Table of Contents
C1 Advanced Essay
What is a C1 Advanced Essay?
A C1 Advanced Essay is a writing task which forms part 1 of the C1 Advanced exam writing paper. There are 2 parts in the CAE writing paper. There is one question in Part 1 and this is always an essay. The aim is to answer this question, writing between 220-260 words.
If you follow the order of information on this page, you will know exactly what you need to do to pass the C1 Advanced essay and get the examiners smiling 🙂
The information follows a specific order, so make sure you don't skip any parts!
Before we continue, I want to tell you about my new e-book of writing samples. It contains 6 essays with my corrections and feedback. You can get it with a free Kindle Unlimited trial in some countries:
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 how the examiners mark your writing, you are in a better position to get top marks! Watch the video below because it explains the marking criteria in detail:
How To Write A C1 Advanced Essay - CAE Writing Part 1
Here is a video I made which shows you:
- How to find an example question.
- Advice for writing an essay.
- An example answer.
- What mark the examiner gave this example (based on the assessment criteria above).
- Typical essay mistakes.
- Extra essay tips.
You should open the video in a new tab and complete the rest of the page with me at the same time...
i. C1 Advanced Essay - Example Question
In part 1 you are given only one question to answer.
Here is an example essay question from page 33 of the Cambridge English Advanced Handbook for teachers: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/images/167804-cambridge-english-advanced-handbook.pdf.
Write your answer in 220-260 words and in an appropriate style on the separate answer sheet.
The question tells us to only talk about two of the facilities. That gives us three options:
- Museums and sports centres
- Sports centres and public gardens
- Public gardens and museums.
We also have to explain which is more important, which means we need to develop our 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.
The advice above is important for the Communicative Achievement marking criterion.
It's important to know who your target reader is as this will effect the level of formality or register. We know from the information above that our target reader is likely to be an academic tutor, which means that your writing should be formal.
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Okay, so the information above means we need to find the most important issues with regard to 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 criterion. You should follow a clear structure with a good flow. If the examiner can see that the points are developed in a clear way, you will get higher marks.
"Holding the target reader's attention" is important for the Communicative Achievement criterion. The way to hold their attention is to write in a way which is appropriate for the target reader, while using your Language to express simple and complicated ideas. The way you Organise and structure your essay as a whole and on an individual paragraph level can also help hold the reader's attention.
CAE Essay Tip: sorry this tip is available for higher level members only. Register/upgrade here >>
My friend Charles Cornelius, a former IELTS examiner, runs a tutoring website for his IELTS students and he has some really useful tips for essay planning, including his 4 step essay planning approach.
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 below which is based on the question above and give it a mark from one to five for each of the 4 marking criteria (Content, Communicative Achievement, Organisation and Language). You can use this online template or print this hard copy. 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.
THINK LIKE AN EXAMINER
If you can think like the examiner then you will get much better marks in the essay. In the words of Faithless, you can 'come 1' 😉 If you're tired, play their song, get up, jump around and then come back and complete the task with the example answer below the Faithless video...
iv. Examiner Comments
Now we're going to look at what the real examiner thought about this essay. I'd like you to compare the examiner's marks with your own marks and see if you had similar ideas or if you had different ideas. I recommend reading the examiner's comments in detail, this will help you know exactly what the examiners are looking for when you're writing your essay. Take as long as you like to do this...
Okay so hopefully you've read the comments above, so now I would 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. They have poured the perfect pint 😉
The opening paragraph and conclusion leave no room for doubt that where the money should go. Having a clear structure and argument mean it's easier to follow the writing.
Consistency is key. Remember that 😉
This writing is consistently formal and it is objective, which is important. You should try to be objective and use objective language rather than subject language.
Clear paragraphs help to keep the reader's attention as well. This comes down to flow and organization as well as communicative achievement.
There are a lot of different cohesive devices used. Cohesive devices are linking words (moreover, however) and organisational patterns (using parallel structures, 'He thinks x, while she thinks y'. Cohesive devices link different ideas and sentences together.
There is a range of vocabulary which is relevant to the topic. There is also a range of simple and more complex grammatical structures.
All of the above are positive points that you should try to incorporate into your writing. If you are confused by some of the terminology above, it explains most of these words and their meanings in more detail on pages 37 and 38 of the Handbook for Teachers: https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/images/167804-cambridge-english-advanced-handbook.pdf
I highly recommend having a look at my CAE writing samples book as well. I mention all these terminology while critiquing 21 CAE writings. If you read that book you will have a much better understanding of what the examiners want and how to get top marks in the exam.
v. CAE Essay Mistakes
When I read through the essay above, I noticed there were some specific mistakes with the language and so I've written these down here. They might be connected with spelling, grammar or whether the phrase is not very easy to understand. Are the mistakes below the same as the ones you identified above? If so, great. If not, it's possible I missed a couple of mistakes, so don't panic.
You should now write down the correct version of the sentences below. You can write your corrections on this worksheet.
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 have a look at my corrections below and see if you have the same corrections as mine...it's possible there may be more than one correct answer, so feel free to contact me if you want to check...but BE SPECIFIC in your email!
'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’).
There are 6 sample essays with corrections and critique in my new book...take a look >>
i. C1 Advanced Essay 2
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
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.
iii. Examiner Assessment Scale Template
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 and this will DRASTICALLY improve your marks in this part of the exam.
iv. My Comments
Compare my mistakes, marks, comments and improvements below with yours...
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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.
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
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.
Remember, there are 6 essays and 15 other writing samples with feedback etc. in my new book >>
There are some more useful tips for the CAE essay on this website.
iii. My Comments
"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."
Examiner Assessment Scale Feedback
Sorry, the critique below is for higher level members only. Register/upgrade 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
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 this student got 13 out of 20 for their part 2 writing, they 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, you just need to average 60% across all 5 exam sections.
If you want to find out more about what marks you need in order to pass the exam, have a look at my CAE exam page >>
I really recommend having a look at my new book >> it will definitely help you improve your writing exam score!
C1 Advanced Essay 4
- Read the example CAE essay question and answer below and write down any mistakes you notice on a separate piece of paper.
- Complete the examiner's assessment scale below, according to the marking criteria you examined on the previous page. You can download a template of the assessment scale here.
- Read the answer again with my comments.
- Read what I wrote on the examiner's assessment scale.
Here is the same question that we looked at in example 1 above:
ii. C1 Advanced Essay 4 - Sample Answer
Complete The CAE Essay Assessment Scale Template
CAE Essay Answer With My Comments
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CAE Essay Marks
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CAE Essay Examples
I created a book recently with loads of sample writings that students have sent me. I think this is the best body of work I have produced:
If you do not want to access the book, I also have a few more essay samples on my CAE essay examples page here.
When I have time I critique them according to the examiners assessment scale and sometimes turn them into a video for my YouTube channel.
Send Me Your C1 Advanced Essay
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.
Class Activities For Teachers
Are you a teacher?
Why not use my resources to help your students either in class or as homework exercises.
Do you and/or your students use computers in lessons?
- Become a full member of my website to access loads more useful information and exercises including more essays.
- Read this essay question and then write a plan for it here.
- Save, print and then note down any mistakes on this example essay answer.
- Complete an assessment scale template for the example answer.
- Compare your mistakes with the mistakes I found here.
- Compare your assessment scale with the examiner's assessment scale notes.
- 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.
If you or your students don't have computers, follow these instructions:
- Read this essay question then write a plan for it in no more than 5 minutes here.
- Save, print and correct any mistakes on this sample essay answer.
- Fill in the examiner assessment scale template for the sample essay answer.
- Compare the last two steps with the mistakes I identified and the examiner's notes on this assessment scale.
- Print off this form and complete it with notes from this video and elsewhere.
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 submit it via my CAE writing assessment service and if I have time I will put your essay on my website with some of my feedback and my marks. You can also pay to have your writing marked within 7 days. Again, you can find loads more past writings students have sent me in my new book.
Finally, you should read the Cambridge English Advanced handbook for teachers because there is loads of really useful information in there. I really recommend reading the whole handbook before going into the exam because it will really help you to prepare.