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How to Write an Essay for B2 First (FCE) Writing

Luis @ kse academy.

  • noviembre 24, 2019

As you probably know already, Cambridge English exams usually have some or all of the following parts: Reading, Writing, Use of English and Listening. In this post I am going to talk about the FCE Writing B2 part and, more specifically, about how to write an essay for FCE Writing . We will see a good example of an essay for FCE and you can check out a full FCE Writing Guide where you can find more examples of emails , letters and other types of writings.

Essay Sample Answer

Este artículo también está disponible en castellano.

The Ultimate B2 First Writing Guide: 15 B2 Writing Sample Tasks and 300+ Useful Expressions (Guías de Writing para Exámenes de Cambridge)

What are the parts of the FCE Writing?

The First (FCE) Writing has only two parts. For each part, you must write a composition which will depend on the instructions you receive for each task. For the  first part , you will always be asked to  write an essay , as it is the only option provided. However, in the  second part , they allow you to choose one out of 3 options. These include  different types of writing , which are : letters/emails ,  articles ,  reviews and  reports . Each piece of writing must have between 140 and 190 words , approximately.

Since they are different types of writing , the language and structures to use will also differ. But that’s what I’m here for, to explain to you exactly how to write each part. And today, I’m starting with  how to write an essay .

How to Write an Essay for FCE Writing

An  essay is an opinion writing with which we analyse a topic , a situation or an issue from different points of view , providing different arguments and expressing our opinion about it. For this reason, an  essay must have the following features:

  • Purpose: What we usually do with an essay is to analyse and assess a topic, situation or issue which, in some way, is interesting or controversial. It is normally set as a writing task after a class debate. In the exam, you have to imagine the debate, obviously.
  • Tone and style: Given that you’re writing about a  serious or controversial issue , an essay is written in a formal style, so we must stick to an objective tone and style . Our language must be formal, thus avoiding words that are simply too common or generic (E.g.:  things, stuff, get,   etc.) and contractions (E.g.:  can’t, don’t, won’t,  etc.).
  • Structure: Like every piece of writing,  an essay must present a defined structure . For starters, we can choose either to give it a title or not. Personally, I would say that it is more appropriate to have an essay with title . Then, the body must be divided into introduction, idea 1, idea 2, idea 3 and conclusion. This means that, in general,  essays must have 5 paragraphs ,   although it is not entirely necessary.
  • Opinion:  There are countless ways of expressing your opinion in an essay, so you must choose the one that suits you best. However,  it is advisable to remain impartial throughout your writing and give your opinion only in the last paragraph , as a conclusion. But, as I say, it is optional. The most important thing is that you justify everything you say in your essay.
  • Coherence: Coherence is essential in every type of writing, but especially in an essay. As it tends to be an argumentative text, you must avoid writing incoherent paragraphs that have nothing to do with one another. Your ideas must  follow a logical order and be well connected with appropriate linkers .

FCE Writing Essay Example

Now that we are familiar with the  characteristics of an essay for First (FCE) Writing , let’s take a look at an  example of an essay at B2 level , both at the task and at a sample answer.

Instructions of an Essay

In the following image you can see the instructions of an essay which involves a typical topic, that of the environment:

How to Write an Essay for FCE sample task / cómo escribir un essay para Fce ejemplo actividad

In these instructions, we must pay attention to the following:

  • The  first paragraph introduces the topic: … different ways in which you can protect the environment.
  • The  second sentence is usually the same in every task:  Write an essay using  all the notes…
  • In the box , you are given the main topic as a question and they give you something to talk about:  recycle, using bicycles and walking, your own idea . As you can see, you have to come up with the third idea, something connected to the topic which is not provided in the exam task.

Given the model task above, each paragraph will correspond to a different idea, apart from the introduction and conclusion. Again, it is only natural to have 5 paragraphs. So, the best way to know how to write an essay for FCE Writing is to take a look at an  example of an actual essay for FCE Writing :

How to Write an Essay for FCE sample answer / cómo escribir un essay para Fce ejemplo respuesta

At first sight, the essay has  a title and 5 paragraphs (introduction + idea 1 + idea 2 + idea 3 + conclusion). And if we stop to read the essay more carefully, we’ll notice the following things:

  • The paragraphs are visual and well defined , which is very important.
  • The title summarises the topic  of the essay. Another option is to use the question ( What can people do to help protect the environment? ) as title. However, it usually tends to be too long, so I prefer to summarise it into a shorter heading.
  • Introduction: it introduces the topic in a general way and it leads to the second paragraph (first idea).
  • Paragraph 2: it deals with idea 1.
  • Paragraph 3: it deals with idea 2.
  • Paragraph 4: it deals with idea 3.
  • Conclusion: we express our opinion to conclude and summarise the essay.
  • It uses connectors to define the development of the essay:  firstly, second, finally, etc.
  • It doesn’t use many contractions or pet words.
  • One of the things that
  • In the last few decades,
  • For this reason,
  • First, / Second, / Third,
  • By doing so,
  • For example,
  • In conclusion,

This is a good example of an essay for FCE Writing . By the way, you must bear in mind that it has been written to simulate a strong B2 level, without reaching C1.

FAQ: Do I get penalised for writing over 190 words?

This is the most typical question in this part of the exam and the answer is « yes and no «. Let me explain myself. Cambridge English examiners don’t count the number of words and penalise you based upon that fact alone. There’s a rumour going around among teachers and pupils that says that for every 10 words over 190, they take «this many» points off, but it is not true. However, think about this: if you’ve written 50 or 100 words more than asked, you are probably including irrelevant information to the task , right? Now that’s a reason for losing points. In the same way that if you  write under 140 words you are probably missing essential information , don’t you think?

For this reason, I always recommend writing up to 10 or 20 words over the limit. In this way, you won’t lose any points for including irrelevant information.

FCE Writing Guide with examples (pdf)

Although I intend to write more posts on how to do each piece of writing for FCE, if you don’t want to wait any more, simply download the official KSE Academy FCE Writing Guide . In this guide you will learn:

  • How to write an essay  and 3 examples.
  • How to write an article  and 3 examples.
  • How to write a review  and 3 examples.
  • How to write a report  and 3 examples.
  • How to write an email or letter  and 3 examples.
  • Over 300 useful expressions for every FCE Writing .

Would you like to see a sample of this guide? Here it is!

Did you find this useful?  Why not share it with other teachers and students of English? Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, y YouTube. 🙂

Luis @ KSE Academy

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ESL Teacher 365

B2 First (FCE) Essay Writing Guide

The Cambridge B2 First (FCE) essay is easier to write than you think! Follow these steps to write the perfect essay.

Post Contents

What is the Cambridge B2 First Essay?

  • Part 1 of the writing test – there are 2 parts total
  • 140-190 word limit
  • You have about 40 minutes to plan and write your essay
  • You must answer a question using two notes and your own idea
  • The topic requires general knowledge only
  • The essay is always formal because it is written “for your teacher”

Step One: Look at the Task (1 minute)

To begin, all B2 First essays have a similar format . This is great because you know exactly how to write the essay before seeing the question.

Read the essay question carefully and HIGHLIGHT any keywords you need to write about.

Tip: If you don’t understand the question or notes, DON’T PANIC. Try your best to write the essay. You will still get points for grammar, vocabulary, and structure.

B2 First essay writing instructions

Sample exam test from Cambridge English .

Step Two: Write a plan (5 minutes)

A lot of my students dislike writing a plan. However, a plan helps you organize your thoughts and helps you write a better B2 First essay. Your essay needs 5 paragraphs . We will use the sample task from above as an example:

Paragraph structure for an essay

Introduction.

  • Rivers and seas
  • Your own idea

Next, to create a plan, write a few words for each paragraph . DO NOT write whole sentences. This takes too much time. Try to focus on keywords and short phrases .

Tip: “Your own idea” DOES NOT mean your opinion. You need to think of another topic related to the question to talk about. Some ideas for this task could be: recycling, agriculture, industry, etc.

Additionally, you can prepare a list of linking words and related vocabulary . Getting these words written down before you start helps you remember to use them.

Look at the example plan below. You can draw something similar on a blank piece of paper.

B2 First essay plan

Tip: Time yourself – see how long it takes for you to write a plan. Try to reduce that amount of time as much as possible.

Step 3: Write your essay (32 minutes)

On the official test, you must write with a pen . No erasable pens or pencils are allowed. I suggest writing your plan and essay with a pen every time you practice .

Let’s take a look at each paragraph of the essay.

The introduction to your essay should be 2-3 sentences long . It introduces the essay topic in a general way .

Tip: DO NOT include your opinion in the introduction. Your opinion goes in the conclusion.

If you are unsure how to write an introduction, try this structure and look at the example :

Structure of the introduction  

  • 1 sentence about the topic in general
  • 1-2 sentences about the topic more specifically, including a question if you like.

Example Introduction

On every continent, the amount of trash and waste is increasing each year. Rubbish causes damage to ecosystems all over the world. Is there a way for countries to reduce their carbon footprint and save our planet?

Body of the essay

The body of the essay has three paragraphs . These paragraphs talk about one idea with supporting examples .

For each paragraph, you need to write a topic sentence. A topic sentence is the main idea of the paragraph . DO NOT copy the notes. Instead, try to rewrite the idea in your own words. This is called “paraphrasing.” 

Your paragraphs should be 3-4 sentences .

Tip: Start each paragraph with a linking word .

Structure of a body paragraph

  • Linking word and topic sentence
  • Supporting sentences

Example body paragraph

Firstly, countries can decrease pollution and environmental stress by offering more public transportation. Cars and other vehicles which require petrol produce toxic fumes. If more electric buses and trams were available, fewer people would need to drive their cars.

Follow the same structure for each body paragraph.

Tip: Remember that “your own idea” is NOT your opinion . Write about an additional topic related to the question that you wrote down on your plan.

Finally, you get to say your opinion! In the conclusion, you need to summarize the topic and give your opinion on the question. A conclusion should be 1-2 sentences long.

Structure of the conclusion

  • Transition word and a sentence summarizing the topic
  • A sentence that gives your opinion

Example conclusion

To sum up, countries around the world must make changes in order to protect the environment. In my opinion, offering more public transport, reducing overfishing, and creating recycling programs are necessary for a cleaner planet.

Step Four: Review your writing (2 minutes)

This is another important step that students often miss. Take two minutes after writing your essay to check for spelling and grammatical errors.

Since you wrote in pen, simply cross out the incorrect word or words LIKE THIS and rewrite them.

How can I get a higher mark on the FCE essay?

Now that you know how to write an essay for the Cambridge B2 First exam, let’s look at how to get the best mark possible .

Increase your mark on your B2 First essay

  • Include 5-8 linking words – these words introduce paragraphs and connect ideas
  • Use a variety of grammatical structures – you should have both simple and complex forms. Try to use perfect and future forms, conditionals, comparatives, relative clauses and passive
  • Use formal vocabulary – do not use slang or simple words like “good, big, small, bad.” Also, do not use contractions. Write “cannot” instead of “can’t”
  • Make the essay interesting to read – the examiners read hundreds of essays so make yours easy to read and engaging
  • Use the correct amount of words (140-190) – it’s ok to be a few words over the limit, but not too many

Final Advice

The best way to improve your writing skills … is to write! Try to write a few essays each week and ask your teacher for feedback . I have had students who entered my class with very poor writing skills and with practice, they were able to pass the exam after only 10 weeks!

I help students prepare for the FCE exam with private lessons via Zoom. Email me at [email protected] or check out my private lessons page to learn more.

If you want more practice for the B2 First , try these Speaking exam tips , free writing checklist , and Reading part 1 practice.

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Breakout English

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B2 First (FCE) Writing Part 1 – Improve an Essay

Writing is the part of any English exam where you should aim to get a high score and B2 First FCE Writing Part 1, an obligatory essay, is no different. It’s also the most trainable part of the exam in a classroom. While other skills often take lots of time, effort and practice, writing can be taught through models, which learners can then take and replicate. Of course, it’s important to write your own material, but the format and many expressions are transferable for essays regardless of the topic. With this material, we aim to demonstrate areas where B2 First candidates often go wrong with writing an essay. With a few tweaks, you should be able to reproduce a high quality essay every time.

B2 First (FCE) Writing Part 1 - Improve an Essay

Essays may not be fun, but they are important. The Cambridge B2 essay might be the first time you need to write an essay for an exam, but it won’t be the last. This task continues to be obligatory at C1 and C2 levels. If you are doing a Trinity or IELTS exam, you’ll also need to write an essay. Basically, there is no escape. You either learn to write a good essay or you don’t pass your writing exam (I recommend learning it).

The challenge with essays is not only the style, which should be formal and academic. Exam candidates also often have issues with content in First (FCE) Writing Part 1. The B2 essay question is always the same, and it’s not particularly complex, but sometimes it still causes issues regarding what content points to include. At the same time, an uninspiring question can easily lead to an uninspired answer. That becomes a problem when your essay isn’t interesting to read. Keep in mind that whoever corrects your essay has probably read 95 other essays on the same topic, so it a good idea to stand out!

The Materials

With this activity, you analyse a sample essay contrasting living in a city vs the countryside. To use it in the classroom, have students discuss the issues with the essay in pairs. You can even have them use the Cambridge writing scales to give it a mark. Then, feedback in open class and finish with your students writing their own improved version. I like to do this task just after receiving a round of previously assigned essays from students as a sort of extended test-teach-test activity.

Check here for more First Certificate essay questions to use in class.

EXAM PART: First (FCE) Writing Part 1 – Essay

EXAM SKILLS: Improving content and communicative achievement in essay writing

TOPIC:  Lifestyle (living in the city vs living in the countryside)

TIME: 30 minutes + 45 minutes writing (in-class or for homework)

PREPARATION: One copy of the worksheet per student

breakout english fce

Teacher Phill

Cambridge B2 First (FCE): How to Write a Story

B2 First for Schools - How to Write a Story

B2 First story writing in a nutshell

  • Mandatory task:  no
  • Word count:  140-190
  • Main characteristics: engaging, interesting, well-structured
  • Register: depending on the story
  • Structure: beginning, main part, ending
  • Language: adjectives/adverbs, past verb forms, direct speech, time expressions
A day to forget – a day to remember Jerry read the email and decided to go to the shopping centre immediately. He hadn’t slept well at all and was feeling quite nervous that morning and he didn’t want to let his grandma’s wish to buy some milk ruin his day. He dragged himself into his old and dirty car and set off in the direction of Central Mall. Not even ten minutes later, he had a flat tire so he spent the next hour putting on the spare before he was able to continue his dreadful journey. At the shopping centre, he walked absent-mindedly into a family and their son fell on his knee. “I’m sorry,” was the only thing he could say, but the boy’s little sister replied, “This is a gift for you,” and gave him a little piece of paper. Jerry simply stuffed it in his jacket pocket and walked off as quickly as he could. Back at home, he just wanted to go to bed, when he dropped the girl’s paper on the floor. Jerry couldn’t believe his eyes. It was a scratch card with a win of €50,000! “Not such a bad day after all,” Jerry thought with a smile and he poured himself a steaming cup of coffee.

Introduction

A story is usually written for an English language magazine or website for teenagers. The main purpose is to engage the interest of the reader. Effective answers have a clear storyline which links coherently to the first sentence, successfully uses the prompts provided and demonstrates a sound grasp of narrative tenses. from: Cambridge English B2 First for Schools Handbook for Teachers

Stories are part of the second task in the B2 First Writing exam and they are exclusive to B2 First for Schools. In this variant of the test, there are no report tasks but instead, candidates have the choice between articles , reviews , emails/letters and the topic of this article – stories.

Feel free to check out my other posts on the different B2 First writing tasks by clicking on any of the links below.

Stories might be the most underestimated task in the whole writing exam as they are only part of B2 First for Schools.

They are discussed fairly little in preparation classes even with teenagers who are more likely to run into this type of text in their test. I think that stories are fun to write because they are probably the most open task type in terms of creativity. On the other hand, this level of freedom can also pose a challenge for many so story tasks can be time-consuming and difficult.

What a typical story task looks like

As with all the other task types, stories can be broken down in the same fashion every time you want to write one.

You should analyse the task carefully in order to collect as much information as you can. This way, the writing process itself is smooth sailing from start to finish.

B2 First for Schools - Story Example Task

At first sight, this could be like any other task for an article or a review, but we need to look a little bit more closely to see what is unique about stories.

As always, you should go through task analysis step by step and ask yourself a few specific questions that will help you get all the information you need.

  • What is the topic of my story?
  • What exactly do I have to include in the story?
  • Who is going to read my story?

The first question is fairly straightforward and can always be found by looking at the sentence given in the task.

cambridge b2 essay example

In our example, the story needs to be about someone named Jerry you received an email and decided to go to the local shopping centre. All we get is a name a a little bit of a kickstart to the plot, but that’s it.

Every story task looks similar so always focus on the given sentence to find out more about the topic.

The second question is more specific and goes into more detail. Again, let’s see what we can extract from our example task.

B2 First for Schools - Story Example Task - Include This

The very first thing we have to include is the sentence about Jerry and the email. There is always a sentence which must be used as the very first sentence of your story. Don’t forget or change the sentence. Start your story with it as it is.

There are, however, two more ideas that you always have to write into your story. In this case, we must include a request and a present. The role these things play in your story is entirely up to you, but they should play a central role and be important parts of the plot.

The third and final question looks at the reader of the story. Remember that you never write for the examiner or your teacher but always for someone specified in the task.

B2 First for Schools - Story Example - Reader

Here, we write for the readers of an international magazine for teenagers, which means that teenagers from different countries are going to read your story.

As B2 First for Schools is designed to cater to people in that age group so we are writing for peers. Therefore, we can use rather informal language, but as you will see later on, register is not the most important aspect of a story compared to, for example a letter of application where a formal style is one of the key features. Stories already include so much useful language that choosing the correct register is secondary.

Remember, every story task looks similar and you can go to the same places in each task to find key pieces of information that you can use to set yourself up for success . Simply ask yourself the three questions described in this part and you shouldn’t have a problem with task analysis.

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How to organise a story in B2 First for Schools

When we try to put our story in a well-organised structure, we can simply look at every story ever written in the history of humankind and we will find that 99% of them look like this:

This pattern can be further broken down by splitting the main part into two or even three paragraphs, but we’ll get to that in a second. First, keep the above structure in mind for the future.

At the beginning of a story, we are usually introduced to the main character(s) and learn a little bit about the background of the plot. We might also find out about how the main character(s) feel right before the action starts.

The main part includes the main actions and parts of the plot. Here, the story progresses the furthest, but we normally don’t come to a conclusion yet.

The ending does what the name suggests. It brings the plot to a conclusion and ends the story in an appropriate and satisfying way. You don’t want to keep your readers guessing too much because there won’t be a sequel. You are not writing The Avengers Part 87 but a standalone story.

Now, however, let’s go back and see how we can apply all of the above to our specific task.

Luckily, the first sentence is already there for you, but we obviously need to be a little bit more creative. Think about how Jerry might have felt in this situation and what might have happened in the lead up to him reading the email.

I usually like to introduce the two topic points in the main part of the story, but they could already appear in the beginning. Again, this is completely up to you, which makes stories exciting and stressful to write at the same time.

Either way, in order to fill the main part of your story with life, try to come up with ideas of what could have happened on Jerry’s way to the shopping centre and when he was there.

Finally, we need to bring everything together in a good ending. You can try to end the story in an unexpected or funny way, but it is definitely more important to come to a meaningful and logical ending at all.

I find it quite often with my own students that they simply cut off the plot at the end of the main part, which leaves the reader not fully informed. So, make the reader (and examiner) happy and give your story the ending it deserves.

Always make a plan for your story

If I could give my students just one piece of advice for the writing exam in B2 First, I would tell them to always make a plan before starting to write.

It only takes a few minutes, but can save you a lot more towards the end on the test when you are in time trouble and don’t know what to do.

A plan helps you stay on task and all you have to do is follow it and fill the page with life.

My plan for our example looks like this:

  • Beginning: nervous; hadn’t slept well; request in the email –> buy milk for grandma
  • Main paragraph 1: flat tyre; had to change it; wasted time
  • Main paragraph 2: at the shopping centre; accident with family; little girl gave him piece of paper
  • Ending: piece of paper was scratchcard; won €50,000

Just from my plan, you can already guess what the story will look like even though I didn’t add a lot of information. Making the plan took me three minutes, but I only need to connect the dots now and get started.

The different parts of a story in B2 First

In this part, I’m going to take you deep down the rabbit hole. We are going to go through the different parts of a great story with the help of our example task.

You will learn more about good content as well as useful language in each part.

As I mentioned earlier, the beginning of a story fulfills two tasks. It introduces the reader to the main character(s) and sets the scene. We can include previous events and background information so we can started.

One of the main criteria in a story is the correct use of narrative verb forms . These are different past verb forms, each of which has a distinct function in a story. We want to use past simple for the main events, past continuous for background actions and past perfect simple and continuous for things that happened before the main events.

Sounds complicated, but with some practice you’ll get better at it. If the names of these verb forms don’t ring a bell at all, you should definitely look into them as they are not only important in the writing test but also in Reading & Use of English and Speaking .

In addition to this particular grammar point, we want to make the beginning interesting from the get-go using some engaging adjectives/adverbs and other helpful expressions.

A day to forget – a day to remember Jerry read the email and decided to go to the shopping centre immediately. He hadn’t slept well at all and was feeling quite nervous that morning and he didn’t want to let his grandma’s wish to buy some milk ruin his day .

I gave my story a nice title. Every good story has a title so yours should have one as well, but don’t worry too much. It can be short and doesn’t have to be anything amazing. Just make sure that you include it.

I also used a mix of verb forms ( blue ) to show the main events, background actions and things that had happened before the main storyline.

On top of that, I included a few adjectives and adverbs which help make the story come to life ( red ).

Keep these things in mind when you start your story and you will be off to a good start.

The main part of a story is what the name says: the most important part which includes the majority of information.

Here we find most of the main events and the plot progresses between the beginning and ending.

Your focus in this part should lie on a logical order of events while keeping the reader engaged and interested.

We achieve this, once again, by using the correct verb forms (mostly past simple as we are in the middle of the main events) as well as other stylistic features, some of which we’ve discussed earlier and others that you can see in the example paragraphs below.

He dragged himself into his old and dirty car and set off in the direction of Central Mall. Not even ten minutes later , he had a flat tire so he spent the next hour putting on the spare before he was able to continue his dreadful journey. At the shopping centre , he walked absent-mindedly into a family and their son fell on his knee. “I’m sorry,” was the only thing he could say, but the boy’s little sister replied , “This is a gift for you,” with a smile and gave him a crumpled piece of paper. Jerry simply stuffed it in his jacket pocket and stormed off as quickly as he could .

We’ve got quite a lot to unpack here.

First and foremost, if you take a step back and read the paragraphs without paying attention to all the colourful stuff, you will see that there is a logical and chronological progression. Jerry leaves his house, has a flat tyre, makes it to the shopping mall and runs into the family. The girls gives him the paper and he leaves.

I guess this all makes sense, but I still used certain expressions of place and time ( orange ) that support this idea that there is a sequence of events. Little remarks like ‘before’ or ‘next’ can make it so much easier for the reader to follow the story so make sure you use them.

Another feature that we haven’t discussed yet is direct speech ( green ). By using direct speech we can bring the characters to life and the reader can identify with them more easily.

Finally, I continued with good and engaging past verb forms ( blue ) as well as adjectives/adverbs ( red ) which bring colour to the things and people you describe.

The very last part of every amazing story is a great ending. Here, we tie everything together and bring the events to a conclusion.

It is your decision if you want to give your story a happy ending or not, but make sure that it ends in some way. Don’t just stop after the main part and leave your reader with questions. Send them off with a smile on their face or tears in their eyes.

Back at home , he just wanted to go to bed, when he dropped the girl’s paper on the floor. Jerry couldn’t believe his eyes . It was a scratch card with a win of €50,000 ! “Not such a bad day after all,” Jerry thought with a smile and he poured himself a steaming cup of coffee.

I tried to bring a little surprise to the ending of my story and turn Jerry’s terrible day into a good one.

You can find the different stylistic features I used in different colours again. Past verb forms are blue , direct speech green , expressions of place and time orange and other interesting language and punctuation red .

Don’t stop being awesome towards the end of your story. Stay consistent and use good language throughout the whole text. That’s what the examiners want to see and that’s you you will give them if you follow the tips in this article.

Useful language for stories in B2 First

In the last part, I showed you some of the main ideas to improve your story writing. Using these language features can give you an edge over other candidates and impress your examiner. Always remember that an examiner checks dozens of texts per day and it is important to stand out with your pieces of writing.

So, below I’ve listed the different types of useful language with a few examples in each category. Obviously, this is not a complete list, but you can add expressions and adjust them to your needs.

How your B2 First story is marked

The process of marking candidates’ writing tasks in B2 First is an involved and quite complicated process. There are different criteria the examiners have to look at and even for teachers, it can be almost overwhelming to work their way through all the information.

I wrote an article on the topic that I hope will help students and teachers alike to better understand the marking process and to use it in order to improve their writing and/or teaching skills and insight.

Simply click here to find out more.

Time to become a storyteller

In this article, I’ve shared with you everything I know about how to write an excellent story in B2 First for Schools.

Take my advice and start practising. If you have any questions or problems, feel free to leave a comment and I will reply as quickly as I can.

Lots of love,

Teacher Phill 🙂

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I am in fact glad to read this weblog posts which consists of lots of useful facts, thanks for providing such data.

Thanks a lot! Best explanatatory article I’ve read about writing a story. I’ll definitely check your other guides. Love the coloring and comments to each part!

Thank you so much!!! This is excellent…easily explained…everything included A must to have when teaching…FCE!!

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B2 first exam format.

B2 First is a test of all areas of language ability.

The exam is made up of four papers developed to test your English language skills. You can see exactly what’s in each paper below.

The Speaking test is taken face to face, with two candidates and two examiners. This creates a more realistic and reliable measure of your ability to use English to communicate.

The formats below are the same for both the paper-based and computer-based exams and digital exams. Please note, during March 2024 we will be moving from our current computer-based exam delivery to Cambridge English Qualifications Digital, which will offer you even more benefits. Information on the switch and what this means for you can be found on our Cambridge English Qualifications Digital page.

  • openbook Reading
  • compose Writing
  • playlist Listening
  • megaphone Speaking

openbook What’s in the Reading and Use of English paper?

The B2 First Reading and Use of English paper is in seven parts and has a mix of text types and questions.

For Parts 1 to 4 , you read a range of texts and do grammar and vocabulary tasks.

For Parts 5 to 7 , you read a series of texts and answer questions that test your reading ability and show that you can deal with a variety of different types of texts.

Part 1 (Multiple-choice cloze)

Part 2 (Open cloze)

Part 3 (Word formation)

Part 4 (Key word transformations)

Part 5 (Multiple choice)

Part 6 (Gapped text)

Part 7 (Multiple matching)

compose What’s in the Writing paper?

In the two parts of the B2 First Writing paper, you have to show that you can write different types of text in English.

Part 1 (Compulsory question)

Part 2 (Situationally based writing task)

playlist What’s in the Listening paper?

The B2 First Listening paper has four parts. For each part you have to listen to a recorded text or texts and answer some questions. You hear each recording twice.

Part 1 (Multiple choice)

Part 2 (Sentence completion)

Part 3 (Multiple matching)

Part 4 (Multiple choice)

megaphone What’s in the Speaking paper?

The B2 First Speaking test has four parts and you take it together with another candidate.

There are two examiners. One of the examiners asks you questions and gives you the booklet with things to talk about. The other examiner listens to what you say.

Part 1 (Interview)

Part 2 (Long turn)

Part 3 (Collaborative task)

Part 4 (Discussion)

cambridge b2 essay example

Oxford House

  • How To Write A Review: Cambridge B2 First

How to Write a Review - Cambridge B2 First | Oxford House Barcelona

  • Posted on 24/07/2019
  • Categories: Blog
  • Tags: B2 First , Cambridge Exams , FCE , First Certificate , Resources to learn English , Writing

Students who are taking their B2 First Certificate exam (FCE) will be asked to do two pieces of writing within an 80 minute time limit. Part 1 is always an essay . Part 2 is where you can get a bit more creative. You might, for example, be asked to write a letter, a report or a review, all of which have their own style and set guidelines.

When writing a review it can be difficult to know where to start. But don’t be afraid! We are here to help you every step of the way.

Remember a review could be for a book, a film, a magazine, a restaurant or even a product .

Three steps to writing a great review

Let’s start with something simple. Imagine. You turn over the page to your writing part 2 and you see this question:

How to write a review - Cambridge B2 First | Oxford House Barcelona

Question taken from Cambridge Assessment English website . (Feb 2018)

Step One: Make a plan

The first thing to do is to make a plan, just like we did in our B2 First essay guidelines .

Think of a book you read in which the main character behaved in a surprising way. This could be surprising in a good way, where the character does something amazing and helps somebody. Or maybe there’s a twist at the end and the character does something really shocking. Either way take some time to really think about your choice.

E.g. I’m going to choose The Great Gatsby, because I had to read the book 3 times when I was at school and I’ve seen the film so I feel like I know it really well .

The structure

Next, think of the structure. Consider all the parts of the question and use that to help organise your review. Make notes about the following:

  • An interesting title
  • A catchy introduction
  • A summary of the plot
  • A surprising moment
  • Your recommendation

Remember you’re going to want to separate these with clear paragraphs that are going to help the examiner read to the end without getting a headache.

You also need to consider the tone and how the review should sound to the reader. Remember this is for a magazine. Think about all the magazines you like to read. You want to sound chatty and grab the reader’s attention, but not bore them to sleep. Think semi-formal but friendly!

Useful Vocabulary

Now brainstorm some useful vocabulary for your chosen book, including lots of adjectives. Avoid using boring adjectives like good or bad . It’s much more exciting to say ‘amazing’ and ‘disappointing’ or ‘ terrific ’ and ‘terrible’ .

Here’s some more useful vocabulary to get you started:

superficial / deceptive / fascinating / unbelievable / rich / lonely / kind / reserved/ to be set in / to be written by / prosperity / characters / jazz age / protagonist / atmosphere / author / chapter / ending / fictional towns / prohibition / novel / on the outskirts / sad story.

Your next step is to think of some linking phrases. These are going to help tie together your thoughts and bring your review to life!

  • Overall if you like…
  • I was pleasantly surprised by…
  • In fact…
  • What I disliked the most was…
  • The book contains…
  • As well as…
  • This well-written book…
  • Unbelievably…

Step Two: Write it

Once you have a solid plan, writing your review should be easy!

First start with an interesting title. E.g. The Unexpected Anti-Hero. It relates to both the book that’s being reviewed and the question. It’s also short and snappy .

Next write an engaging introduction. Maybe start with a rhetorical question, for example:

Are you a fan of the Jazz Age? Then this is the book for you!

Or a general statement about the book that will hook the reader:

The Great Gatsby is a classic, with many twists and turns.

You could also give some background information. Here we use the past simple:

The Great Gatsby was written by F.S.Fitzgerald and is set in prosperous Long Island in 1922.

The second paragraph should summarise the plot (note – we usually describe a story in present tense ):

Gatsby is a mysterious character, he has big extravagant parties, and we never know if we can trust him.

The third paragraph is where we introduce the surprising moment and reveal what the main character did and why it was surprising:

  • The most shocking part is when…
  • I couldn’t believe it when…
  • It was so surprising when…

In the fourth paragraph, give a recommendation! Here the examiner wants to hear your overall opinion. It can be something simple:

  • I strongly recommend..

Or something more inventive:

  • I wouldn’t read the novel again because…
  • Everyone should read this immediately!

But don’t forget to say why!

Step Three: Check it

Now you have your winning book review it’s time to check for all those little (and big) mistakes.

Make sure you check:

  • You’ve answered all parts of the question.
  • It is easy to read.
  • Your spelling is correct.
  • You’ve used the 3rd person(s).
  • You have used punctuation.
  • There’s a variety of nouns and adjectives.
  • Pick a book you know quite well! Whether it’s Harry Potter or The Hunger Games , make sure you have lots to say about it!
  • Don’t be afraid to give both negative and positive opinions!
  • Experiment with using first person and try addressing the reader with ‘you’.
  • Read lots of real authentic reviews online, anything from holidays to music concerts, exhibitions to video games!
  • Remember to put some of your own personality into your review. Have some fun with it and good luck!

Follow the links for some excellent phrases and vocabulary for other types of reviews.

Restaurant Reviews

Film Reviews

TV / Theatre Reviews

Exhibition & Concert Reviews

Here are some more sample questions for you to practice on your own:

How to write a review - Example I - Cambridge B2 First | Oxford House Barcelona

Choose one and post your reviews in the comments section.

Glossary for Language Learners

Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Twist (n): : a sudden change in a story that you do not expect..

Chatty (adj): having a friendly style.

Avoid doing something (v): to intentionally not do something.

Terrific (adj): excellent.

Snappy (adj): concise.

Hook (v): to catch.

adj = adjective

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8 Hidden Benefits of Being Bilingual

  • By: oxfordadmin
  • Posted on 17/07/2019

4 Past Tenses and When to Use Them

  • Posted on 31/07/2019

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cambridge b2 essay example

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  1. Ejemplo essay Cambridge B2: guía 2023

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  2. Cómo escribir un Essay para B2 First (FCE) Writing

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  3. Cambridge B2 First (FCE): How to Write an Essay

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  4. Ejemplo essay Cambridge B2: guía 2022 (2022)

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  5. Writing B2 First (FCE): Guía Completa con Ejemplos

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  6. How to Write an Essay for B2 First (FCE) Writing

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  1. Unit 5 Complete First B2

  2. Unit 10 Complete First B2

  3. Unit 1 Complete First B2

  4. B2 First for Schools gives students the confidence to use their English in the real world

  5. B2 First : Writing Part 1

  6. Cambridge B2 First: Listening

COMMENTS

  1. PDF B2 First for Schools Writing Part 1 (An opinion essay) Summary

    • Evaluate two examples of a Writing Part 1 essay. • Practise and evaluate your own answer to a Writing Part 1 task. Review: Writing Part 1 The B2 First for Schools Writing paper has two parts. Part 1 has only one task, which you must answer. You will: be given the essay title. be given two ideas to write about.

  2. Essay

    Article Essay - examples & model answers | B2 First (FCE) Level: B2 Exam: B2 First Writing Article navigation: FCE Essay Examples: Topic (Environment) FCE Essay Examples: Topic (Fashion) FCE Essay Examples: Topic (Languages) FCE Essay Example: Topic (History) FCE Essay Examples: Topic (Environment) Example exam task:

  3. PDF B2 First Writing Part 1

    1. As a warmer, write on the board: Environmental problems Solutions and elicit some environmental problems and possible solutions to these problems (for example: problem = too many cars; solution = provide better public transport). 2. Tell students that they're going to look at the Part 1 task from the B2 First writing paper.

  4. How to Write an Essay for B2 First (FCE) Writing

    Este libro contiene 15 ejemplos de Writing del FCE y más de 300 expresiones útiles listas para utilizar, aparte de una descripción detallada de cada parte del examen de Writing e innumerables consejos sobre cómo afrontar la parte escrita del examen de nivel B2 de Cambridge Assessment English. 16,64 EUR Comprar en Amazon

  5. PDF B2 First Writing Part 2

    1 Ask students to brainstorm in pairs/small groups what types of texts they usually write for pleasure or for business/study (e.g. email, letter), either in English or their own language. Collect some feedback, writing the different text types on the board as a spidergram. 2 Now ask students how often they write each different text type.

  6. Writing an effective essay: Cambridge B2 First

    The first part is the essay; the second part is an article, email, letter, report, or review. You will be given the essay title and two ideas or prompts. It's essential that you include both of these ideas in your essay, as well as another relevant idea that you have to come up with yourself. You have to write 140-190 words in each part and ...

  7. How to write an essay?

    The essay is a compulsory task to be completed in Part 1 of the writing section in the Cambridge B2 First (FCE) that is written to convince someone of something or to simply inform the reader about a particular topic. There is no single, method of successful writing essay.

  8. Cambridge B2 First (FCE): How to Write an Essay

    In our example your English teacher is going to read the essay. What does that mean for you when you write it? Think about the style and tone of the language you are going to use. Does your English teacher expect informal language like in a text message to your best friend or should it be rather formal? I think you understand what I mean.

  9. 20 English Essay Topics/Questions

    Below is a sample list of academic essay writing topics/tasks for B2-level (intermediate) students. You can use them to practice writing English essays or to prepare for the Cambridge B2 First (FCE) exam B2 - Essay Topic / Question 1 | First (FCE) B2 - Essay Topic / Question 2 | First (FCE) B2 - Essay Topic / Question 3 | First (FCE)

  10. Part 1

    Part 1 - Writing - B2 First (FCE) | Practice, Write & Improve. Writing: Part 1. Test 1 / 25. Answer the question below. Write 140 - 190 words in an appropriate style. Your teacher has asked you to write an essay on the dangers of social media, and how people can protect themselves. Do you think social media can be dangerous?

  11. B2 First preparation

    Preparation B2 First preparation Resources for teachers and learners Here you can find links to all of our free resources to help prepare for B2 First exams, whether you are a teacher or a learner. On this page: Exam essentials Essential reading for teachers and learners wanting to find out about the exam. Teacher essentials

  12. B2 First (FCE) Essay Writing Guide

    Sample exam test from Cambridge English. Step Two: Write a plan (5 minutes) A lot of my students dislike writing a plan. However, a plan helps you organize your thoughts and helps you write a better B2 First essay. Your essay needs 5 paragraphs. We will use the sample task from above as an example: Paragraph structure for an essay. Introduction ...

  13. B2 First (FCE) Writing Part 1

    The Cambridge B2 essay might be the first time you need to write an essay for an exam, but it won't be the last. This task continues to be obligatory at C1 and C2 levels. If you are doing a Trinity or IELTS exam, you'll also need to write an essay. Basically, there is no escape.

  14. How to Write a Great Article in the Cambridge B2 First Exam

    In the Cambridge B2 First Writing Paper - part 2, you could be asked to write about a variety of topics. However, it's often something you've recently learned to do or know a lot about. For example, the question might be about a concert you've been to recently, you favourite hobby or your hometown. Here's an example of a B2 First ...

  15. Writing

    The goal of an article is usually to talk about a topic you like or in which you are an expert. Also, your article should aim to keep the reader engaged and, in some cases, recommend whatever it is you are talking about. • Language. Articles are usually expected to be less formal than essays.

  16. PDF B2 First Handbook for teachers for exams

    sample papers for each of the four components as well . as answer keys for the Reading and Use of English and Listening components. For the Writing and Speaking papers there is information about the assessment criteria, and for Writing there are example answers for you to refer to or use with your learners. 02 . About Cambridge. 03 . B2 First ...

  17. How To Write a Report: Cambridge B2 First

    Imagine the scene. It's exam day. You're nearly at the end of your Cambridge English B2 First exam. You've just finished writing Part 1 - the essay, and now it's time to start Part 2. So you turn over the page to find three options: - A review you know - An article you've seen before

  18. Cambridge B2 First (FCE): How to Write an Article

    from: Cambridge English First Handbook for Teachers. Articles are part of the second section of the FCE writing exam. This means, that, actually, you can decide if you want to choose this type of text or, instead, pick one of the other ones available in this part (a review, report, letter/email or, if you take FCE for Schools, a story).

  19. PDF B2 First for Schools

    With lots of practical tips and real examples, it will help you to develop and assess learners' writing skills in preparation for the B2 First for Schools exam. About B2 First for Schools

  20. Articles

    Example Answer (Grade: 3-4) All content is relevant and the target reader is fully informed. The article describes the most useful thing which the writer has learned: speaking English, and explains why it is useful.The second aspect of the task is discussed in detail and various methods of learning are described.

  21. Cambridge B2 First (FCE): How to Write a Story

    Beginning: nervous; hadn't slept well; request in the email -> buy milk for grandma. Main paragraph 1: flat tyre; had to change it; wasted time. Main paragraph 2: at the shopping centre; accident with family; little girl gave him piece of paper. Ending: piece of paper was scratchcard; won €50,000.

  22. B2 First exam format

    openbook What's in the Reading and Use of English paper? The B2 First Reading and Use of English paper is in seven parts and has a mix of text types and questions. For Parts 1 to 4, you read a range of texts and do grammar and vocabulary tasks.

  23. How To Write A Review: Cambridge B2 First

    Step One: Make a plan. The first thing to do is to make a plan, just like we did in our B2 First essay guidelines. Think of a book you read in which the main character behaved in a surprising way. This could be surprising in a good way, where the character does something amazing and helps somebody.