This is another report task for students preparing to take the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam. It’s designed to give them some practice of planning a report task for part 2 of the writing paper.
A common problem I find is that the report tasks are often quite open and require a bit of creativity and imagination. They may be required to invent a company or organisation they work for or a school they attend. My students often neglect to do this and end up writing things like:
The aim of this report is to evaluate the company event that took place last week.
They don’t use their imagination enough or really generate the situation which leads to bland, unfocused pieces of writing. Therefore, in this worksheet, students will put some time into generating ideas about the charity they work for, the event they organised and what went wrong. They will also revise some inverted conditionals so they can put them to use in their final compositions. Download the handout and key below:
This is a worksheet to help C2 proficiency students practise writing formal reports in preparation for part 2 of the writing paper. Students will brainstorm ideas to complete the task then complete some exercises to help them include advanced grammar and relevant vocabulary. Download the handout and key below:
This is a lesson plan for C1+ students who are preparing for Cambridge exams in which they have to write reviews of video games. Students will learn about the storytelling technique “in media res” and analyse a model text of an informal video game review. Download the handout, PowerPoint and key below:
A bead of sweat rolls down your forehead as you frantically rush from chopping board to frying pan. “Two cheeseburgers with everything, then a pepperoni pizza, then two sushi rolls.” You hear your colleague, a raccoon in a wheelchair, shout. “Ok, we’ve got this” you shout back. Then, out of the blue, the kitchen splits in two, and a giant rat steals your tomato! Don’t worry, you’re not having a nightmare, it’s the new, chaos-filled cooking extravaganza that is Overcooked! If you’re a fan of fast-paced teamwork, hilarious mishaps, and delicious meals, this is the game for you.
In Overcooked, you and your pals take on the role of chefs working frantically to prepare and serve up tasty dishes. But it’s not as simple as just tossing some ingredients together and throwing them on a plate. Oh no, no, no. You’ll be tasked with all kinds of crazy challenges, from cooking on a pirate ship to dodging traffic on a busy street.
Now, here’s the real kicker: you have to work together to get it done. That’s right, it’s a co-op game, which means you’ll need to communicate, delegate tasks, and keep an eye on the clock if you want to succeed. But never fear, even if you burn the soup or accidentally set the kitchen on fire, it’s all in good fun.
The mechanics of the game are simple enough for anyone to pick up, but the challenges quickly become more and more demanding. You’ll need to chop, fry, boil, and plate dishes as fast as you can while avoiding obstacles. It’s easier said than done, but trust me, when you finally manage to serve up that perfectly cooked sushi roll, the sense of satisfaction is unbeatable.
Overall, I’d say Overcooked is an absolute blast to play with friends. It’s the kind of game that will have you shouting and laughing and high-fiving each other (or apologising profusely for dropping the pizza on the floor). I’d recommend it to anyone who loves a good party game or just wants to bond with their buddies over some virtual cooking chaos. So fire up the grill and get ready to serve up some culinary mayhem!
This is a lesson plan for C1-C2 students designed to develop their understanding of vocabulary to describe gadgets, apps and pieces of software. Candidates are often required to describe such things in writing tasks in the main suite of Cambridge exams. This lesson plan may also be useful for business English classes. Download the handout and key below:
Students start by discussing the most useful gadgets, apps and pieces of software they own. Then they read a text describing the new Thermomix cooking robot. After focusing on the language, they put it into practice by writing their own short product pitches and presenting them to the class.
What’s the most useful gadget you have in your house?
What’s the most useful app you have on your phone?
What’s the most useful piece of software you have on your computer?
How do these things make your life easier?
Why do you think these gadgets/apps/pieces of software have become popular?
Does your family have a Thermomix? If so, is it useful? If not, would you like one?
What things can it do?
How does it compare to its competitors?
Read the text, does it contain any of the ideas you mentioned?
Theromix have been making waves in the world of kitchen gadgets for some time now. Ever since the advent of their first appliance way back in 1985, they’ve been at the cutting edge of the market lending a hand tohard-pressed families the world over.
The latest model, the TM6, really made a splash when it hit the shelves last month. This latest iteration really is lightyears ahead of its competitors. With its state-of-the-art design it truly is a sight to behold. That being said, what really makes it stand out from the crowd is how easy it is to use. It really is a piece of cake, and you’ll be savouring that cake sooner than you think.
Simply scroll through the different preset menus, select the one that catches your eye, add the ingredients and let thermomix take care of the rest. It’s touch-screen menus and ergonomic controls are so user-friendly that you’ll master them in no time at all. It enables you to make quick, mouth-watering meals at the touch of a button. Though its competitors may come with all sorts of bells and whistles, there’s a reason Thermomix has cornered the kitchen robot market: elegance, ease of use, and efficiency. It’s not rocket science!
Look at the expressions in bold, make notes on their meaning with your partner.
Can you remember the missing words?
Theromix have been _________ waves in the world of kitchen gadgets for some time now. Ever since the a______ of their first a_______ way back in 1985, they’ve been at the cutting ______ of the market lending a _______ to______-pressed families the world _______.
The latest model, the TM6, really made a s_______ when it ______ the shelves last month. This latest iteration really is lightyears ________ of its competitors. With its ______-of-the-_____ design it truly is a ______ to behold. That being said, what really makes it stand ______ ______ the crowd is how easy it is to use. It really is a piece of _______, and you’ll be savouring that cake sooner than you think.
Simply scroll through the different preset menus, select the one that ________ your eye, add the ingredients and let thermomix take _____ _____ the rest. It’s ______-screen menus and e________ controls are so user-_________ that you’ll master them in no time at all. It enables you to make quick, ________-watering meals at the _______ of a ________. Though its competitors may come with all sorts of _______ and whistles, there’s a reason Thermomix has _________ the kitchen robot market: elegance, ease of use, and efficiency. It’s not _________ science!
Sell, sell, sell!
Choose one of these gadgets, write a short pitch to sell it to your classmates.
This is a lesson plan for C2 students based around a review of a West End Musical. Students will learn vocabulary related to the theatre and performing arts that can then be recycled in their own reviews of live performances as practice for writing part 2 in the Proficiency exam.
Here is a possible part 2 task you could set as follow up to the lesson plan:
Review of a live performance
An online entertainment website is asking for reviews of live performances. They want reviews of any type of performing arts including plays, dance, musicals or concerts. You should explain why you decided to go to the performance, describe the highlights and point out any weak points that you think it had. You should also recommend the show to a specific audience or demographic.
What is the rehearsal process like for a big west end musical?
What is the experience like for the actors?
Read the review. Were your predictions correct?
Mamma Mia! Opens to Rave Reviews
A new adaptation of the jukebox musical Mamma Mia! opened to a packed house in London’s Theatre Royal last Friday night. The popular show, co-written by playwright Catherine Johnson and lyricists Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, will run for the next 6 months after a series of successful preview showings over the last week.
The audience gave the cast a unanimous thumbs-up by giving them a 10-minute standing ovation at the curtain call. The classic Abba songs such as Dancing Queen and the title-track Mamma Mia really brought the house down with hoards of backing dancers filling the stage right on cue for the final chorus.
In spite of leading lady Betty Harris’s dazzling performance, she admitted backstage after the show that it hadn’t all been plain sailing during rehearsals. “The dress rehearsal last week was an absolute disaster, one stagehand was nearly hit when a light fell from the rig and the leading man came down with a migraine half-way through the show. His understudy had to stand inat very short notice.” Harris, who has admitted to suffering from crippling stage fright in the past, explained how she had used the emotional recall of her own troubled relationship with her late mother to conjure up the necessary feelings for the nail-biting finale. Despite the emotional rollercoaster of the last few weeks, she said that seeing the beaming smiles of audience at the end had made it all worthwhile! She really is an accomplished actor and I have to admit that the poignant final scenes really brought a tear to my eye.
The show has received glowing reviewsacross the board and tickets are selling like hot cakes so get yours while you can!
Would you like to see this show? Why/why not?
Have you ever acted in a play/show/film? Or performed in front of an audience?
Look at the expressions in bold, use the context to guess the meaning.
Test your partner on the language and expressions
Can you remember the expressions?
Mamma Mia! Opens to _______ Reviews
A new adaptation of the ________ musical Mamma Mia! opened to a _______ house in London’s Theatre Royal last Friday night. The popular show, co-written by _______ Catherine Johnson and _______ Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, will run for the next 6 months after a series of successful _______ showings over the last week.
The audience gave the cast a u__________ thumbs-up by giving them a 10-minute standing ______ at the c_________ call. The classic Abba songs such as Dancing Queen and the title-track Mamma Mia really brought the _________ down with hoards of _________ dancers filling the stage right on ______ for the final chorus.
In spite of ________ lady Betty Harris’s d________ performance, she admitted b________ after the show that it hadn’t all been ________ sailing during rehearsals. “The ________ rehearsal last week was an absolute disaster, one stage_______ was nearly hit when a light fell from the rig and the leading man c______ d_______ with a migraine half-way through the show. His under________ had to _______ inat very short ________.” Harris, who has admitted to suffering from c________ stage _______ in the past, explained how she had used the emotional ________ of her own troubled relationship with her late mother to _________ up the necessary feelings for the n_____-b_______ finale. Despite the e_________ r___________ of the last few weeks, she said that seeing the ___________ smiles of audience at the end had ________ it all worthwhile! She really is an a___________ actor and I have to admit that the p__________ final scenes really brought a ______ to my ________.
The show has received g__________ reviewsacross the ________ and tickets are selling like ______ _______ so get yours while you can!
This is a reading and vocabulary lesson plan for higher level students based around an example of a holiday diary. It works well as a model for CPE article tasks about travelling. Download the power point and handout below:
Show the power point and have students discuss the questions as a warmer.
Give out the handout and have students complete the exercises.
Encourage students to write a similar holiday diary for homework.
What do you know about Madagascar? Have you ever been there? Would you like to?
Read the text and tell your partner is this type if holiday would be your cup of tea.
We’re quite adventurous so your standard beach holiday doesn’t really cut it for us so after umming and ahhing for a few months we finally settled on a trip to Madagascar. We had set our sights on exploring the denseundergrowth of Madagascar’s jungles and maybe catching a glimpse of some of its famed wildlife.
We flew into the capital Antananarivo, no sooner had we stepped off the plane than we were hit by a wave of intense heat, Madagascar has a really humid climate so the sweat was pouring down our faces in no time at all. Antananarivo is bustling with life with a mindboggling network of haphazard back streets in which you can lose yourself in the blink of an eye. Apart from the hotel we’d booked online we’d decided to play it by ear for the rest of the trip so we set about looking for a guide to take us into the lush vegetation of the surrounding rainforests. Unfortunately there was a mix-up with our luggage that set us back 2 hours but eventually we picked up our suitcases and set off on our mission.
As a city, Antananarivo isn’t much to write home about, it’s pretty grimy and run-down and our taxi ride into the city centre was pretty fraught. When we finally arrived at our hotel it looked a sorry sight, not what we’d been led to believe in the brochure. However, we’re not really big on creature comforts so we didn’t mind. Luckily, the hotel organised guided-tours of the rainforest and there was one leaving the very next day.
We were up at the crack of dawn the next day to board the rickety old minibus that was going to take us out into the middle of nowhere to begin our adventure. The bus journey was a little bit hairy as the road was little more than a track with potholes everywhere. We gradually wound our way up through the mountainous landscape which surrounds the city until we reached the summit of one of the foothills where we stopped for a picnic. The views of the rainforest stretching out in front of us were a real sight to behold, never before have I seen such an awe-inspiring sight…
Read the text again and decide if these statements are true of false.
The author likes beach holidays T/F
Antananarivo is a difficult city to navigate around T/F
They had the whole trip planned out beforehand T/F
Their luggage was put on the wrong plane T/F
They liked Antananarivo T/F
The hotel was different to the description in the brochure T/F
They don’t mind roughing it T/F
The journey to the rainforest was relaxing T/F
They were impressed by the views from the foothill T/F
Look at the expressions in bold, discuss their meaning with a partner.
Look at the expressions again and try to categorise them.
What can you remember? Work with a partner.
We’re quite adventurous so your standard beach holiday doesn’t really ___ (1) it for us so after ________(2) and ahhing for a few months we finally settled ______(3) a trip to Madagascar. We had set our ___________(4) on exploring the _________(5) undergrowth of Madagascar’s jungles and maybe catching a ____________(6) of some of its famed wildlife.
We flew into the capital Antananarivo, no sooner had we stepped off the plane than we were hit by a wave of intense heat, Madagascar has a really humid climate so the sweat was pouring down our faces in no time at all. Antananarivo is ___________(7) with life with a mindboggling network of ________________ (8) back streets in which you can lose yourself in the blink of an eye. Apart from the hotel we’d booked online we’d decided to play it by ________(9) for the rest of the trip so we set __________(10) looking for a guide to take us into the ___________(11) vegetation of the surrounding rainforests. Unfortunately there was a _________(12) with our luggage that set us _________(13) 2 hours but eventually we picked up our suitcases and set off on our mission.
As a city, Antananarivo isn’t much to write home about, it’s pretty ________(14) and run-down and our taxi ride into the city centre was pretty fraught. When we finally arrived at our hotel it looked a ________ (15) sight, not what we’d been __________(16) to believe in the brochure. However, we’re not really big on creature ______________(17) so we didn’t mind. Luckily, the hotel organised guided-tours of the rainforest and there was one leaving the very next day.
We were up at the ____________(18) of dawn the next day to board the rickety old minibus that was going to take us out into the ____________(19) of nowhere to begin our adventure. The bus journey was a little bit __________(20) as the road was little more than a track with potholes everywhere. We gradually wound our way up through the mountainous landscape which surrounds the city until we reached the summit of one of the foothills where we stopped for a picnic. The views of the rainforest stretching out in front of us were a real sight to ________(21) never before have I seen such an awe-______________(22) sight…
Cover the text and try to retell the story using as much of the vocabulary as you can.
Have you ever had a similar experience? Tell your partner about it using the vocabulary.
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. 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://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/
This is a phrase sheet and writing task for CAE/CPE students designed to help them tackle formal letter of complaint tasks. It was brought to my attention that the original version of this phrase sheet contained a number of expressions that were inappropriate for the level of formality required for this type of task. As a result, I have made some changes. Download the new handout below:
C1 Advanced/C2 Proficiency – Letter of Complaint – UPDATE 2022
Task – CPE Testbuilder page 91
You recently stayed at one of a chain of large hotels and encountered a number of problems during your stay. Write a letter to the company’s head office detailing the problems you had, describing what happened when you complained to the hotel staff and suggesting ways the company could improve its service. (CAE 220-260 words – CPE 280-320 words)
Dear Sir or Madam, / To whom it may concern,
I am writing to express my disappointment with/dissatisfaction with the service I received in…
I would like to lodge a formal complaint against your company for the reasons outlined below:
I feel compelled to write to you in order to describe the woefully inadequate service at…
First of all,
Not only was there a hair in my wife’s soup, but the main course also arrived cold.
On top of that…
As if that was not enough…
What is more, …
In addition to this, …
The standard of the… was severely lacking.
The… was not up to the expected standard.
The… left a lot to be desired.
The… failed to live up to our expectations/fell well short of our expectations.
We were left bitterly disappointed by…
The quality of the customer service we received was woefully inadequate.
The… was an absolute disgrace/absolutely disgraceful (v.strong)
Overall, our visit to your (restaurant) was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish.
As a result of the …., we were forced to ….
Emphatic Language – Inversions & Cleft Sentences
No sooner had we …. than ….
What I found most disappointing was….
So poor was the …. that ….
At no time were we….
Never before have I seen/experienced/etc.
Had I know that ….., I would not have ….
It seems only fair that you should… (offer a full refund)
I would appreciate it if you…
I would be grateful if you…
Should these demands not be met, I will be left with no choice but to take legal action.
I expect to receive compensation to the tune of (€2000) for the…
I strongly recommend that your organisation…
It would be advisable to…
I suggest re-evaluating your procedures regarding…
Were your company to …., customer satisfaction would undoubtedly increase.
I look forward to receiving your reply.
I expect to receive a prompt reply to this letter.
· Impressive verbs (bring about change/undergo development)
The aim of this report is to evaluate the current state of….. This report is based on the results of an extensive survey completed by (students at … school). It will present the results of the survey and go on to give recommendations regarding…
This is a handout with as much language and advice possible for approaching the CPE writing part 2 review tasks. I made it for my December candidates, fingers crossed they actually read it! I only had time to add language for film, book and restaurant reviews, in return for using my lesson plan please be so kind as to answer me the following question:
What other types or review have you come across in CPE exams? Let me know and I’ll endeavour to add language for them to this phrase list.
You can download the handout here: CPE Review (formatting looks better in word than on wordpress!)
Use: all your colourful vocabulary:
Phrasal verbs/idioms/impressive collocations.
Forms and conventions:
Title: for films/books/restaurants use the name/title or if think up an imaginative title using an idiom/expression.
3. WHAT do you want to say? Add your notes to each paragraph in simple form.
4. HOW are you going to say that? Brainstorm advanced grammar and vocabulary for each note.
5. Forms and conventions: Title paragraph titles, fixed introduction.
6. Write! Remember word limit is: 280-320
Personal anecdote to grab attention. Introduce name of book/film, restaurant + location, course, TV show etc.
Seldom do I find the time to…, however when I do take time out of my hectic schedule, I like nothing more than…
Being a bit of a film buff/book worm/foody, the news that … had opened a new restaurant/released a new film/book had me itching to try/see/read it. So last week I popped down with a friend to check it out.
Having never seen/read/tried… before I approached … with a sense of trepidation, not knowing what to expect. Soon however, all my fears were allayed.
Vocab to describe the book in general:
a page-turner / a white-knuckle ride / a tearjerker / a laugh a minute / I couldn’t put it down.
Vocab to describe specific parts:
a slow start / a gentle introduction /gripping climax / nail-biting conclusion / cliff-hanger ending/ a shocking twist in the tail
The book is set in _______(place/time)
The action takes place in ______ (place/time)
the present day (now)
an alternate reality where vampires / wizards walk the earth
a sleepy village in the USA
the bustling city of New York
The plot centres around / focuses on (the adventures / lives of _________)
The plot follows the adventures of _________(character name)
Villain / hero / heroine / anti-hero / main character / protagonist
The characters are believable / well-crafted / a bit 2 dimensional.
An all-star cast
heavily influenced by the films of..
suspense builds up
a polished performance
a bold experiment
an accomplished actor
an unmitigated disaster (bad film)
a dazzling display of his/her talents
made a lasting impression on me.
Brought a tear to my eye
Like watching paint dry (boring)
I was on the edge of my seat (exciting)
A blockbuster (big commercial film eg Superman)
… sets off an amazing chain of events
Gripping film (exciting)
The director/author evoked a magical atmosphere
… awakened my interest in…
Hold my attention
Capture the audience’s imagination.
Spectacular set-pieces (main action scenes)
… is cast in the role of…
… is miscast in the role of…
…gives a(n) (un)convincing performance as…
The film is let down by a clichéd script.
With a kick (spicy)
Packed with flavour
A steaming plate of..
Service with a smile
A plate piled high with..
To die for
To lick your lips in anticipation
Make a pig of one’s self
To feast/gorge on (eat a lot of)
To eat/drink to your heart’s content
Aromas wafting from the kitchen
Cheap – economical/reasonably-priced
Expensive – pricey/costs an arm and a leg
€20 a head (per person)
Were I to sum up … in one word, it would be…
… left a lot to be desired (wasn’t good enough)
…more than lives up to the hype (is as good as everyone says it is)
… is by far and away the best … you’re likely to … this year
… really raises the bar (sets a higher standard)
… sets the benchmark for other (others will be judges against how good it is)