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FCE

The Basics:

• The Writing Part of the FCE exam consists of 2 parts. Part 1 does not offer a choice. In
part 2, you can choose from 3 different tasks
• Part 1 is always an ESSAY.
• Part 2 is either a LETTER/EMAIL/APPLICATION or an ARTICLE or a REVIEW OR
REPORT
• Both parts are equally important and they are assessed the same way.
• For both parts you will have to write between 140-190 words.
• To write these two texts you will have 1 hour and 20 minutes time.

* you will have to choose 1 from 4 tasks (1 task, however, is based on the so-called set-text, which is a literary text
that you must have read before. If you haven’t read the book, you can’t choose this task.)

The Assessment of your Writing:

The experts will look at the following criteria:


• TASK COMPLETION: Have you answered/focused on the actual task/question? Did you
do all tasks? Did you include all necessary information? Did you respect the word limit?
• RANGE OF VOCABULARY/STYLE: Have you used a nice and appropriate range of
vocabulary and expression? Did you repeat yourself? Did you cheat and copy
expressions from the instructions? Did you find the best possible words to express what
you wanted to say? Did you write your text in the correct writing style?
• ORGANISATION: Have you organised your text nicely and appropriately? Did you use
paragraphs? Did you work with linking words? Did you structure your text logically? Did
you plan your arguments/ideas so that the text has a good flow?
• LANGUAGE LEVEL: Have you used correct language? Did you check spelling? Did you
check word order? Did you check for grammar mistakes?

So: Make sure that you always use this list as a checklist before you hand in your writing!

The 4 Steps:

• READ the instructions carefully and focus on the task. Do what you have to do – not
more, not less! (1 min)
• PLAN you answer carefully using prompts, mindmaps, key words, etc. Make sure you
didn’t forget anything and that your ideas must be structured logically. (8-10 mins)
• WRITE your text using paragraphs (minimum 4), a good range of vocabulary, the correct
style, linking words and a good level of grammar and spelling (18-22 mins)
• REVISE your text: Read it again and make sure you get rid of as many mistakes as
possible (grammar, word order, spelling). (5-10 mins)

Overview of the different Tasks:

(A) ESSAY (compulsory) (Erörterung, Aufsatz)

The essays are about various everyday topics. The idea is that you bring across various
arguments (pro and con arguments if necessary) and ideas (based on different
aspects/perspectives related to the topic). It is also important that you express your own
opinion. Make the text interesting, lively and attractive so that the reader is engaged to read
your text (this specifically includes a good title and introduction). Maybe use a rhetorical
question to engage the reader.
Structure you text systematically using linking words and paragraphs. Your text should have an
introduction with makes the reader want to read your text and it should have a conclusion at
the end. Make sure you use a semi-formal style.

(B) LETTER (email, informal letter, (semi)formal letter, letter of application)


(Brief, Email, Geschäftsbrief, Bewerbung)

There are various types of letters you will have to write. It is based on the instruction if your
text must be informal (writing to a friend), formal (a business letter or an application).
Therefore it is extremely important to carefully read the instructions and find out who you are
writing to and which style you will have to use!
Structure your letter using linking words and paragraphs. Make sure you use correct forms of
address and salutations.

(C) ARTICLE (Zeitungsartikel)

An article is a text that informs and/or entertains the reader. Some articles are more formal,
others are more informal, depending on the target reader (newspaper, youth magazine, etc.).
Therefore it is important to find out who your reader is, so that you can adapt your writing style
accordingly. Make the text interesting, lively and attractive so that the reader is engaged to
read your text (this specifically includes a good title and introduction). Maybe use a rhetorical
question to engage the reader.
An article is usually written in a semi-formal, natural style. Structure your article appropriately
so that it is easy for the reader to follow you. Use linking words and paragraphs to do this.
Make sure you use appropriate vocabulary and precise expressions to make clear what you
want to express. (Writing style is similar to the Review)

(D) REVIEW (Kritik, Rezension)


A review analyses a movie/book/piece of art/disco/music album/event... and it gives more
information on the topic to the reader. A review is based on facts, but it is also written in an
attractive way, so that the reader is both informed and entertained. A review should include
various aspects, factors and perspectives. At the end of the review, the writer must his own
opinion and/or give a recommendation.
A review is semi-formal and natural in writing style and it must be clearly structured in
paragraphs, using linking words and a clear logic. Make sure you use appropriate vocabulary
and precise expressions to make clear what you want to express. (Writing style is similar to the
article)

Useful Expressions for the different Tasks:

(A) ESSAY

Making points
Many people feel that ... Some people say that…
First and foremost, It is often said that…
It is widely believed that ... To clarify the point…
It would be ideal if ... Another argument in favour is ...
It is clear from the facts that ... The benefits of ... outweigh the disadvantages.
There is no doubt that… According to research…
A further (dis)advantage is… For instance…
Scientists/Experts argue that…

Contrasting points
On the other hand ... However, we should not forget that…
Other people think ... However, there is also a strong argument for…
An opposing argument is ... Although it is true that…

Giving opinions
I personally feel that ... From my point of view/In my view…
I find it hard to see why ... It seems to me that…
I certainly don't believe that ... I also feel that…
It is difficult to believe that ... To sum up/In conclusion…
I object to …. On the whole, I think ...
I must admit that… You may not agree, but I think that…
To be honest…

Organising and linking your ideas


First of all, … Secondly, … In addition, … So … As a result, … Therefore, …
Moreover, … Furthermore, … However, …
On the one hand … on the other hand … On the whole …, all in all…
Finally, … To summarise, … In conclusion

(B) LETTER

• INFORMAL LETTER

Dear (first name),

Thank you/Many thanks for your (recent/last) letter/postcard.


I’m sorry I haven’t written/been in touch for such a long time. / It’s ages since I’ve heard from you.

Listen, did I tell you about … You’ll never believe what …/ This is just to let you know that …
I thought you might be interested to hear about/know that … / By the way, have you heard about/did
you know that …

I’m having a party on Friday 19th and I hope you’ll be able to come.
I was wondering if you’d like to …. / Could you let me/us know if ...
Thank you very much for your invitation. I’d love to come. / Thank you for asking/inviting me to … but
I’m afraid I won’t be able to …

I’m writing to ask for your help. / I was wondering if you could do me a favour.
I hope you don’t mind me asking but could you (possibly) …?
I’d be very/really/terribly grateful if you could …

Why don’t you …? / Maybe you could …? / How about …?


I’m sure you will enjoy doing… / If you like, we can …

Give my love/regards to … Say hello to … Hope to hear from you soon.


See you soon! Write soon. Once again, thank you for all your help.

Love, / Lots of love, / Yours, / Best wishes,


First name

• FORMAL LETTER

Dear Mr/Ms (surname), Dear Sir/Madam/Sir or Madam,

I am writing to …
I am writing with regard to … / I am writing concerning…
I am writing on behalf of …

I would be grateful if … / I wonder if you could …


I would particularly like to know … / I would be interested in having more details about …

I am writing to complain about …

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I look forward to hearing from you/to meeting you soon.
Please contact me if you have any further questions.

(If Dear surname) Yours sincerely,


(If Dear Sir/Madam) Yours faithfully,
First name + surname

• LETTER OF APPLICATION

Dear Mr/Ms (surname), Dear Sir/Madam/Sir or Madam,

I am writing to apply for the post/position of … as advertised in …


I am writing with reference/in response to your advertisement, which I saw …

I gained some experience while …


I am currently working as … / At the moment I am employed by …
I have been working for … for the last four years.
I worked part-time for three years as …
My qualifications include … / I have a diploma in … / I graduated from … with a degree in …
Please find attached my CV / As you can see from the attached CV …

Please do not hesitate to contact me if/should you require further information.


I look forward to hearing from you.
I am available for interview at your convenience.

(If Dear surname) Yours sincerely,


(If Dear Sir/Madam) Yours faithfully,
Yours,
First name + surname

(C) ARTICLE

Rhetorical phrases:
Have you ever…?
What would think if…?
Are you one of those people who…?
What would life be like if…?
Would you also agree if…?

• see “Essay” for more useful expressions

(D) REVIEW
The … I would like to review is…
It is about… / It has to do with… / It mainly focuses on…
Its main power/magic/strength lies in…
Its main weakness is…

I was shocked/surprised/glad/thrilled/fascinated/amazed/bored/…
It was terrible/awful/emotional/thrilling/captivating/dull/superficial/…

I would recommend … to everyone who…


Although I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t recommend it because…
It’s one of the most…
I would (not) encourage anyone to…
I would not hesitate to recommend…