How to write a CAE essay?
An essay is the first part of the writing 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 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:
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.
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.
This is an advanced piece of writing, so make sure your choice of language reflects it. You will get marked for accuracy, however, occasional errors can still be present as long as they do not impede understanding. So don’t play it too safe. This is your opportunity to show what you can do, so take some risks and have fun with it!
In the writing paper you should use a range of vocabulary, including less common lexis. Brainstorm some vocabulary related to the topic. Take your time to think of nouns and compound nouns that you know at C1 level. Really let your vocabulary sparkle.
For and Against or just one side?
There are two approaches you can choose to write your essay.
- 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.
- 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.
CAE Essay: Structure
Present and develop the essay question in your introduction
|1 st body paragraph|
|2 nd body paragraph|
|3 rd body paragraph (optional)|
Give your opinion
CAE Essay: Example essays
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?
- 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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
CAE Essay: Example 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.
CAE 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.
- In the middle paragraphs develop your arguments. 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.)
- The final paragraph is the best place to express your opinion clearlyUseful phrases (Writing essays)
CAE 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.
Formal: It is certainly true that…; It is certainly the case that…; Undoubtedly…; Undeniably…; Unquestionably…
Neutral: Without a doubt…; Clearly…
Informal: Obviously…; Of course…; It goes without saying that…
Making general points
Formal: As a general rule…; For the most part…
Neutral: Generally…; In general…; In most cases…; On the whole…
Informal: Generally speaking…
Introducing supporting facts
Formal: Recent research has shown…; There is evidence to suggest…
Neutral: The latest figures suggest that…
Formal: This could be a result of…; This may be attributable to…
Neutral: This could be because…; This could/may/might be due to…
Informal: Perhaps this is because…
Making additional points
Formal: It is also the case that…; In addition…; Furthermore…; More importantly…; More significantly…
Neutral: It is also true that…; What is more…
Informal: Another reason for this could/may/might be…; Besides…; Also…; On top of this…; Another thing…
Formal: Thus…; Consequently…; This has the effect of…
Neutral: Therefore…; As a result…; For this reason…
Presenting alternative views
Formal: Nevertheless…; Nonetheless…; It can be argued that…
Neutral: Even so…; However…; On the other hand…; Despite this…
Suggesting something is not true
Formal: It is not necessarily the case that…
Neutral: It is not necessarily true that…; Not everyone agrees that…; It seems unlikely that…
Informal: It is not very likely that…
Contradicting a statement
Neutral: In actual fact…; In reality…
Writing about the present
Neutral: Nowadays…; These days…; Recently…; In recent years…