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How to write a review? | B2 First (FCE)

Level: B2
Exam:
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How to write a review?
B2 First (FCE) Review: Structure
B2 First (FCE) Review: Writing Guide
B2 First (FCE) Review: Model Answers
B2 First (FCE) Review: Example Topics
B2 First (FCE) Review: Tips
B2 First (FCE) Review: Useful Phrases & Expressions
B2 First (FCE) Review: Frequently Asked Questions

A review is a piece of writing usually written for an English-language magazine, newspaper or website. The main purpose is to describe and express a personal opinion about something the writer has experienced (e.g.a film, a holiday, a product, a website, etc) and to give the reader a clear impression of what the item discussed is like.

How to write a review?

  • Begin with some basic information about the film or play. Include the genre, the director, the actors and any other relevant information.
  • Use different paragraphs for each main idea. Give a basic summary of the plot. The present simple is often used when relating stories, jokes and plots.
  • If your review is generally positive, try and think of something that could have been improved. On the other hand, if your review is generally negative, try and think of something that wasn’t so bad. This makes the review look more balanced.
  • Use adjectives and adverbs for emphasis – include personal comments.
  • End your review by summing up your opinion of the film/play and recommending people to see it or not.
  • Check your work for accuracy, punctuation and spelling.

B2 First (FCE) Review: Structure

Title
State the name of the film, play, concert, ect.
Introduction
Say what you are reviewing and try to catch the reader´s attention
1st body paragraph
Give the positive features
2nd body paragraph
Give the negative features
Conclusion
Summarize your review with a strong recommendation
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B2 First (FCE) Review: Writing Guide

Title:

  • Keep it short (2-5 words)
  • No need for a complete sentence
  • Make it clear

Title: THE THIEVES OF OSTIA

Introduction:

In the introduction, you make your review more interesting with personal comments. Mention the title, the type of the book/ play/ film/etc, the setting (when/where), the theme, the main characters, etc

  • General statement about the topic.
  • Keep the reader’s attention.
  • Start with a question, problem or quotation.

Phrases you can use in the introduction:

1st – 2nd body paragraph:

In the 1st and 2nd body paragraphs you include the main points of the plot (without revealing the ending), and evaluate such features as the acting, writing style, directions, characters, etc. You can also add what you learnt, found out from the book, etc.

  • Describe issues in detail and use one paragraph per issue.
  • Use linkers, sequencing and sophisticated vocabulary

Recommendation:

In the last paragraph, you include an overall assessment of the work and/or a recommendation, usually with justification. You may also be asked to give reasons why someone should see the film/ play or read the book, how it has influenced you, etc.

B2 First (FCE) Review: Model Answers

Topic

You have seen this notice in your school library:

REVIEWS NEEDED
We want to buy some new books for the library. Have you read a good book inEnglish recently? Write us a review of a book you enjoyed, explaining why you liked it and why you think it would be a good choice for the school library.

We will use your reviews to help us decide which books to buy

Model answer

THE THIEVES OF OSTIA

„The thieves of Ostia‟ by Caroline Lawrence is the first in a series of books entitled„The Roman Mysteries‟ and I think it‟s an absolute must for the school library.

The book is set in the Roman port of Ostia nearly two thousand years ago. It tells the story of Flavia and her three friends, and their attempts to discover who has been killing the dogs of Ostia and why. It‟s full of mystery and excitement, and the plot has many twists and turns, which make you want to keep reading.

The book is aimed at ten – to twelve – year  – old native English speakers, but it is very popular with older children and would be ideal for teenagers studying English. What‟s more, it gives a fascinating insight into life in Roman times, so readers learn about history as well as improve their language skills.

After finishing „The Thieves of Ostia‟, students will want to borrow further books
from the series. By buying it, then, the library would be doing a lot to encourage students to read more in English

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Topic:

You have found the following advertisement online:

RESTAURANT REVIEWS WANTED!

Have you been to a great restaurant lately? If so, send us an honest review of the restaurant explaining what you liked and disliked of the place as well as its location, staff and how it looks on the inside.

We will publish the first 20 decent reviews we get!

Model answer

Foster’s Hollywood

Being a huge fan of traditional American fast food and restaurant styles, it’s no wonder that my favourite restaurant in Granada is Foster’s Hollywood.

Located smack in the middle of the city, this fast-food chain serves a wide variety of mouthwatering, American dishes at a reasonable price. These range from typical Tex-Mex nachos or French fries to more elaborate meals like traditional, homemade Bourbon steak. And if you’re hungry, it’s the perfect place to go, as their servings are absolutely huge!

Another cool thing about this place is its magnificent decor. If you’re a film buff, you will quickly fall in love with this place, since all the walls are covered in famous movie posters! Apart from that, it’s got a spacious dining hall, super friendly staff and an outdoor terrace which is absolutely fantastic on summer nights!

The only negative thing I can say is that it is right next to a gym, which sometimes makes me feel guilty for eating so much!

Nevertheless, Foster’s Hollywood offers delicious meals in an unbeatable atmosphere, so you should definitely give it a try. I promise you won’t regret it!

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B2 First (FCE) Review: Example Topics

Your teacher has asked you to write a review for a book you have read recently. The best reviews will go in the school magazine. Review the book giving your opinion and say whether or not you would recommend it.

Your teacher has asked you to write a review for a film you have seen recently on DVD or at the cinema.The best reviews will go in the school magazine. Review the book giving your opinion and saying whether ornot you would recommend it.

At school, you are building a tourist website in English. Your teacher has asked you to write a review of arestaurant you have eaten at in your town. Review the restaurant giving your opinion and saying whetheror not you would recommend it.

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B2 First (FCE) Review: Tips

  • ANSWER THE QUESTION
  • PLAN your review.
  • Make sure you have at least 4 paragraphs.
  • Choose an appropriate title.
  • The introduction will talk about what’s being reviewed.
  • Use a relaxed, friendly, chatty style.
  • You can use contractions such as I’m, I’ve etc..
  • Use a new paragraph for each point you want to make.
  • Give your opinion.
  • In the concluding paragraph give your opinion.

B2 First (FCE) Review: Useful Phrases & Expressions

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.

Giving background

This show stars… 
The play is directed by…
The film is about… 
It‟s set in………. 
The story is based on (a book…) 
It‟s about….. 
There are many memorable characters including …. 
The main theme of the film is…..

Expressions that introduce a contrast

On the plus side,… 
On the down side,…
On the one hand,… 
On the other hand,…

Recommending

Overall, I‟d recommend… 
All in all, the film was… 
I wouldn‟t hesitate to recommend… 
I wouldn‟t encourage anyone to … 
I would recommend this film to anyone. 
Although I enjoyed it, I would not recommend it for….
 It‟s one of the best (shows) I’ve ever seen. 
Although I am not normally keen on (musicals),I am glad that I decided to go. 
The (film) lifts you out of your everyday life

B2 First (FCE) Review: Frequently Asked Questions

Who will read the review?

Your review will be read by readers of a magazine.

What is the purpose of the review?

The review is intended to give information to the reader which will help them decide whether to attend the event themselves.

What style should I use?

Use a style similar to an article that is likely to interest the reader.

What information should I include?

Give essential information about the story, cast, band members, etc. Say what you like and didn‟t like about the performances. Make a recommendation to the reader about whether or not they should go.

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