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How to write a proposal? | C1 Advanced (CAE)

Level: C1
How to write a proposal? | C1 Advanced (CAE)
Article navigation:
How to write a CAE proposal?
CAE Proposal: Structure
CAE Proposal: Examples
CAE Proposal: Topics
CAE Proposal: Useful phrases
CAE Proposal: Mark scheme
C1 Advanced (CAE)
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A proposal may be written for a peer group (such as colleagues or club members), or for a supervisor (such as a boss or a college principal).

You will be expected to make one or more suggestions, supported by factual information and evaluation, in order to persuade the reader of a course of action.

How to write a CAE proposal?

Proposals are often structured in a similar way to reports and should be clearly organised under headings.The main difference between a report and a proposal is that in the latter we have to give recommendations on improving the situation.

1. Start the proposal with an introduction and a clear sentence that states the purpose/aim:

The aims of this proposal are to…

2. Then you can focus on body paragraphs and tasks in the topic.
Group your ideas under headings for each section of your proposal.
Remember to answer all the questions that you were asked
Write in a formal and impersonal style

3. Express opinions and make recommendations in the last section/paragraph of your proposal
Include a final sentence summarising your opinion.

You should practice how to make polite recommendations and suggestions and how to use a range of persuasive language.

CAE Proposal: Structure

The aims of this proposal are to…
Subheading (1)
Describe the current situation
Subheading (2)
Say how you think it could be better
Final Recommendations
Make your recommendations

CAE Proposal: Examples

Proposal subject:

Language students – let us improve what we do for you!
Unfortunately, we can’t spend much money, but we’d like to improve what we provide for our language students. Submit proposals to us explaining what is useful about the current facilities we provide, describe any problems you have with them and make recommendations for how we can improve them, giving reasons to support your ideas.

Student’s CAE Proposal Answer:

How to improve the quality of language classes: a proposal


The principal objectives of this proposal are to describe the current state of language teaching at the Pennsylvania State University, identify areas for improvement, and offer recommendations on exactly what improvements can be achieved.

Current situation

At the present moment, Penn State offers courses of several languages on three different levels. One can study modern languages such as French, German, Italian Russian as a beginner, intermediate or upper-intermediate student.


Following a final year survey among students taking language courses, the following areas for improvement can be highlighted:

1. the number of languages in offer: undoubtedly narrow and restricted to European languages;
2. the structure of the courses is flat: no advanced level
3. little innovation in the language methods utilized: simple, old-fashioned grammar-translation method still reigns supreme.


It is vital to address the issues raised in the student survey. Therefore, the following actions ought to be performed with a view to improving the quality of the courses and their reception:

A. The offer should be increased to include other widely-spoken languages, especially non-European ones, such as Chinese, Arabic and Hindi. These languages are real challenges for the speakers of European languages.

B. It is advisable to expand the course options by offering lessons for advanced students. Only comprehensive offer can motivate students to immerse themselves in language learning.

C. Last but not least, some variety needs to be introduced into the array of teaching methods available to students, e.g. online multimedia lessons. The best method of language learning is using many various methods.

All of these measures, if promptly implemented, are surely going to increase student satisfaction in the area of language courses.

Proposal subject:

You go to a university that has a high amount of international students and you have realised that the website is not up to scratch. Write a proposal for the University Dean about how it could be improved.

Student’s CAE Proposal Answer:


This proposal is aimed at outlining the way in which the university website could be improved so that it is more user friendly for international students. It will suggest what improvements can be made and also set out how this would benefit the students themselves.

Problems with using the site

A recent study into how easy it is to get around the site has revealed that 70% of students whose second language is English find it difficult to find specific information about their courses. Because of the language barrier, they find it hard to make their search terms clear and this has become a cause for concern. Translating the site is not an option and this can be a big problem, especially at the beginning of the academic year.

Ways the site could address these issues

It has been well documented that the university website has neither a site map nor an introduction video to help novice students to find their way around it. It would make a huge difference if there were some simple instructions to indicate where to find information. It is a delicate balance as we, of course, want international students to learn English, but also want them to navigate the site with ease.


I would like to make the following recommendations:

  • Invite students who are starting out at the university to a quick and informative seminar to demonstrate how to use the site.
  • Provide language help and some useful resources for language learning and assistance.
  • Provide a survival pack for students to take with them and know how to combat technological issues.

If these recommendations are in place, young people are bound to feel more prepared for their experience and take full advantage of this unique experience.

CAE Proposal: Topics

There are plans to demolish an old and unused building in the town where you are a student. You feel that the building should be saved. You decide to write a proposal for the town council explaining why you think the building should be preserved, suggesting what could be done to modernise it and saying how the building could benefit the local people.

Your college currently doesn’t provide enough support for students planning to spend time studying in another country. You see this notice in the library.

Students at your college have to give a spoken presentation as part of their final assessment and need some help. The school director has invited you to send a proposal outlining any problems students have with presentations and suggesting how these problems could be overcome.

The company you work for is considering the idea of a flexible working day, where staff are able to vary their starting and finishing time. The manager of your department has asked you to write a proposal explaining why introducing a flexible working day could benefit both the company and its employees. You should also suggest how a flexible working day could operate in your own department.

CAE Proposal: Useful phrases

We will finish it with some useful vocabulary mostly used to organize information. Although it is taking a shortcut, if you learn several expressions for each paragraph in each type of text that could be on your exam, you will certainly be able to create a very consistent and well-organized text.

Stating the purpose of the proposal

The principal objectives of this proposal are to
The objective of this proposal is to…
The purpose of this proposal is to examine / evaluate / explain / describe / analyse / present…
This proposal aims to…

Background information

At the present moment,…
Comments made at the end of the questionnaires suggest…
Following a survey among…
Concerned members of the local community were invited to attend…
A number of concerns with regard to XYZ were expressed by…
The following areas for improvement can be highlighted

Making recommendations and suggestions

A working group should be set up by…
There should be an enquiry into…
It would be advantageous to…
It is recommended that…
I recommend that a larger survey should be conducted before a final decision is reached…

Final recommendations

Implementation of the above ideas would result in…
A working group should be set up by…
There should be an enquiry into…
I recommend that a larger survey should be conducted before a final decision is reached…
The following actions ought to be performed with a view to (improving the quality of…)

CAE Proposal: Mark scheme


It is necessary to properly and precisely use a wide array of words and expressions, including rarely used ones. To get a good grade with regards to vocabulary you should try to incorporate idioms.


The text should be easy to understand for the target reader. You must use appropriate language whether it be formal or informal. Each type of text has its own requirements.


The text must be easy to follow but also include complex grammatical structures and vocabulary.

Do not over complicate the text. The use of adequate cohesive devices is essential.


Focuses on how well the candidate has fulfilled the task. Do not include irrelevant information. You should answer the points in the task to the best of your ability. Focus on what they ask you to do.

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