Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE): How to Write a Review
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A review may be about a book, magazine, film, play or concert; it may also be about a product or a service. A review in the C1 Advanced Writing paper does not merely ask for a general description of the thing reviewed, but requires an evaluation of its suitability for a particular purpose or audience. The target reader is specified in the task, and candidates should be encouraged to use this information when choosing appropriate ideas and language to include in their response. from: Cambridge English First Handbook for Teachers
In the C1 Advanced Writing exam there are two parts. Part 1 always requires you to write an essay while in Part 2 you can choose from different text types. Apart from reviews, you can also decide to pick a proposal , a report or an email/letter .
Reviews are fun!
Reviews are fun because reading reviews is fun. Who doesn’t enjoy a few opinions from other people before making the decision on which restaurant to go to, which film to watch or which book to buy? Also, in our day and age, we are constantly looking at social proof for a wide range of topics so reviews are much more natural to us than they were only a few years ago when the internet wasn’t everywhere so you might even have written about a few of your own experiences online.
Of course, when writing a review for C1 Advanced you have to follow a specific structure and fulfill certain requirements, but the good thing for you is that they are always the same so you can study and practise them and become better every single day until you get to the official exam and it won’t be a problem for you anymore.
We are going to look at different aspects of review writing, from looking at a typical task and its structure, useful language and mistakes to avoid. If you are interested, keep reading.
>>> Find out how your C1 Advanced writing is marked. <<<
What a typical review task looks like
Speaking from my experience as a teacher and preparing numerous students for the exam, I can say that most review tasks look pretty much the same. The structure is very very similar and once you know what to look for, you can use it to your advantage by saving a lot of time and going into the test ready and calm.
When you see a writing task for C1 Advanced (not only reviews, but really all of them), you should always ask your self a few very specific questions which can help you to better understand what you have to do and set you up for a successful writing exam.
- What is the situation? (topic)
- What exactly do I have to include in my review? (main points)
- Who is going to read the review?
To find the answers to these three questions read the task very carefully and underline the key information.
I underlined the information in different colours as each colour refers to one of the questions from above. First of all, the topic is underlined with red. Secondly, the main points or questions you have to answer in your review are green and, finally, you are writing for a website called Great Lives (blue).
This structure is usually the same in every task so make sure that you look for the same type of information whenever you sit down to practise reviews.
You might ask yourself why it is so important to know who you are writing for, but this tells you exactly if you should use formal, neutral or informal language. Imagine you had to write to your boss or the director of your school. You would choose a more formal style than if you were writing to your friends. In our example, we should choose something that is more of a neutral style. After all, we don’t the people on the website, but we want to keep it light and as interesting as possible.
When writing in a neutral style you can use contractions like ‘I’m’ or ‘don’t’ and you can use phrasal verbs as well as interesting adjectives and adverbs to make your review more lively. However, I wouldn’t recommend using slang words or too many colloquial expressions nor anything that is too formal as you would in an essay or formal letter.
How to organise your review
Now that we know what the task’s topic is, what exactly we need to include and the tone we should write in, it is time to look at the structure of a review. Luckily, this can be repeated from review to review and you simply have to change the content depending on the topic and main points.
Remember, there are two main questions for you to answer here (Did you learn anything new about the person’s life? Did the book or film help you understand why this person made their important contribution?) It makes a lot of sense to give each of those questions their own paragraph as they talk about different aspects of your review.
Additionally, you should add an introduction (with a title) in which you create some anticipation and engage the reader as well as a conclusion where you summarise your main points and make a recommendation (because that’s why we read reviews). In total, that comes to four paragraphs which could look like this:
- What new things did you learn about the person’s life?
- Do you now better understand why the person made their important contribution?
Obviously, your main topic paragraphs should be longer than the intro and conclusion, and keep in mind that there is a word limit of 220-260 words.
Always plan your review
I say this in every article I write here on teacherphill.com and I’m going to say it again in this post because it is such an important piece of advice. Unfortunately, many candidates simply ignore or forget about it and find themselves in the official C1 Advanced exam nervous and unprepared so I want you to include this in your practice.
Whenever you sit down to write for your exam preparation, make a plan before you start your review, report, proposal, email/letter or essay. It only takes 3-5 minutes and it can save you so much time down the road when you need to make corrections.
A plan can be very short and only include a few keywords that you add under each heading so you know what you want to write about and don’t have to rethink everything halfway through the writing task.
- Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – Ask a question to engage reader. Brief life background.
- New things I learned – his work as a lawyer, marriage problems, his reliance on Winnie
- Why did he do all of it – oppression in South Africa was terrible
- Conclusion: The film gives great insight into Mandela’s life. I definitely recommend it.
There you have it. It took me just a couple of minutes to jot down my ideas and now that they are recorded on paper we are ready to write our review.
The different parts of a review
After looking at how to analyse a task as well as organise and plan your review, it is time to get into actually writing it. We are still going to work on our example task and, of course, you might have to adjust your language and content for different topics, but you should get a good idea of what is expected from you when writing a review for C1 Advanced.
The introduction of a review aims to engage the reader from the beginning. You want to create interest and anticipation of what you have to say about the book, film, restaurant or whatever else you might be reviewing.
It is always a good idea to start with a question because you can involve the reader’s own mind and, therefore, generate the engagement you want. Also, don’t give any spoilers, but hint at what’s going to come in the rest of the text .
Let’s look at a possible introduction.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – a review Have you ever been so passionate about something that you would sacrifice your very best years for it? Would you even put it ahead of your family and friends? In the film Mandela: Lond Walk to Freedom we get not only a glimpse of Nelson Mandela’s life, but rather dive deep into who he was and how he changed a whole country.
I gave my review a title, which doesn’t have to be fancy, and in the introduction I didn’t do anything crazy either. It starts with a couple of questions to generate interest and I don’t give away too much of the storyline. Obviously, a lot of people know something about Nelson Mandela’s life, but that’s not the point. Give the reader just a tiny little taste so they want more and keep reading.
The body of your review for C1 Advanced includes all the main topic points that we elicited earlier from the example task.
Each point gets its own paragraph to make sure that the text is clearly organised.
You also want to make sure that you keep the reader’s attention which you have carefully caught in the introduction. Treat it like something very valuable that you don’t want to lose again until the end of your review.
While the whole film captivated me throughout, there was one aspect that truly stood out to me. Nelson Mandela and his second wife Winnie had a one-of-a-kind relationship driving each other to continue and grow the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa even after Mr Mandela was captured and imprisoned . It is a testament to their dedication and partnership and something that a lot of us can learn from. Despite having a strong and driven partner in his wife, I still used to be astonished by the fact that someone would simply sacrifice themselves and give up a big part of their life to help others, but this biopic made me reconsider. Witnessing a segregated society and all the racial abuse the black community had to endure during apartheid, there was no other option for Nelson Mandela than to stand up and fight for equality .
I’ve highlighted some of the more important language features for you. At the beginning of each paragraph, I play with contrasting statements (while, despite) as this keeps the reader guessing. I also tried to use some vocabulary that is specific to Mandela’s life (anti-apartheid movement, sacrifice themselves, segregated society, racial abuse…had to endure, stand up and fight for equality) and some words and expressions to make the review more interesting for the reader (one-of-a-kind, captured and imprisoned, it is a testament to…, astonished).
All of these little things together make for an engaging review that the reader wants to read fully and thoroughly.
To finish your review you need a conclusion in which you summarise what you’ve written up to this point and make a recommendation to the reader. After all, that’s why we read reviews in the first place – we want someone to tell us about a product or an experience and see if they would recommend it or not.
There is some specific language that you should incorporate when you make a recommendation because you want to persuade the reader and make the examiner happy :
- I recommend/suggest [title/name] to + person
- I recommend/suggest + -ing
- I recommend/suggest that …
- You should + base verb
- You might want to + base verb
Nothing crazy, but you want to cover all the bases.
All in all, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom gives some incredible insight into the life of one of the world’s most famous and influential personalities of the 20th century. It would be a shame not to watch it so I highly recommend that you check your favourite streaming service or buy the film as soon as you can and I promise you won’t regret it.
You see that it is very much straightforward. The first sentence recaps what I like about the film and the second one makes a recommendation and tries to persuade the reader (“I promise you won’t regret it.”).
How your review is marked
The marking scheme in C1 Advanced is pretty complex and there are a lot of things for the examiner to consider when checking your review. For this reason, I decided to write an article about how the writing paper in CAE is marked and you check it out by following the link below.
>>> Find out how your writing in C1 Advanced is marked. <<<
Now it is up to you
Take the advice in this article and start practising reviews. With more experience it will become easier and easier for you and when the official exam comes around, you will be ready.
Lots of love,
Teacher Phill 🙂
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- How to Write a Review for Cambridge C1 Advanced
- Posted on 28/09/2022
- Categories: Blog
- Tags: C1 Advanced , CAE , Cambridge Exams , Writing
Are you planning to take the Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) exam?
If so, you will need to complete two pieces of writing during the Writing paper. Part 1 is always an essay , while part 2 gives you two different questions and you must choose only one of them to complete. One of these may be a review.
As writing the perfect review for part 2 can be quite tricky, we have created this handy guide with everything you need to know to impress your examiner and get top marks in your exam.
Let’s get started!
Before you Begin
Imagine this! It’s exam day, you turn the page and see this question:
Question taken from Cambridge English Language Assessment website . (September 2022)
What is the first thing you need to do after reading your question? Well, you need to consider the following things:
- Who is our reader? This helps you know what style to write in.
- What is the topic? What are you writing a review for?
- What do you need to include? Which questions do you need to address?
We recommend you read the question carefully and underline the key information.
Now that you understand the question, it’s time to plan your review.
Three Steps to Writing the Perfect C1 Advanced Review
Step 1: plan it.
Planning your review is one of the most important steps so you don’t waste time correcting any big mistakes later!
Think of a book or film which focuses on somebody who has made an important contribution to society. When you have one in mind, you can start thinking of the structure of your review. Take a look at the example structure here:
1. An interesting title
2. An introduction
3. A summary of the plot
4. What did I learn about the person’s life from the book/film?
5. How did the book/film help me understand why this person made their important contribution?
At this stage, it is important to also think about the vocabulary you want to use. Remember to use advanced C1 vocabulary in your review (try to avoid ‘very’ and ‘really’).
Here is some advanced vocabulary that you can use to describe films and books:
Step 2: Write it
Now that you have your plan, it’s time to start writing!
Firstly, think of a title. You can keep it simple if you cannot think of anything too creative. For example, it could just be the name of the book or film that you’re reviewing.
Next is the introduction. A nice feature to use here is a rhetorical question . This is a question you ask your audience to grab their attention, for example:
Have you ever watched a film that has had a long-lasting impression on you?
Or you could include a general statement about the book or film:
The film Super Size Me received glowing reviews from critics. Spurlock’s story is eye-opening and gives the viewers some food for thought .
You could also give some background information about the film or book:
The plot of the film Super Size Me centres around Morgan Spurlock, a director who conducts a social experiment to highlight the effects of consuming McDonald’s fast food for an entire month.
Now you need to move onto the main paragraph. Here you should summarise the plot of the film or book. For example:
At the beginning of the film, Spurlock undergoes a medical examination to ensure he doesn’t cause long-lasting irreversible damage to his health. Throughout the month, he only consumes McDonald’s meals…
After briefly describing the plot (remember, no spoilers!), you can address the two questions.
For the conclusion, you need to sum up your thoughts on the book/film. You can do this by using some of the phrases below:
– Taking everything into consideration,…
– All things considered,…
Step 3: Check it
Checking your writing is probably the most important step. You don’t want to avoid losing out on points over tiny mistakes, right?
Here are some points to think about while checking your review:
- Have I answered all the questions?
- Have I stayed within the word limit?
- Have I used the appropriate writing style?
- Is my spelling correct?
- Have I used punctuation correctly?
- Have I used advanced vocabulary and a good range of grammar?
- Is everything connected and coherent ?
Make sure you are using a range of grammatical structures in your exam. Your grammatical accuracy as well as your grammatical range are both taken into consideration by the examiner.
Take a look at some of these grammar points that you will most likely come across in the C1 Advanced exam:
Remember that you will also need to know these for the reading and use of English section of the exam, so it’s a good idea to brush up on your grammar!
Top CAE Writing Part 2 Exam Tips
Here are some important exam tips to help you feel more prepared when writing your review:
- You have 90 minutes in total for the whole exam
- Divide your time equally between part 1 and part 2 of the writing exam
- For part 2, use 10 minutes to plan , 25 minutes to write , and 10 minutes to check
- You have a word count of 220 and 260
- The review could be for a film , book , hotel , magazine , restaurant or a product
Remember to get plenty of sleep before your exam so you feel well rested for the big day. Good luck!
Looking for Help with your CAE Exam Preparation?
If you’re looking for guidance and feedback to help you pass your Cambridge C1 Advanced exam with confidence, then take a look at our exam preparation courses . Classes are dynamic and practical and our friendly professional teachers will help you get the score you need.
Glossary for Language Learners
Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.
Gripping (adj): something that holds your interest (usually a story).
Cliffhanger (n): a story which is exciting and suspenseful because you don’t know what will happen next.
Fast-paced (adj): lots of exciting action happening quickly.
Letdown (n): a disappointment.
Second-rate (adj): not impressive, mediocre.
Eye-opening (adj): some information that is new and surprising.
Food for thought (exp): something worth seriously thinking about.
Undergo (v): to experience something, usually something unpleasant or a change.
Irreversible (adj): cannot be reversed.
Coherent (adj): a piece of text that is clear and is connected well.
Brush up on (pv): to improve your knowledge of something that you may have forgotten a little.
adj = adjective
exp = expression
pv = phrasal verb
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Home » C1 Advanced » CAE Course » CAE Writing Course » CAE Review | C1 Advanced | 14 Key Steps To Success
CAE Review | C1 Advanced | 14 Key Steps To Success
Table of Contents
Almost every day students ask me "Rory, how can I answer the C1 Advanced: CAE Review question in the exam?" However, before answering this question. Let's first answer another question, "what is a CAE Review?"
A CAE Review is a writing task from part 2 of the C1 Advanced (CAE) writing exam. However, reviews do not always appear in the exam. This is because in part 2 you only write one answer from three different questions which are based on 5 different writing tasks.
What are the chances of the CAE Review appearing in the exam?
Sorry, this section is available for CAE members only. Register/upgrade here >>
Where to begin?
Often students don't know where to begin with review writing, but luckily, you found me.
This page will lay out how to prepare for and write a review to get the examiners jumping up and down with joy.
Answering this question well , might affect whether you pass or fail the C1 Advanced exam. So make sure you follow the information on this page to ensure you get the highest marks possible!
CAE Tip: Register/upgrade to 'Gold' access this tip now >>
Right, enough prittle prattle (informal way of saying 'idle talk').
Examiners’ Marking Criteria
If you understand how the examiners mark your review, you will know how to get high marks for each criterion. This is imperative if you want to pass the CAE review.
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How to pass C1 Advanced CAE Writing Part 2 Review
Write down important notes from the video below in the relevant fields of this worksheet . You should keep this worksheet open in a separate internet tab and keep adding information to it from the rest of this page.
CAE Review Video Summary and Transcript
I hope you enjoyed the video above. Some students prefer to learn by reading rather than watching videos and so I thought it would be useful to outline the most important parts of the video for you. These are the steps you should follow if you want to pass the C1 Review writing:
Before the Exam:
- Watch and understand how examiners mark the CAE writing paper ( see this video ).
- Learn and remember what the examiners want from a CAE review (see ' review advice ' below).
- Do lots of practice examples. Use sample exam papers to help with this. If you are doing a computer based exam, make sure you write your practice answers on computer. If you are doing a paper based exam, make sure you write with a pen or pencil on a sheet of paper. When you have finished your practice answer, count how many words it is. If it is within the word limit, remember how much space it has used on the page. If you do this a few times, you will know approximately how long your writing needs to be in the exam and you do not need to waste time counting how many words you've written.
During the exam:
- Spend the first 2 minutes reading the question and underlining the important information and who the target reader is (see ' review question ' below).
- Spend 5 minutes planning your answer. Think about the type of language you will use and how you will link your key ideas together (see ' CAE review plan ' below).
- Take 30-35 minutes to write your answer. While writing, think about the type of language you will use (see ' CAE review vocabulary ' below). Examiners like to see you use complex grammatical structures and vocabulary, even if they are not executed perfectly. Make sure you answer all the required parts of the question. When you make a point, try to back it up with further information and focus on how you can link your points together nicely.
- Save 3-8 minutes to read over your work at the end. Try to read your work from an outside perspective. Make sure that the points you want to make are clear and obvious. Sometimes they are obvious to the person who wrote them, but not to a person who is reading the work for the first time. Have a look at this page for some common errors which students make at C1 Advanced .
CAE Review Advice
I would advise adding the most important bits of information from this section to your worksheet here .
This is from a Handbook which Cambridge instruct teachers to use when preparing their students. You can learn this yourself and be in exactly the same place as a teacher. I truly believe that you can train yourself to pass the exam if you know the right resources to use and you can access this document here .
What this shows us is that you need to use descriptive language but you also need to tailor your writing to the target reader. Think about this when deciding what type of language to use (see 'review vocabulary' below) and whether or not your ideas are appropriate. Try to practise with review questions which target different readers. Write and Improve is a good website with a variety of questions.
This is also good advice. When you are reading different types of reviews, try to check how the language differs from one review to another depending on the target reader. Check to see if you can find any reviews written by published or well known authors. If you find any of these reviews, check whether they give recommendations and try to copy the style of these and the language they use in your own writing.
When practising before the exam, focus on the descriptive and explanatory language you use.
CAE Review Example 1
These are the words I would underline from this question.
So, from the words I've underlined, see if you can answer these questions on a separate piece of paper:
- Who is the target reader?
- What are you reviewing.
- What are they key points you need to address?
- The target reader is a website.
- You are reviewing a book or film about a person who has made an important contribution to society.
- There are 2 key points you need to address: 1. Did you learn anything new about this person's life? 2. Did the book or film give you a better understanding as to why this person did what they did?
CAE Review Task - Plan
So with those points in mind, I'd like you to write down a plan for this review here .
It is really important that you do this because when you've done that, you can compare it with my review plan below.
In the exam I would recommend trying to write a review of something real as this will be a lot easier to write about.
My CAE Review Plan
Here is a plan I made for this question. Don't worry if yours is very different, this is just how I would write my plan to help me in the exam.
Sorry, this section is available for members only. Register here >> or log in >>
C1 Advanced Review Answer
Write down the mistakes you found in the answer above on this page >>
Examiners' Assessment Scale Template
Complete the assessment scale below based on the answer above. Print it off here , or complete an online version of this assessment scale here >>
Student's Answer With My Corrections
Did you know that a simple book can change the way you perceive (remove the word ‘the’ here because you are speaking about life in general) life? No sooner had (you should write ‘had’ here because you started reading before you ‘realised’ which was in the past) I started to read 5 a.m Club than (you need to write ‘than’ here) I realized that something in my life needed/had to (I think this should also be in the past, you read in the past then you realised your life had to change) change. I would like to introduce you few line about this (you should remove the words 'few line about this' and replace it with 'to this, ') such a wonderful book and how it (you should repeat the subject 'it' here) increased my productivity on a daily basis (we normally say 'a daily basis' rather than 'my daily basis') .
On the one hand, I have learnt how I can manage my time practising ( you should say 'practising' with an 's' rather than a 'c' here because we are using the verb form of 'practice' not the noun form. This is a very common mistake which students and even native English speakers make) the morning person routine. This routine consist s of waking up at 5 am every day ('consists of' is an example of a collocation. We use lots of collocations in English. If you don't know what a collocation is, watch this old video I made. I give lots more examples of typical C1 Advanced collocations on my website) . Honestly, I (remove 'was') struggled the first time (remove 'which') I read about that because I never thought that I would be capable of doing it (you should always say capable of + verbing) . As it is said: ‘If you want, you can’ and it’s what I did. I was able to wake up at 5am, breaking my daily routine, and setting a new habit which took me 21 days to adopt ( you could also say 'which took 21 days until I adopted it'. Make sure you know the difference between 'adopt' and 'adapt' ) .
On the other hand, I learnt that if I would like to take advantage of my time, I should follow some productivity techniques which help (be careful not to jump between present and past verb tenses) me to complete all my daily goals. (It might be worth revising 'would like to have + past participle and 'should have + past participle). Sounds easy, but it is not. I started creating a calendar where I put blocks of 1 hours during my working hours. Then, I selected blocks where my concentration was higher, and I assigned the most critical tasks to these hours . For the rest of the blocks, I assigned the remaining tasks which were less important. It is wonderful the way I can complete tasks now!
After 21 days, I realized that my daily routine had changed a lot! (It is better to use past perfect in the last sentence because your routine changed before the realisation). I discovered that I had (had?) more time to spend with my family plus covering all the my daily tasks successfully. Would you like to learn the daily routine of the author of this book? Do not miss the opportunity, and follow him on his social networks.
This is a good attempt at the writing task. Although you have made some language related errors, you have tried to use a good range of language which you will be rewarded for in the exam.
Examiner's Assessment Scale With My Comments
Unfortunately this section is available for members only. Become a member here >>
C1 Review - Pass or Fail
Let's add up the marks:
Communicative achievement: 4/5
Remember there is an examiner's assessment criteria video above which you should watch if you have forgotten how examiners mark your writing.
This review is part 2 of the CAE writing paper. If we assume the student got 12/20 for part 1, the essay, then they would have got 22/40 in total.
This would mean the student would just fail this section of the exam by 2 marks. You need 24/40 to pass this exam paper. You can still pass the exam even if you fail one section as long as your average across all the exam papers is high enough. This page gives more detail on CAE exam marks .
CAE Review - Example 2
You see this announcement on a website which is particularly popular with university students and young adults. The website is called ‘Great People’:
Send us a review about a person who, in your eyes, has had a great influence on the world.
How did this person influence the world? What can we learn from this person’s character?
Write your review in 220-260 words.
Before you read the sample answer below, you should open this sheet and write down any mistakes you find while reading the answer. You should also open this document and write your marks and comments for the sample review.
STEPHEN HAWKING:the life of a genius
World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time. This scientist has also written several other books including：1.The Large Scale Structure Of Space-Time 2. A Brief History Of Time 3. Black Holes And Baby Universes And Other Essays 4. The Universe In A Nutshell 5. On The Shoulders Of Giants. The Great Works of Physics And Astronomy 6. God created the integers 7. George's secret key to the Universe 8. George's cosmic treasure hunt 9. George and the Big Bang 10. The Grand Design 11. My brief history. He has made many important discovers over the years, and has even been named the most influential person of the century.
Besides all of that, he was also an actor, he appeared in many movies and shows such as: Star Trek The Next Generation and The Simpsons. Sadly, no man is perfect, At the age of 22 Professor Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease. The illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesizer.
They praised his "courage and persistence" and said his "brilliance and humour" inspired people across the world. “We will miss him forever.”
C1 Review - Mistakes & Corrections
Have a thorough read of the mistakes and corrections, followed by the examiner assessment scale below. This will help you understand how to write a C1 Advanced review.
Sorry, this section is available to 'Gold' members only. Register or upgrade to Gold membership here to access now >>
Sorry, this section is not available to you. If you want to access it now, register or upgrade your membership here >>
C1 Review Sample 2 - Final Marks
Content - 1 Communicative Achievement - 2 Organisation - 2 Language - 2
Unfortunately this writing would require the student to get 17/20 in part 1 to achieve the C1 level for the writing exam paper (24/40). This is not an easy task.
Learn more about what marks you need to pass here .
C1 Advanced Review Vocabulary
"Did you know.....?" - It's good to ask a question in the review to make the reader more interested in what you're saying.
"...I really recommend + verbing"
"I highly recommend + verbing"
"must-see" - we use this phrase when we state that somebody must watch a film or television series.
"give it a miss" - this means do not watch or read the book/film/television series.
"It will have you in hysterics" - this means when you cannot stop laughing.
"I advise you..."
"...gives a great account of..." - this means the book/film summarises or describes something very well. You can switch the word 'great' for a different adjective to give the phrase a different meaning.
"...gives a remarkable performance as..." - this is normally used to talk about good acting by a particular person.
"the plot was dull..." - this means the story line was boring.
Read another CAE Review Sample
- Read my CAE Writing Samples e-book . In the book you will find 21 sample writings that my students sent me. I marked the writings based on the examiner assessment scale and gave each writing my feedback and critique. Take a look now >>
Submit a Review
Send a CAE Review to me via my CAE Writing Assessment Service >>
I will mark it for you and give feedback 🙂
Check out this page for some online instructions and forms for you and your students to complete on computer.
If you prefer to print out worksheets for the classroom, the instructions below will be better for you:
- Complete this worksheet with the most important information from the video and advice above.
- Read this example review question then write a plan for it here . You should try to do this within 5 minutes.
- Print and read this example review answer. Write down any mistakes you find.
- Compare your mistakes with the ones I found here .
- Complete this assessment scale for the review.
- How similar is your assessment scale to mine?
Watch the video below and complete the exercises:
You'll need to upgrade to Gold membership to watch the video below. Upgrade here to watch it >>
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C1 advanced exam format.
C1 Advanced is a thorough test of all areas of language ability.
The updated exam (for exam sessions from January 2015) is made up of four papers developed to test your English language skills. You can see exactly what’s in each paper below.
The formats below are the same for both the paper-based and computer-based exams.
- openbook Reading and Use of English
- compose Writing
- playlist Listening
- megaphone Speaking
openbook What’s in the Reading and Use of English paper?
The C1 Advanced Reading and Use of English paper is in eight parts and has a mix of text types and questions.
Part 1 (Multiple-choice cloze)
Part 2 (Open cloze)
Part 3 (Word formation)
Part 4 (Key word transformations)
Part 5 (Multiple choice)
Part 6 (Cross-text multiple matching)
Part 7 (Gapped text)
Part 8 (Multiple matching)
compose What’s in the Writing paper?
In the two parts of the C1 Advanced Writing paper, you have to show that you can write different types of text in English.
Part 1 (Compulsory question)
Part 2 (Situationally based writing task)
playlist What’s in the Listening paper?
The C1 Advanced Listening paper has four parts. For each part you have to listen to a recorded text or texts and answer some questions. You hear each recording twice.
Part 1 (Multiple choice)
Part 2 (Sentence completion)
Part 3 (Multiple choice)
Part 4 (Multiple matching)
megaphone What’s in the Speaking paper?
The C1 Advanced Speaking test has four parts and you take it together with another candidate.
There are two examiners. One of the examiners conducts the test (asks you questions, gives you the paper with things to talk about, and so on). The other examiner listens to what you say and takes notes.
Part 1 (Interview)
Part 2 (Long turn)
Part 3 (Collaborative task)
Part 4 (Discussion)
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Free Practice Tests (Online & PDF) | C1 Advanced (CAE)
Would you pass C1 Advanced (CAE)?
C1 advanced (cae) practice tests online: use of english.
What’s in Part 1? Part 1 consists of a text in which there are eight gaps (plus one gap as an example). Each gap represents a missing word or phrase . The text is followed by eight sets of four words or phrases, each set corresponding to a gap. Candidates have to choose which one of the four words or phrases in the set fills the gap correctly.
Need more practice tests?
What’s in Part 2? Part 2 consists of a text in which there are eight gaps (plus one gap as an example). In this part, as there are no sets of words from which to choose the answers, candidates have to think of a word that will fill the gap correctly .
What’s in Part 3? Part 3 consists of a text containing eight gaps (plus one gap as an example). At the end of some of the lines, and separated from the text, there is a stem word in capital letters . Candidates need to form an appropriate word from given stem words to fill each gap.
What’s in Part 4? Part 4 consists of six questions (plus an example). Each question contains three parts: a lead-in sentence, a key word , and a second sentence of which only the beginning and end are given. Candidates have to fill the gap in the second sentence so that the completed sentence is similar in meaning to the lead-in sentence. The gap must be filled with between three and six words , one of which must be the key word. They key word must not be changed in any way
FCE, CAE, CPE
Practice, write & improve, c1 advanced (cae) practice tests online: reading.
What’s in Part 5? Part 5 consists of one long text , drawn from a variety of sources which include fiction. The text is followed by six 4-option multiple-choice questions which are presented in the same order as the information in the text so that candidates can follow the development of the text.
What’s in Part 6? Part 6 consists of four short texts , on a related theme, followed by multiple-matching prompts . In total, there are four questions . Candidates must read across texts to match a prompt to elements in the texts.
What’s in Part 7? Part 7 consists of one long gapped text from which six paragraphs of equal length have been removed and placed in jumbled order after the text, together with a seventh paragraph which does not fit in any of the gaps. The text is usually from a non-fiction source (including journalism).
What’s in Part 8? Part 8 consists of one or two sets of questions followed by a single page of text: the text may be continuous, or divided into sections, or consist of a group of short texts. In total, there are 10 questions and four to six options. Need more practice tests?
C1 Advanced (CAE) Practice Tests Online: Listening
What’s in Part 1? Part 1 consists of three unrelated short texts . These texts are approximately 1 minute in length and involve two speaker s. Texts are taken from a wide range of real-life contexts and, therefore, contain a correspondingly wide range of topics, voices and styles of delivery. There are two 3-option multiple-choice questions on each text.
What’s in Part 2? Part 2 features an informational monologue of approximately 3 minutes in length. Texts typically take the form of talks, lectures or broadcasts, aimed at a non-specialist audience, and are delivered in a neutral or semi-formal style.
What’s in Part 3? Part 3 features interviews and d i scussions, involving two or more speakers. The text is approximately 3–4 minutes in length and typically takes the form of a broadcast interview or discussion aimed at a non-specialist audience.
What’s in Part 4? Part 4 consists of a series of five short monologues on a theme. The text is 3–4 minutes in length with each monologue lasting approximately 30 seconds . The monologues represent spontaneous speech, delivered in an informal spoken style by speakers with a range of backgrounds and voices. There are two parallel multiple-matching tasks, each with a different focus. In each case, the correct option has to be chosen from a list of eight.
C1 Advanced (CAE) Practice Tests: PDF & Computer-based
Full Test 1 (PDF/ZIP) – along with audio files
Full Test 2 (PDF/ZIP) – along with audio files
Sample computer-based test
- Reading and Use of English
Reading and Writing
(source: Cambridge )
- Cookies Policy
- Web Development
C1 Advanced - Writing
Certificate in advanced english (cae).
- C1 Advanced quick links:
- Use Of English
- Back to the C1 Advanced main page
The themes/topics covered in each writing paper can be found below each link.
Cambridge C1 English Advanced (CAE) Writing - Test One Reducing traffic / review, letter, report Exercise Number: CAE067
Cambridge C1 English Advanced (CAE) Writing - Test Two Local TV station / letter, proposal, report Exercise Number: CAE068
Cambridge C1 English Advanced (CAE) Writing - Test Three Protecting the environment / report, email, review Exercise Number: CAE069
Cambridge C1 English Advanced (CAE) Writing - Test Four Working from home / report, proposal, letter Exercise Number: CAE070
Cambridge C1 English Advanced (CAE) Writing - Test Five Spending government money / review, letter, report Exercise Number: CAE071
Cambridge C1 English Advanced (CAE) Writing - Test Six New school subject / review, email, report Exercise Number: CAE072
Cambridge C1 English Advanced (CAE) Writing - Test Seven School speech giver / review, email, report. Exercise Number: CAE073
Cambridge C1 English Advanced (CAE) Writing - Test Eight Local town economy / email, proposal, review. Exercise Number: CAE074
Best C1 Advanced Books For Students
Use of English: Ten practice tests for the Cambridge C1 Advanced | See in UK
Cambridge English Qualifications: C1 Advanced Volume 1 Practice Tests Plus with key | See in UK
Grammar and Vocabulary for Advanced Book with Answers and Audio | See in UK
Cambridge English Advanced 1 for Revised Exam - Student's Book with Answers: Authentic Examination Papers | See in UK
CAE Writing Masterclass (Parts 1 & 2) Cambridge English Advanced Writing | See in UK
Grammar & Vocabulary CAE & CPE Workbook With Key | See in UK
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Free Practice Tests for learners of English
Cambridge english: cae writing 2 (review).
A college which you attended in the past has written to you asking to what extent its facilities met the needs of the students academically and socially. Write a letter to the college answering these questions. Suggest areas where the college could improve facilities.
CAE Writing tests
- Writing part 1 (essay)
- Writing part 2 (email)
- Writing part 2 (brochure)
- Writing part 2 (letter of application)
- Writing part 2 (review)
- Writing part 2 (letter to a newspaper)
CAE writing style guide: review
Posted by Ben on Mar 12, 2013 in CAE style guides |
5 of 5, click the buttons to read more about the the different styles of writing you may have to do in the exam:
Essay Email/letter Proposal Report
This is a short summary of some style points to keep in mind when attempting the tasks in the Cambridge English: Advanced writing section.
Who is the audience? The audience for this question is usually an interested consumer or magazine reader.
What is the purpose of the writing? You need to describe something (or some things) and give your opinion.
Is it formal? No.
Should I use headings or bullet points? You can use headings if you like.
How should it start? You want to capture the readers’ interest. Use a good title and an exciting opening sentence.
How should it finish? Clearly state your opinion in the conclusion.
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Cambridge Advanced (CAE) Writing
The Cambridge Advanced (CAE) Writing exam is a deceptively difficult part of the exam to perfect and pass. While at first glance the tasks may seem relatively simple, it’s the marking criteria and expectations which can leave exam candidates with an unpleasant surprise when they receive their results. It’s important to be familiar with the exam, so take a look at the sample test below and try answering the questions!
Despite being rigorous, writing is also the easiest language skill to prepare and improve quickly. A few ideas in your bag-of-tricks can really change a fail to a pass with practice and consistency.
CAMBRIDGE ADVANCED WRITING PLUS
We’ve got all the tips and tricks for the Cambridge Advanced Writing exam with Cambridge Advanced Writing Plus . Learn how to use advanced grammar, vocabulary and techniques to write the way Cambridge wants you to write. The self-study book includes multiple Cambridge style tasks and samples alongside activities and quizzes to improve your writing.
Format of Advanced (CAE) Writing
Part 1 – essay.
CAE Writing Part 1 is an essay and it’s obligatory. That means whether you’re an expert essay writer or you’ve never written an academic text in your life, you have to do it.
The good news is that it’s always a fixed format. The question will always have the same setup with three content points, of which you choose two to write about. The other good news is that you can follow a clear structure and learn lots of nice phrases, grammar and vocabulary to really boost your writing and prove your C1 level. Here, we’ve got three practice essay tasks for you to practise.
Remember to always keep the Cambridge writing scales in mind when you complete the task. It’s not only based on your language ability, but also your knowledge of the writing style, your organisation and whether you’ve answered the question correctly.
For some useful revision of linking words to improve your writing, check out our Linking Words post.
Part 2 – Writer’s choice
Part 2 of the Cambridge Advanced writing exam is more open and flexible than Part 1. The choice is all yours! Well, the choice is yours of which of the three tasks you want to write. You could find yourself writing a letter, a report, a review or a proposal. There’s less input for each task, but the concept of answering all the content points and producing a high-quality writing is still the same.
It’s essential to learn each type of writing. You may do some quick maths and decide that with 3 options per exam and only 4 possible writing types, I only need to study 2 types and no matter what, one of them will come up! This is not a good idea. Imagine, for example, that you are a music teacher. You have decided that you will write a letter or review no matter what, then in the exam you find a report question about the importance of music in schools. Obviously, this topic is perfect for you and you’d be a fool to choose the letter about the environment or the proposal that you can’t write. But you have no idea how to write a report, so what do you do?
Always learn how to write all the different types of writing so that you are fully prepared.
Tips and tricks for Advanced (CAE) Writing
- Always spend some time planning before you write.
- Learn lots of useful grammar and phrases to plug into your writings.
- Prepare to write above and beyond what you would do even in your own language. You need to show off to prove your ability in English.
- Be careful with silly mistakes with easy grammar, vocabulary or organisation. These can really hurt you at C1 level.
- Always aim to impress the reader . Think about who the writing is written for and the style you need to use.
- Learn your own common errors and save 5 minutes to check your writing at the end . Just because you aren’t a teacher doesn’t mean you can’t spot your own mistakes and improve whatever you have written.
Get Cambridge C1 Advanced Writing Plus
Breakout English brings you the most complete and detailed self-study course dedicated to the Cambridge Advanced Writing exam. You’ll get all the information you need from exam experts and teachers to pass the Writing exam. Available as a digital download or in paperback. With the digital download, you receive all the same content of the paperback book in a pdf format.
Check it out to learn more and see the key content.
These materials have been designed to represent the same quality and standards as authentic exam materials.
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Home / CAE / CAE Writing
Writing will be the second part of your Certificate in Advanced English exam. CAE Writing is 90 minutes long and it consists of two separate tasks:
In CAE Writing Part 1 you have to read three points on a topic and then write an essay based on two of them. In your answer you have to point out which of the two points are more important. Your essay has to be 220-260 words long.
For CAE Writing Part 2 you get three different assignments to choose from. There are four possible types of assignments: a proposal, a review, a report and a letter. Again, it must be 220-260 words long.
CAE Writing Assessment Criteria Writing Part 1 Writing Part 2 — Review — Report — Letter — Proposal
You might want to read advice on basics of essay composition before moving to the exam tasks.
CAE Writing Assessment Criteria
Your Writing score depends on four different aspects:
- Content. How well you is your writing at achieving the task. Have you developed all the points required by the task?
- Communicative Achievement. How appropriate is your writing in terms of style. Have you used the right register ( formal or informal )? Does your writing fill the style requirements of your text type (report, review, essay, letter)? Do you understand the purpose of the text you’re writing?
- Organisation. How logically you structure your text (introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion). How well you connect your ideas in the text ( cohesion ).
- Language. Your grammar and vocabulary. How diverse is your choice of grammar structure? Is the vocabulary you use fairly varied? Do you make any mistakes in both and how much do they affect understanding the idea you convey?
Writing Part 1
We will use an example task as an illustration:
You have watched a TV programme about scholarship and who should get in in your country. You have made the following notes:
Who should receive scholarship?
- People with exceptional academic performance
- Foreign exchange students
- Members of low-income families
Some of the opinions expressed in the programme:
“Students have to earn their right for free education.” “Children of parents with low income are usually more diligent learners.” “Students from abroad should feel welcomed in our country.”
You should write an essay for your tutor discussing two groups of people that should get scholarship. You are free to use any of the opinions from the programme if you like, but you should use your own words whenever possible.
Your introductory paragraph should state the topic of your essay and its purpose. It is recommended to make it clear which two points (out of three) you will be writing about. Alternatively you may choose to state that in the first sentence of each body paragraph. It is possible to use both approaches together — then you will have to make sure to paraphrase these statements. Avoid making your introduction too long — 3-5 sentences is an optimal length for your opening paragraph.
Body paragraphs are the tools which you use to deliver the key message of your essay. As you will be writing about two different points it is natural to dedicate one paragraph to each point. You are advised to keep body paragraphs approximately the same size — both points should be developed equally well. Some of the tasks require you to choose which of the two aspects is more important, and to state the reason for it being more important. In that case it is acceptable to make one of the paragraphs slightly bigger. This can be done both in the body paragraph and conclusion.
Your conclusion is commonly the shortest of all paragraphs. Most students tend to write a slightly paraphrased version of ideas already mentioned in introduction or body paragraphs. This is a valid technique and there is nothing wrong about it. It is especially useful when you have exhausted the topic and therefore you have nothing else to contribute to the text. Another possible approach is to introduce extra ideas as shown in the example essay below.
CAE Writing Part 1 Sample Essay
Tuition fees have never been low — on the contrary, only the chosen few can comfortably afford paying their studying costs. To participate in a scholarship programme has always been every student’s aspiration. Not only does the scholarship spare serious expenses, it also looks good on one’s CV. In the paragraphs below I will explain my opinion on why members of poor families and students with outstanding marks should be getting preferences for scholarship programme participation. Young people from families with insufficient means are generally unable to to pay for their education. Conversely, children of financially-sound households are more likely to get into scholarship, as they usually have much better secondary education — not to mention their parents being well able to cover tuition fees. These facts eventually lead to further widening of the wealth gap between the rich and the poor, entailing a number of social and economic issues. Such opportunity inequality could be mitigated by lowering the scholarship requirements for the less wealthy. Prospective students with impressive academic records should not be discouraged from continuing their education by charging for it. Considering their mental aptitude and zeal, these young people are very likely to become highly-qualified professionals, potentially making an appreciable contribution to society. Therefore they ought to be eligible for scholarship participation even if they do not meet other, non-academic requirements. Provision of scholarship grants is not an easy task. The decision-making system should be fair and impartial, ensuring that only the most worthy and needy have their academic expenses taken care of by the government. It is only then we can ensure that the programme serves its initial purpose. (272 words)
Writing Part 2
The second part of CAE Writing gives you a choice of three different tasks to choose from. It is recommended to practice at least two out of four possible tasks (Review, Report, Letter and Proposal).
Your paper should be between 220-260 words long. Going over the limit is not penalized, but potentially leads to more mistakes. However if your text is under 220 you will have points deducted from your overall score.
CAE Review is about providing details on the task subject, giving your opinion and recommending (or not recommending) to see/watch/read it. Your review can be on a variety of things such as books, movies, plays, events and much more.
Your writing can be either formal or informal . It is clear from the task which register you are supposed to use. Whichever you use, you should be consistent and stick to one register throughout the whole essay.
Suggested CAE Review Structure
Use the introductory paragraph to name what you are going to be reviewing, state its genre (i.e. a science fiction novel, a horror movie, a vaudeville performance and so on). It is possible to write about author’s other notable works if there are any. To make your introduction more engaging, you may briefly state your general impression on it. Make your introduction at least three sentences long.
Your first body paragraph should give a short summary of the reviewed material. Give a brief overview — plot, setting, actors, general idea. Avoid giving your opinion in this paragraph — you will do this in the following passages.
Second and third body paragraphs can be used to describe good and bad points respectively. Unlike CAE Writing Part 1 your paragraphs don’t have to be of same length — if you liked the described thing then your paragraph with good points will be naturally bigger than the other one. In the negative points paragraph you can name things that could be changed to improve the quality of the product.
Conclusion will contain your general impression and your verdict. Use this paragraph to sum up the good and bad points to make an objective assessment of the reviewed material. You may then recommend or dissuade your readers from seeing/attending it.
An example CAE Review task to illustrate these points:
CAE Writing Part 2 Review Sample
The title I am going to review is a rare example when the movie manages to trump the book it is based on. Today I am reviewing Fight Club by an infamous American novelist Charles Palahniuk — his most widely-known, universally acclaimed work. It is a daunting task to find a person unfamiliar with the movie. The plot engages you from the very start — a young professional finds his apartment destroyed by an explosion of unknown origin. Agitated, he phones his newfound acquaintance Tyler whom he had met on the plane. They see each other at a bar and the story becomes increasingly complex, yet pleasantly effortless to follow. Through its narrative a number of problems are tackled – self-identity, peer pressure, middle-life crises and some other. The characters are likeable and easy to relate to. Both acting and directing are superb. But what makes it better than the book? The only objective fault I could find in the book was the order of events. It goes back and forth, which at times proves to be confusing. The movie manages the sequencing much better. Other than that the book is brilliant — vigorous prose that manages to evoke strong images. The movie however is so good that the book tends to slightly fade in all its glory. People tend to read the book after seeing the adaptation, thus coming with high expectations that can be hard to meet. To sum this up, I would recommend reading the book nonetheless. It may seem inferior in some respects, but it does help to understand the main theme of “Fight Club” better. (266 words)
CAE Review tips
- The task clearly stated that you will be writing to your tutor, which implies use of formal register.
- As you write review you will inevitably use words meaning “good, bad, very” and so forth. It is important to know as many synonyms to very and other general words .
- To get more idea of what a review should look like check some user reviews: For movies go to www.imdb.com and click on any movie. Then scroll down to see the user reviews. Click to see the full list of reviews like this one. Please note that these reviews do not follow the required CAE Review format — they are to give you some ideas and vocabulary examples. For book reviews try www.goodreads.com . Just like the previous site you have to choose a book and read other people’s thoughts on it. The top-rated reviews are at the top of the main page.
CAE Report task is giving your opinion on a subject or assessment of a situation. The difference between CAE Review and Report tasks is that your report should be as objective as possible. Another important difference is that CAE Report should have clear headings for each paragraph.
CAE Report has to be written in formal English. Check this page on formal vocabulary to avoid making any mistakes or inconsistencies.
Suggested CAE Report structure
In your introductory paragraph you state the subject your report will be about. It is usually done by paraphrasing the information you are given in the task (see example report below). You may also state the main points of your report to make it easier for your reader to navigate through it.
As it was mentioned before, each of your paragraphs should have a separate heading. For body paragraphs each heading will be an aspect of the thing your report is about. For example, if your report is on a local school, your headings could be:
- Staff . This paragraph will be about the school’s teachers and other personnel
- Classrooms . Description of school premises and facilities
- Curriculum . How the teaching process is organised.
The names of your headings don’t have to be that straightforward — you can show some creativity there. Make sure that the meaning of your headings is clear — your reader should understand the content of the paragraph from the heading.
Your conclusion sums up the points mentioned above and provides a general assessment. You can voice your recommendations and suggestions if the task says you to do so.
To help you structure your report you can write out possible headings. A properly structured text is much easier to write and more pleasant to follow. Use your draft paper to write up an outline plan, but do not spend too much time on it — 2-4 minutes are usually enough to come up with a solid heading structure.
CAE Writing Part 2 Report Sample
You have completed your internship at a big company. As a part of your job placement programme you should write a report to your employment counsellor. In your report you should describe the company you worked at, the problems you encountered and propose any additional training you feel is necessary.
Introduction For the past three months I had been working for Escom Limited, the biggest law firm in our town. I have participated in real working environment, gained new skills and made acquaintances with people from the industry. In this report I will sum up my experience in this company. Escom Structure The company has a well-defined tier system. Being an intern I started at the first tier with everybody except other interns being my superiors. To get used to this strict hierarchy proved to be a serious challenge but eventually I adapted to it. Such system has its merits — as you move up the ranks you get access to more documents, legal tools and get to interact with senior staff. Even though the system has its downsides it is nevertheless very effective and efficient. The Challenges As an intern I had to perform a wide array of tasks. I had to interact with the company’s clients, fill in various forms, go through tomes of legal data and sort the mail. Unfortunately some of them had no relation to my field of study whatsoever — oftentimes I would get asked to bring in some take-away food or fix a malfunctioning computer. Some of the tasks proved to be too daunting for me, but overall I think I did just fine. Improving Myself Having completed my internship I could finally see my professional shortcomings. There are many things to improve on — first and foremost I have to work on my social skills. I found it difficult to talk to clients that I see for the first time and it is a must to make them feel comfortable. I should also study up on the recent law amendments — at times I found myself unaware of the latest developments in legal proceedings. Conclusion I have thoroughly enjoyed my brief stay with the company. Even though the system has its downsides it is nevertheless very effective and efficient. (274 words)
This type of task presents a certain situation that you have to write a reply to. CAE Letter is one of the more diverse type of tasks, as it can vary greatly in content of the letter as well as the required style and register. For example, a letter to your friend is going to be rather informal and its content will be narrative. Conversely, a letter to a manager of a restaurant should stay stylistically formal as well as factual.
Narrative or factual?
The terms “narrative” and “factual” can be a bit confusing – after all, when we talk or write about something, we tell a story (we narrate) and we include facts. That is true indeed, and both styles include elements of one another. In fact, they overlap considerably. However, there is a difference.
Narrative style (Informal letters/e-mails)
Narrative style focuses on the subjective aspect of your writing. It is about making your writing piece more emotionally engaging. It is more appropriate when you want to make the reader invested in what you are writing.
You can use a number of devices to engage your reader. The two most used ones in informal types of CAE Writing are exclamation and question marks. The former makes your message stronger and more emphatic. The latter can be used for a rhetoric question (one that requires no answer) or to make the reader more included in the narrative:
Hey, how have you been? I heard that your last music album was an immediate success. Really great to hear that!
4 thoughts on “CAE Writing”
I appeared on CAE exam last month in part 2 of writing I forget to mention part number in the answer box and I did e-mail part one with full format etc .it will create any problem??
Hello Waqas! I believe you shouldn’t feel too worried about it, unless it is not clear from the context of your answer!
There is clearly a mistake on the report section. Instead of the example of the report there are two reviews. Would it be possible to fix it? Thank you very much!
Thanks you, fixed that. We seem to have some text missing here, we will have to look into this at some point 🙂
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