1. 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.


2. 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:

3. How To Pass 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.

4. i. 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.

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. Essay Advice

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

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.


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.

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.

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

iii. 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.


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.


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. 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. 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’). 

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 [email protected] 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. 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

8. 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: [email protected]

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


9. Did you know you can sign up for a CAE video course COMPLETELY FREE!

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