(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','https://www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-149431051-2', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview'); setTimeout("ga('send','event','adjusted bounce rate','page visit 10 seconds or more')",10000);
Learning Zone
Article

How to write a review? | C2 Proficient (CPE)

Level: C2
Article navigation:
C2 Proficient (CPE) Review: Structure
C2 Proficient (CPE) Review: Writing Guide
C2 Proficient (CPE) Review: Model Answers
C2 Proficient (CPE) Review: Writing Topics
C2 Proficient (CPE) Review: Narrative, descriptive & evaluative
C2 Proficient (CPE) Review: Useful phrases & Expressions
engxam logo english exams

FCE, CAE, CPE

Practice Tests Online

Get your writing checked, track your progress online.
Sample papers, online practice tests & tips.

A review may be about a book, magazine, film, play, or concert, but it may also be about, for example, an exhibition.

A review does not merely require a general description of a film or publication, but it specifies the particular aspects to be considered. For example, the review may employ narrative, as well as descriptive and evaluative language, and a range of vocabulary relating, for example, to literature and the media such as cinema or TV.

C2 Proficient (CPE) Review: Structure

Title / Introduction
Clarifying the topic and attracting the reader’s attention.
Main body
A short summary of the reviewed material – paragraph (1)
Description of positive aspects and/or weaker points – paragraphs (2-3)
Sum up the good and bad points to make an objective assessment – complementary paragraph
Recommendation
Final opinion, recommendation or comment.
engxam logo english exams

FCE, CAE, CPE

Practice, Write & Improve

Get your writing checked, track your progress online.
Sample papers, online practice tests & tips.

C2 Proficient (CPE) Review: Writing Guide

A task….

We will use the example topic below in our writing guide advice:

Write your book review

Step 1: Introduction

The introduction focuses on the identification of the author, the title, the main topic or issue presented in the question as well as the purpose.

Introduction: One of my favourite childhood books is the ‘Six Bullerby Children’ written by Astrid Lindergren, a famous Swedish author. The story is set in a three-farm remote village of Bullerby in Sweden.

If your task requires to review a book or article concerning particular issues or topic, your introduction must also meet these expectations. In other words, the more complex your task is, the more you have to implement in your introduction.

Step 2: Main body

Organize the content of your review according to a logical plan, so that each paragraph fulfils a specific role. The examiners will pay attention to whether the structure of your review is followed by some deeper thought and proper organization.

This is, of course, only an example structure, however, pay careful attention to the fact that the order of the paragraphs and their length have some deeper meaning.

But, let’s go back to our review…

The first body paragraph

Paragraph (1) can give a short summary of the reviewed material. Give a brief overview — plot, setting, actors, and general idea.

Paragraph (1): The narrator is a seven-year-old girl, Lisa who, with her parents and two older brothers – Lasse and Bosse, lives in one of the houses. Lisa describes the daily life of the children in Bullerby which – contrary to what one might think when imagining life in a small, remote village – is far from boring. The children have plenty of funny ideas, which often lead to amusing adventures.

Second and/or third body paragraphs

Paragraphs (2 and/or 3) can be used to describe good and bad points respectively. Unlike essay your paragraphs don’t have to be of the same length — if you liked the described thing then your paragraph with good points will be naturally bigger than the other one.

Paragraph (2): Although the book was included in the compulsory school literature when I was a child (which often meant long, boring reads), I have truly enjoyed the adventures of Lisa and her friends. Despite very limited resources (the story is set in 1930s when children did not have many toys, not to mention a TV or video games!) the children always come up with exciting games or things to play with. This is something I admired and wished I could do when reading the book.Paragraph (3): Another thing which appealed to me as a child was the natural childlike way in which Lisa (or Astrid Lindgren, the author) could tell the story connecting effortlessly with the young readers

Complementary paragraph

In Paragraph (4):  use this paragraph to sum up the good and bad points to make an objective assessment of the reviewed material. You may then recommend or dissuade your readers from seeing/attending it.

Paragraph (4): Despite the environment in which the children live nowadays has changed considerably since 1930s, children will always be children and if the book has appealed to so many young generations since it was published, I believe it will retain its impact. It can be more, even more relevant today, when children are presented with things to play, instead of inventing games themselves. Reading the book could definitely wake up their innate creativity.

Step 3: Recommendation

You should now evaluate the work as a whole, determining whether the author achieves the intended or implied goal and whether the work makes a significant contribution to the existing knowledge.

Recommendation: ‘Six Bullerby Children’ could, however, also be more relevant to adults who would like to either ‘return’ to their childhood for a little while, or be able to connect with their own children a bit better.

See full review…

Childhood Book

One of my favourite childhood books is the ‘Six Bullerby Children’ written by Astrid Lindergren, a famous Swedish author. The story is set in a three-farm remote village of Bullerby in Sweden.

The narrator is a seven-year-old girl, Lisa who, with her parents and two older brothers – Lasse and Bosse, lives in one of the houses. Lisa describes the daily life of the children in Bullerby which – contrary to what one might think when imagining life in a small, remote village – is far from boring. The children have plenty of funny ideas, which often lead to amusing adventures.

Although the book was included in the compulsory school literature when I was a child (which often meant long, boring reads), I have truly enjoyed the adventures of Lisa and her friends. Despite very limited resources (the story is set in 1930s when children did not have many toys, not to mention a TV or video games!) the children always come up with exciting games or things to play with. This is something I admired and wished I could do when reading the book.

Another thing which appealed to me as a child was the natural childlike way in which Lisa (or Astrid Lindgren, the author) could tell the story connecting effortlessly with the young readers.

Despite the environment in which the children live nowadays has changed considerably since 1930s, children will always be children and if the book has appealed to so many young generations since it was published, I believe it will retain its impact. It can be more, even more relevant today, when children are presented with things to play, instead of inventing games themselves. Reading the book could definitely wake up their innate creativity.

‘Six Bullerby Children’ could, however, also be more relevant to adults who would like to either ‘return’ to their childhood for a little while, or be able to connect with their own children a bit better.

engxam logo english exams

Get Your (CPE) Review Checked!

Sample papers, online practice tests & tips. Track your progress online.
See more

C2 Proficient (CPE) Review: Model Answers

Review subject:

A TV listings magazine has invited readers to contribute a review of a television series that is particularly popular at the moment. Write a review, explaining why this programme is so popular in your opinion and commenting on whether you believe it deserves such popularity.

Student’s CPE Review Answer:

Nowadays, when TV is pouring out so many ‘thoughtful and entertaining’ programmes at poor TV consumers, it is not an easy task to distinguish and choose which of the meaningless soaps, which is mainly the only choice, is worth seeing. Thank God, there is still one great programme that makes me turn on my goggle box – ‘Friends’.

I bet a couple of years ago, the producers wouldn’t have expected and dreamt that their new ‘attempt to amuse’ bored viewers- and with totally unknown actors ‘from nowhere’ – would earn such a great success. After many years of living a daily life with characters from Dallas, Baywatch, Dynasty, a new wave of funny, clever and witty entertainment struck people in. And obviously, people welcomed the change very warmly.

‘Friends’ is full of diversity. Each of the main five characters is completely different and brings to the series something new. Despite their differences, they create a perfect working jigsaw. They live, laugh, cry and share their tip [txt=”Good use of sophisticated vocabulary and structure”]fate[/tip] together. You can feel some kind of oneness there; and that is a vital thing in every friendship. Chandler – a sexist who can’t live without women -with his ironic and sharp, witty humour, contrasts with naive, a little bit dumb but cute Joey, who has a vanity and irresistible smile in the role of an unsuccessful actor. Monica is a nagging perfectionist who often quarrels with frivolous and untidy Rachel. Ross is a worried palaeontologist who tries to p come to terms that his wife left him. Poor guy! And at last weird Pheobe, who refreshes almost every episode with her ‘fabulous’ music which nobody can get. Oh yeah, she’s quite odd but everybody loves her.

‘Friends’ is a great refreshment after a long, exhausting day at work. It is no wonder that it is so popular. People just love it – from children to adults and older people as well. We need to laugh and relax. The actors, producers and creators deserve appreciation and admiration for making such a great show. People are waiting eagerly for new episodes all the time. And that’s a sign of success. Otherwise, they would cease producing it, wouldn’t they?Not to mention that ‘friends’ is popular in every continent of the world. And that proves something.

I find myself waiting for Friday night impatiently to turn on my TV and enjoy my favourite programme. And I do believe I’m not the only one. It’s just hilarious, you know.

engxam logo english exams

Get Your (CPE) Review Checked!

Sample papers, online practice tests & tips. Track your progress online.
See more

Review subject:

A literary magazine is running a series of reviews of books that people enjoyed reading as a child and would recommend for children today. You decide to send in a review in which you describe a book you enjoyed and the attractions it had for you as a child. You should also explain why you feel it remains relevant for children today.

Student’s CPE Review Answer:

Childhood Book

One of my favourite childhood books is the ‘Six Bullerby Children’ written by Astrid Lindergren, a famous Swedish author. The story is set in a three-farm remote village of Bullerby in Sweden.

The narrator is a seven-year-old girl, Lisa who, with her parents and two older brothers – Lasse and Bosse, lives in one of the houses. Lisa describes the daily life of the children in Bullerby which – contrary to what one might think when imagining life in a small, remote village – is far from boring. The children have plenty of funny ideas, which often lead to amusing adventures.

Although the book was included in the compulsory school literature when I was a child (which often meant long, boring reads), I have truly enjoyed the adventures of Lisa and her friends. Despite very limited resources (the story is set in 1930s when children did not have many toys, not to mention a TV or video games!) the children always come up with exciting games or things to play with. This is something I admired and wished I could do when reading the book.

Another thing which appealed to me as a child was the natural childlike way in which Lisa (or Astrid Lindgren, the author) could tell the story connecting effortlessly with the young readers.

Despite the environment in which the children live nowadays has changed considerably since 1930s, children will always be children and if the book has appealed to so many young generations since it was published, I believe it will retain its impact. It can be more, even more relevant today, when children are presented with things to play, instead of inventing games themselves. Reading the book could definitely wake up their innate creativity.

‘Six Bullerby Children’ could, however, also be more relevant to adults who would like to either ‘return’ to their childhood for a little while, or be able to connect with their own children a bit better.

engxam logo english exams

Get Your (CPE) Review Checked!

Sample papers, online practice tests & tips. Track your progress online.
See more

C2 Proficient (CPE) Review: Writing Topics

A TV listings magazine has invited readers to contribute a review of a television series that is particularly popular at the moment. Write a review, explaining why this programme is so popular in your opinion and commenting on whether you believe it deserves such popularity.

Write your review

A tourist magazine is publishing a series of reviews of amusements parks. You decide to send in a review of an amusement park you have visited which included interactive displays, rides, electronic games, a 3-D cinema and a boating lake. You should briefly describe two or three of the attractions and evaluate the contribution that amusement parks can make to the quality of life for local residents.

Write your review

engxam logo english exams

FCE, CAE, CPE

Practice Tests Online

Get your writing checked, track your progress online.
Sample papers, online practice tests & tips.

C2 Proficient (CPE) Review: Narrative, descriptive & evaluative

The review may employ narrative, as well as descriptive and evaluative language.

What is narrative writing?

  • it is simply writing that tells a story,
  • it can be non-fiction or fiction
  • includes the basic elements of a plot (setting, characters, action, point of view, dialogue) 
  • it’s full of interesting details

The author’s purpose in writing a narrative is to entertain the reader. There are several types of narrative writing but you most likely use personal/fictional narrative. It is when a writer shares a true/fictional story from his or her own life.

What is descriptive writing?

Descriptive writing appeals to your reader’s five senses vivid sensory details (vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch) create imagery to help your narrative come to life. Some examples of vocabulary targeted on each of the senses are below:

Appealing to Vision

describing colours – scarlet, blinding, white, pitch black, hazy gray
describe movement – fluttering curtains ,waving wheat or a rocking boat describe action – using action verbs such as jumped, exploded or shattered
describe your setting – such as a landscape or scene

Appealing to Hearing

sounds of nature – such as rustling leaves or crickets chirping
sounds of the city – such as motors running, cars honking or the freeway buzzing

Appealing to Smell

pleasant smells – using words with positive connotations such as perfume or aroma
unpleasant smells –  using words with negative connotations such as odor or stink

Appealing to Taste

You can use for example adjectives such as bitter, sweet, salty or sour.
disgusting taste – such as rotten meat or acid

Appealing to Touch

draw out your reader’s imagination by using descriptive adjectives such as smooth, rough ,sticky, itchy, slimy,fluffy or squishy.

What is evaluative writing?

As the name implies, you are evaluating things in evaluative writing, or in other words determining the value or quality of your subject (book, restaurant, movie..)

Depending on your subject, there may be some elements that are expected to be present by your reader. For instance, if you are reviewing a movie, people would probably expect that the quality of the actors’ performances or you or about lighting and how scenes were shot.  If it’s missing, your audience is likely to question your review.

Example phrases used in evaluative writing;
you will probably notice that these are also typical for an essay.

One example of ….  is when…
…  presents his views about the theme…
… argues not only that Holden is a loafer but also…
… having discussed ……eventually focuses on …..
Arguably, …..
In general I agree with ……although I think that …..

engxam logo english exams

FCE, CAE, CPE

Practice, Write & Improve

Get your writing checked, track your progress online.
Sample papers, online practice tests & tips.

C2 Proficient (CPE) Review: Useful phrases & Expressions

We will finish it with some useful vocabulary. Although it istaking 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 text.

Book reviews:

Vocab to describe the book in general:
a page-turner / a white-knuckle ride / a tearjerker / a laugh
a minute / I couldn’t put it down.

Vocab to describe specific parts:
a slow start / a gentle introduction /gripping climax / nail-
biting conclusion/cliff-hanger ending/ a shocking twist in the tail

Setting:
The book is set in …… (place/time)
The action takes place in ……. (place/time)
the present day (now)
an alternate reality where vampires/wizards walk the earth
a sleepy village in the USA
the bustling city of New York

Plot:
The plot centres around / focuses on (the adventures/lives of ……)
The plot follows the adventures of ……(character name)

Characters:
Villain / hero / heroine / anti-hero / main character / protagonist
The characters are believable / well-crafted / a bit 2 dimensional.

Film/TV reviews:

General:
An all-star cast
heavily influenced by the films of…
glowing reviews
startling originality
suspense builds up
a polished performance
a bold experiment
an accomplished actor
an unmitigated disaster (bad film)
a dazzling display of his/her talents
made a lasting impression on me.
Brought a tear to my eye
Like watching paint dry (boring)
I was on the edge of my seat (exciting)
A blockbuster (big commercial film eg Superman)
… sets off an amazing chain of events
Gripping film (exciting)
The director/author evoked a magical atmosphere
… awakened my interest in…
Hold my attention
Capture the audience’s imagination.
Spectacular set-pieces (main action scenes)
… is cast in the role of…
… is miscast in the role of…
…gives a(n) (un)convincing performance as…
The film is let down by a clichéd script.

Restaurant review:

Hearty meal
Wholesome food
Piping-hot
Succulent/juicy (meat)
Creamy
With a kick (spicy)
Crunchy/crispy
Well-seasoned
Packed with flavour
A steaming plate of…
Hungry/starving/ravenous/famished
Bustling eatery(restaurant)
Lively atmosphere
Service with a smile

deitpl

engxam logo english exams

Would you pass C2 Proficient (CPE)?

Sign up, resolve the tests and see what results you get.
Sign up
© 2022 engxam. All rights reserved.