C1 Recipes

Don’t be frightened by the C1 writing exam. With these writing guides you’ll see how easy it is to produce amazing academic level writing in English…

Part 1 Essay

Here you’re asked to write an essay for your teacher or tutor, based on a topic given in the question. You’re also given three ideas and supporting opinions to use to discuss the topic. Your task is to choose two of the ideas and evaluate how they are related to the question. Remember that in your conclusion you need to decide which of your two ideas best answers the question. This is a formal writing task.

Part 2 Formal & Informal Letter

Everyone loves a letter! It’s probably one of the first things we learnt to write even in our own language, and so it can be a good choice in the exam because you know exactly what it needs to look like.

This can be a problem with letters, though. Often students choose it because it’s easier than the other tasks. A much better way of choosing a writing task is to do it because it’s the thing you know the most English for.

“Which is the writing task I know the most English for?”

This is the task you should choose.

Remember that if you choose a letter task, it’s essential that you are ambitious with your language. Force yourself to write the best English you know.

Before you start to write, read the question carefully and try to identify the target reader. Ask yourself what your relationship to this person is. If you know them well, it’s probably an informal letter. If you don’t then it’s a formal one. That means no colloquial expressions, idioms, or phrasal verbs.

Part 2: Report & Proposal

These writing tasks are similar in their organisation. They both have a title which should be simple and informative, and each paragraph should have a heading which explains the topic of the paragraph. It’s also possible to use bullet points or numbered points in one of the sections. These can make your ideas more easy to follow.

It’s also possible to talk about statistics. Imagine that you did a questionnaire or a survey for the report of the proposal that you’re doing. You can use these with passive or reported speech to give people’s opinions.

So what’s different about them? It’s to do with the purpose of each one. A report is usually about an event that has already happened. You need to discuss the positives and negatives of the event, and how to make it better next time. A proposal, however, talks about something that hasn’t happened yet. The idea is that you are suggesting something new for the future, and trying to persuade the reader to choose your idea.

Reports are about the past. Proposals are about the future

Part 2: Review

Like the letters, everyone thinks they know how to write a review. The problem with this is that the reviews we wrote in primary school usually spent a long time describing what happened and included a sentence at the end: I really recommend this book because it’s really fun. Really, a review should evaluate how good or bad something is, and give the reader a clear recommendation about whether they should see it.

C1 reviews are also more complex. Often the question will ask you to compare two examples of something, and explain which one is better and why. The key to doing well in this task goes back to what we said before about letters – you have to choose this task because you have the language to do it well, not because you know a couple of films you really like.

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