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

Level: C2
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CPE Example/Model Essays: Society
CPE Model Essay: Advertising
CPE Model Essays: Traffic & Motoring
CPE Example/Model Essays: Teenagers

CPE Example/Model Essays: Society

Topic:

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

Shifting sands: behavioural change

Nowadays, in some cultures there may often be confusion between generations about what is acceptable behaviour in certain situations. Older people sometimes complain, for example, about the real or imagined rudeness of others, such as in the use of electronic devices in public places. However, the younger generation do not regard electronic communication as intrusive, but rather as fundamental to their way of life. Only increased mutual understanding is likely to resolve potential conflict or confusion in any society. In this case, as in all others, it pays to be aware of other people’s points of view.

Follow my leader?

Should we always aim to do what society expects of us? No, what society needs is individuality. Worrying about what other people think inhibits enthusiasm and creativity. Nothing new is ever achieved by conforming to expected social norms. This is not only true for society’s innovators: everybody needs a strong sense of their own worth as an individual. This is essential for psychological well-being and the ability to function effectively in one’s personal and professional life. Paying too much attention to society’s conventions can be counter-productive in these and other ways.

Answer:

Behavioural Change

Our modern life often poses us a question – what is acceptable in terms of behaviour considering the fast pace at which modern society changes. Besides, the shift towards the cult of individuality has been obvious for the past years.

Nowadays, we are all aware of the fact that society is made up of different generations each of which has their own preferences and habits deeply ingrained in their consciousness. In this connection the generation gap is considered to be a perennial problem. It is a well-known fact younger generations are more technologically advanced than the previous ones, moreover the young are quicker on the uptake and more resilient to ever changing demands of our life. Despite that, I am inclined to believe that only by being tolerant to each other and accepting the right of each generation to adhere to their own set of beliefs and ideas we will be able to peacefully co-exist in society.

At last society has recognised the need for each member to be an individual. Throughout the history of humanity members of society have had to fit the mould and conform to the set of principles and beliefs accepted. For example, even 50 years ago woman’s only domain was household chores. Nowadays, we are relieved to see that women are equal members of society fulfilling their potential and rising thru the ranks. Some of them even manage to achieve dizzy heights.

In conclusion, our society is moving forward by leaps and bounds, patterns of behaviour and social norms are changing as well. So, only by coming to terms with the above-mentioned we, all members of it, won’t be deemed as misfits and relish our existence in the society.

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Comments:

Subscale GradeCommentary
Content4All content is relevant to the task, although the final key point is not addressed. Nevertheless, the target reader would be informed.
Communicative
Achievement
3The essay is written using the conventions of the communicative task effectively. The essay has a neutral tone and uses appropriate phrases to introduce and connect ideas through the text (On theone hand; On the other hand; In my opinion).

The essay topic is clearly communicated in the first paragraph and the main points are developed in separate paragraphs.

However, there are a couple of slips in the register (I guess they’ll figure out; pretty exhausting). The conclusion restates the candidate’s own opinion about which way is better, after giving some examples to support their view.

Organisation3The text is a well-organised, coherent whole, using a variety of cohesive devices and organisational patterns with flexibility though despite that does not seem to be employed correctly.
Language2A wide range of vocabulary, including less common lexis, is used effectively, and sometimes with style. Uses a range of simple and complex grammatical forms with control and flexibility. Grammatical and lexical errors are present but do not impede communication.

Answer:

The term ‘society’ describes a group of people having something in common – a birdwatchers’ society shares a pastime, society in a more general rather more sociological sense shares a set of values. So, by definition, a certain degree of conformity is needed: If no-one adhered to such values (or nobody shared the pastime) there would be no society. However, conforming to social norms, meant to uphold the values, requires these to be meaningful and the meaning of norms will change just like the people making up a society will change. After all, the norms are just a reflection of the people living according to them. Consequently, adherence for adherence’s sake is wrong and this is where individuality comes into play. Norms have to be critically reviewed, lest they become stifling. So indeed, conformity does not bring about progress. Yet individuality has to take into account others’ individuality as well, that is to say, one’s own ends where that of others begins. While this limits the degree of individuality of any single person within a society, it allows society to exist as such in the face of individuality. Just as individuality – being, being treated as and seeing oneself as an individual – is vital for a person’s health, so it is for society, which should be made up of healthy individuals. Older individuals might disagree with younger ones about which values bear which weight or indeed about which values they share at all. This might be due to values having changed between the time when the older ones were raised and ‘imprinted’ with values and the time when that was the case for younger ones. But it might also be that the actual values (norms) haven’t changed that much but are rather expressed differently. Most of the time, norms drift rather than leapfrog towards new meaning. Still, the perception is a disagreement. The rise of electronic equipment in public places illustrates this. Whereas older people might consider it unacceptable, it is normal for younger ones. Yet at the heart of the matter is not the issue whether such devices are used or not but how – sensitively and with respect for others, or not. And I think that most people would agree that sometimes they do not want to be disturbed – and that is the value that is still shared. In everyday life, such disagreement can only be resolved by communicating. Communication is a two-way process and, as such, requires understanding, awareness and respect for other people’s views.

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Comments:

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 variety of cohesive devices and organisational patterns with flexibility. Clear paragraphing would have enhanced coherence further.
Language5Uses a wide range of vocabulary, including less common lexis, with fluency, precision, sophistication and style. Use of grammar is sophisticated, fully controlled and natural. Any inaccuracies occur only as slips (being, being).

Answer:

The over-arching theme of these two texts is social behaviour.

The first considers the fact that different groups of society have different ideas about what is acceptable behaviour. What is normal for one set of people may appear rude to another group. This text makes the point that it is important to appreciate that others may have differing viewpoints, claiming that such awareness can help to avoid social conflicts. The second text looks at the issue from a contrasting angle. It argues against the desirability of behaving in socially acceptable ways. Its contention is that being too concerned about social conventions stifles individuality and may even have a negative effect on our own psychological health.

In my opinion, there is little to disagree with in the first text. It is an undeniable fact that behavioural norms vary across generations, classes and cultures and it is also true that understanding and tolerance provide the soundest basis for our approach to social difference.

The second text is possibly more contentious. While it may be the case that some people are over-concerned about etiquette and unimportant social rules, I feel that some conventions for social behaviour have a positive impact on everyone’s lives. It all depends on the type of rule. I do not feel that it is important to know which way you ‘should’ tip your bowl when eating soup or when you should or shouldn’t wear gloves but I do think it is desirable to say please and thank you and to behave in a considerate way towards one’s fellows. In other words, I think that basic social conventions serve a useful purpose but that they should be used to oil our interactions rather than becoming too much of an end in themselves.

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Comments:

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.

Answer:

How should we behave in society? Should we follow social norms or should we use our own individual judgement to decide what is the appropriate way to conduct ourselves?

Some people find it very important to obey the rules of etiquette, to do what others consider proper. There are people – often the older generation – who get very upset when others do not follow social conventions, when they, for example, speak loudly on mobile phones in public places or lick their fingers or queue jump.

However, it should be noted that the things that irritate people will vary from one society to the next; the rules of queue behavour, for instance, are very different in London, Moscow and Istanbul, and how it is acceptable to use a mobile phone differs considerably from one society to the next. Similarly, it is important to remember that social conventions change over time. It was once considered improper to eat on the street but now no-one pays the slightest attention to someone walking along munching a sandwich or an apple. The key to avoiding conflict, it seems, is imaginative empathy.

In general, it is counter-productive to worry too much about what the socially acceptable way to behave might be in any given situation. It can stop you thinking about what is the moral way to behave as you may become more focused on what is ‘proper’ rather than on what is right. You can also start suppressing your own important individuality and originality as you become unhealthily anxious about what others might be thinking.

The rules that do not – and should not – change are those regarding behaviour that has an effect on others. Dropping litter, for example, or pushing someone out of the way should always be condemned as inappropriate behaviourExaminer

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Comments:

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 writer’s own views subtly and fluently. The opening question clearly addressed and returned to in the conclusion.
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

CPE Model Essay: Advertising

Topic:

Write an essay summarising and evaluating the 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.

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

Topic:

Write an Essay summarising and commenting on the two texts. 240-280 Words.

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.

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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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

Topic:

Write an essay summarising and evaluating the 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.

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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Comments:

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.

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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Comments:

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.

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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Comments:

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.

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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Comments:

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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