CAE Essay Examples Introduction

Before looking at some CAE essay examples, we should quickly answer this question: "What is a CAE essay?"

A CAE essay is an obligatory task in the C1 Advanced (CAE) Cambridge English exam. There are 4 CAE exam papers: Speaking, Listening, Reading & Use of English and Writing. The CAE essay forms part 1 of the 2 part writing paper. Students need to answer a question and write between 220-260 words.

On the rest of this page I have put some CAE essay examples which my students have sent to me. If you keep reading, you will find tasks to complete and either a video or written feedback which I provided to the student. The feedback is based on the Cambridge English Assessment Scale from the C1 Advanced handbook for teachers. It is very important to understand this marking criteria if you want to pass this part of the exam.

If you don't know how to write a good essay, or if you want to know how examiners mark your essay, check out my C1 Advanced Essay page.

CAE Essay Example 1 - Question, Critique etc.

CAE Essay Question


At home with parents or other family members
In nurseries or pre-school
With a professional nanny

Write an essay for your tutor in 220-260 words. You should discuss two of the ways of looking after young children in your notes. You should explain which way is more beneficial and provide reasons to support your opinion.

CAE Examiners Assessment Template

Download this assessment template here or complete the online version here with your thoughts on the writing below.


Mark (1-5)



Communicative Achievement





CAE Essay Example 1 - Answer

As well as completing the assessment scale, you should also make a note of any mistakes you find here. You can also download the answer here if you prefer. This will be really good practice for getting in the mind of an examiner, which is key to getting high marks in the exam. Afterwards, we will look at the mistakes which I found and my comments.
CAE Essay Example

C1 Essay Example Answer & My Comments

I have highlighted the mistakes and written comments showing you how to correct them in (bold and italics).


There is no doubt that one of the problems of (the word ‘problem’ collocates with ‘with’ before a person/people) modern families is how to take care of young children. Some years ago, the most common solution was to leave the new-borns with a family member. Usually, it was the mother, who had to leave her job and sacrifice her career for the new arrival. Today, the situation is slightly different, because, often, both parents have to work and no relatives are available to come into (‘into’ is not the right word to use here - you could say - ‘come and support’) support of (don’t write ‘of’ here. We say ‘support somebody’ in English, not ‘support of somebody’) the family. In this essay, I will discuss two possible solutions (‘solution’ is not the right word here. ‘Solution’ implies that leaving the children with a family member is not an option, and that you will therefore discuss two alternative methods. The problem is the next paragraph then talks about leaving the children with a family member) and their advantages and disadvantages.

One of the advantages of leaving your children with a family member is that you trust this person (I would say ‘this person will usually have your trust’ - because it is better to try and use the passive voice in an essay. We also tend to use more nouns and fewer verbs in formal writing) and you know (do you know that?) that they will certainly take care of them in the best way. Furthermore, when the children are sick, you can leave them in bed and check their temperature frequently, preventing complications. (I think you could develop this last sentence more and state that you cannot do this if the children go to nursery). On the other hand, though, your children could (you should use ‘may’ or ‘might’ rather than ‘could’ here. ‘Could not’ in this sentence means they were not able to. It is a definitive statement and it does not imply possibility) not develop some important social skills such as team playing (‘teamwork’ might be a better word to use here) and sharing (‘connecting’ might be a better word to use. We tend to say ‘sharing’ + something) with peers, but they could be left (for) some time in front of a screen (you could explain why this wouldn’t be beneficial).

Another solution could be to make them attend a nursery. There are numerous advantages in (‘advantages’ collocates with ‘to’) this approach as well, but, above all, I would enlighten (‘enlighten’ is usually followed by an object) that children are taught to stay together, to help each other and to have fun. Unfortunately, on the other hand, they run the risk of getting ill more frequently and this could be a problem for parents who have to take maternity leave to cure (‘look after’ or ‘take care of’ are better phrases to use here. ‘Cure’ is stronger and implies the parents will heal them from a serious illness or disease) them.

To sum up (this expression is a little too informal for an essay), I think that I would choose a mixed solution for my children: a family member during the first years but then a nursery as soon as they start speaking and relating (‘building relationships’) with others, so that to (remove the word 'to' and replace it with 'they') improve their abilities (‘ability’ should be countable singular here) to be part of a group.

CAE Essay Sample Marks


Mark (1-5)




Most of the content is relevant and the target reader is informed.

There should be more of a balance of the arguments with a bit more focus on the nursery.

You are also over the word limit so I would suggest writing fewer points with more backing up. Perhaps you could shorten the introduction.

The target reader would be able to reach a decision following as a result of your arguments.

Communicative Achievement


The conventions of essay writing have been used.

Some of your points could be strengthened with further examples and evidence. Fewer points with more justification would be good.

The tone of the essay is generally appropriate and the use of a title is also appropriate.

Although the essay is quite easy to follow, some of the language could be tailored more precisely towards the wording of the question. This would help to communicate your ideas more clearly.



The essay is well organised and quite coherent.

Each paragraph focusses on a separate argument. Within the paragraphs there are good organisational patterns used to emphasise certain points 'but, above all...' or to show contrast 'Unfortunately, on the other hand...'



There is a good range of vocabulary and grammatical structures used appropriately, 'Usually, it was the mother, who had to leave her job...'

However there are also quite a few errors where a more appropriate word could have been used. The choice of words at times detracts from how closely your answer ties to the question.

There are a range of linking devices used appropriately, 'furthermore', 'another solution could be', 'on the other hand'. There are also some errors 'advantages in this approach' but these do not impede communication.



CAE Essay Sample - Pass or Fail

Adding the marks together, the student has scored:

Content: 3/5

Communicative Achievement: 3/5

Organisation: 4/5

Language: 2/5

Total: 12/20.

If you can't remember what these scores mean, watch my CAE writing marking criteria video.

If this student got 12/20 for their part 2 writing in the exam, they would have 24/40 for the C1 Advanced writing paper.

The student would therefore pass this exam paper.

To understand how these marks are calculated, check out this page. I suggest using a table like this to mark your scores when you are practising for all the different exam papers.

CAE Essay Examples - Question 2 Critique etc.


This question has come from 'Cambridge English Advanced Practice Tests - Plus 2' by Nick Kenny and Jacky Newbrook.

CAE Essay Examples - Kenny and Newbrook page 90


While you read this example answer, you should write down any mistakes you find on this document, then complete the examiner assessment template below:

Online template

Hard copy Assessment Scale Template

Example Answer Download

cae essay example answer 2


C1 Writing Exam Assessment Template

If you haven't done it yet, download this assessment template here, or complete it online here with your thoughts on the writing above.


Mark (1-5)



Communicative Achievement





C1 Essay Sample Answer 2 & My Comments

Here is the student's answer with my corrections and comments written in (bold and italics).

Nowadays, many young people tend to ask themselves how valuable is the benefit of taking part in sport competitions in which they participate (I don’t think these words add any extra to the sentence). It is said that ‘it’ (after using the phrase ‘it is said/thought that’ you should repeat the subject) is worthy (you should use ‘worth’ here) for healthy people to having a positive attitude and this (the attitude) are also usually able to contributes more to a the healthy mind. 

But which points can be highlighted as valuable from having’ healthy lifestyles? (Personally, I wouldn’t ask questions in an essay). Not only does’ physical condition have a very important role to play, but also mental condition might be affected as a result’.  This (what starts at the beginning?) starts at the beginning (the beginning of what?) when the young child can learn about the value of exercise. Despite having a fitness body, this (what is ‘this’?) should not only be aimed at sports competitions. They need to have continuous ‘winnings and losses ings’ in order to understand the importance of being trained mentally (I think the argument of the essay disappears a bit here). For instance, Usain Bolt is an excellent athlete thanks to ‘his’ capability to accept to losses and train hard for the next sport competition.

Attitude alone, however, is not enough. Young athletes need to have easy access to resources which will enable them to learn in a better way. There is no point in having a great attitude to learn if they cannot find materials that other athletes can share as tips in order to make the difference. In this case, these materials refers to personal experiences and training methods ed abilities which youngsters need to pay more attention ‘to’. If cooperation is not performed (we don’t normally ‘perform cooperation’, it would be more common to say ‘if cooperation does not exist’, young people are all too likely to slip into bad habits (this  paragraph is well written).

To sum up, of the two values outlined above, healthy lifestyles is the more effective one. lt is more far reaching in that it relates to all aspects of living healthily. In addition to this, after all, through (‘developing the right’) attitude, that a person will learn why it is better to go to a sport competition than to lie on a couch in front of the television. (I don’t think I understand this final sentence. Do you mean attitude will teach a person? I probably wouldn’t introduce a new idea into the final sentence of an essay).

CAE Essay Sample 2 Marks

Below, you can read my critique on the examiner assessment scale...

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CAE Essay Sample 2 - Pass or Fail

This student has scored:

Content: 3/5

Communicative Achievement: 2/5

Organisation: 3/5

Language: 3/5

Total: 11/20.

If this student got 11/20 for their part 2 writing in the exam, they would score 22 out of 40 and they would not pass the CAE writing exam at a C1 level.

The student might still pass the exam if he/she gets higher marks in the other exam papers, Reading, Use of English, Speaking and Listening.

CAE Essay Examples - Question 3

Let's have a look at another example essay that a student sent to me. Similar to the first two, we'll have a look at the question, answer and my feedback.

Fantastic work if you've made it this're really going to be helping yourself prepare for this tricky part of the exam. High five!

The following question can be found on this website.

cae essay question

C1 Writing Exam Assessment Template

While reading the next answer, you should complete the assessment scale. You can download the assessment template here or complete this online version.


Mark (1-5)



Communicative Achievement





CAE Essay Examples - Answer 3

CAE Essay Examples - Answer 3 pdf

CAE Essay Examples - Answer 3

Okay, so hopefully you've completed the hard copy or the online examiner assessment template with your marks and comments. Before reading my corrections below, you should now write down any mistakes you find on this document.

CAE Essay Examples - Answer 3 + My Comments

Here is the student's answer with my corrections and comments written in (bold and italics).

We live in a wor’l’d where there are so many options for travelling (Spelling mistakes are not a huge issue, but they are important if they disrupt the flow/meaning of your writing. This spelling mistake is in the first sentence and therefore might put negative thinking in the examiner’s mind). According to a recent article, there has been an increase in international travelling. Since the article did not find the major causes of what is causing this new trend (can you think of a way to avoid saying ‘causes’ and ‘causing’ in the same sentence?), I decided to raise two crucially important factors which could presumably contribute to this. 

It cannot be denied that we take most means of transport for granted and flying on a plane is becoming more prevalent (Good sentence). In comparison to the previous century, the cost of airline tickets has noticeably decreased. In other words, most airlines are now aiming at a wide’r’ range of ‘people’ public. (We don’t often say ‘a range of public.’) Not only do they want to attract the affluent, but they also want to ensure that even the poorest citizens can afford to buy a ticket. Moreover, the convenience of aircraft also plays a vital role as flying is not so time-consuming. (Good paragraph).

Another potential factor is global business and trade. The majority of successful companies, such as Foxconn and Apple, are spread out into ‘across’ the whole world. If they did not do this, they would not be able to satisfy their customers. Therefore, they often have no other option, but to dispatch (‘dispatch’ is not often a word used for people but more for inanimate objects) their representatives, (remember the comma as this is a non-definite relative clause because the next part of the sentence is extra information) who always travel by plane. Secondly, the world economy has reached its peak, that is to say, our population is buying more cars. (I think this point would be made stronger by adding another sentence.)

To sum up, as far as I am concerned, global business plays a bigger role when it comes to the increase in travelling. Despite the fact that means of transport have changed, companies have a major impact. To make it clear, companies have the power to shape our society. We are under the influence of them. They set down the rules in terms of new trends in our society (I think you could combine the final two sentences and avoid repeating the words ‘our society’).

CAE Essay Examples - Question 3 Marks


Mark (1-5)




You have answered all the main parts of the question. The answer is slightly too long and even though all the information is answering the question, it would be good to shorten it slightly. 

The answer is generally written in an appropriately formal style and follows the conventions of essay writing.

Communicative Achievement


The essay benefits from a strong introduction which introduces the main topic.

The first body paragraph is developed well with a strong first sentence which is then built upon in the rest of the paragraph with some good linking phrases:

“In other words…”

The second body paragraph is fine but the second point in that paragraph could be given more explanation/detail.



The organisation of the essay is clear with separate paragraphs, all of reasonable length. The main arguments are put forward towards the beginning of the main body paragraphs and built upon well in the following sentences. The organisation of these paragraphs benefit from a range of cohesive devices (linking words) used to good effect.



The essay has been written in an appropriately formal style.

There is a good variety of appropriate words and phrases used to good effect, including a range of linking devices, for example: 

“According to a recent article…”

“It cannot be denied that...”

“Another potential factor is…”


The student has also shown a good understanding of simple and more complex grammatical structures, which have been used well. For example, the use of inversion and second conditional:

“Not only do they want to… , but they also want to ...”

“If they did not ..., they would not be able to ....”

There are a couple of small vocabulary or grammar related errors, but these do not impede communication.


CAE Essay Examples - Question 3 - Pass or Fail

I have awarded the essay the following marks:

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

Total: 15/20

In my opinion, this is a good essay. Remember you only have 90 minutes to complete 2 writing tasks in the exam, but if you could write this and a similar part 2 answer in 35 minutes each, leaving time for planning and checking, I think you will stand a good chance of passing at a C1 level. The examiners tend to mark the writing paper quite strictly in my experience and so it’s possible that some of the marking criteria could be awarded a 3, but it’s also possible some could be awarded a 5. It depends a little bit on the individual examiner. Well done!

CAE Essay Examples - Question 4

This came from the book 'Cambridge English Advanced 2' which you can buy here >>


CAE Essay Answer

You should print off a copy of the answer below here and write down any mistakes you find.

Alternatively, you can write the mistakes on a separate sheet of paper or on this online template.

You should also complete the examiner assessment scale template in hardcopy or online.

CAE Essay Answer With My Corrections

Here is a video of me critiquing this answer:

Below, you can read the answer with my corrections and what I wrote on the examiner assessment scale...

You need to register as a member in order to access the content below.


C1 Advanced Writing - Pass or Fail?

I have awarded the essay the following marks:

Content - 3

Communicative Achievement - 3

Organisation - 4

Language - 2


Total: 12/20


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.

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 this page >>

Another Video

Here's another essay I marked a couple of years ago. You might find it useful!

More CAE Essay Examples + Feedback

I recently published a book with 6 CAE essay examples and 15 other CAE sample writings. They all have my mistakes and suggestions highlighted, as well as critique based on official writing marking criteria.

Some of you can read it for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Take a look inside >>


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