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How to write an essay? | C1 Advanced (CAE)

Level: C1
Article navigation:
C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Writing Structure
C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Writing Guide
C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Example Asnwers
C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Writing Topics
C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Tips
C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Marking Criteria
C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Useful Phrases, Words & Expressions

Writing an essay is the first part of the C1 Advanced (CAE) Cambridge writing paper and it is obligatory.

You need to answer the question with between 220-260 words. In the text, you need to analyse a question using different points of view. It is a semi-formal/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.

C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Writing Structure

1. Introduction
Present and develop the essay question in your introduction
2. Main content: Paragraphs 1-2
Describe the first point/argument from the notes (most important)
Describe the second point/argument from the notes.
3. Paragraph 3 (optional)
Explains the final point and links to the others.
4. Conclusion
A summary of what you have said.
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C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Writing Guide

Here is a straightforward way to write a perfect essay.

If you have two main points to make, you can give your essay a clear structure by dividing it into four paragraphs.

1. Introduction

The first paragraph of an essay provides the introduction. It states what is to be discussed and why. Your main points are briefly introduced. This paragraph need not be lengthy.

Introduction: We often hear about the many benefits of health and fitness. However, less often do we hear concrete suggestions for how to improve participation rates, particularly among young people. In this essay I will discuss two possible actions that governments could focus on in order to promote health and fitness to youth today.  (main points are briefly introduced.)

 TIP 1: Pay attention to style and register!

One of the most common mistakes made by inexperienced writers involves using too personal language writing an 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.

2. Main content: Paragraphs 1-2

Paragraph 1

In this paragraph, more background information is provided in greater detail. Your first, often the strongest main point is expanded upon. Bring in and refute any arguments against your point of view.

Paragraph 1: The first possible action is to improve physical education teaching in schools. Local students have at times complained that… (Describe the first point/argument from the notes)

Paragraph 2

The second paragraph provides your second key point, lying it into the theme of your essay. Again, bring in opposing points of view and support your second key point with Information and background.

Paragraph 2: A second option would be to attempt to change the overly competitive attitudes that seem ingrained in many of the sports… (Describe the second point/argument from the notes)

 Tip 2: Remember about “linking” in the essay!

Between paragraphs:

To begin with, I would like to put forward […]
The first possible action is, to improve physical education …[…]

A second option would be.…  competitive attitudes that […]

Within a paragraph:

[…] which activity is better than the others. Another reason for not financing sports […]

3. Paragraph 3 (optional)

This is optional and can be linked to the second paragraph. It explains the final point and links to the others.

4. Conclusion

The final paragraph is used to summarise or conclude your essay. It shows how the two key points you have presented compare or relate to each other. It also clearly re-states your initial position from the introductory paragraph.

Conclusion: In summary, either approach would be a step in the right direction. In my view, it would be wise to prioritize dealing with reducing competitiveness first because I believe it would help young people feel better about the sports they already do. They could then, in turn, influence their friends to join in.

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For and Against or just one side?

There are two approaches you can choose to write your essay professionally.

  1. For and against

    This is the traditional approach where a writer discusses points in favour of their position and against. Typically this means that one point will be used to contrast the general position.  There are advantages to this method. Firstly, candidates are often more familiar with it and find it easier to write. Secondly, it gives them more scope to use a wider variety of linking language.

  2. One side only

    Writing an essay like this means that all the points will be included as if part of a list and requires language like firstly, additionally etc.  Commonly a writer supports the idea. As mentioned above it can limit some language people might want to use but it may suit some.

C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Example Asnwers

Subject:

Your class has attended a panel discussion on facilities which should receive money from local authorities. You have made the notes below:

Which facilities should receive money from local authorities?

  • museums
  • sports centres
  • public gardens

Some opinions expressed in the discussion:

  • “Museums aren’t popular with everybody!”
  • “Sports centres mean healthier people.”
  • “A town needs green spaces – parks are great for everybody.”

Write an essay discussing two of the facilities in your notes. You should explain which facility it is more important for local authorities to give money to, giving reasons in support of your answer.

Student’s CAE Essay Answer:

[Introduction]

In regard of a recent discussion about the facilities, which are financially supported by local authorities, I would like to write a few of my personal thoughts. Whether we are talking about sports centres or public gardens, there is no doubt that they are both a good thing to have in the city and should both be supported somehow. The only question then is which one of these is more important, what are the pros and cons of each one?

[1 st body paragraph ]

Let me start with the sport centres as I think these are a bit more problematic. Obviously, in our times where lots of people spend days sitting in their office staring at a computer, some sort of physical training is very important. We have to balance that shift in our lifestyles. The problem I see with supporting the sports centres is the number of activities that you can do at these days. There is almost countless list of either individual or team sports that we can think of, and each centre is usually designed for a specific type or at least a group of sports similar in its nature. Therefore I think that it is too difficult to support them equally and we can’t say which activity is better than the others either. Another reason for not financing sports as much as green parks is their commercial use. What I mean by that is that we usually pay for everything the centre offers us to do and therefore they are more able to last from their own money than gardens.

[2 nd body paragraph]

Regarding of the green spaces, the situation is much clearer I think. Every city needs gardens where people can sit and relax, but nobody is going to pay a tax for just walking around.

[Conclusion[]

These factors lead me to my conclusion, that the public gardens are definitely a facility which should be financed from public money, whereas in the case of sports centres, the situation is questionable.

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Subject:

Your class has attended a panel discussion on the action governments can take to promote health and fitness among young people. You have made the notes below.

Action to promote health and fitness among young people

  • improve teaching in schools.
  • improves attitudes to competitiveness.
  • improve the image of sports.

Some opinions expressed during the discussion

  • ‘There need to be specialist sports teachers for children and students of all ages.’
  • ‘Some young people are put off by the pressure to compete.’
  • ‘A lot of young people don’t think it’s cool to take part in sports.’

Write an essay for your tutor, discussing two of the actions in your notes. You should explain which action you think is more important, giving reasons to support your opinion.

Student’s CAE Essay Answer:

[Introduction]

We often hear about the many benefits of health and fitness. However, less often do we hear concrete suggestions for how to improve participation rates, particularly among young people. In this essay I will discuss two possible actions that governments could focus on in order to promote health and fitness to youth today.

[1 st body paragraph ]

The first possible action is to improve physical education teaching in schools. Local students have at times complained that the curriculum is rigid and emphasizes repetitive activities instead of team sports and enjoyment. Better role models and more adventurous options could lead to improved attitude and participation. Naturally, employing specialist sports teachers would incur considerable cost.

[2 nd body paragraph]

A second option would be to attempt to change the overly competitive attitudes that seem ingrained in many of the sports competitions for youngsters. When adults such as parents and teachers focus on winning above having a good time, it puts undue pressure on the participants. They may feel a sense of failure if they lose and also be less inclined to try a new sport.

[Conclusion]

In summary, either approach would be a step in the right direction. In my view, it would be wise to prioritize dealing with reducing competitiveness first because I believe it would help young people feel better about the sports they already do. They could then, in turn, influence their friends to join in.

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C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Writing Topics

In class you have had a discussion about inequality and work. You have made the notes below:

Do the privileged few get a head start in life?

  • Stability in the home
  • Work contacts and opportunities
  • Time to hone one´s skills

Write an essay discussing two of the points given and explain the reasons behind your answer.

Recently, you have held a discussion in a university plenary about work-life balance. You have made the notes below:

Work is the pillar of society though it is obvious that people need to disconnect. Where is the balance?

  • Fulfilling one´s potential
  • Supporting family members
  • Using one´s time productively

Write an essay using two of the points and say what might be the most effective way of achieving a healthy work-life balance

You have discussed young people and their future work prospects in class. You have made the notes below:

What might be the most effective strategy to prepare young people for work?

  • Work placements
  • Workshops in schools
  • Establishing links with local businesses

Write an essay discussing two of the points and say which should be implemented into the national curriculum.

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CAE, FCE, CPE

More than Practice Tests

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

C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Tips

  • ANSWER THE QUESTION.
  • PLAN your essay.
  •  REVISE your essay to correct mistakes.
  • The final paragraph is the best place to express your opinion clearly
  • Add quotations, statistics, facts. examples and other relevant data to support your points.
  • The tone and register can be formal or semiformal depending on your treatment of the topic. If your essay is written in a formal register, only bring in informal expressions when you use a direct quotation to support your argument.
  • Punctuation is important in essays and can be a powerful tool for expressing subtle or emphatic points. Short sentences make for a peachy style but get irritating if they are over-used, long sentences need careful use of commas, semi-colons and desires to achieve flow and rhythm.

C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Marking Criteria

Language

A wide range of suitable grammatical structures and elements should be used in sentences that are not too simple. Longer sentences with more than one clause should be well controlled and totally clear in meaning. Vocabulary connected with the topic area should be used accurately and a high level of vocabulary to make and support points on the subject should also be demonstrated.

Communication

The essay should be neutral or formal rather than informal or conversational. as it is a serious piece of academic work. The reader should clearly understand all the points made about the two aspects, as well as the writer’s reasons for selecting one of them as the most important.

Organization

The essay should be appropriately divided into paragraphs, perhaps with separate paragraphs for each of the two aspects. A short introductory paragraph and/or a short concluding paragraph could be included but neither of these is essential. Sentences and paragraphs should be linked with appropriate linking words and phrases.

Content

The essay must discuss two of the three aspects listed in the question and state which of them the writer regards as the most important, giving reasons for this choice. If the opinions from the discussion are used, they should be rephrased as much as possible, not simply copied.

C1 Advanced (CAE) Essay: Useful Phrases, Words & Expressions

We will finish it with useful advanced vocabulary (words to use in an essay) mostly used to organize information. Although it is taking a shortcut, if you learn several expressions/words for each paragraph in each type of text that could be on your exam, you will certainly be able to create a very consistent essay with a perfect structure.

To start essay: Introduction

It is often said that …
….is a hotly-debated topic that often divides opinion.
….is a topic that is often discussed but rarely solved.
Many people feel that …
We live in an age when many of us are…
More and more families/people are choosing to …
The trend nowadays is towards +ing
Over the past/last ten years or so, …
Recent research indicates that the number of …is increasing.
Statistics indicate 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

Topic sentences

First Paragraph

…. clearly/undoubtedly has an impact on…
It is common knowledge that… plays a crucial role in…
It is undoubtedly the case that…
There is little doubt that…
… is widely believed to contribute to…
It is generally considered that…
Recent research suggests that…
Studies have shown that… has an impact/influence on…
Few people would contest/dispute the fact that…

Second Paragraph

Another factor to consider is…
On the other hand/In contrast…
It is often claimed that…
All the evidence suggests 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 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 ……………
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 ……………..

 To conclude an essay: Concluding

In light of the above,
Taking all this into consideration/account,…
As far as I am concerned, / in my opinion, / as I see it, etc.
… is the most effective way to… due to the fact that…
Despite the fact that… undoubtedly plays a role in… I firmly believe that… is more effective due to the fact that… its advantages outnumber/ outweigh those
All in all it seems to me that ………..
The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that …………………..
All things considered! ………….
On balance! , tend to believe that …………
The world would surely be a better place to live in if …………..

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