–based outdoor advertising was unobtrusive and overall, unimportant. Digital advertising, however, is seen as intrusive, its attractiveness simply boiling down to it being a novelty. People sharing these opinions regard advertising practices, particularly those focusing on the young and those in need of help, as deplorable, especially when it damages the environment at the same time.

I agree with the statements in text 2 as far as the environmental damage and advertising practices, in general, are concerned. However, those practices are not solely dependent on the medium they use. Paper–based outdoor advertising can be just as unwanted and creepingly commercialising as its digital counterpart. The fundamental question is: ‘Do we want to be seduced and manipulated in such a way at all? If people answer ‘yes’, I assume that digital outdoor advertising is just another step that will be followed by yet more intrusive ones

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CPE Model Essays: Traffic & Motoring

Example exam task:

Write an essay summarising and evaluating the four key points from both texts. Use your own words throughout as far as possible, and include your own ideas in your answers.

Tackling Traffic Congestion

Policy-makers employ a wide range of measures to tackle the problem of traffic congestion. Enforcement schemes such as setting strict speed limits on major roads and the use of congestion charges in city centres are two such examples as are vehicle exclusion zones or parking restrictions in busy pedestrian areas. However, it also makes sense to encourage motorists to become less reliant on their car. This can be achieved by making public transport more efficient and promoting the benefits of car-sharing with work colleagues, thus reducing weekly fuel bills. And the increasing number of cycle lanes on many roads is further evidence of how to win the hearts and minds of motorists in the fight against congestion.

The Joy of Motoring

Recent research into the attitudes of motorists shows we are still more than happy to get behind the wheel. Despite rising fuel costs, insurance premiums and frequent traffic jams, 9out of 10 of us still enjoy driving. Whether it’s visiting friends and relations, taking the family for a day out or even commuting to work, the car remains the first choice for many people. Experts argue that, unlike public transport, the car leaves us in charge of our own destiny, giving us the freedom to travel when and where we want. The car also gives us the opportunity to express ourselves. The kind of vehicle we drive tells the world something about who we are or what we aspire to be. Cars are not simply a means of transport but also something we wear.

Example Answer:

Essay on Motoring and Traffic Congestion

The need of motor vehicles in the modern world is undeniable. But although the benefits of owning a four-wheeled transportation device are numerous, cars can also generate a lot of problems.

On the one hand automobiles are absolutely necessary for some people. For instance, in theUSA, everybody needs a car to go to school or to go to work. With public transport being slow or simply non-existent, having a car gives people a transport solution. Furthermore,travelling by car also helps people avoid stressful situations. Owning a car means no more standing in crowded buses or fighting with people in the subway.

On the other hand, all those cars in the streets mean facing traffic jams and of course pollution. They create congestion and are one of the principal sources of contamination in the cities. As a respond to this situation, governments are implementing a series of strategies to motivate people not to use their cars so often.

Some of these government strategies involve car sharing and using bikes, while others fine drivers who use their vehicles on certain days or at certain times; but this strategy does notseem to be so efficient. Probably because doing something to avoid a fine, does not involve really understanding the nature of the problem.

All in all, I am of the opinion that cars are indispensable in the current lifestyles and living standards. We cannot disregard the impact they had on facilitating our existence,nevertheless, it is irrefutable that their numbers have reached levels where we must not hesitate to act in downsizing them.

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Example Answer:

The over-arching theme of these two texts is the use of cars in our society.

The first one adopts a more practical viewpoint on this subject , discussing different alternatives to reduce a very common problem that many big cities have to deal with nowadays, namely traffic congestions. This text makes the point that it is important to find ways to tackle this increasing problem; whether it is through raising people’s
s consciousness,setting speed limits, or even using congestion charges.
The main point made is that it is important that citizen not use their cars so frequently.

In my opinion, it is very important to try to reduce traffic congestions. However, the first text fails to take into consideration reducing the price of public transport. This would enable people to travel with ease and may encourage them to stop using their vehicles as much as they do now.

The second text is possibly more descriptive. It discusses how people use their own car with complete disregard for the drawbacks that this may bring. People accept drawbacks, such as ever-increasing petrol prices, expensive insurances, traffic jams, etc. However, these negative aspects do not discourage them from getting behind the wheel. The benefits of this far outweigh the drawbacks.

Expensive though it may be, using their own car gives people the freedom and independence that they would not be able to have otherwise. In addition, for some people their car is not just a means of transport, it is also, somehow, an extension of their personality.I am of the opinion that because of our fast pace of life, we have become very dependent on our cars to take us everywhere. This is simply where evolution is taking us.

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CPE Example/Model Essays: Teenagers

Example exam task:

Write an essay summarising and evaluating the four key points from both texts. Use your own words throughout as far as possible, and include your own ideas in your answers.

Teenagers as consumers

It is virtually impossible to escape the influence of the media these days, and particularly if you are a teenager with access not just to television and radio, but also the internet at all times of the day and night. Advertisers look upon teenagers as a blank canvas whose tastes and needs are there to be moulded by them through their advertisements. Advertisers and marketing people have become adept at reading the teenage mind, making young people believe that they need to own certain items in order to be accepted by their peer group, or simply to look cool.

Teenagers: a driving force

Advertising responds to young people’s delight in what is new by developing sophisticated and innovative, often humorous advertisements which can be seen on television and cinema screens and on billboards around our towns and cities. The tastes of this generation of young people have had an impact on advertisers worldwide. However, it is the energy of the young, above all, that has influenced the world of marketing and has kept it on its toes, pushing the creative boundaries to become almost an art form. That is the power of young people.

Example Answer:

The impact of the media on teenagers

Nowadays it has become almost impossible to ignore the media due to the fact that most of us spend some daily time either watching television, listening to the radio or surfing the internet. Specially teenagers who spend a significant part of the day exposed to all types of advertisement. Advertisers consider that teenagers are the perfect target, while some people believe that teenagers have changed marketing worldwide. Who manipulates who? That is the dilemma.

On one hand, the marketing and advertisement industry look upon the young generations as the easiest people to influence. Making them believe that certain items are the key to popularity is the strategy they have developed to sell among that generation.

On the other hand, some people believe that advertising responds to young peoples’ desires and not the other way around. It is the energy of teenagers that has had a huge impact on this industry, making it more innovative and creative. The power of young people have push advertising boundaries to become almost an art form more sophisticated and attractive than ever before.

All in all, there has been a revolution in the adversiment industry globally. While some people may be influenced by it, some others may define trends. Ten years ago people were not so worried about material offered by the media. Globalization has changed everything, advertising has become part of our daily lives and it is unavoidable. The temptation surround us, some of us fall for it.

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Examiners comments & grade:

Subscale GradeCommentary
Content5All content is relevant to the task.
The target reader is fully informed.
Communicative
Achievement
2The conventions of the essay are used effectively to communicate complex ideas, holding the reader’s attention with ease and fulfilling most communicative purposes although the writer’s own ideas are not clearly developed.
Organisation2The text is a well-organised and coherent whole and uses a variety of cohesive devices and organisational patterns to generally good effect (due to the fact that, on the other hand, all in all). However, there is a tendency to over-use some
patterns and there are cases where cohesive devices are not used correctly.
Language2A range of vocabulary, including less common lexis, is used appropriately and sometimes effectively and precisely. A range of simple and complex grammatical forms is used with control and flexibility. Occasional errors do not impede communication.

Example Answer:

I have often asked myself whether it is different being a teenager nowadays than when I was that age. Are the problems still the same?

The years between 10 and 20 are certainly a difficult time in everybody’s life because one’s personality is developing and this makes a teenager generally more vulnerable than an adult. I am convinced that when it comes to media it is demanding to deal with for young people today. Advertisements are very prominent in our modern world and teenagers normally spend a lot of hours watching television or surfing the internet, which makes them potential customers. Furthermore, many teenagers have more money to spend than maybe twenty years ago and you often hear about families taking loans for expenses like technical equipment or mobile phone bills for their children. Certainly in the current economic climate many parents face tough decisions especially when it comes to what they can afford for their offspring. The most important point is that teenagers are often an easy target for companies advertising their latest gadgets. Many teenagers will buy it if they just manage to convince them that their product is an absolute ‘must-have’, because the pressure of belonging to a certain group, feeling accepted and not being an outsider is a big issue for a young person.

On the other hand, teenagers are trend setters. They have to create new ideas to be unique or just different from their own parents and this often sets the trend for a whole generation. Being special and fashionable is so important and therefore one needs to spend money on clothes, computers, games or phones to be part of your teenage generation and to find common grounds to make friends and have a fulfilling social life. Personally, I find it quite shocking when reading about the psychological strategies advertising companies use to gain influence on young people to sell a product. They are also often exploiting the creative energy of teenagers and it is almost impossible to escape the world of advertisement.

To conclude, I believe it is not feasible to prohibit adverts for teenagers. Furthermore, parents cannot avoid their children coming into contact with it, but it needs sensible adults helping and supporting teenagers in developing their own personality and sense of taste without the powerful influence of adverts.

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Examiners comments & grade:

Subscale GradeCommentary
Content4Content is mostly relevant to the task. The opening question in the introduction is not followed through or central to the argument of the essay.

Target reader is on the whole informed; content point 4 is mentioned with little evaluation.

Communicative
Achievement
4Uses conventions of the essay to communicate complex ideas in an effective and convincing way, holding the target reader’s attention with ease, fulfilling all communicative purposes.
Organisation3Text is a well-organised, coherent whole, using a variety of cohesive devices and organisational patterns with the flexibility (Furthermore, On the other hand, Personally, To conclude).
Language3Uses a wide range of vocabulary, including less common lexis, in an effective manner. Uses a wide range of simple and complex grammatical forms with full control, flexibility and sophistication. Errors, if present, are related to less common words and structures, or occur as slips.

Example Answer:

These texts both deal with the relationship between teenagers and advertising.

The first one focuses on how advertisers exploit young people, taking advantage both of teenage preoccupation with the media and of their susceptibility to peer pressure combined with a wish to appear ‘cool’. The second text is less critical of the relationship between marketing and young people. It presents the young as having a very positive influence on the quality of modern adverts, helping to make them much wittier and more original than ever before. This text maintains that teenagers’ impact on advertising derives partly from their predilection for what is intriguingly new but also, more particularly, from their own creative energy. This energy has been channeled into advertising, raising it arguably to the level of an art form.

While I appreciate the arguments put forward in both texts, I tend to feel more in sympathy with the approach of the first one. I suspect that advertisers are quite cold-heartedly prepared to exploit the youth market, keen to capture the attention – and the cash – of the new generation and well aware of how young people are perhaps more easily influenced than their more cynical elders.

I would accept that advertising can be very creative and I personally often find an advert in a magazine or a TV commercial attractive to look at or enjoyably humorous. It does not seem unreasonable to suggest that many people with artistic talents are attracted into the advertising profession. However, I do not see that as having any direct connection with teenagers. Those who create the most original adverts are certainly likely to be young but in their twenties or early thirties rather than their teens. Moreover the appeal of the more sophisticated advert is surely just as powerful for the older generation as for teenagers.

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Examiners comments & grade:

Subscale GradeCommentary
Content5The target reader is fully informed.
All content is relevant to the task.
Communicative
Achievement
4Uses the conventions of the essay to communicate complex ideas in an effective and convincing way, holding the target reader’s attention with ease, fulfilling all communicative purposes.
Organisation4Text is a well-organised, coherent whole, using a wide range of cohesive devices and organisational patterns with flexibility.
Language5Uses a wide range of vocabulary, including less common lexis, with fluency, precision, sophistication and style (over‑arching theme, differing viewpoints, contentious, an end in themselves). Use of grammar is sophisticated, fully controlled and completely natural.

Example Answer:

Concern is often expressed about the negative effects that television can have on young people. As far as I am concerned, the most serious damage that occurs is a result of the constant commercial pressures that vulnerable youngsters are exposed to.

Advertisements every ten minutes or so as children and teenagers watch their favourite programmes are likely to lead them to believe that possessing the latest gadget or item of clothing will bring them happiness and respect from others. To my mind, the result of this can only be a generation whose values are too materialistic for their own ultimate contentment.

This is not to say that all advertisements are lacking in quality. It is not unreasonable, in fact, to consider them as an art form as many are imaginative and make original use of language, music and camerawork. They are indeed often produced by talented young people who find them an appropriate focus for their own creativity.

In my opinion, the answer lies in education. Advertisements are not harmful per se; it is just that we all need to know how to use them. We should take the information that we need from them but we should be aware of the techniques that their makers use with the hope of influencing us to buy things we do not really have any need of. Young people should be taught not only to appreciate the artistic qualities of adverts but also to recognize the tricks that are being employed. Greater sophistication should lead to less vulnerability.

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FCE, CAE, CPE

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Examiners comments & grade:

Subscale GradeCommentary
Content5The target reader is fully informed.
All content is relevant to the task.
Communicative
Achievement
5Demonstrates complete command of the conventions of the essay. Communicates complex ideas in an effective and convincing way, holding the target reader’s attention with ease, fulfilling all communicative purposes. Effective use of opening question to engage the reader’s attention.
Organisation5Text is organised impressively and coherently using a wide range of cohesive devices and organisational patterns with complete flexibility. Paragraph divisions clearly support the internal organisation of the argument, which integrates evaluation of key points and the writer’s own views subtly and fluently.
Language5Uses a wide range of vocabulary, including less common lexis, with fluency, precision, sophistication and style. Use of grammar is sophisticated, fully controlled and completely natural

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