How to improve your Cambridge First Writing Score

DO THE 2015 EXAM

Make sure you are following the new course! The Cambridge First (FCE) exam has changed this year so find papers which practise this new format. (Before 2015 the first task was always a letter – this is not the case now) In Part 1 you have to write _____________ . In Part 2 you have a choice between 4 questions. Just answer one.

Here are two useful links for exam information and practice papers:

http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/first/

http://www.flo-joe.com/fce/students/FCE_2015_guide.pdf

 

TIME MANAGEMENT

Know how much time you have for each question and stick to it! Divide your time equally and don’t spend too long on one question, as both parts of the writing paper are worth equal marks. Make sure you leave enough time at the end of the exam to read over and check your answers.

You don’t want to end up like these lads:

icon                   time

 

TASK COMPLETION 

Make sure to read the question/task carefully. Underline the key words. Make sure you answer every part of the question.

 

PLAN

Don’t start writing until you have made a plan. Think about the structure. How many paragraphs will you write? What information will you put in each paragraph?

 

KNOW THE TEXT TYPES

Make sure you are familiar with a range of text types. Practise all the different possible text types eg. essays, formal/informal letters, reports, _________________. You will find these in the writing reference section of any good text book or on any good website.

 

USEFUL LANGUAGE

Learn useful language for the different text types, e.g. linking words for essays, language for making recommendations or giving advice for reports.

 

WHAT THE EXAMINERS WANT

Familiarise yourself with how the exam is marked. You can find this and other useful infomation here:

http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/images/181310-first-information-for-candidates-2015-document.pdf

 

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

Once you know all of the text types, have developed key exam strategies and skills, and learnt enough useful language, it’s time for some real exam practice. Practise writing under exam conditions. Be strict with yourself and stop when the time is up. The more you practise the easier it will become to complete the task on the day of the exam.

– Other areas will help with your writing so try to read as much as possible in English. This will also help with your grammar and vocabulary. The more exposure you have to written English, the better your writing will become.
– You’ll find some good advice and practice here:

http://www.flo-joe.co.uk/fce/students/writing/index.htm

 

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