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Hello! This is ABC English Levels and Valentine speaking. In today’s audio lesson, you’ll learn the key points about FCE writing essay – how to organise your writing, how to choose the right language register, and how your essay is assessed.
I’ll start with the last issue as it concerns all types of writing.
How they assess your writing
In an essay, like any other type of writing, you’ll need to remember about four aspects.
- First, content. It must correspond to the situation given and cover all the points of the task en your exam paper.
- Second, communicative achievement. The tone of the essay should be proper throughout, and the ideas must be presented clearly and have to hold your target audience’s attention.
- Third, organisation. Your writing must be coherent and logically organised. Paragraphs are one of the key points of a good essay as well as linking words to connect ideas through the test.
- Forth, language. Make sure you use appropriate vocabulary. That is to say, don’t include informal expressions into formal writing. Control your grammar. Show some more complicated grammatical structures if you’re sure about how to use them.
Each aspect weighs up to 5 points maximum. Ideally, you can get 20 points for your essay.
Key points about FCE writing essay
Now let’s discuss an essay. It’s a mandatory task in Part 1 of Writing paper. You just have no other choice so, learning how to write it will pay off.
Types of essay
- An essay in which you have to give your opinion about a statement. For example, Private cars should not enter the city centre. Do you agree?
- An essay in which you have to decide which of two things is better, e.g. Is it better for students to study sth they really enjoy or sth which will give them a good job?
In both cases, you will have an essay title, a situation and some notes. Read everything attentively because this gives you some necessary information about a style you have to use in writing and some ideas you can include in your essay.
- Knowing the structure of any writing is half the battle. Along with proper use of linking words, it’s even more. Accurate grammar and language register will add to a score, and good communicative skills will polish it provided you complete all the issues of the task. So, start from scratch – the task. Read it with full attention and be precise working on it. In an essay, there’re three points to develop. Two of them are given and the third is always up to you. So, you must cover all three points. You’ll be penalised skipping any of them. Many students lose their score just because of carelessness. This would be the silliest way of getting a lower mark. You don’t want this, right?
- Underline the areas you must deal with both in the essay title and notes. It will help you to concentrate on the most significant.
- After getting a clear idea about the topic and the question of an essay, make a plan. One paragraph is one idea and one point of the plan. You have three points to cover so, you write three main paragraphs. Besides, you need to start with an opening paragraph, or introduction, and finish with a closing one, or conclusion. All in all, there might be five parts of your essay.
The number of words matters!
Important! A normal number of words of an FCE writing essay is between 140 and 190. Apparently, it is well calculated that this number of words is enough to cover the task properly. What happens if you write fewer than a minimum or more than a maximum? In the first case, you may not have answered all the points completely and you’ll lose marks. In the second case, you might make many mistakes or not be precise in developing your ideas. Remember, the examiner will stop reading after 200 words and consider your answer incomplete. The result is the same – you’ll lose your marks.
Well, what should you do? Surely, you know the answer. Write many different essays counting words approximately. This way, you’ll know how much time you spend on each part of the task and how many words you put on one page. By the way, timing yourself is a really efficient method of controlling the process. Do it every time you drill any part of the exam that depends on you. I mean, listening part goes beyond your control, but the rest is under your power. For both Writing Part 1 and Part 2, you’re given 1 hour 20 minutes. So, let yourself approximately 40 minutes for the first part.
All right, we’ll stop today. You’ve learnt the key points about an essay, some theory on how to prepare for an essay. Next week, I’ll give some handy examples of phrases and expressions which make writing coherent, logic and well-organised.
Remember that you can always consult us sending your questions via the contact form on our web site abc-englishlevels.com.
This is all for today. That was ABC English Levels and your Valentine. Take care!