Eye on the First Certificate: Writing Part 2 – an article

The Cambridge First Certificate Exam is one of the most popular B2 exams out there. It’s a great choice to certify your upper intermediate English level because it’s a very practical exam, which means you continue learning and improving your English while you prepare for the exam.

The Writing portion of this exam tests your ability to express opinions, organize ideas, and incorporate things like connectors and B2 level grammar into your writing. This series of blogs will look at each section and clarify any doubts you may have as well as help you prepare yourself for the exam.

Writing in English will prove much easier if you understand how to organize writing in your own language. If you don’t write much in your native language either you will need to dedicate some extra effort here. Creativity is also an element particularly in certain types of writings like articles and reviews. If you enjoy writing, this aspect of creativity may not be so hard for you, but if you aren’t as avid a writer you will need to practice answering as many writings as possible to force yourself to practice creativity in responses.

Writing Part 2

The second task in the writing portion of the Cambridge First Certificate Exam requires that you choose from one of three writing prompts. These will ask you to write either an article, letter, e-mail, review, or story.

Articles

Articles are a common type of writing that can be found in newspapers, magazines, or academic journals.  On this exam you should expect the article to be for some type of magazine and therefore have an informal style. Articles are meant to connect with their audience, so this is a great style for someone who likes to write or has a particular connection to the topic. This means you can use contractions and are encouraged to use lots of phrasal verbs and colloquial expressions.

Just because it is an informal style doesn’t mean that you don’t need to have structure organization and paragraphs. The structure in all writing is similar. There always has to be an introduction, explanation, and conclusion. This also means you need a catchy or fun title that will peak people’s interest. The structure of writings can be something challenging particularly for students who finished their studies long ago. Articles are typically structured in three or four paragraphs.

Introduction

The first paragraph is the introduction. An intro needs to include two important things: the topic and the thesis. The topic is a restatement of the question you were given in your own words and is usually quite general in nature. The thesis is your opinion. You should include a strong statement of your opinion that you will then go on to defend in more detail in the following paragraphs. If you cover these two essential parts of an intro then that means there should never be less than two sentences.

Body

Your next one, two or three paragraphs are called body paragraphs and they are where you detail the three main things they ask you to deal with in the instructions. They should be structured in a similar way to your writing as a whole in that you start with the general topic then provide examples for support and recap the most important idea in the end.

Conclusion

Your final paragraph is your conclusion. A conclusion restates the topic yet again and then summarizes your most important thoughts from the article. Most importantly it connects on a general level with readers. Many often like to finish with a universal statement on the topic to help connect with your reader. So, again, no less than two sentences.

Revision

Structure is the most important thing to consider in writing, but you should also keep in mind using sufficiently advanced vocabulary and grammar structures. This is something you should go back and check for in subsequent revisions. Likewise, as you edit your work also remember to add in more connectors and double check that your tone is accurate.

Advice

Like with anything, practice makes perfect. Write as much as you can leading up to your exam so that you can get in the habit of finding ideas and forming opinions on all the topics comprised in your exam.

 

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