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

Level: B2
Exam:
How to write an essay? | B2 First (FCE)
Article navigation:
How to write an FCE essay?
FCE Essay: Structure
FCE Essay: Example essays
FCE Essay: Example topics
FCE Essay: Tips
FCE Essay: Useful phrases
FCE Essay: Frequently asked questions
B2 First (FCE)
Practice is the key! Sample papers, online practice tests & tips. Track your progress online.
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How to write an FCE essay?

An essay is the first part of the writing and it is obligatory.

You need to answer the question with between 140-190 words. In the text you need to analyse a question using different points of view. It is a semi-formal text and should be impartial until the conclusion. What the examiner wants to see is a balanced argument that is both interesting and easy to read.

A good essay contains the following parts:

  • Introduction
    Introduce the topic and say what you are going to talk about and capture the interest of the reader with a question, a fact or an extreme opinion.
  • 1 st paragraph
    The first point from the notes (you can mix points if they are related). This should be your main point, you must justify why it is the most important.
  • 2 nd paragraph
    The 2nd point from the notes, you need to link it to the first. Explain why it is of secondary importance.
  • 3 rd paragraph
    This is optional and can be linked to the second paragraphs. It explains the final point and links to the others.
  • Conclusion
    A summary of what you have said in the main paragraphs and make your main point. It must be interesting and the reader should learn something from it.

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

FCE Essay: Example essays

Subject:

In some countries, learning English is compulsory at school. Do you agree with this?

Student’s FCE Essay Answer:

Introduction

Whether we like it or not, English has invaded most schools across the globe. If these courses should be compulsory or not is an important question to consider.

1 st body paragraph 

To begin with, learning a second language is vital for students because it opens their world to new cultures. They not only learn a new language, but also learn about other cultures apart from their own. In a world that is rapidly becoming more and more international, an extended worldview can help the students thrive in such a cosmopolitan environment.

2 nd body paragraph 

Because English is the accepted language used in business throughout the world, it is necessary for students to prepare themselves and to be able to survive in the competitive workplace. If students do not learn English they will lose opportunities for promotion, new career paths, and the chance to be successful in a world that communicates only in English.

3 rd body paragraph 

Lastly, learning English as a second language should be compulsory, because otherwise only the most motivated will learn it. Most students need the structured atmosphere of a classroom in order to focus and apply themselves. Without this gentle push, the students can lose their drive and motivation.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I think that English should be compulsory in schools. The students will not only have a better chance to be successful in their professional careers, but they will also be more enriched culturally. As well, because everyone is different , the courses should be compulsory so as to nurture those who need structure and guidance.

Subject:

Your English class has had a discussion about advertising. Your teacher has asked you to write a composition about the following statement:

Advertising plays an important role in modern life.

Student’s FCE Essay Answer:

Introduction

In recent times, T.V. has been reaching a huge worldwide audience while advertising has become increasingly important in our daily lives. It is also present, however, in the cinema, magazines, newspapers and Internet. It now dominates our lives.

1 st body paragraph 

Although this is a great opportunity for the media to make money, it can have a negative influence on the general public. Nowadays it seems there are no limits. Advertising campaigns sell products using fear, sex, humour, violence and above all by creating competition between people and a ‘need’ for a product.

2 nd body paragraph 

Buying a bigger car, a T.V. or more expensive perfume than your neighbour is causing excessive consumerism. We are victims of fashion. If you do not buy the latest smart phone or computer you are out of touch with the modern times. A teenager wearing the wrong clothes or using an old mobile is seen as a ‘freak’.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is no doubt about the importance of advertising in modern life. Nevertheless, it has created stress and envy. Many people do not realize they are being brainwashed and spend money without thinking.


FCE Essay: Example topics

You have done a project on transport in your English class. Your teacher has asked you to write an essay giving your opinions on the following statement.

Because cars are so convenient public transport has no future.

Write your essay in 140-190 words in an appropriate style.

You have had a discussion on fashion in your English class. Your teacher has asked you to write an essay, giving your opinions on the following statement.

Young people never want to dress the same as their parents.

Write your essay in 140-190 words in an appropriate style.

You have had a discussion on the media’s treatment of famous people in your English class. Your teacher has asked you to write an essay, giving your opinions on the following statement.

Famous people such as footballers, film stars and politicians, deserve to have a private life without journalists constantly following them.

Write your essay in 140-190 words in an appropriate style.

FCE Essay: Tips

  • ANSWER THE QUESTION
  • PLAN your essay
  • REVISE your essay to correct mistakes.
  • 4 or 5 PARAGRAPHS, with Introduction and Conclusion
  • The first paragraph should be a general introduction to the subject
  • Develop your arguments in the middle paragraphs
  •  Give reasons to support your argument
  • 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.

FCE Essay: 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.

Presenting two advantages or disadvantages together:

not only … but … also
not only … but also

Presenting two opposing views:

on the one hand, on the other hand

Expressing Contrast:

nevertheless
even so
even though
however
in spite of
despite
but
although

Expressing results:

because of this
therefore
thus
as a result
for this reason
consequently

Expressing the opinion of someone else:

some people say
some people say that
many people say
many people say that
people often say
it is said
it is said that
according to

Giving examples:

such as
like
for example
for instance

FCE Essay: Frequently asked questions

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.

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