In the writing part of the C1 ADVANCED (Cambridge C1) exam there are 2 tasks that need to be completed in 1:30 minutes. The 1st task is compulsory and the students must complete an essay. The 2nd task is a choice of 3 options (letter/email, proposal, report, review). The word count for each task is 220-260 words and students should not write fewer than 220 words nor go over the 260 mark. STUDENTS ARE NOT DIRECTLY PENALIZED FOR DOING SO BUT THE EXAMINER WILL LOOK MORE CLOSELY AT THE CONTENT PART OF THE EVALUATION AND IT COULD LOWER YOUR GRADE. For more exam practice, try our essay writing questions in PDF HERE




This post aims to explain how to write an essay  for the C1 ADVANCED. For more information on the different types of essay click HERE

An essay should analyse a topic from different points of view to give a balanced argument on said topic. It should include your opinion in the conclusion, yet still be imparcial to give a well balanced view on the topic from more than one angle. YOU MUST MAKE SURE YOUR ANSWERS:

  • COHERENCE (logical order)


5 Simple Ways to Improve your Written English









Example of an essay:




You must always write a plan to make sure you include all of the things in the task. Read the instructions carefully and ensure that your answer completes the following:

  • Is it easy to read and follow?
  • Have you checked and corrected for any mistakes/typos?
  • Did you answer the question?
  • Have you included complex grammar structures?
  • Have you used attention grabbing vocabulary?
  • Is all of the information relevant to the task?
  • Is the text in the correct format? (letter, email, essay, review, report, proposal)


Structure of an essay:


You can use the one from the question or also make up your own to set the tone for the essay


Introduce the topic and say what you are going to talk about and capture the interest of the reader

1st paragraph

The first  and most important point from the notes (you can mix points if they are related)

2nd paragraph

The 2nd point from the notes, you need to link it to the first point


A summary of what you have said in the main paragraphs and make your main point. It must be an interesting ending, what do you want to demonstrate?


Example of an essay:

Where should we invest local authority funding?

To some extent it is impossible to agree on where or to whom local governments should allocate funding. In all cases there will be disagreement as to what is the best cause of action. This essay is aimed at discussing the importance of this funding and the influence it can have on our society.

It is said that a person without their health has nothing. One of the principal aims of local government should be to ensure the wellbeing of the general public. This point does not refer to the investment in healthcare, but the investment in schemes to prevent the deterioration of health. Sports centres could well be the answer to health problems as a more active nation is a healthier one, and the promotion of physical activity and the knowledge of how to live a healthier lifestyle is a must in today’s society.

Another point that needs to be made is that of education. The investment in a good educational system is implicit, therefore more investment needs to be made so that people can further their contact with culture and further learning. Museums are a national pastime and should be accessible to all. What is more, they should be of a good standard to capture the interest of the people in order to educate them.

In a nutshell, local governments have an obligation to invest in fruitful projects that are both long-term and beneficial to the people. They must focus on the promotion and the improvement of the standard of living, and what better than in health and education. But referring to the point made earlier, without out health, education is worth for nothing.



×Informal language (slang and colloquialisms)


×Phrasal verbs when possible

Example question and answer 2:


Your class has just watched a documentary on Youtube about factors influencing communication. You have made the notes below:


Factors influencing communication in today’s society:

  • communications technology
  • moving abroad for work opportunities
  • the need for privacy


Here are some opinions expressed in the video:


“Social media has its upsides and downsides as a means of communication”.


“Ages can affect people’s tastes and habits”.


“No one can escape the pressures of social media’s influence on our social lives”.


Write an essay for your tutor discussing two of the factors in your notes.


Example essay:


Too much interaction and the bombardment of constant contact with other people can greatly affect the way we live our lives and even our well-being, yet there are also benefits to it. This essay will discuss the aspects of our lives that influence the way we communicate in modern society.

First and foremost, social media needs mentioning due to its huge impact on our social lives. We are all but forced to interact with each other via these platforms if we are to have any kind of friendship circle, or even to keep in contact with those who we were once close with in the past. The advantages of free and instant messaging are somewhat weighed down by the way these huge corporations use our personal data for financial gain, though.

Whereas many people argue that people seek interaction on a level that we have never tried before, especially the young who seem to need constant attention from their peers, it must be stressed that until now, we have never been so aware of our need for privacy and people are becoming more and more wary about the type of information they share online as it is now common knowledge of the dangers that sharing personal images and data can incur. Never before has there been so much information on the issue and it has created significant ripples through society like never before. 

In a nutshell, while most people are keen to use technology to enhance their ability to communicate with others, the type of inteaction that people carry out seems to be ever changing and people young and old are changing their habits almost on a daily basis.

Key phrases:



  • To get started
  • On starting this essay
  • Firstly
  • To begin with
  • In the first place
  • until now
  • the first point  would like to make is
  • it is time to
  • I would like to start by
  • To start with
  • To introduce the topic
  • To kick off this essay
  • The first thing to mention is
  • As a starting point
  • In the first part
  • On the one hand


Time clauses:

  • Firstly, secondly, thirdly
  • in due time
  • as long as
  • as soon as
  • at the moment
  • in good time
  • in the meantime
  • in a moment
  • in ages
  • whenever
  • now that
  • instantly
  • without delay
  • all of a sudden
  • at the present time
  • from time to time
  • sooner or later
  • at the same time
  • up to the present time
  • at this instant
  • first, second
  • in time
  • prior to
  • straightaway
  • by the time
  • in this day and age
  • as soon as



  • As I have said before…
  • With respect to the point on…
  • Regarding…
  • Like I have said…
  • In relation to…
  • Taking into account…



  • in a nutshell
  • as can be seen
  • in the final analysis
  • all things considered
  • as shown above
  • in the long run
  • given these points
  • as has been noted
  • in a word
  • for the most part
  • after all
  • in fact
  • in summary
  • in conclusion
  • in short
  • in brief
  • in essence
  • to summarize
  • on balance
  • altogether
  • overall
  • by and large
  • to sum up
  • on the whole
  • in any event
  • taking all of this into account
  • all in all


To make sure that your writing is in the appropriate style, you should make sure that you know how to write formally and informally. Did you know that phrasal verbs are generally only for informal texts? Learn about formal and informal writing HERE

It is a huge advantage if you understand how Cambridge will evaluate your writings as you can make sure that you meet the specific requirements when carrying out the tasks. We have provided an explanation of the evaluation rubric and ADVICE of how to pass with ease.


Evaluation scale:

All Cambridge exams are marked in the same way but the evaluation scales leave some room for interpretation and are, therefore, a little subjective. Examiners mark tasks using assessment scales that were developed with explicit reference to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The scales, which are used across the spectrum of the Cambridge English General and Business English Writing tests, consist of four sub-scales: Content, Communicative Achievement, Organisation, and Language:


Content focuses on how well the candidate has fulfilled the task, in other words if they have done what they were asked to do. DO NOT INCLUDE IRRELEVANT INFORMATION. YOU SHOULD ANSWER THE POINTS IN THE TASK TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY. FOCUS ON WHAT THEY ASK YOU TO DO.

Communicative Achievement focuses on how appropriate the writing is for the task and whether the candidate has used the appropriate register. YOU MUST USE APPROPRIATE LANGUAGE WHETHER IT BE FORMAL OR INFORMAL. EACH TYPE OF TEXT HAS ITS OWN REQUIREMENTS.

Organisation focuses on the way the candidate puts together the piece of writing, in other words if it is logical and ordered. THE TEXT MUST BE EASY TO FOLLOW BUT ALSO INCLUDE COMPLEX GRAMMATICAL STRUCTURES AND VOCABULARY. DO NOT OVER COMPLICATE THE TEXT! THE USE OF ADEQUATE COHESIVE DEVICES IS ESSENTIAL.

Language focuses on vocabulary and grammar. This includes the range of language as well as how accurate it is. CANDIDATES MUST BE ADVENTUROUS WITH THEIR LANGUAGE USE AND USE SEVERAL COMPLEX GRAMMAR STRUCTURE (passives, inversions, cleft sentences, conditionals, modal verbs, relative clauses etc.) TO GET A GOOD GRADE WITH REGARDS TO VOCABULARY YOU SHOULD TRY TO INCORPORATE IDIOMS.

Responses are marked on each sub-scale from 0 to 5.


When marking the tasks, examiners take into account length of responses and varieties of English:

Guidelines on length are provided for each task; responses which are too short may not have an adequate range of language and may not provide all the information that is required, while responses which are too long may contain irrelevant content and have a negative effect on the reader. These may affect candidates’ marks on the relevant sub-scales.


Candidates are expected to use a particular variety of English with some degree of consistency in areas such as spelling, and not for example switch from using a British spelling of a word to an American spelling of the same word.


General advice for improving writing skills:

READ. To improve writing skills it is essential to read a lot, in general. Texts of all levels and also to do it frequently. CONSISTENCY IS KEY! The ADVANTAGES of being able to study languages online – APPF

WRITE. You must write every day and all types of texts including; letters, notes, messages, emails, essays, reports. DON´T JUST DO EXAM EXAMPLES! 26. Using your time well

ORGANISATION. You need to learn the format of each writing task to make sure that texts look the way they should. IT IS THE FIRST THING THAT THEY EVALUATE! A KEY SKILL = USING CONNECTORS (COHESIVE DEVICES)

COPY. You should read example questions and answers to make sure that you know the level required to pass the exam. DON´T COPY ENTIRE TEXTS BUT TAKE PHRASES AND GRAMMATICAL FEATURES FROM THESE EXAMPLES AND USE THEM. Living Languages – “USE IT OR LOSE IT”

EXPERIMENT. Class time and at home is the best time to experiment with language, You should practice new vocabulary and be adventurous with language. IN THE EXAM, ONLY USE WHAT YOU KNOW IS 100% CORRECT!

USE YOUR FAVOURITE PHRASES. You should have a bank of vocabulary and fixed expressions that you like to use frequently. YOU SHOULD KNOW YOUR FAVOURITE EXPRESSIONS BY HEART AND BE VERY CONFIDENT IN HOW TO USE THEM IN VARIOUS CONTEXTS! Vocabulary Tricks – Useful advice to learn new vocabulary

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