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How to write an essay? | B2 First (FCE)

Level: B2
Exam:
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B2 First (FCE) Essay: Structure
B2 First (FCE) Essay: Writing Guide
B2 First (FCE)  Essay: Example essays
B2 First (FCE) Essay: Example topics
B2 First (FCE)  Essay: Tips
B2 First (FCE) Essay: Useful Phrases & Expressions
B2 First (FCE) Essay: FAQ
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An essay is always written for the teacher. It should answer the question given by addressing both content points and providing a new content point of the writer’s own.

When writing a professional essay, you can choose whether to give it a title or not. This could be the same question provided in the task. As for the structure, it should have an introductory paragraph and a conclusion at the end. The body should consist of 2 or 3 main paragraphs, depending on how you decide to structure your ideas.

B2 First (FCE) Essay: Structure

Introduction
Present and develop the essay question in your introduction
1 st body paragraph
State your 1st argument and give a reason. This should be your main point.
2 nd body paragraph
State your 2nd argument and give a reason.
3 rd body paragraph (optional)
State your 3d argument and give a reason.
Conclusion
Give your opinion
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B2 First (FCE) Essay: Writing Guide

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

Introduction..

In the introduction, paraphrase the essay topic so that the reader know what you are going to write about.

Do not express your opinion at the beginning of your essay, leave it to the last paragraph (conclusion)

 

Main Body: 1st – 3rd body paragraph 

in the remaining paragraphs, you write on the points you got in the task, where  each paragraph should describe exactly one point/argument

How do I write them?

  1. List the points that you need to comment in your essay
  2. Place each point inseparate paragraph.
  3. Describe each point with facts, details, and examples
  4. Connect paragraphs with transition words

See example below…


Paragraph 1 – comment on question 1 – “the price of clothes”
(facts, details, and examples)

On one hand, the fashion industry is undeniably a source of profit and income. It hires millions of people all over the world and generates millions of dollars every year……Paragraph 2 – comment on question 2 – “people’s appearance is important”
(facts, details, and examples)

It is stated that people place too much importance on appearance and the material, world, sadly true, and the fashion industry just spurs on such situation…. 

Paragraph 3 – comment on question 3 – “…………………… (your own idea)”
(facts, details, and examples)

Nevertheless, for those who are neither impressed nor motivated by numbers and figures, the fashion industry is seen as one which segregates people, isolating those who not fit their laws and commands….. 

To connect your supporting paragraphs, you should use special transition words, see below. 

On one hand
It is stated that
Nevertheless
as a matter of fact
in addition
in the same fashion / way
first, second, third

Transition words link your paragraphs together and make your essay easier to read. Use them at the beginning and end of your paragraphs.

Conclusion

The summary paragraph comes at the end of your essay after you have finished developing your ideas. The summary paragraph is often called a “conclusion.” 

It summarizes or restates the main idea of the essay. You want to leave the reader with a sense that your essay is complete.

The society we live today is characterised by technology in constant development, fast speed processes, information travelling and getting to people at a blink of an eye and a complex web of social networking. In this context, the fashion industry is becoming increasingly important and having a more and more paramount role in our lives.

On one hand, the fashion industry is undeniably a source of profit and income. It hires millions of people all over the world and generates millions of dollars every year. Furthermore, such profitable business is also believed to be able to spread and make known the culture of a people, encouraging and enhancing a better understanding of each other.

Nevertheless, for those who are neither impressed nor motivated by numbers and figures, the fashion industry is seen as one which segregates people, isolating those who not fit their laws and commands. It is stated that people place too much importance on appearance and the material, world, sadly true, and the fashion industry just spurs on such situation. Moreover, not only are the costs of fashion item unrealistically high, it is thought to be a money better spent on more pressing issues, such as poverty and hunger.

I do believe that the fashion industry, as it is today, has a harmful effect, because it values a minority of people in detriment to the majority. However, it has such a wide reach that, it put into a good use, it can save lives.

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B2 First (FCE)  Essay: Example essays

Subject:

In your English class you have been talking about the environment. Write an essay using all the notes and give reasons for your point of view.

Every country in the world has problems with pollution and damage to the environment.
Do you think these problems can be solved?

Notes:

Write about:
1. transport
2. rivers and seas
3. ………………………… (your own idea)

Student’s FCE Essay Answer:

DEVELOPMENT VS ENVIRONMENT

If we surf the web looking for pollution and environmental catastrophes, we will find out that every country in the world suffers them. This is a natural consequence of the struggle between development and environment.

If a country decided to live isolated from the rest of the world, living on what it can naturally grow and produce, it surely wouldn’t be highly polluted. But we all want exotic food and technological items from all over the world, so we have to pay the price.

Investing on electrical transport would benefit the environment a lot. Even more if this electricity came from a natural source of energy like wind, rivers and solar boards. It’s difficult to achieve this because petrol companies will fight against these actions.

We also have to take care of our rivers and seas. We all have heard about factories throwing highly toxic substances to rivers, without minimizing their poisoning effects. A really strict law should be applied to fine these factories and make them change their policy.

But what about ourselves? We also can do a lot! If, when possible, we bought larger packs of food, we would be producing less rubbish. And this is only an example!

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Subject:

In your English class you have been talking about the fashion industry. Write an essay using all the notes and giving reasons for your point of view.

Some people say the fashion industry has a bad effect on people’s lives.
Do you agree?

Notes

Write about:
1. whether people’s appearance is important
2. the price of clothes
3. …………………… (your own idea)

Student’s FCE Essay Answer:

The society we live today is characterised by technology in constant development, fast speed processes, information travelling and getting to people at a blink of an eye and a complex web of social networking. In this context, the fashion industry is becoming increasingly important and having a more and more paramount role in our lives.

On one hand, the fashion industry is undeniably a source of profit and income. It hires millions of people all over the world and generates millions of dollars every year. Furthermore, such profitable business is also believed to be able to spread and make known the culture of a people, encouraging and enhancing a better understanding of each other.

Nevertheless, for those who are neither impressed nor motivated by numbers and figures, the fashion industry is seen as one which segregates people, isolating those who not fit their laws and commands. It is stated that people place too much importance on appearance and the material, world, sadly true, and the fashion industry just spurs on such situation. Moreover, not only are the costs of fashion item unrealistically high, it is thought to be a money better spent on more pressing issues, such as poverty and hunger.

I do believe that the fashion industry, as it is today, has a harmful effect, because it values a minority of people in detriment to the majority. However, it has such a wide reach that, it put into a good use, it can save lives.

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B2 First (FCE) Essay: Example topics

Your teacher has asked you to write your response to the following statement taken from a recent newspaper article:

Is it true that we help the environment when we plant a tree?

Write about:

  1. clear the air
  2. shade
  3.  ………….( your own idea)

Your teacher has asked you to write your response to the following statement taken from a recent newspaper article:

Nowadays children are suffering from obesity, that was once considered to be meant for adults only. What are its causes and what solutions can be offered?

Write about:

  1. diet
  2. busy lifestyle
  3. ………………(your own idea)

Your teacher has asked you to write your response to the following statement taken from a recent newspaper article:

Is it better to be the oldest or the youngest in a family?

Write about:

  1. parents
  2. role of older sibling
  3. ………………(your own idea)

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B2 First (FCE)  Essay: Tips

  • ANSWER THE QUESTION
  • PLAN your essay
  • REVISE your essay to correct mistakes.
  • Use a variety of discussive words and phrases
  • Give examples where possible
  • Use formal language
  • Don’t use contractions (we’re, I’ve etc.)
  • Sum up your argument in the final paragraph
  • The final paragraph is the best place to express your opinion clearly.

 TIP: Pay attention to style and register

One of the most common register mistakes made by inexperienced writers involves using too personal manner in a piece of formal writing. A chatty style, characterized by the use of the words I and you, could be inappropriate and even offensive in a formal essay.

Me, myself, I

Everybody likes to talk about themselves, but when (for example) you’re writing about environmental issues, you should be talking about the environment and not about yourself.

YOU

The way word you is used in informal speech ‘You should have seen it!’ ‘if you know what I mean’ is not appropriate in formal writing. At best it sounds chatty and informal; at worst, disrespectful or even offensive. The word you points a finger at the reader. But the readers are not friends of yours, and you have no right to make assumptions about them.

B2 First (FCE) Essay: Useful Phrases & Expressions

Introduction

The trend nowadays is towards ….
Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of ….
Recent research indicates that ….
Hardly a week goes by without another report of ……….. appearing in the media.
This raises the issue of whether ……
Although most people would generally agree that ………… few would deny that ….

Stating your opinion

As I see it,
It seems to me that ………… I would also say that ….
I am convinced that ……………
I am inclined to believe that ………………
There is no doubt in my mind that ………………
One of the drawbacks of ……. is ……….
However, one of the benefits is that …………
Changing topic
As regards the causes for this, …………..
Concerning the causes for this, ………
As for the causes, ………..

Presenting arguments

One justification is often given for ……….. is that……………..
Advocates/Proponents would claim that ………………
Those who object to …………….. often argue that ……………….
Another objection is that ……
However, it should not be forgotten that …………..
……….. are opposed to ……………. on the grounds that ……………..
From the point of view of ……………..
According to ………………..

Describing causes

One factor which has led to ………… is …………..
One of the factors which has brought this about is ………
The problem often stems from ………………..
The situation has been exacerbated by …………….
………….. has only made the situation worse.
One consequence of ……………. is …………….

Proposing steps and measures

As regards the most appropriate response to this situation, one suggestion would be to ………
The first step to be taken would be to ……..
To alleviate the situation people should ………..
In addition they ought to ……………
To begin to tackle this situation society/individuals/the government need/s to This can only be dealt with if …………
To overcome this problem, …………..
Were the government to ……………, the situation would doubtless improve.
Individuals can do a great deal to …………
The burden of responsiblity lies in the hands of ……..
It is vitally important that ………
Legislation should be introduced to control ……………..
It would be a grave error if we ……………..

Concluding

All in all it seems to me that ………..
The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that …………………..
All things considered, ………….
On balance, I tend to believe that …………
The world would surely be a better place to live in if …………..
If people stopped ….ing, we would have/ we could look forward to a ……………
The prospects for the future will be bleak/grim unless ……………….

B2 First (FCE) Essay: FAQ

Should you do a plan?

Yes! You must make a plan to organise your writing. On the day of the exam, you will be stressed and feel pressure. A plan is your way of organising you text and your thoughts.

What happens if I write more than 190 words?

Nothing… Well, almost nothing. In the past for every 5 words extra, they took away a point, however, now they do not. It is not good to go over 190 words because of time, but you can. I wouldn´t write more than 200 words because they will probably lower the mark they give you for content. They will determine some of it to be unnecessary.

What counts as a complex language in the exam?

You MUST use complex language at B2 level. You must use attention-grabbing vocabulary and a variety of grammar structures. The passive voice, relative clauses, modal verbs, conditionals, reported speech and inversions all count as COMPLEX grammar forms and you must use them. Otherwise, you can address academic experts and pay someone to write your paper if you need help to write an essay for you.

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