C1 Advanced Essay

If you follow the order of information on this page, you will be know exactly what you need to do to pass the C1 Advanced essay.

The information below follows a specific order. So follow the information below and prepare yourself effectively for the CAE essay, which is obligatory for the C1 Advanced exam.


1. Cambridge English Assessment Scale

In order to prepare for the writing paper effectively, it is best to understand what the examiners look for. If you know what the examiners are looking for, you are in a better position to get top marks!  Watch this video below because it explains how the examiners mark the C1 Advanced writing paper:

2. How To Write A C1 Advanced Essay - CAE Writing Part 1

Here is a video I made which shows you:

  1. How to find an example question.
  2. Advice for writing an essay.
  3. An example answer.
  4. What mark the examiner gave this example (based on the assessment criteria above).
  5. Typical essay mistakes.
  6. Extra essay tips.
  7. Homework.

I've put the exercises and a summary transcript of the video below, so you can work through the video with me.

3. i. C1 Advanced Essay - Example Question

Here is an example essay question from page 33 of the Cambridge English Advanced Handbook for teachers: https://shop.swiss-exams.ch/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Advanced.pdf. In part 1 you only have one option and you need to answer that question. Write your answer in 220-260 words and in an appropriate style on the separate answer sheet.

C1 Advanced Essay Question

So we're only talking about two of the facilities so either museums and sports centres or sports centres and public gardens or public gardens and museums. We also have to explain which is more important. So that means you need to develop your points giving reasons to support them.

ii. C1 Advanced Essay Advice

Let's have a look at some instructions that are given for writing essays in the Cambridge English Advanced Handbook for teachers.

C1 Advanced essay advice

Okay so for the marking criteria: 

Number one: Content. It's important to know who your target reader is and we know our target reader is probably an academic tutor so that means that your writing needs to be formal.


C1 Advanced Essay

Okay, so this means we need to find the most important issues on a topic and back these up with reasons, extra points and extra ideas if you can think of them.

CAE Essay Advice

This will help with the organisation marking criteria. You should follow a clear structure with a good flow. If the examiner can read how the points are developed in a clear way you will get higher marks.

C1 Advanced Essay

So that means we should try and use different grammar structures and different types of vocabulary.

iii. C1 Advanced Essay - Example Answer

What I'd like you to do is to read the essay (page 38) below which is based on the question above and give it a mark from one to five for each of the 4 marking criteria below. You can use the template I put below the answer or you can copy your own assessment scale template onto a piece of paper. Remember 1 is the worst mark and 5 is the best.

Also write your comments. If you give the content 5 out of 5 for example, write why it is so good.


C1 Advanced Essay Example Answer

Examiners' Assessment Scale Template



Mark (1-5)



Communicative Achievement





iv. Examiner Comments

Now what we're going to do is to have a look at what the real examiner thought about this essay. So this is from the bottom of page 38 from the handbook for teachers and what I'd like you to do is to compare the marks with your own marks see if you had similar ideas or if you had different ideas. Also I'd like you to read these comments in detail because this is how you will know exactly what the examiners are looking for when you're writing your essay. And if you can think like the examiner then you will get much better marks in the essay. So this is a really useful exercise and take as long as you like to do this.


C1 Advanced Essay Examiner's Comments

Okay so hopefully you've done that and now I would just like to show you some of the bits which I thought were really important from these comments.


This means the person answered all parts of the question.

Communicative Achievement

For communicative achievement he's used a clear opening paragraph and a strong conclusion which means there is no room for doubt that where the money should go. So having a clear flow means that it's easier to understand and follow the writing.

It's also consistently formal and its objective which is important you should try to be objective and use objective language rather than subject language. Clear paragraphs which help to keep the readers’ attention as well. This comes down to flow and organization as well as communicative achievement.


There are a lot of different cohesive devices used which just means linking words and other similar things. For example, ‘nowadays’, ‘moreover’ and so they're linking these parts and different sentences together.


There is a range of vocabulary which is relevant to the topic and there is a range of simple and also more complex grammatical structures. These are some of the good points that you should try to incorporate into your writing.

v. CAE Essay Mistakes

When I read through this essay I also noticed there were some more specific mistakes with the language and so I've written these down here. They might be to do with spelling, grammar or whether the phrase is not very easy to understand. So what I'd like you to do is to correct the mistakes in these sentences:

People have lost the interest in visiting...

Moreover, the young men should be aware...

history museums provide people very interesting informations.

It can be organised events like...

there can be built spaces for kids to play

investment from local authority are...

vi. C1 Essay Corrections

Hopefully you've done that now what I'd like you to do is to have a look at my Corrections below and you can see if you have the same Corrections as mine.

'People have lost interest in visiting'...(‘people have lost interest’ not ‘people have lost THE interest’).

'Moreover,  young men should be aware... ' (Not ‘the’ young men just young men in general without ‘the’).

‘history museums provide people WITH very interesting information’ (we always say to provide someone WITH something and information is uncountable so it shouldn't be ‘informations’ just ‘information’).

events like this can be organised... (I would say the subject first. ‘Events can be organised’).

‘spaces for kids to play can be built’. (Again the subject should be at the beginning of a sentence. ‘Spaces’ and ‘events’ at the beginning of the sentence and then say what you can do with these things).

'investment from local authorities are...' (it's probably more than 1 local authority and even if it is just one you would need to use an article ‘a/the’ before ‘local authority’). 

4. i. C1 Advanced Essay 2 - Example Question

Here is another example essay question:

You must answer this question. Write your answer in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.

Your university has attended a conference titled ‘the greatest advantages of the internet for people in their everyday lives’. You have made the notes below:

Advantages of the internet in everyday life

Write an essay for your lecturer discussing two of the points. You should explain which point you think is the greatest for people and provide reasons in support of your opinion.

ii. CAE Essay 2 - Example Answer

You should read the essay and mark it from one to five for each of the 4 marking criteria on the template below. 1 is the worst mark and 5 is the best.

You should also say why you gave it your score 1-5.

c1 advanced essay

iii. Examiners' Assessment Scale Template

Download here


Mark (1-5)



Communicative Achievement





Make sure you have completed the examiners template with your own thoughts before continuing with this page.

Once you have completed the template above (or on your own sheet of paper) you should read my notes below and compare the feedback I wrote on the examiners assessment scale below, with the feedback you gave the essay above. When you become proficient at this skill and when your thoughts resemble mine, you will have a good idea what the examiners are looking for in the CAE writing paper. This will drastically improve your marks in this part of the exam.

iv. My Comments

Nobody could have imagined twenty years ago that the Internet would change our lives __ (missing word) the incredible way it has done so. The present essay (it might be better to say 'the purpose of this essay is to discuss…') will be aimed at discussing which are the greatest advantages of the Internet in our everyday lives.

There is no doubt that the Internet has broadened the possibilities of communication among people, not only in terms of time but also distance. Currently, smartphones permanently connected to the Internet allow us to keep in touch (this phrase is slightly too informal for an essay) with relatives, fellow workers and friends practically in real time. We can stay in touch either with people living close to us or with those that are a hundred thousand kilometres away, on the other side of the globe.

Accessibility is another factor affected by the Internet that has given birth to such modern concepts as teleworking, meaning working at home using a high-speed broadband Internet connection and in a rise in flexitime for workers. Probably, this is not only the beginning of something which could will have a huge impact on many companies, but it’s also a dream of many people who hate waking up very early in the morning.

Taking into consideration the previous ideas we can conclude that whereas the global percentage of teleworkers all around the world is still excessively low in comparison with real commuters, access to the Internet and communication-based applications are nowadays considerably more extensive than in the past ded and therefore technology has affected how most people communicate and in a deeper way, it has enriched our daily lives.



Mark (1-5)




This is a very well written essay. You could address the question a bit more closely during the body of the essay. Stating more explicitly why improved communication is a good thing, or why your points about accessibility are not as important as your points about communication. You could then re-iterate this main idea in the conclusion.

Communicative Achievement


Your points are communicated in a clear manner and they are easy to understand.



You have organised your essay well. It has a clear introduction and conclusion with well balanced paragraphs in the body of the essay.



You have used a variety of simple and complex vocabulary and grammatical structures to good effect. For example: ‘not only...but also…’

The language is slightly informal for an essay at times, e.g. ‘keep in touch’.

v. Pass or Fail

Pass or Fail

Content - 3
Communicative Achievement - 4
Organisation - 4
Language - 3

Total: 14/20

If you got the same marks for part 2 you would get 28/40. This would be a pass in the exam as the pass mark is 24/40.
Well done!

5. Homework

For homework you should write your own answer to the essay question above or you could write an answer to the essay question on this page. If you write your essay on computer you can send it to questions@studentlanguages.com and if I have time I will put your essay on my website with some of my feedback and my marks. CAE Essay examples is a page with other examples that students have written with my feedback.

Finally, for homework you should also read the Cambridge English Advanced handbook for teachers because there is loads of really useful information in here. I really recommend reading the whole handbook before going into the exam because it will really help you to prepare.

6. CAE Essay Examples

I created a page recently where I am gathering together all the different CAE essays which students have sent to me.

When I have time I critique them according to the examiners assessment scale and sometimes turn them into a video for my youtube channel.

If you would like to see some of these examples visit my CAE essay examples page here.

7. Class Activities For Teachers

Are you a teacher?

Why not use my resources to help your students either in class or as homework exercises.

With Computers

Do you and/or your students use computers in lessons?

If so:

    1. Become a member of my new website to access loads more useful information and exercises including more essays.
    2. Read this essay question and then write a plan for it here.
    3. Save, print and then note down any mistakes on this example essay answer.
    4. Complete an assessment scale template for the example answer.
    5. Compare your mistakes with the mistakes I found here.
    6. Compare your assessment scale with the examiner's assessment scale notes.
    7. Watch this video, note down the most important points on this form and then add any extra essay notes to the form too. Students receive a copy of the form by email.

Without Computers

If you or your students don't have computers, follow these instructions:

    1. Read this essay question then write a plan for it in no more than 5 minutes here.
    2. Save, print and correct any mistakes on this sample essay answer.
    3. Fill in the examiner assessment scale template for the sample essay answer.
    4. Compare the last two steps with the mistakes I identified and the examiner's notes on this assessment scale.
    5. Print off this form and complete it with notes from this video and elsewhere.

8. CAE Writing Video Course

# Of Course Reviews
Course Average Star Rating
Duration (Minutes)

I have produced a CAE writing video course with 14 lessons full of tips, techniques and exam strategies for every CAE writing.

"Rory...puts the important knowledge in a nutshell and I am convinced that everyone who takes part in his online course will pass the CAE. I absolutely recommend him" Gina, CAE Writing. *****

Watch some free preview lessons here >>

cae writing

9. Send Me Your Writing

If you have a CAE/FCE writing task you would like me to consider marking and critiquing in a future article, you can send it to this email address: questions@studentlanguages.com

You can check out some other CAE writing samples which students have sent to me, along with my feedback on this page.