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

While reading the answer, you should write down any mistakes you find here, along with their corrections.

I'd also like you 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 this online template or the hard copy one I put below the answer. Remember 1 is the worst mark and 5 is the best. 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

Download the hard copy here or write on the online 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 compare these mistakes with the ones you spotted and then correct the mistakes I've written down here...


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 the tasks above. Now what I'd like you to do, is to have a look at my corrections below and 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 below and write down any mistakes you find in the appropriate fields of this document.

Then mark the essay 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. Examiner Assessment Scale Template

Download here or fill in the online version 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, you should read my notes below and compare my feedback with yours. When you become proficient at this skill and when your thoughts resemble mine for all CAE writing samples you read, 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

Compare my mistakes, marks and comments below with yours...

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. i. C1 Advanced Essay 3 - Example Question

Here is a question which one of my students sent to me recently. It has come from the 'Ready for Advanced' coursebook.

cae essay

ii. CAE Essay 3 - Sample Answer

Read the essay answer below and note down any mistakes you find in this document.

Write a mark with a comment for each of the marking criteria on this document.

c1 advanced essay answer

iii. My Comments

If you have written your mistakes here and completed the assessment scale, then you should compare your notes with mine...

"It goes without saying that the urban environment is a vitally important part of every city (Good first sentence - using a less common expression). Councillors often do everything they can to sustain (We don’t normally say ‘sustain’ + noun + adjective. You can say ‘sustain this diverse system in a clean way’, or you could simply replace the word ‘sustain’ with the word ‘keep’) this diverse system clean but not messy (‘messy’ is a slightly informal/colloquial word). The majority of people doesn't (‘people’ is plural so say ‘people don’t...’) care about the environment at all. Although, throwing away (‘throwing away’ can have the same meaning as ‘throwing in the rubbish bin’ so it would be better to rephrase this) things such as plastic bottles instead of putting them into a rubbish bin has a detrimental effect on the whole eco-system. If we were more considerate of the urban environment, we would be able to achieve amazing results in terms of reducing pollution. What would be the most effective method to ensure this? 

First of all (‘Firstly’ is better to use here as it is more formal), I have to mention the (don’t put ‘the’ unless you specifically mention which ‘legislation’ you are referring to) legislation. It could be said that if we put forward ‘and enforce’ (‘put forward’ is only to suggest or propose) tougher laws, we would achieve amazing results. As far as I am concerned, I am not fully convinced about that. (Could you write the previous sentences without using first person pronouns (‘I have to…’ ‘I am...’). According to a recent study, implementing tougher laws can result in disrespect for the local council. Moreover, it can lead to rebellion. 

Another way of tackling the problem would be to focus on public services such as the underground, buses, hospitals etc. (don’t write ‘etc.’ in formal writing). If the government put a huge amount of money into funding new electric buses, it (‘this initiative’) would contribute to the decrease in air pollution and noise. 

To sum up, I think the advantages of the second solution weight up ‘outweigh’ those which are mentioned in the first one. From my point of view, if we want to sustain ‘keep’ the urban environment clean, we should embark on the refurbishment of public services."



Mark (1-5)




All of the content is relevant to the task, however, some of your arguments could be made stronger. The question asks you to give ‘reasons’ to support your answer. Your main argument is to improve public services and while you state funding “would contribute to the decrease in air pollution and noise” you do not progress this idea in any way. 

The introduction is quite long and would be better if you mention more closely which of the two main notes you will address in the rest of the essay.

Communicative Achievement


I think that your overall argument would be improved if you wrote more about ‘public services’ and less about ‘legislation’. You have an extra 40 words to use before you hit the maximum word limit which could be put towards making a stronger argument for this second note. 

The essay would also benefit from making it clearer in the introduction which of your notes you are going to talk about.



The overall structure and organisation of the essay is fine. You have clear paragraphs for the introduction, conclusion and two main arguments.

The second main argument could be made stronger, especially as this is your most important way of keeping the urban environment clean and tidy.

I think you could also reiterate in the conclusion why improving public services is more important than legislation.



There are a combination of formal and less formal words and phrases used in this essay. I have written some examples in the ‘corrections’ above. The essay would benefit from greater consistency in this regard.

There is a range of vocabulary used to good effect, for example when expressing opinions:


There are also some good formal linking words and expressions, “Another way... would be…”

Some more complicated grammatical structures have been used, for example the second conditional “If we were...we would be…” but it would be good to see a bit more variety here.

iv. Pass or Fail

Pass or Fail

I have awarded the essay the following marks:

Content - 3
Communicative Achievement - 2
Organisation - 3
Language - 3

Total: 11/20

You need a minimum of 24 out of 40 possible marks to pass the CAE writing paper. Remember, there are 2 different writings to complete, so you need to average 12 out of 20 for each writing task. If you got 13 out of 20 for your part 2 writing, you would pass the Writing paper at a C1 level. Remember, you do not need to pass every exam paper in order to pass the C1 Advanced (CAE) exam and get a certificate.

If you want to find out more about what marks you need in order to pass the exam, have a look at page 5 of this document.

6. 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. If you want your writing marked within 7 days, complete the form on this page. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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

10. 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 should complete the form on this Cambridge writing exam page.

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