Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Uncategorized, Writing Classes

CPE/Proficiency Writing Part 1: Phrase Sheet

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Image credit: qvictorias.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I’ve recently started teaching CPE again so I decided to make a phrase sheet for my students to help them tackle part 1 of the writing paper, the formal essay. Download it below:

CPE Writing Part 1 Phrase Sheet

Summarising Texts

  • The first text/passage/extract outlines the benefits/drawbacks of…
  • The second text argues/claims that…
  • The first text advocates… +…ing (supports)
  • The second text puts forward the idea that…
  • It then goes on to espouse the viewpoint that… (say)
  • The text sheds light on the issue/topic of…
  • The text brings the topic of… to light.
  • The writer of the first text is a firm believer in…
  • The writer/author of the second text is highly critical of…
  • Both writers seem to agree that…, where their ideas deviate however is on the topic of…
  • The second text makes bold statements in support of…
  • Not only does the first text state that…, but it also claims that…
  • In addition to the aforementioned point, it also claims that…

Critical Examination

  • One thing the writer fails to mention is…
  • A glaring omission from the first text is…
  • While the writer makes some valid arguments in favour of…, she ignores the fact that…
  • One area which the writer seems to have overlooked is…
  • While I am generally in agreement with the majority of the first writer’s points the obvious hole in their argument is…
  • Were I to pick holes in the writer’s arguments, I would start by pointing out that…
  • I feel it must also be pointed out that…
  • When it comes to the topic of…, the text seems to be lacking somewhat
  • One major weakness in the writer’s argument is that…
  • The text neglects to mention that fact that…
  • The writer seems to have gone overboard in their praise/criticism of…

Expressing Opinion

  • I am of the opinion that…
  • In my humble opinion…
  • My thoughts on the matter are that…
  • As far as I am concerned,
  • As far as my opinions on the matter are concerned,…
  • My initial reaction to the opinions outlined in the text was…
  • I am a firm believer in…
  • On the whole, I tend to agree with… due to the fact that…
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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 Grammar Classes

Reporting with Passives: Worksheet

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This is a worksheet designed with C1 students in mind. It will help them construct passive sentences with reporting verbs, which are appropriate for many of the formal writing tasks in the CAE exam. Download the worksheet, key and powerpoint below:

reporting-with-passives

gossip-column-pics

Worksheet

We can use passive structures with infinitives in formal writing to report opinions and beliefs.

Present and Future – use an infinitive (to be, to affect)

Many people think Messi is the best player ever.

Messi is thought to be the best player ever.

Scientists know that pollen allergy affects a lot of people.

Pollen allergies are known to affect a lot of people.

Journalists expect that the president will give a speech at 2pm.

The president is expected to give a speech at 2pm.

Past – use a perfect infinitive (to have been, to have made, to have done)

Experts think that Van Gogh painted the painting in 1888.

Van Gogh is thought to have painted the painting in 1888.

The police think he killed his wife.

He is thought to have killed his wife.

Verbs used in this way included: believe, consider, estimate, expect, know, report, say, think, understand and “to be rumoured”.

Practice:

Change the second sentence using the passive structure.

  1. Experts say that 8 hours sleep is the perfect amount.

8 hours sleep ________________________________________________________________

  1. They expect that 2000 people will attend the festival.

2000 people _________________________________________________________________

  1. Police think that the stolen money is buried in the garden.

The stolen money _____________________________________________________________

  1. There are rumours that Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are dating again.

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez __________________________________________________

  1. Experts estimate that 20 people died in the fire.

20 people_______________________________________________________________.

  1. Journalists report that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have broken up.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian_________________________________________________.

  1. Scientists believe that the big bang happened 13.7 billion years ago.

The big bang____________________________________________________________.

 

Key

  1. 8 hours sleep is said to be the perfect amount.
  2. 2000 people are expected to attend the festival.
  3. The stolen money is thought to be buried in the garden.
  4. Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are rumoured to be dating again.
  5. 20 people are estimated to have died in the fire.
  6. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are reported to have broken up.
  7. The big bang is believed to have happened 13.7 billion years ago.

Creative Practice Exercise

Show the powerpoint with pictures of celebrities, students make up gossip stories about them.

After completing the worksheet have students write two sentences, 1 in the present and 1 in the past, about their partner in the style of a gossip magazine article:

“Jordi is rumoured to be dating Sandra.”

“Jordi is thought to have written Sara a poem.”

Have students read their sentences out to the class, then they vote on which is the juiciest piece of gossip.

Posted in Vocabulary Classes, Writing Classes

CAE/CPE Report Phrase Sheet 2.0

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This is an updated version of my CAE/CPE report phrase list. Download it below:

Report Phrase Sheet

Report

Register:

Formal, impersonal, cold and factual.

DO NOT USE:

·         Contractions

·         Colourful language (gorgeous/stunning/awesome etc.)

·         Informal phrasal verbs (meet up/break down/check out etc.)

·         “I/we think….” (too personal)

Forms and Conventions:

Title: Report into …….

Paragraph Titles: Introduction, Strengths, Weaknesses, Conclusion.

 

Fixed introduction: The aim of this report is to evaluate/put forward ideas for/examine etc.

 

Word limit: CAE: 220-260 CPE: 280-320

Introduction:

The purpose/aim of this report is to….

This report sets out to…

The report will comment on…

Below is an explanation of…

The focus of this report is…

This report will offer an in depth critique of…

Fake survey/questionnaire:

It can be a good idea to base the report on a survey/questionnaire.

This report will present the findings of/This report is based on the findings/results of an extensive survey completed by…

Ending Introduction:

1.        It will go on to give recommendations regarding…

Expressing general opinions/info:

….is considered/thought/said to be

…is highly regarded in (place)…(good reputation)

There is widespread agreement that…

Opinions are divided regarding…

It is common knowledge that…

Recent research indicates that…

Interviewees who had first-hand knowledge of the situation stated…

There is considerable disagreement regarding

Survey Results:

Virtually everyone who completed the survey stated that..

Over (60%) of those interviewed stated that…

The vast majority of people interviewed believe that…

A small percentage of those surveyed agree/disagree with…

Strengths:

The (school system) in this country undoubtedly has many strengths such as …. And…

… is particularly effective due to the fact that…

… has achieved impressive results owing to …

Another clear strong point is…

… is something the country can be proud of due to…

Weaknesses:

Despite the strengths mentioned above, there are also some areas that require attention.

… is failing to live up to expectations because…

Another clear weakness is…

… leaves a lot to be desired

… is not up to the required standard

Advantages/disadvantages:

…’s advantages clearly outweigh its disadvantages.

advantages

benefits/pros/strengths

disadvantages

downsides/weaknesses/drawbacks

Giving Recommendations:

In light of the above, we believe the following measures should be adopted…

My recommendations are as follows:…

Urgent improvement is needed in the field of…

I highly recommend + bring about change in the area of…

To improve the situation, we recommend…

It is recommended that…

Concluding:

-To sum up,…To conclude,…

-I hope that the plan outlined/presented in this

report meets with your approval…

-I hope that the recommendations outlined/

presented in this report will receive your serious

consideration.

Should the recommendations outlined in this report be carried out, I have no doubt that …. Will be a resounding success.

 

Grammar check list

Have you included?

·         An inversion (not only/no sooner/seldom)

·         An inverted conditional (Were we to…)

·         A participle clause (Being…/Having gone…)

·         A double comparative (The more we… the more)

·         A cleft sentence (What is most crucial is…)

·         Linkers (Nevertheless/despite/due to/consequently)

·         Impressive verbs (bring about change/undergo development)

Example Introduction

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…

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.