Posted in Advanced C1, Writing Classes

C1 Advanced: Writing Part 1 Formal Essay

C1 Advanced (CAE) | The Lleida Cambridge Exams Centre
Image credit: Cambridge Assessment English

This is yet another designed to help students prepare for part one of the C1 Cambridge Advanced (CAE) writing exam. Some of the content has been rehashed from old posts but the approach is slightly different. Download the student handout below:

Give out the handout and draw students’ attention to the task on page one and the first version at the bottom of the page. Have them read the task, then the model answer, then answer questions 1-3 with their partner:

  1. Which of the three areas (convenience, cost & enjoyment) does the writer focus on? cost and convenience
  2. Which one do they decide has the biggest impact on where people choose to shop? cost
  3. Give the essay a score out of 5 for:
    • Content (have they answered the question?) 4.5 – 5 – yes, question is fully answered
    • Range of language 2.5 – reads more like a B2 First essay
    • Appropriate style (formal/informal) 1.5 – too informal, not the right style: contractions, words like “stuff”, too personal (too much “I” and “we”), “first let’s look at”

Now have students look at question 4. If you’re pressed for time, you could skip this part. Have students brainstorm more formal and advanced ways of expressing the parts in bold in pairs or groups. Perhaps you could assign one paragraph to each group and have them report back in open class. Board their ideas.

Now have students flip the paper over. Version 2 essential expresses the same ideas but with more advanced language and a more appropriate register. Direct students to find the “fancy” equivalents of the underlined phrases from version 1 in version 2.

Set students the homework task by first encouraging them to discuss the topic:

Factors when deciding where to go on holiday:

  • Weather
  • Price
  • Cultural activities

Encourage them to use the language from version 2 and the language on pages 2 and 3 in their compositions.

Version 1

Read version 1 and answer the questions:

  1. Which of the three areas (convenience, cost & enjoyment) does the writer focus on?
  2. Which one do they decide has the biggest impact on where people choose to shop?
  3. Give the essay a score out of 5 for:
    • Content (have they answered the question?)
    • Range of language
    • Appropriate style (formal/informal)
  4. Look at the sections in bold, how could you express the same ideas in a more impressive/formal way?

We’re always hearing in the news about how more and more people are buying things on the internet. It’s a big problem that fewer people are going shopping in physical shops nowadays. But, what makes people decide where to shop?

First, let’s look at convenience. It’s true that shopping online is much easier than shopping in physical shops. You can buy stuff on your computer and you can sit on your sofa, you don’t need to leave your house. Also, the stuff gets sent to your house. When you go to the physical shop you have to take it home yourself.

Now I’ll talk about cost. Some people think that cost is the most important thing people think about when they decide where to shop. For example, when the sales are on people buy things in shops they don’t normally go to. But some people don’t care about the price. It doesn’t matter if it’s expensive or not.

In conclusion, looking at the facts, I think that cost is the most important thing for most people because if you don’t have enough money, you can’t buy it.

Version 2

Find and underline the ways that the same ideas are expressed in this version.

Hardly a week goes by without another news report about the recent dramatic increase in online shopping. The decline of the high street shop is undoubtedly a major issue in this day and age. However, which aspect of shopping has the biggest influence on where people shop?

The first area to take into account is convenience. It is undoubtedly the case that shopping online is much more convenient than shopping on the high street. Not only can you make a purchase with the click of a button, but also you can do it from the comfort of your sofa without setting foot outside your door.  In addition, the goods are delivered directly to your door whereas when you shop in physical shops you have to carry it home yourself.

Another aspect to consider is cost. There are those who argue that cost has the biggest impact on where people decide to shop. This is illustrated by the fact that during the sales many people buy things in shops they would not normally enter. Nevertheless, for some people the cost is not an issue, they buy what they want to buy no matter the price.

In light of the above, weighing up all the evidence, it is probably true to say that cost does indeed have the biggest influence on where people decide to shop due to the fact that most of the time, if you cannot afford something then you will not be able to buy it.

(247 words)

Homework Task

Your class has had a class debate on the most important factors when it comes to deciding on a holiday destination.

Factors when deciding where to go on holiday:

  • Weather
  • Price
  • Cultural activities

Some opinions expressed in the debate:

  • “If it’s not a sunny place, then I’m not going. Why would I visit a cold, rainy city?”
  • “I want my money to go further. For the price of a weekend in Paris, I could spend 2 weeks in Morocco.”
  • “I can’t stand just lying on a beach, I need to get out and learn something about the places I’m visiting.”

Write an essay for your tutor, discussing two of the factors in your notes. You should explain which factor is the most important for most people, giving reasons to support your argument.

You may, if you wish, make use of the opinions expressed in the debate but you should use your own words as far as possible. Write your essay in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.

Language for introductions

  • In this day and age…
  • … is a hotly-debated topic that often divides opinion.
  • … is a growing issue in today’s society
  • We live in an age when many of us are…
  • More and more families are choosing to have only one child.
  • The trend nowadays is towards having smaller families.
  • Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of ……………
  • Recent research indicates that the number of teenagers who smoke is increasing.
  • Hardly a week goes by without another report of …………….. appearing in the media.
  • Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that ……..

Language for topic sentences

Second Paragraph

  • …. clearly/undoubtedly has an impact on…
  • It is common knowledge that… plays a crucial role in…
  • It is undoubtedly the case that…
  • There is little doubt that…
  • … is widely believed to contribute to…
  • It is generally considered that…
  • Recent research suggests that…
  • Studies have shown that… has an impact/influence on…
  • Few people would contest/dispute the fact that…

Third Paragraph

  • Another factor to consider is…
  • On the other hand/In contrast…
  • It is often claimed that…
  • All the evidence suggests that…

Language for supporting ideas

Language for introducing supporting ideas:

  • For example,
  • For instance,
  • An obvious example of this is…
  • A clear example of this is…
  • This is illustrated by…
  • As a case in point…

Paragraph Skeleton

It goes without saying that …………………………………………………………………… A clear example of this is ………………………………………………………. In addition, ……………………………………………………………………. Nevertheless, …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Overall/in summary ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Language for conclusions:

  • In light of the above, / Taking all this into consideration/account,…
  • As far as I am concerned, / in my opinion, / as I see it, etc.
  • … is the most effective way to… due to the fact that…

OR

  • In light of the above, / Taking all this into consideration/account,…
  • Despite the fact that… undoubtedly plays a role in… I firmly believe that… is more effective due to the fact that…
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Uncategorized

Formal Writing: CAE Essay

Image result for essay

Image credit: LitReactor

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan designed to help students tackle the CAE writing part 1 formal essay task. It walks students through structuring their essays correctly. Download the handout and Powerpoint below:

formal-writing

formal-writing-handout

Student Handout

Introduction

In this day and age a worrying percentage of children are showing signs of obesity. The past few years have seen a steep decline in the number of school-aged children taking part in team sports or getting regular exercise. What is the most effective way to tackle this problem and encourage children to be more active?

In this essay I am going to talk about the problem of children not getting enough exercise. I will start by talking about parental influence and then I will discuss the role schools can play.

Hardly a week goes by without another article on the topic of childhood obesity appearing in the media. This is clearly a growing issue which must be addressed urgently. There are a number of ways in which this problem could be tackled.

Language for introductions

  • In this day and age…
  • … is a hotly-debated topic that often divides opinion.
  • … is a growing issue in today’s society
  • We live in an age when many of us are…
  • More and more families are choosing to have only one child.
  • The trend nowadays is towards having smaller families.
  • Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of ……………
  • Recent research indicates that the number of teenagers who smoke is increasing.
  • Hardly a week goes by without another report of …………….. appearing in the media.
  • Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that ……..

Language for topic sentences

First Paragraph

  • …. clearly/undoubtedly has an impact on…
  • It is common knowledge that… plays a crucial role in…
  • It is undoubtedly the case that…
  • There is little doubt that…
  • … is widely believed to contribute to…
  • It is generally considered that…
  • Recent research suggests that…
  • Studies have shown that… has an impact/influence on…
  • Few people would contest/dispute the fact that…

Second Paragraph

  • Another factor to consider is…
  • On the other hand/In contrast…
  • It is often claimed that…
  • All the evidence suggests that…

Language for supporting ideas

Language for introducing supporting ideas:

  • For example,
  • For instance,
  • An obvious example of this is…
  • A clear example of this is…
  • This is illustrated by…
  • As a case in point…

Paragraph Skeleton

It goes without saying that ______________________________________ A clear example of this is ___________________________________________ In addition,________________________________________ Nevertheless,_____________________________________________________________

Language for conclusions:

  • In light of the above, / Taking all this into consideration/account,…
  • As far as I am concerned, / in my opinion, / as I see it, etc.
  • … is the most effective way to… due to the fact that…

OR

  • In light of the above, / Taking all this into consideration/account,…
  • Despite the fact that… undoubtedly plays a role in… I firmly believe that… is more effective due to the fact that…

Credit to Cork English Teacher for some of the language from the handout.

Posted in Writing Classes

CAE Essay Revision Worksheet

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My students are doing a mock CAE writing exam tomorrow so I’ve made them this worksheet to revise for it. I’ve also made a kahoot quiz to test them on some of the language.

cae-essay-revision

CAE Essay Revision Key

On the first page there is a true/false quiz for students to complete in pairs, followed by two exercises on formal language and linkers.

The task

Answer the questions with your partner:

  1. What is the word limit?
  2. This is a formal writing task True/False
  3. You can use contractions (Wouldn’t/don’t etc.) T/F
  4. You have to write about all 3 bullet points in the task. T/F
  5. An essay needs a title. T/F
  6. You have to include the 3 opinions from the task. T/F
  7. You can use the same language to express the opinions from the task. T/F
  8. An essay has paragraph titles (Introduction/conclusion) T/F
  9. An essay should be factual and objective T/F
  10. In your conclusion you must state which of the bullet points is most important/has the biggest influence. T/F

 

Example

Put the missing words back into the essay.

Hardly a week goes by without another report of the recent increase in online shopping appearing in the papers. The decline of the high street shop is undoubtedly a major issue in this day and _____. However, which aspect of shopping has the biggest influence ____ where people shop?

The first area to take into _______ is convenience. It is undoubtedly the ______ that shopping online is much more convenient than shopping on the high street. A clear example of this is that you can shop from the comfort of your armchair without lifting a finger. In _________, the goods are delivered directly to your door whereas when you shop in physical shops you have to carry it home yourself.

Another _______ to consider is cost. There are ______ who argue that cost has the biggest _______ on where people decide to shop. This is _________ by the fact that during the sales many people buy things in shops they would not normally enter. __________, for some people the cost is not an issue, they buy what they want to buy no matter the price.

In ______ of the above, it is probably _____ to say that cost has the biggest impact on where people decide to shop due to the fact that most of the time, if you cannot afford something then you will not be able to buy it.

On   case   age   nevertheless     those    aspect    account    addition    impact    illustrated   light  true

Formal Language

Match the formal words or phrases (1-10) that can replace the words/phrases in bold (a-j) .

1.       It goes without saying that

2.       In light of the above,

3.       It is widely believed that

4.       Furthermore/Moreover

5.       A great deal of + (uncountable noun)

6.       Due to the fact that

7.       A large number of + (countable noun)

8.       There are those who believe that

9.       In spite of the fact that

10.   therefore

a)      Lots of people think that museums are out-dated.

b)      Many museums do not cater for young children so they must be updated.

c)       The majority of public gardens are badly-maintained because local governments cannot afford to employ more gardeners.

d)      Although many youngsters still play sports, participation id decreasing due to the influence of video games.

e)      To sum up, it is vitally important that local governments invest more in museums.

f)       Obviously having access to good sports facilities makes it easier to participate in both individual and team sports.

g)      Some people think that investing in public gardens is a waste of money.

h)      Also, many sports facilities are overcrowded due to a rise in demand.

i)        Local governments have already spent a lot of money on upgrading the city’s parks and gardens.

j)        A lot of local people have expressed their disappointment with the cuts in public spending for museums.

Posted in Writing Classes

CAE Writing Part 1: A Formal Essay

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Photo Credit: http://ozgekaraoglu.edublogs.org/2015/04/01/how-to-get-a-good-essay-written-by-writers/

Just a quick note…

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. We have released 5 episodes so far and you can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉

https://soundcloud.com/2tspod


https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

This is a lesson plan to help students approach and complete the new formal essay task in the CAE writing paper.

You will need the handout and teacher’s key:

CAE Writing Part 1 handout

CAE Writing key

Task Type

The new CAE writing part 1 is a formal essay based on a talk/lecture that the student has recently attended. There are always 3 bullet points that the lecture discussed, of which the candidate must only address two. There are also some quotes from other attendees/surveyed people that can be used. The final part of the task will include a question that the essay MUST answer.

essay shopping

Credit: Spotlight on Advanced – Cengage Learning and National Geographic.

Planning

Make enough copies of the 2nd page of the hand out for one between two. Cut the hand out up, give the slips of paper with the different planning steps to the students and have them put them in order. My suggested order is as follows:

  1. Read task carefully. Underline most important parts; focus on the question that your essay MUST
  2. Brainstorm ideas based on the 3 bullet points.
  3. Choose the 2 bullet point you have the most ideas about.
  4. Brainstorm ways to express your ideas and the quotes in the task using advanced grammar:
  • Inversions: Not only is/do…..but also… Rarely/seldom do people….
  • Double comparatives: The cheaper the…., the more popular…
  • Participle clauses: Being a keen shopper myself,… Having bought many products online,….
  • Advanced linkers: Despite the fact that…., ….. due to the fact that = because
  1. Plan your introduction:
  • An interesting way to introduce the topic.
  • Formal questions that the essay will answer.
  1. Plan your conclusion: Focus on answering the question you underlined in step 1.
  2. Write
  3. Reread carefully checking for:
  • Repetition of words/structures.
  • Contractions
  • Boring/informal vocabulary.
  • Also Furthermore/moreover. Because due/owing to the fact that. Although In spite of the fact that. However nonetheless/nevertheless.
  • Have you answered the question completely?

Have students complete step 1 in pairs:

essay shopping underlined

Have students complete step 2 as a CAE speaking part 3 task. Draw a spider diagram on the board. In the middle write: What influences where/how people shop? On the 3 spokes write the three bullet points: Convenience, cost and enjoyment. Briefly recap some language for speaking tasks and have students discuss the topic for 3 minutes.

Hold a plenary session and board all the students ideas in note form. Then put them in pairs to complete the next step: Brainstorming impressive grammar structures to use.

When shopping online not only do you avoid paying parking fees, but also crowds of people.

Having shopped both online and in stores, I would say that….

Linkers activity

Give out 1 copy of the third page of the handout to each student and have them complete it in pairs.

Pimp my paragraph

Either hand out the paragraph upgrade sheet out or project it on to the board. Students must upgrade the language in the paragraph to make it more impressive and more formal.

Introduction Phrases:

I got these great phrases from another handout I found on the internet:

More and more families are choosing to have only one child.

The trend nowadays is towards having smaller families.

Over the past ten years or so the media have frequently carried reports of ……………

Recent research indicates that the number of teenagers who smoke is increasing.

Hardly a week goes by without another report of …………….. appearing in the media.

This raises the issue of whether ……………..

Although most people would generally agree that …………… few would deny that …………….

I hope you find these activities useful in developing your students’ writing abilities, I appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism in the comments section.