Writing Tips for B2-C1 Levels

One of the most common questions  by candidates is how to produce a good piece of writing both in real life and in exams. With the huge variety of sample writing tasks available on the internet, it is difficult to find reliable general guidelines on writing. Not any more, here you are.

For each of the 5 text types (transactional emails [letters], articles, essays, reviews and letters to the editor) which can occur at B2 or C1 levels, you will find a document featuring information on the structural and language requirements, detailed advice, DOs and DONTs and even some useful webpages for further practice. The final section is devoted to the evaluation criteria we use for the Writing test.

Click on the title of each text type or the picture on the right hand side to download the documents.

Transactional email / letter

...The key word here is ‘transaction’. The writer has a purpose with the text: enquiring, making a complaint, providing information, recommending, endorsing someone, applying for a job, introducing themselves etc. From a communication point of view, the most important part of the text is the purpose itself. The measure of success is whether the purpose has been achieved.

Article

...The key word here is ‘transaction’. The writer has a purpose with the text: enquiring, making a complaint, providing information, recommending, endorsing someone, applying for a job, introducing themselves etc. From a communication point of view, the most important part of the text is the purpose itself. The measure of success is whether the purpose has been achieved.

Essay

...Before you start writing, think the topic over. While it is important to decide what arguments you would like to present in your essay, remember that the main point of the task is not to ‘convince’ the reader. Remember that the assessors are not on the other side of the debate and therefore they do not need to be convinced. What they do is assess how effectively you managed to convey your argument, how well structured it is.

Review

...In the exam, review is usually the written account and critical report of a film, concert, theatre or book experience written for a student magazine or a local online or printed media. The instructions specify the genre only, which means that you can decide what film, book, theatrical performance, concert or exhibition you want to write about. It is advisable to choose one you know very well...

Letter to the Editor

The letter to the editor task presumes that the writer (ie. the candidate) is a regular reader of the newspaper in question and is interested in online and printed media in general. If an article upsets or moves them in any way, they take the time and effort to share their opinion in writing. This opinion can range from enthusiastic support to harsh criticism, and although there is no reliable data to support this statement, but we can say that it generally tends to be critical...

Online Comment

It is undoubtedly a text-type we all produce on a regular basis. Here, regular might as well be every few seconds even, mostly in social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram), as well as in blogs, forums, news portals etc. However, if the writing of online comments happens to be an exam task, it should not be a one- sentence reaction, remark or outburst. Rather, a 3-5-paragraph long, logically structured, informal text, which comments strictly on the specific topic of the post or article, using the right vocabulary. The comment gives the writer’s points, arguments for and/or against the main statement or viewpoint of the source text, or on remarks made by other commentators...

Assessment Criteria

Now you know everything there is to know about what to focus on for each text type. In addition, it is also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the requirements and criteria that your essays will have to meet. There are 6 different criteria used in the assessment of B2 and C1 Writing tasks. It is worth checking them out and focusing on trying to satisfy them.